Professor Veena Sahajwalla directs the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at UNSW Australia, delivering scientific and engineering advances in sustainability of materials and associated processes in collaboration with industry.
Veena is revolutionising recycling science to enable global industries to safely utilise toxic and complex wastes as low-cost alternatives to virgin raw materials and fossil fuels. As Founding Director of UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology, Veena and her team are working closely with industry partners to deliver the new science, processes and technologies that will drive the redirection of many of the world’s most challenging waste streams away from landfills and back into production; simultaneously reducing costs to alleviating pressures on the environment.
Sonam Wangchuk is an engineer who has come up with an innovative way to provide fresh water to villages in Ladakh, one of the high-altitude deserts in the world located in the Himalayas.
Wangchuk sources water from streams and uses it to create artificial glaciers, which store fresh water until it’s needed in springtime.
The inventor—whose past projects include solar-powered buildings and efficient cookstoves—won a Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2016. He is using the winnings to establish a pan-Himalayan research university that will address the region’s environmental concerns.
Wangchuk hopes that if locals adapt now, their descendants won’t become climate refugees. “We in the mountains are minorities, not just ethnically but climatewise,” he says. “Things that work in New York or New Delhi do not work in the mountains. We have to find our own solutions for our problems.”
The world’s first electric road, which can charge commercial and passenger vehicles while on the move, has opened in Sweden.
The road, which is right outside of Stockholm, recharges batteries of electric cars and trucks by transferring energy from two tracks of rail underneath the vehicles. As cars and trucks drive a moveable arm detects their location and automatically moves into contact with them. The road is connected to the power grid and is divided into sections that only receive and provide power when there are vehicles present. The system is set up so that the cost of however much electricity is used gets charged to the individual drivers.
The project has been pioneered by eRoadArlanda, a consortium of 22 companies including Sweden’s national postal service, PostNord, and energy giant Vattenfall.
It is estimated that the innovation can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent and could help Sweden meet its target to significantly decarbonise its transport sector. The government has a target of reducing carbon emissions by 70 percent in the sector by 2030.