The Goods: A clean tech-powered six-year sea quest – and other stories everyone’s talking about


(Image: energy-observer.org)

The super-sustainable ocean mission that’ll make the history books

We’ve already seen that cars and planes can be built to be gloriously green, but how about boats – what’s the sustainability score with floating vessels? Pretty damn good, if we’re talking about the Energy Observer.

Scheduled to set sail in February 2017, the Observer will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, through a combination of solar, wind and hydrogen produced on-board from sea water. Unsurprisingly, the boat has already been dubbed the ‘Solar Impulse of the seas’ – a reference to the aircraft that completed the first round-the-world solar-powered plane journey earlier this year.

The boat’s global mission will last a mighty six years, during which time it’ll make over 100 stops, showcasing the cool green tech that powers it. Speaking of which – that on-board hydrogen we mentioned will be produced by electrolysis, making the Observer the first boat with “an autonomous means of producing hydrogen,” according to Victorien Erussard, one of the project leaders.

During the daytime and when there’s enough sun or wind, the Observer will run on solar or hydro. At night or when the weather’s bad, things get powered by all that stored-up hydrogen.



(Image: energy-observer.org)


Fight racism – with a pot of tea

Racism really, really sucks. It’s obvious and we all know this. But one guy’s unusual approach to dealing with a racist conversation has been making headlines around the world, for all the right reasons.

When Jarred Wall overheard two women using racist language about Aboriginal people in a café in Fremantle, Australia, he was understandably upset. But instead of shouting at them or causing a scene, Wall chose a peaceful but powerful form of protest. He bought them a pot of tea and penned a short note for them on the receipt, casually mentioning that the tea came courtesy of the Aboriginal family sitting next to them.

Wall then shared a picture of the receipt on social media. Unsurprisingly, it went viral, receiving thousands of likes. Explaining his thinking in a post accompanying the picture, Wall wrote: “I could have unleashed a tirade of abuse but that wouldn’t have helped. Instead, I did something nice and bought them a pot of tea and left a little note on the receipt. Maybe these ladies will be a little wiser and think before they speak. Hopefully there won’t be a next time!”



And this week’s award for most novel thing to be 3D-printed goes to…

…The Harbour Village Beach Club on the Caribbean island of Bonaire and famous ocean explorer Jacques Costeau’s grandson, Fabien, who’ve teamed up to 3D-print coral reefs.

But this isn’t just printing for kicks. It’s actually a brilliant project to try and nurture natural growth of the coral reefs and the myriad marine life that currently exist around the island. The hope is that printing reefs that are as similar as possible to the native reefs will attract baby coral polyps – which will then start their own reef-building – as well as other sea creatures like crabs and fish.

It’s a far quicker and less work-intensive method of stimulating coral reef growth than other current approaches, so if it proves successful, it could be the start of a valuable new addition to protecting and growing life around the world’s oceans.



(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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