Sustainable technologies reinforce efforts to preserve environment

Green innovations help combat climate change, pollution
Sustainable technologies reinforce efforts to preserve environment
Innovative sustainable technologies to the rescue

Our planet is facing a looming environmental crisis. Pollution and climate change are no longer theoretical threats, but challenges that demand our immediate attention.

As the world grapples with these pressing concerns, innovative sustainable technologies are helping us stem, and even reverse, the deteriorating environment. Sustainable technologies cover a wide array of innovations that don’t only reduce environmental impact, but also help conserve resources.

With companies and countries working hard to achieve net zero emissions, sustainable technologies have already made their way into public use. From solar lights and electric vehicles, to energy efficient buildings and vertical farming, green tech has virtually permeated all aspects of our life. Moreover, the innovations aren’t slowing down.

Water from air

One interesting green innovation with the potential of having a noticeable impact on an arid region like the Middle East is AirJoule. The technology, in essence, is designed to extract water from the atmosphere.

“AirJoule is a whole new way of creating water from air with a fraction of the energy,” says Dina Storey, senior partner at Marfa Advisors and a LEED-certified sustainability expert.

Read: COP28: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid reveals vision for Expo City Dubai with sustainability as its core pillar

Among the technology’s uses is in irrigation, where it is used to water vertical farms, further optimizing plant growth in a controlled environment.

Another application for the technology is using it to replace a compressor system for a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning unit (HVAC). According to Storey, AirJoule can help curtail the environmental impact of HVACs by reducing energy consumption by over 50 percent.

“We’re also working with a number of NGOs to try to scale up the technology and deliver it as a water harvester or above-ground well to different regions, and different areas around the world,” Storey says.

She adds that the technology has not yet received approval for use as potable water, but it’ll be a game changer if and when it does. AirJoule was piloted at the Expo City Farm, and was in action in the green zone at COP28.

Twin efficiency

In addition to designing whole new technologies, some companies are taking another approach toward a greener future. Their strategy involves increasing the efficiency of existing tech and processes to make them more sustainable. One such approach is the use of the metaverse, which is an innovation in itself.

Read: A hub for economic sustainability: Substantial economic growth at the half-way mark to Vision 2030

“So, the metaverse’s impact on sustainability provokes fierce debate. On the one hand, we have the argument that the higher computing power needed to run a worldwide metaverse will significantly increase carbon emissions. On the other hand, there are significant environmental positives promised by global metaverse use,” says Jeremy Lopez, CEO at Everdome.

Explaining the environmental benefits of the metaverse, Lopez points to the increased adoption of virtual education, as well as virtual events and conferences.

The ability of the metaverse to create lifelike, interactive and immersive destinations, will create viable alternatives to physical gatherings. Lopez argues this will slash travel-related carbon emissions.

In the same vein, the creation of realistic, metaverse-based digital twins of industrial processes and factories will allow significantly improved modeling. This optimization, argues Lopez, will reduce waste, thereby enhancing sustainability.

“In addition, integration of virtual reality and augmented reality within both the education and industrial sectors enhances accessibility and reduces reliance on physical resources, optimizing efficiency across various domains like agriculture, energy production and waste management,” Lopez says.

Decentralized sustainability

Another relatively new technology that can revolutionize sustainability initiatives is blockchain.
“Blockchain isn’t merely a technological innovation but a foundational element of global sustainability,” says Mohammed AlKaff AlHashmi, co-founder of Islamic Coin.

Read: ADFW 2023: Climate finance top of the agenda at the second edition of R.A.C.E. Sustainability Summit

Building on this, Solaiman Al-Rifai, a founding partner at Mining Grid, points to the emergence of blockchain-powered decentralized energy grids. He also highlights the use of blockchain for tokenized ownership in green assets like renewable energy projects or carbon credits.

This also impresses AlHashmi, who says tokenizing credits on the blockchain offers a transparent and verifiable pathway for businesses to counterbalance their carbon footprints.

Furthermore, he notes that there are numerous other blockchain-based tools that enable users to measure and offset their carbon footprint. These don’t only offer unparalleled insight into environmental impact across various activities, but also align directly with sustainability goals, he says.

Green crypto

“From a sustainability point of view, environmental researchers are now finding blockchain and crypto as a catalyst in solving the climate crisis in various ways, ranging from tracking the sustainability of products to monitoring pollution,” Al-Rifai says.

Read: National Experts Program alumni champion 7 projects to propel UAE’s sustainability goals

He points out that Mining Grid is exploring cutting-edge innovations in sustainable mining practices. In addition to energy-efficient mining technologies, the company is looking to integrate renewable energy sources to make bitcoin mining more sustainable.

“These innovations align with our commitment to creating a greener and more responsible future for the cryptocurrency industry,” Al-Rifai says. He also points to their “Race to Zero Carbon” initiative that plugs into the larger goal of reducing carbon footprints.

AlHashmi, for his part, notes that one area of crypto innovation that stands out is the transition to more sustainable consensus mechanisms, particularly Proof-of-Stake. “These mechanisms not only enhance network security but also significantly reduce carbon footprints, aligning directly with environmental sustainability objectives,” he says.

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