Currently, one of the biggest problems in society is climate change. Worldwide, demonstrations and protests are continually taking place as a wake-up call to promote the fight against this crisis, which as shown in several surveys, is one of the main concerns of citizens on a global scale,. Due to this fact, more and more business initiatives and proposals aimed at reversing this situation are emerging. It is also why, amongst the emerging technologies that the World Economic Forum (WEF) mentions as those that will have the greatest impact on the social and economic order, half of them are aimed at solving the climate problem.
The future lies in being sustainable and inclusive. Therefore, among the emerging technologies for the coming years is one related to plastic, a particularly useful and versatile material for several aspects. Such is the case that in 2015 alone, 380 million tons were produced. The problem with this huge production lies in a specific aspect: its recycling. According to the WEF, only 15% of the world’s plastic is recycled. The remaining percentage is incinerated, abandoned, or ends up in landfills. Aware that this percentage must be increased, it is the responsibility of companies to combine technology and innovation to find the right processes to obtain a recycled plastic, that can be reused through a process that is economically and environmentally profitable and sustainable. The RepetCo Innovations project was born to cover this growing need, developing a unique process in the global market for recycling multi-layer PET/PE containers of post-consumer origin. In the food industry there are many trays and containers made from this type of multilayer film and we will be able to reuse an average of 75,000 tons per year. To ensure this can be done, we are setting up a factory that is 100% environmentally clean.
Another innovative technology is related to food packaging. According to WEF, every year around 600 million people consume contaminated food. Plastic packaging provides a barrier against microbes and protects the product. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to locate the source of this contamination. Blockchain can help by tracking every step the food goes through the supply chain. It is also important to highlight the use of sensors on the packaging that will indicate when products are about to expire.
Other environmental technologies
In addition to those mentioned above, WEF highlights other technologies aimed at finding solutions to environmental challenges:
- Breakthrough in fertilizers: despite the improvements made to date, fertilizers still contain some substances such as ammonia, urea or potash that damage the environment. Therefore, fertilizers should avoid them, using more environmentally friendly sources of nitrogen that also improve the absorption by plants. We must continue to look for new ways to spread the nutrients.
- Safer nuclear reactors: nuclear power stations do not emit carbon dioxide, but there are rods in the reactors that contain fuel and, if overheated and mixed with water might explode. Due to this, new fuel rods are being developed, which are less likely to overheat and less contaminant if it does happen.
Renewable energy storage: renewable energies are in the spotlight to replace the current sources. But what are the available storage methods? This is the main problem. For WEF, the development of lithium batteries is fundamental since they will dominate the storage technology. Innovation should result in batteries that charge up to eight hours of energy, sufficient supply on days when, for example, there is no sun or wind.