1000 Solutions — March 19, 2018
Our challenge to Mexico: solutions to make for a cleaner, more prosperous future
His trip will include a conference and panel discussion hosted at the Club de industriales, where he will be joined by - amongst others - members of two startups - Sistema Bio and Kinetech Power Systems - and the main cleantech multiplier in the city, Green Momentum.
Kinetech Power Systems have developed a flywheel energy storage system that can provide long-lasting, non-toxic and environmentally friendly power. It works by using the motion of a spinning mass, called a rotor, which spins in a nearly frictionless enclosure. If and when power is lost, the inertia allows the rotor to continue spinning and the resulting kinetic energy is converted to electricity.
Sistema.bio is a hybrid reactor biodigester that transforms the manure of animals into biogas and a potent natural fertilizer. They have also established a program to try and get this solution into the hands of as many farmers as possible (see video).
They have received investment from the social fund of ENGIE, a partner to the Solar Impulse Foundation, and Sistema.bio hope to develop more research so that their biogas products can generate thermal energy, electric power and to allow this technology to be transferred to millions of farms across Mexico.
Bertrand’s visit will also include a visit to Green Momentum’s whose work includes reducing reliance on fossil fuels to the redesigning of infrastructure, focusing on clean energy, hydrocarbons, energy storage and electric mobility.
At P39, we will be meeting with XiliNat, who have developed a sugar substitute based made from agricultural waste that would otherwise be burnt. This solution helps to tackle obesity, which affects some 7 in 10 people in Mexico, while also reducing the country’s CO2 emissions; 40% of Mexico’s emissions come as a result of the burning of agricultural waste. Their CEO Javier Larragoiti was also selected as one of Latin America’s 35 innovators under 35 last year, and you can watch him explain his product in the video below.
We'll also meet up with the makers of Fungicel, who have developed a new packaging material made from fungi that could replace traditional forms of packaging like styrofoam. Between a quarter and a third of all domestic waste is packaging, and while Fungicel is not a suitable substitute for all of it, they are in the right market to try and make this work, given that Mexico is the world’s fourth largest producer of household appliances.
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From there, Bertrand Piccard will move to Cancun to speak at the World Forum on Energy Regulation, where he will renew his call to regulators to take up the challenge of designing modern regulation that will help pull clean innovation into the market.
As Bertrand tells us, the focus on only pushing innovation by using public money to provide subsidies and push innovation, while still good, “can only bring good ideas so far. If they don’t fulfil a need, they will founder once they come into contact with the market.”
“If we continue to allow people to pollute as they do today, most of the innovations in this field will remain unused. So conditions must be created to not just push but pull innovations to market, and one way to do it is to have ambitious regulations to help make that happen.”
This will be the message Bertrand shares with the community of regulators, asking them to recognize that “our liberal system, which is so regulation averse, will benefit from a legal framework that will oblige people to use more innovative and efficient technologies. Not only to protect the environment, but also to create jobs and boost economic development.”