Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

Students from the University of Exeter are helping a family-run Cornish business reduce their carbon footprint by embracing the renewables revolution.

Trewithen Dairy joined the ‘renewables revolution’ by installing solar panels at its site, as part of a multi-million pound refurbishment in recent years. Now, they are planning on installing a wind turbine near the site, to help generate electricity for the dairy and for the National Grid.

They enlisted the aid of the undergraduate students of University of Exeter to do a feasibility study. The resulting report will be utilized by the dairy.

 blog exeter

This is a “win-win” situation: the students get a “hands on” experience and the local business benefits.



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The University of Michigan Ann Arbor is taking driving to roads hitherto untraveled!  They’re testing vehicles in a ‘fake city’ constructed on their campus under the auspices of the Mobility Transformation Center, a partnership with industry and government to lay the foundations for a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated mobility.  Read the story straight from the school:

U-M’s cityscape will test driverless vehicles

UMich Mobility

Photo Credit © The Regents of the University of Michigan, Mobility Transformation Center

Called M City, the one-of-a-kind facility will include a network of roads with up to five lanes, intersections, roundabouts, roadway markings, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, bus facilities, benches, simulated buildings, streetlights, parked cars, pedestrians and obstacles like construction barriers.


The story is getting play from the UK tabloids as well…   The Fake City Helping Create Tomorrow’s Cars

While it might seem like an image out of a Hollywood movie clip, the advances that are made on this “stage set” are hoping to lead to the implementation of a connected and automated mobility system on the streets of southeastern Michigan by 2021.

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Snact is just starting to ramp up their new business using food that would otherwise be thrown away, such as apples that are deemed too small for supermarkets as well as other fruits that would otherwise be thrown away. A bit of pulping and a lot of drying later, they turn into snacts.

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GrowUP Urban Farms uses aquaponics to produce sustainable plant and fish growth to supply city businesses with nutritious food.  They lower the environmental impact of agriculture by building and operating farms that take unused urban space and use it to grow produce. Through the use of aquaponic technology and protected cropping, they can produce a year-round harvest of fresh, leafy vegetables and fish.

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Sounds like 2 very responsible businesses that are lead by young entrepreneurs who decided to take action and make a sustainable difference in the world.

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‘Waste’ is actually a resource


Talking about human waste is not the best of topics, but it is incredibly important. Around 2 billion people still use latrines that are not drained sanitarily, or simply do their business out in the open. This waste ends up contaminating water and making millions of people sick. It is estimated that diseases from poor sanitation is responsible for the death of around 700,00 children every year, and many more are permanently affected by these diseases.

Enter the Janicki Omniprocessor:

blog janicki

This machine can take human waste, which is a feedstock that you can actually get paid to take off someone else’s hands, and transforms it into desirable things: Pure, drinking water, excess electricity (the machine powers itself and can send excess power to the grid), and sterilized ash.

Now for the best part, see Bill Gates take a swig of this ‘sanitized’ water:

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Would you be brave enough to drink this water knowing what it’s source was?

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Energy savings – it’s all over the news.  Maybe you can become a do-it-yourself-er and start your own sun catching!

Check out this article from SolarLove

3D Printable Solar Panels Might Be Coming Soon

3D Solar cell printing

Image Credit:
Georgia Tech University


And here’s a host of links from CleanTechnica on the subject:

3D Solar Panel Printing,

Integrating Solar Into Grid Not So Hard…


There’s a lot still to be explored in this realm.  What other combinations of technology may spring to mind?  Maybe your invention will lead us to a new way of living…

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