solar panels
Blog
Transparent solar panels: The future of solar energy?

Transparent solar panels: The future of solar energy?

Energy is the pulse of our day-to-day life and how we create and use it is changing rapidly. One thing is certain, to limit global warming we need to move away from fossil fuels altogether and embrace sustainable energy sources. Solar power technologies have been developing for decades, and modern solar power could now become a viable alternative to fossil fuels, but it doesn’t come without its flaws. Solar panels can only be placed at certain angles on buildings, significantly reducing the amount that can be installed in towns and cities. There are also concerns that solar farms can affect biodiversity and farmland and natural habitats need to be safeguarded. But what if these limitations in built up areas were removed? Scientists have been developing transparent solar panels that could be the answer to these issues...  More…

desertification and drought
Blog
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2022

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2022

Droughts are among one of the greatest threats to sustainable development, among developing countries and developed countries alike. Studies have estimated that by 2050, over 75% of the global population will be affected by drought. The UN has designated the 17th of June as a World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, in order to raise awareness about the probable threat of extreme water shortages if we do not collectively act to treat land as a limited and precious natural capital. The UNCCD says that “everyone has a role to play, because everyone has a stake in the future”. More…

Tech companies
Blog
Tech Giants Going Green

Tech Giants going green

In a recent article published by the Financial Times ‘How tech went big on green energy,’ Leslie Hook and Dave Lee discuss the pledges made by Fortune 100 Tech companies to combat climate change. Tech companies are large consumers of electricity with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple using more than 45 terawatt-hours of electricity every year, which is about the same amount as the whole of New Zealand. It’s no wonder that they are taking steps to try and reduce their electricity usage, or use greener energy. While the everyday person can make their home more energy efficient by having an electrical inspection carried out by one of the best electrician in West Lake Hills, for example, tech companies have to do a lot more. With Google being the first company to confirm a clean energy deal in 2010, this sparked a competition between Tech companies trying to embrace an industrial concept that promotes sustainable resource productivity.

More…

world water day
Blog
World Water Day: tackling water
scarcity and sanitation issues

UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” by 2030. Lack of access to safe drinking water and poor sanitation negatively impacts food security, livelihood choices, and opportunities for education. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people living without access to safe water. More…

Blog
Plastic waste vs. e-waste: where is the industry investing the big bucks?
What is happening with exported plastic and electronic waste at present?

Many wealthy countries export plastic and electronic waste (e-waste) to less economically developed countries to recycle or dispose of. Until 2018, China was accepting more than half of this exported waste. However, as concern for pollution in China increased, a ban on some types of waste imports was introduced. As a result, waste imports in other countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Poland, and Turkey, have risen significantly. However, the same issues China experienced are leading these countries to return waste to the originating country. More…

Blog
Patenting activity by big industry to
improve waste management

Patenting activity by big industry to improve waste management

Over recent years, the public’s awareness of the impact of pollution and climate change has grown. As a result of this, big industry has been forced by governments and consumers alike to step up its game in reducing plastic usage, finding ways to recycle potentially toxic items like chemicals, aluminium or plastics, and mitigating their own carbon footprint. By studying the patenting activity of companies, it’s easy to see who is putting their money on the table and investing in this area, rather than just ‘talking the talk’. More…

energy transition
Blog
Innovation driving the Energy
Transition

Energy Transition involves a structural change in the energy system from our existing model to a new paradigm, going well beyond the simple replacement of one source of fuel energy by another. To help meet global climate change goals of limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 °C, set at the Paris Climate Agreement 2015, policy makers could strengthen investment conditions by shifting incentives to make renewable power more attractive to investors – thus stimulating innovation and patenting in renewable technologies. More…

Blog
Innovations to solve the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution

On 21st June 2018, Minesoft sponsored a local paddle-boarding event organised by the Richmond BID (Business Investment District) to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the River Thames. Plastic pollution in our oceans and rivers is a growing problem, as shown by the recent launch of the New Plastic Economy Innovation Prize, an initiative to find new and innovative alternatives to plastic packaging.

The World Economic Forum warned that there would be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. Globally, production of plastics exceeds 300 million tonnes per annum and only a small percentage of this is recycled. At least 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year, a large proportion ultimately ends up in one of the five major ocean gyres; drawn in by winds and ocean currents. The largest of these gyres, dubbed the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” spans 1.6 million square kilometres – more than twice the size of France.

Pollution of the environment with plastic is a global environmental problem. There is extensive evidence that entanglement in plastics can cause injury and death to a wide range of marine organisms. From coral reefs smothered in plastic bags, to turtles gagging on straws, to whales and seabirds that starve because their bellies are so full of plastic that there’s no room left for real food.

Over the past few years, scientists and researchers have created a variety of compostable plastic substitutes. However, there is still a lot to be done in terms of biodegradability in the marine environment as some materials that are compostable on land in certain conditions are unable to biodegrade in the sea.

Following the launch of the New Plastic Economy Innovation Prize in 2017, innovators worldwide have been invited to take part in The Circular Materials Challenge. The $1 million challenge aimed to find better packaging solutions to stop plastics becoming waste. The below five winning entries showcase alternative materials that could be recycled or composted.

The University of Pittsburgh team applies nano-engineering to create a recyclable material that can replace complex multi-layered non-recyclable packaging. The material mimics the way nature uses just a few molecular building blocks to create a huge variety of materials.

Aronax Technologies Spain proposes a magnetic additive that can be applied to a material, creating better air and moisture insulation – making it suitable to protect sensitive products such as coffee and medical products, while still being recyclable.

Working together, Full Cycle Bioplastics, Elk Packaging, and Associated Labels and Packaging make a compostable high-performance material from renewable materials, agricultural by-products and food waste to pack a broad range of products from granola bars and crisps to laundry detergent.

The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has created a compostable multi-layer material from agricultural and forestry by-products, which could be used for stand-up food pouches for products like muesli, nuts, dried fruit and rice.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC has developed a coating with silicate and biopolymers that can be used in many different food packaging applications protecting biopolymer packaging and food against premature degradation and is fully compostable.

Innovation is necessary, but the key priority is to focus on reducing the quantity of plastic waste generated by society. It is changing our own behaviours, choices and actions that will save our oceans, and the most important challenge is to improve the way we design, manage, recycle and re-use plastic.

This summer, the Minesoft team highlighted the problem of plastic pollution in our own back garden by participating in and sponsoring the Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) Event along the River Thames, from Kew Bridge to Richmond in south-west London, where our head office is based. Minesoft was very proud to be sponsoring this event and cheering our own Ladies Team paddle boarding on the River Thames. The locally organised event was a new initiative to reduce the number of single use plastic items in London`s waterways.