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Deciding on a foreign university is easier with first-hand information. Those wishing to practise a sustainable lifestyle away from home, however, often spend a long time looking for the right shops and restaurants. Now a Munich-based startup is making the process easier thanks to its new digital platform. It contains an index of firms and businesses that offer sustainable...

Durable growth

Banana paper can protect potato seeds from pathogens. But soil bacteria provide vital nutrients for plants’ healthy growth. Making them a good replacement for chemical fertilisers. If only they were less sensitive to heat, humidity and freeze-drying... Now, thanks to a US-based research team, the bacteria can be given a protective coating. It’s made by mixing metal ions -...

Sweet saturation

Protein-rich gorse could feed the whole of Scotland. Fish and chips is not just popular in the UK, of course. Still, manufacturing vegetable oil from oil palms or soya beans is accelerating the deforestation of rainforests. Which explains why a California-based startup has developed an alternative cooking oil from sugarcane. Raw sugar from the regrowing plant ferments in tanks...

Landscape legacy

Donations left by a desert robot could help create an oasis. The same cannot be said, however, for humans leaving their “mark” and their tissues in nature. Enter an Israeli design student’s sustainable toilet paper. Made from oranges and aloe vera, each individual leaf is woven with plant seeds such as mint, rose or parsley. Though thicker than traditional...

On the scent

Historical smells no longer belong to the past. Methane, however, is odourless, and usually slips undetected into the atmosphere. Traditional methods of recovering the greenhouse gas, where people with handheld devices scour rubbish depots or faulty pipelines, are expensive. Yet methane can be deployed as a sustainable energy source to produce hydrogen. Cue a Michigan-based startup which has developed a patented drone complete...

Cultivated enlightenment

With the right light, plants grow better. But too much light can have a negative impact on the health and daily rhythms of both people and animals. To say nothing of the bulb waste. Ever since observing bioluminescent marine bacteria, a female founder from France has been working to produce more environmentally-friendly city lamps. Talk about a bright idea… Her startup’s...

Solved ever after

Fires can be extinguished in an environment-friendly way. Water- and grease-proof coatings, meanwhile, often contain substances which are hard to break down. They are already found in drinking water: so-called ‘forever chemicals’ belonging to the PFAS group. Among others, a research team from the University of British Columbia is after them and has developed a new material that can...

On the tiles

Building elements filled with seeds and surfboards containing straw are allowing nature to grow. Now, a Hong Kong-based startup is 3D printing hexagonal tiles from clay which are installed on the seafloor and planted with young coral. A coral-specific algorithm tells a robotic arm how to print the tiles' labyrinthine structure. This not only promotes growth but enables corals...

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