Thanks to both our presenters and those of you who made it down to the Art Bar last Wednesday! We got to enjoy the second round of our monthly Pecha Kucha night in fabulous company, with wildly imaginative and inspiring contributions from students of the Innovation Design Engineering and Service Design courses, as well as a project that is currently incubating with InnovationRCA.
Read on to get the low-down on what some of the RCA’s sustainability pioneers have been up to.
The Finite crew from the Innovation Design Engineering course is working with a material that most of us assume to be an abundant resource – sand! Turns out though, that the sand we use to construct most of our built environment, for example in concrete, is not readily available desert sand, but sand from the bottom of the ocean. To help put an end to the environmentally destructive extraction of pelagic sand, the team has developed Finite, a composite material that is nearly as strong as concrete, but made from desert sand. By melting it down in hot water it can be remoulded and enjoy multiple life cycles, or can be left to biodegrade in its own time.
Team members: Carolyn Tam, Matteo Marronci, Saki Maruyama, Hamza Oza
Jack Herring talked us through the ins and outs of Jiva, the water soluble, biodegradable and non-hazardous flax based board he has designed as a sustainable alternative to the fibreglass that is currently used as the substrate for Printed Circuit Boards. Jiva’s benign materials and water-soluble design offer an environmentally friendly alternative to standard PCBs that harm both people and the environment at the post-consumer stage, by making it easy to recovercomponents safely. Jack is developing his project with the support of InnovationRCA and has a patent pending – so watch this space!
The first of two Service Design teams, both working on briefs from the particle physics research centre CERN to apply their disruptive technologies to the UN’s sustainabledevelopment goals, introduced us to the little known problems surrounding the global cold chain and the use of the chemical Hydrofluorocarbon in traditional cooling devices, one of the single most potent greenhouse gases and contributors to climate change. Their service ColdBox proposes to help developing nations leapfrog unsustainable cooling infrastructure by providing solar-powered, sustainable and modular cold storage through affordable ownership models in areas where the cold chain does not yet extend.
Team members: Libby Landenberg, Neta Steingart, Anna Schlimm
The second Service Design team is focusing on an issue that has enjoyed increasing attention from the public – the largely invisible but ubiquitous microplastics that increasingly riddle our environment and are harmful to us and other life-forms. They explained that these plastics are constantly released from diverse sources and can even find their way into our food chain! Their circular economy concept Corallo is a service that uses CERN’s technology to collect microplastics from wastewater treatment plants so they can be recycled and put it new use by markets such as the fashion industry.
Team members: Roxie Chiu, Minwoo Kim, Mattia Gobbo, Nien-Ting Cheng