Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

As a follow on to the Vertical Farms blog post by Kimberly (published August 6th), read about this Thesis project from Philipp Hutfless who’s studying Industrial Design at University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt,  Germany.  He was inspired by a trip to Japan which sparked his desire to design a food system that could be sustained offshore.

Here’s a sketch of his work in his own words on the

James Dyson Foundation website:




Another description of the project is posted on the Fast Company exist website  (They have all kinds of reviews, musings, op ed pieces and product information on their site – check it out) Floating Ocean Greenhouses Bring Fresh Food Closer To Megacities



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If you are a resident of the European Union (EU), here’s a chance for you to make money while finding out if candy is really dandy!  Take a look at the job posting (also linked in the article below from Time online).

Cambridge Is Looking for a PhD Student to Study Chocolate

However, you will be needing more than a love of chocolate to secure this experimental post.

Interested chocoholics will also need a good university degree, a background in engineering and physics as well as a record of scientific experimentation. Good maths and extensive experience of studying soft solids are also on the tick list for potential candidates. [from The Telegraph: Cambridge University seeks sweet­toothed student for chocolate PhD]


And from the Cambridge News: Cambridge University is looking for a sweet-toothed PhD student to work on a project aimed at inventing a heat-resistant chocolate bar.


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While cricket consumption isn’t new in the world, the western world has not embraced this way of eating.

In the year 2050 it is estimated that the Earth will be populated by 9 billion people. A sustainable alternative to meat production that will produce enough for everyone, without posing additional stress on the environment is being sought. One such protein source is insects.

Insects have marginal environmental impact. They produce virtually no methane, reproduce extremely quickly, and require minimal feed, water and space. It is estimated that crickets are 20x more efficient to raise for protein than cattle.

eXo, a new start-up in Brooklyn, NY is banking on the success of their protein bars which are made with cricket flour. Their mission is to “normalize insect consumption”. Two Brown University graduates think they have created the perfect food item that American’s will find palatable.

Stockholm is really ramping up their cricket production with plans to create InsectCity and BuzzBuilding.

blog cricket house

Belatchew Labs has developed plans to make Stockholm a sustainable, cricket-consuming city with InsectCity and Buzz Building, an integrated network for cricket cultivation and consumption.

Do you embrace this food source? Will you make it a part of your daily diet?


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For those of us not spectacularly chemically inclined:  What IS lignin?

Lignin is an organic substance binding the cells, fibres and vessels which constitute wood and the lignified elements of plants, as in straw. After cellulose, it is the most abundant renewable carbon source on Earth. Between 40 and 50 million tons per annum are produced worldwide as a mostly non commercialized waste product.  [Source: The International Lignin Institute (ILI)]
Two really interesting articles on this substance:

Lignin-derived chemicals to hit market in 2021

Lignocellulose has huge potential for the production of bioplastics


If this field interests you, study, conduct research or find a job!  Wageningen UR has branches all over The Netherlands and abroad.  Lux Research serves clients on six continents from offices in Boston, New York, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai.

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Can aquaculture make fish tastier and more environmentally friendly?

Fish farming is experiencing sharp growth. The global demand for fish is increasing, while ocean resources are at their limits. So what is needed is a sustainable way to produce more fish.

At the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, researchers are doing an in-depth study of fish metabolism.

Fish nutritionists and geneticists have managed to replace most of the meal and oil in fish diets with plant nutrients. Some fish in this project from the trout family are being fed on a strict vegetarian diet.

The research shows us not only how to feed the fish, but also how to feed the fish in a way that is environmentally friendly.

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So….  where did last night’s fish dinner come from?

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