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Tech With Purpose News
In this week’s Tech With Purpose news summary: Orange-powered electricity, slow progress on UN SDGs, AI improves pet welfare, green hydrogen, air quality and AI helping measure ESG performance.
AI evaluates Company ESG performance
As investors look to assess company value based on issues as wide ranging as carbon emissions, worker relations and boardroom diversity, the hunt is on for accurate, trustworthy data sources that reflect these issues.
Research company Cowen plans to use technology and data from third-party ESG specialist Truvalue Labs, which uses artificial intelligence to assess 100,000’s sources in real time. Read more here.
Right To Repair
The human species is the only species on the planet with the concept of waste. Planned obsolescence is nothing but uncreative short sighted greed. Whilst I applaud this law, it needs careful implementation, for example, I have a slightly worn out printer at home, that needs a small upgrade. I can buy the spare part, but it would be cheaper to buy a new printer. This law needs to also ensure those pricing practices don’t manipulate consumer behaviour.
I’m watching to see how the implications of this trickle through to mobile phones and IoT gadgets. In particular, I had to dispose of an Amazon Echo Dot recently because it was out of warranty and Amazon couldn’t make it work again. With the right to repair, would Amazon have needed to supply me with spare parts?
Nanotech Improves Green Hydrogen
A new piece of research from a team led by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab) Molecular Foundry claims to have created a new nickel metal nanomaterial that helps more efficiently obtain hydrogen from a liquids and could open the way to easier to create, store and use hydrogen fuels. Read more here.
Green Hydrogen Fuels Take a 20 year leap
In another Green Hydrogen article, Israel’s H2Pro believe they can bring the price of green hydrogen down to dollar-a-kilo by 2030. They claim this is a 20-year leap in clean energy technology and brings green H2 prices down to a level where it’s cheaper per unit of energy than current USA retail gasoline prices. Read more here.
Air Pollution Causes 1 in 5 Deaths
According to a new report from researchers at the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, and University College claims that in 2018 8.7 million deaths are attributed to air pollution, in particular PM2.5. This article further asserts that 1 in 5 global deaths attributed to exposure to fossil fuel air pollution. 🤯 Read more here.
Technology to measure and predict the impact of air pollution has come down in price significantly in the last few years, yet action on this topic is slow (as also referenced in the article below about the UN SDGs). Even where there is progress, my worry is that we’re looking at it wrong. Many of the models and tools I have seen create a generalisation for a wide area, resulting in an air quality score that is relevant for someone who might spend their time randomly traversing through that area. There seems to be very little understanding about what I call hyper-local air quality, e.g. the places that matter to me, where I spend time. It is this that sparked my interest in air quality and the experiments mentioned in the related article below.
If you are developing technologies and techniques to understand hyper-local air quality, then I would very much like to speak with you, please do get in touch here.
Fascinating to see a water company develop an innovation to turn rotting oranges into power. Seville’s municipal water provider, Emasesa, uses methane from rotting oranges to power electricity generation. Read more here.
AI to protect animal welfare
Importance of Wildfire Detection Tech Grows
According to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, particualte matter from wildfires is even more dangerous that pollution from vehicle exhaust fumes. Additionally, the study’s co-author, Tom Corringham commented that ‘As conditions in Southern California become hotter and drier, we expect to see increased wildfire activity. This study demonstrates that the harm due to wildfire smoke may be greater than previously thought, bolstering the argument for early wildfire detection systems and efforts to mitigate climate change.’ Read more here.
Shell Invests in Blockchain
Shell leads $11 million Series B for renewables blockchain startup LO3 Energy. LO3’s solution helps electricity companies include distributed residential solar collection arrays in to their energy mix, as well as creating a consumer energy market place. Read more here.
Green Country Ranking
Fascinating info graphics that aim to show which are The Greenest Countries in the World Read more here. The article shows how the application of sustainable practices in policy and business typically bodes well for economies, business and and people. Denmark tops the leaderboard, the UK is in 4th place with Afghanistan, Myanmar and Liberia pulling in the bottom three places.
UN SDGs Slowed Due To Covid
Whilst many technologies have been spurred on by covid, progress towards achieving the lift UN SDGs has slowed, according to Will Sarni, CEO of the Water Foundry, writing on the WEForum. Read more here.
I’ve always felt that some of the UN SDGs were incredibly ambitious, and that any meaningful progress towards them would already be a positive outcome. However, it is worrying to see that not only is progress slow, in some instances progress is even being reversed.
As you know by now, I am keen to support technology companies who aspire to change the world for the better, those who can align their work towards positive progress on the UN SDGs. If you are one of them, or know someone who is, please get in touch or share your news here.
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