desertification and drought

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”.

In the spirit of this day, take a look at 3 innovative solutions that are revolutionising the global response to the desertification and drought crisis.

Water Desalination systems

Despite the fact that 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, only 0.003% is drinkable fresh water. Desalination provides a solution to this problem, previously the process was very resource intensive. However, innovations in water desalination systems have led to the production of filters made up of graphene- these can desalinate water using only hydrostatic pressure.

Start-up G20 water, based in the UK, offers a graphene-based water membrane technology that can reduce energy costs by up to 90%.

Drip Irrigation

During times of drought, water must be used more efficiently. This is especially pertinent in countries where many rely on farming for their livelihoods. Drip irrigation provides an efficient irrigation system during drought as it filters down through the soil – this virtually eliminates wasteful water run-off and wind-driven spray. The highly targeted nature of this systems ensures that each plant gets the correct amount of water, delivered at its roots.

A pioneer in this field is start-up N-Drip, they provide the first and only micro irrigation solution powered by gravity. Headed by professor Uri Shani, Israel’s former Water Commission and Water expert, the company has designed a system that utilises existing infrastructure and gravity to make irrigation efficient at no extra cost. Take a look at the system below, taken from the filed patent which can be found on PatBase:

Solar Pumps

Pumps are the most common method used in farming, however they are extremely resource intensive and the use of pumps has a big carbon footprint. With diesel fuelled pumps, typically around 60% of operating expenses derive from oil consumption – while the rest is for machine maintenance. Solar pumps are being increasingly considered as an alternative, as electricity is not required to pump the water required for irrigation, and furthermore they are highly cost effective.

Innovations in this field include the increasing use of decentralised solar applications. These help many consumers that may face unreliable power supply with previous solar pump systems.

Drought is one of the biggest climate challenges that we currently face, and these innovative solutions are helping people around the world put measures in place to mitigate the damaging effects of climate change.

The above innovations are example of fast-moving technology areas, demonstrating the importance of monitoring IP to stay ahead of the curve. Using patent search and analytics tools, like PatBase, is essential to gain a better understanding of a technology space and direct R&D efforts and investments accordingly.

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