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Top 10 Inventions That Could Save Humanity

VOICE OVER: Noah Baum
These inventions might just save humanity. For this list, we're looking at the most promising ideas and creations that could help prevent environmental disaster! Our countdown includes Pollination Drone, Water Vapor Aeroplane, Alternative Plastics, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Inventions That Could Save The Planet


Desperate times call for desperate measures! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 inventions that could save our planet.

For this list, we’re looking at the most promising ideas and creations that could help prevent environmental disaster!

#10: Pollination Drone

Pollinators, including bees, wasps, and butterflies, are a vital part of the planet’s ecosystem, responsible for maintaining the plant life we need to breathe. But climate change, coupled with the widespread use of insecticides for farming, is putting the world’s insects at risk. In the event of a worst-case scenario, some scientists in the Netherlands have been working on ground-breaking pollination drones, able to fill the shoes of bees everywhere should the fabled “insect apocalypse” come to fruition. While losing our pollinators would be a tragedy, hopefully, the drones will enable more threatened species to survive climate disaster.

#9: Coral Reef Cooler

The coral reefs have become a prominent issue in the fight against climate change, as the Great Barrier Reef dwindles and dies. The death of the reefs puts the tropical fish species living in them at great risk as well, along with many ocean creatures who rely on the reefs for food. But one engineer based in Arizona, Mo Ehsani, may have found the solution to coral bleaching. The reason for coral bleaching is primarily rising sea temperatures, so Ehsani wants to install large pipes to pump cold water from the ocean’s depths up to the reefs to cool them down again. Then, they can start to heal.

#8: Paper Upcyclers

With deforestation only increasing, it’s in everybody’s best interest to cut down on how much paper we use. Printer manufacturer Epson is leading the charge in this regard, with their new PaperLab. This machine can be installed in offices, banks, schools, and other businesses to allow people to reuse their own waste paper. The machine upcycles it and spits out fresh sheets, giving users a potentially infinite supply without chopping down any more trees. While the PaperLab machines are currently very large, in the future perhaps we’ll have smaller ones in our own homes, drastically reducing the demand for paper.

#7: Air-Ink

When Indian inventor Anirudh Sharma realised the soot in Mumbai’s polluted air was staining his clothes, he had the idea to recycle the exhaust fumes themselves and use them for something completely different. He created start-up Graviky Labs and invented a filter able to capture 95% of carbon soot from any vehicle that produces exhaust fumes, which he then turns into art supplies. These supplies, called Air-Ink, include spray cans, oil-based paints, and pens. The products quickly earned over $40,000 on Kickstarter, much more than their original $14,000 goal, encouraging artists globally to try and tackle air pollution in this unique way.

#6: Ecocapsules

With the popularity of micro-homes and unconventional living spaces booming, the Ecocapsule is a green initiative for those most dedicated eco-warriors. While typically costing nearly $100,000 it’s not a cheap option compared to mobile homes or camping, it certainly adds a degree of luxury to battling the climate disaster. Powered by rooftop solar panels and a wind turbine, the capsules look like eggs and can be installed almost anywhere. In the future, company founder Sona Pohlova wants to create capsules capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and conditions. With the ecocapsule, the world is literally your oyster.

#5: Thermal Hydrolysis

Just like every other creature on Earth, humans produce waste, but there are ways to use this waste to our advantage. Thermal hydrolysis involves boiling sludge in order to sterilise it, so that it can be used as fertiliser or even to generate electricity. As well as sewage the process can also use food waste or industrial waste, using extremely toxic materials and sterilising them so they can be recycled. It’s better than conventional sewage treatment because it’s cleaner, healthier, and cheaper in the long-term, and apparently it doesn’t smell quite as bad as sewage usually does.

#4: Water Vapor Aeroplane

Another way to combat air pollution is by getting rid of pollutants altogether. While electric vehicles are getting more and more popular, German inventor Josef Kallo is aiming to change the face of aviation. He has plans to create an “air taxi”, an electric plane that runs on batteries and water vapor, called the HY4. It is a passenger aircraft which is completely carbon neutral, and Kallo is aiming to get them installed widely in Germany before moving on to the rest of the world. The HY4 gets us one step closer to sustainable transportation and a carbon-neutral society.

#3: Ocean Cleanup

Few causes have received as much attention as the polluted oceans, and there are numerous initiatives to try and clean the seas. The largest of these is the Ocean Cleanup, which promises to build an enormous, floating pipe to gather (and get rid of) pieces from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is now at least three times larger than France. On a smaller scale is the Seabin Project, founded by Australian surfers. This device also collects trash from the sea and can be installed in any body of water. A company based in Chile called BUREO is combatting ocean waste by recycling it into skateboards and sunglasses, while Floridan company Saltwater Brewery is creating edible six-pack rings, to lessen the threat to sea life.

#2: Multi-Purpose Solar Panels

Solar panels are a great thing but installing them can be very expensive, meaning there are lots of people who aren’t reaping their benefits. Multiple companies are trying to put solar panels on as many surfaces as possible, though, so that everybody can use clean energy. Initiatives include making windows out of panels to power whole buildings, as well as phone screens so you rarely have to charge your devices. Most interesting is the Solar Roadways scheme, which aims to give entire highways a solar surface, though these are proving tricky. Conventional panels are also being upgraded, with MIT recently trialling bacteria to conduct electricity and drastically improve their efficiency.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions!

Water Soluble Bags
These Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Bags Dissolve in Water

Trash Interceptors
Baltimore’s Mr. Trash Wheel Is Proving Influential

Waterotor
This Water Turbine Generates Energy in Slow Currents

Edible Six-Pack Rings
Saltwater Brewery's Six-Pack Holder Can Be Eaten by Animals

Bacteria-Powered Solar Panels
The Solar Cells Contain Bacteria That Convert Light Into Energy

#1: Alternative Plastics

There’s no denying that plastic is a major pollutant, and decades of single-use, disposable plastics have wrought havoc on the natural world. The problem is that plastic is very effective as a packaging, container or material, so people have been trying to come up with alternative options with all the benefits but none of the problems. Agar is an eco-friendly packaging material that might take over from plastic and paper, and Indonesian company Avani have worked out how to make plastic out of cassava vegetables. Finally, scientists working in Japan recently discovered the enzyme PETase, capable of breaking down plastics to their raw components so that they can be recycled. So, maybe the future will be plastic-free, after all!
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