Think green: these organisms are fighting the climate crisis

Scientists, engineers, architects and those from countless other professions, have been investigating new ways to create everyday items from materials which cause less harm to our planet.

Here are two examples of ingenious ideas which are fighting the climate crisis.

Fungi fighting climate change – and conventions

As previously reported by CleanTech News, cement (an ingredient in concrete) accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Canadian start-up, Carbicrete has discovered a carbon-negative equivalent for building: steel slag.

However, Dutch designers at Company New Heroes have gone one clog-step further, by creating The Growing Pavillion – a building made from mushroom roots. 

When mixed with bio-waste (such as hemp stalks) and left in an isolated mould container, the organism slowly starts to grow. 

The company decided to manufacture such pieces into a pavilion, to challenge other architects to think green. 

The Growing Pavillion is an attempt to inspire the constructing world, to envision a building process with only biobased materials,” said Lucas De Man, CEO Company New Heroes.

We have shown for the first time, ever, how you can really construct a pavilion, a building, with only biobased materials.”

Also, bio-based materials can store carbon dioxide. “When you use materials made out of plants, you don’t release Co2. Your house can be a storage for Co2, instead of a Co2 problem,” concluded De Man. 

Instead of cutting down trees for furniture, Company New Heroes are looking at designing items. These items, such as tables and chairs, will all be made from mushroom roots, instead of trees. 

If successful, this will leave more trees in the soil, where they can capture carbon dioxide in their air and release oxygen. Bio-buildings will leave a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional ones.

3D printing with oranges

You may have heard of the affordable 3D printed limbs improving the lives of amputees or the ambitious plant-based 3D printed steak. They leave a far smaller carbon footprint than the real thing. 

Now, the Carlo Ratti Associati has created Circular Juice Bars, after entering into a partnership with energy company Eni.

The bars create 3D printed cups for customers on the go, made from the orange peel of the oranges it serves as juice. 

At Circular Juice Bars, oranges are peeled and pulped. The skin is then left to dry and finely chopped down to a fine, grey powder. 

After being mixed with Polylactic Acid, the bioplastic is ready to be used in 3D printing. Once set as a sturdy, leak-proof cup, it is filled with fresh orange juice – and served with extra zest!

This example of an environmentally-circular economy, uses up the whole orange, leaving nothing to waste. This is because the 3D printed cup will biodegrade soon after use.

Circular Juice Bars have already been installed in Milan and are expected to be rolled out through other locations in the future.

Check out other methods of carbon negative homes in another article here

What will be next in fighting the climate crisis? Watch this space… 

Helen Adams

Helen Adams is an Editor and Senior Writer for CleanTech News. A keen journalist, Helen developed an appreciation for the need for change in the battle against climate change after travelling and is passionate to communicate this through her work at CleanTech News. Now studying for her NCTJ Journalism MA, Helen wants to champion clean developments using her writing. Presently, Helen is developing her data journalism, video-making and podcasting skills which she is looking forward to incorporating into her role as Editor.