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“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” A classic quote from the much loved 80’s movie Ferris Buellers Day Off and pretty relevant when you think about the rate that we, as a society, are developing technologies of the future.
But the big question is, ‘is it sustainable?’. With the world population set to hit 9.7 million in 2050 human beings will be requiring more land for sustenance and more technology to help us live our lives. With the current issues surrounding global warming, pollution and food production, growth in our technological realms is going to have to think more about sustainability and longevity rather than planned obsolescence and short-lived gains.
If we don’t begin to think about these things now, come 2050 we might not have a planet that can sustain the needs of 9.7 billion people and filter the waste and by-products we produce. Here we are going to take a look at a few technologies that are starting to become widely available or are in the development phase of design, all with the aim of reducing our effect on the planet and sustaining mankind to 2050 and beyond.
Feeding 9.7 billion people won’t be easy, we already use a substantial amount of land to feed the 7.3 billion mouths currently inhabiting the planet. The future of modern agriculture could look quite different in the future thanks to developments such as vertical farming.
Rather than use soil and large areas of lands like traditional methods, vertical farming stacks crops on top of each other and are cultivated using hydroponics. The method of production is much quicker than traditional farming methods.
Other benefits include reduced pollution (no tractors needed!), less agricultural run-off, reduced use of water and of pesticides as well as the ability to produce crops 365 days a year.
Another way of sustaining the populations appetite is through microalgae. These tiny photo-synthetic plants turn energy from the sun into sugars and proteins. They use carbon dioxide during this process and subsequently release oxygen as a by-product, which we can’t see anyone complaining about. These versatile organisms can withstand extreme temperatures, UV conditions, salinity, or low nutrient levels.
So we’ve established that they are pretty tough little critters but another benefit is their nutritional value. Microalgae is full of nutrients, proteins and oils that are good for us. It has also been touted as the next ‘superfood’ and is already making its way into health products on the market today.
Solar energy has been around for quite some time now and, in the beginning at least, was a relatively expensive endeavour. Back in 2010 tariff rates sat at about 41p per kWh, these have now dropped to about 4p per kWh in 2017. As technology advances, so too will the efficiency of solar panels.
A great example of this are Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles, they look like any normal roof tile yet they all contain solar panels which means that your roof does not have to have big solar panels installed. They have also been touted as being tougher and stronger than regular solar panels with a lifetime warranty on the tiles themselves.
Another development is using solar power to melt salt and generate electricity. Using a solar energy facility, sunshine is concentrated onto a tower by a field of mirrors which heats molten salt within the tower to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which can then be used to generate steam and turn a turbine. The benefit of this process is it can be done 24 hours a day as the facility can store energy for up to 10 hours.
Be it land air or sea; electronic vehicles are already beginning to become a prominent feature on our roads and it won’t be long before we are taking to the skies and possibly even the seas in electric powered vehicles. The obvious advantage of electric is the reduction in emissions being pumped into the atmosphere.
With over 780 million tonnes of CO2 produced by worldwide flights each year, the pressure to offset the carbon emissions produced by air travel is more serious than ever. The same goes for vehicles which are estimated to produce over 4 and a half billion tonnes of CO2 per year.
As battery technology improves, so will the practicality of these vehicles as they will be able to travel further between charges. A few decades might pass until electric vehicles are the dominant transportation worldwide, and until then, the continuous development of low emission fuels such as cellulosic biofuels would serve as the perfect remedy for the unpleasant shift from oil-fuelled to green energy-fuelled transportation.
One of the greatest tragedies of the last 60 years has been humans' relationship with plastic. It’s everywhere and it doesn’t go away. It takes hundreds of years to break down and even then, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Recent research has shown that it has made its way to some of the furthest reaches of our planet and into the food chain via marine life that has accidentally swallowed these micro particles of plastic.
That may all change however with the emergence of bioplastics. These are made from natural raw materials that are biodegradable or in some cases, edible. Scientists from the Centre of Sustainable Chemical Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath have managed to make a biodegradable form of plastic from sugar and carbon dioxide. A group of Finnish researchers have made biodegradable polymers from rice starch which could be used in food packaging.
Earlier this year researchers at the University of Otago managed to develop food packaging made from corn and shellfish industry by-products which is also edible meaning even less waste going to landfill or recycling plants as you can eat it when your finished with it. In 2013, a Turkish teenager, Elif Bilgin, won the Science in Action Award for her concept of making bioplastic from banana peels. Other bioplastics are also being derived from substances such as Avocados, Shrimps and seaweed.
I'd also like to take the chance to thank you for all your help during my time with Ambitek. I have always been paid on time and any worries I had were sorted out incredibly quickly either by yourself or your colleagues. Thank you for making my time as a contractor as painless as possible. I would certainly have no qualms about being employed by your agency again sometime in the future. Although obviously not any time soon!!!!
I contacted Ambitek last year about employment. They quickly responded and helped me get a job! I now have a full time job thanks to Ambitek and their staff. They have always paid me on time and have always been there to help me if I needed any advice! Now me and my family are doing great all thanks to Ambitek.
"Hi, hope your all set for Xmas just wanted to say thanks to you and all the staff at Ambitek. You have all been ace this year sorting out my wages and holiday pay and the rest, it's been a real pleasure working for you this year and can't thank you enough for getting me the job in the first place it really pulled me out of it when I was down and to say I appreciate it is an understatement
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Hi, don't know if they informed you but I got a full time contract this week, thanks to you and your team for everything mate I'd be nowhere without Ambitek.
Wish everyone looked after us like you.