By Joke Kujenya
When we talk about reducing carbon emissions, our minds often turn to the usual suspects: cars and power plants.
However, emissions emanate from a myriad of human activities, prompting a surge of innovation across various sectors.
This has made it paramount to embark on a journey through the diverse slices of emissions pie, exploring promising low- or zero-emissions initiatives that could be of great help in reshaping our environmental landscapes.
In the manufacturing clime, cement and steel, heavyweights in emissions, are witnessing groundbreaking transformations. Boston Metal is pioneering the production of steel using electricity, a process devoid of coal emissions.
Meanwhile, CarbonCure and Ecocem are spearheading low-carbon methods for cement production. Brimstone takes it a step further, not only making cement but also removing carbon from the air in the process.
Electricity: in the heart of Kemmerer, Wyoming, a next generation nuclear power plant by TerraPower promises not just energy but also economic revitalization, creating jobs and minimizing waste. Companies like Commonwealth Fusion are exploring innovative ways to generate clean energy by fusing atoms.
Simultaneously, the cost of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar continues its downward trajectory.
The challenge on agriculture is twofold -mitigating farming-related emissions and enhancing food production in a changing climate. Pivot Bio tackles the emission issue by using genetically modified microbes that provide plants with nitrogen without releasing excess greenhouse gases.
And on the food production front, Savor Foods aims to create fats from carbon dioxide and hydrogen as an alternative to meat-based fats, while C16 Biosciences employe fermentation for a sustainable alternative to natural palm oil.
Electric vehicles are set to be overcoming one of their primary hurdles – limited range in the world of transportation. Reports say our Next Energy is set to unveil a battery in 2025 capable of empowering an electric vehicle for an impressive 600 miles,
In China, electric buses already gain traction where 60 percent of all buses were electric in 2020. In shipping, Fleet Zero is leading the change, demonstrating the feasibility of battery-powered ships.
The aviation sector is not left behind, with studies suggesting that adjusting flight routes and flying slightly lower could halve contrail emissions.
As for buildings, the energy inefficiency of buildings, with up to 40 percent of heated or cooled air leaking out, presents a significant challenge. Aeroseal has devised a polymer that seals ducts and crevices, already in use in over a quarter of a million buildings.
Luxwall introduces an efficient window that outperforms traditional single-panel windows. Notably, it can replace single-pane glass without requiring a reconstruction of the entire frame, offering a practical solution for reducing emissions from buildings.
As we navigate these diverse avenues of innovations, climate change experts say it becomes clearer that the pursuit of lower carbon emissions involves a collective and dynamic effort across various sectors on the journey towards a sustainable future marked by ingenuity, collaboration and a shared commitment to environmental stewardship.