Fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal are key contributors to climate change. In fact, the energy industry accounts for 73% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. With net-zero goals a priority across much of the globe, the focus has fallen on renewable energy. And thanks to increasingly innovative solutions to capturing and retaining energy, the move to renewables could happen sooner than anticipated.
The ocean is our planet’s life support, so inextricably linked to its survival that no life on earth can exist without it. We rely on the ocean for our drinking water, the majority of our food, even the air we breathe. It provides food for millions, could hold the key to cancer treatments and other diseases, protects us against storms and regulates the climate. Yet, for decades we’ve exploited the world’s largest ecosystem.
The pharmaceutical industry is often one of the first to come to mind when we think about R&D. Yet while it's naturally one of the frontrunners in innovation, the integration of technology in its R&D processes has taken a while to gather pace. However, with the pandemic came a need to do things differently. With most processes being carried out in-person and in the lab, lockdown presented an unprecedented challenge for the sector - and at a time when new drug discoveries and fast development potentially offered a way out of the COVID crisis.
Where once innovation was considered a luxury, it's becoming a necessity. A growing population and depleting resources are putting unprecedented demands on many industries to innovate and future-proof their products and operations – as well as our planet. Perhaps the most significant example in recent times is the COVID-induced increase in demand for pharmaceuticals and fast, forcing pharma to think and act differently.
When most of us think about pioneering technology, we rarely realise its crucial role in the agricultural industry. Yet, agricultural technology – or Agritech – is fast becoming the norm in farming. Unexpected perhaps, but necessary if the industry is to feed an ever-growing population and kerb its contribution to the decline of our planet. It’s estimated that by 2050, we’ll need to at least double our agricultural output to keep up with the world’s food needs. And while current farming practices have served us well, it’s unlikely they can meet modern-day demands. When we consider the impact they have on our environment too, it’s easy to see why the industry is turning to innovative, sustainable solutions to meet its challenges.
Technology and its role in sustainability has been gaining pace over the last few years. And partly thanks to the pandemic, innovative tech is reaching the market quicker than ever before. A shift in the way we’re working and living and a new appreciation for our environment is driving demand for faster, more sophisticated, and sustainable solutions. And the focus on a green recovery is unlocking funding to make innovation possible. There has never been a better time for sustainable technology. But how is technology supporting and shaping sustainability? Its fast-paced nature makes it difficult to keep up with the latest, greatest, and even slow burning innovations. But there are a handful of solutions that seem to stay top of the agenda, so we’ve rounded up four of the current favourites.
Technology is developing rapidly, changing how we live and work on an almost daily basis. In recent years, a myriad of smart technologies has shaped society and helped us simplify our lives. But it hasn’t been without cause for concern, with tech often cited as a culprit in many of the environmental and social challenges we face today. But in its defence, it also holds the key to a more sustainable future.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not easy to slow down. Ever-growing demands on our time and increasingly higher expectations from others and of ourselves take their toll. And while long days and crowded commutes might be distant memories for many, for some, they’ve been replaced with job insecurity, health worries and social isolation.
Engineering is all about solving problems – at least it used to be. With our planet in rapid decline, engineers have a new role to play. Today, expectations go beyond problem-solving to delivering solutions that could quite literally save our planet.