💚 Dirt-Powered Fuel Cells 🔋

💚 Dirt-Powered Fuel Cells 🔋

By
Dennis Kamprad

Read Time:5 Minutes

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Stay impactful,

Happy Thursday 👋

Here are the impactful insights that I have for you today:

  • Harnessing energy from microbes living in dirt 🔋
  • Insect populations flourish in restored habitats 🐛☀️
  • Wind farms supplied 35% of energy in Ireland 🍃
  • And more… 💚

I love nature-inspired solutions that advance our sustainable technologies!

But I have to admit that harnessing energy from microbes living in the dirt is a frontier that I hadn’t expected…

So, let’s directly get into how these helped achieve a sustainable energy breakthrough!

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🔋 Dirt-Powered Fuel Cells That Advance Our Sustainable Energy Technology

1️⃣ The big picture: Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a novel fuel cell that harnesses energy from microbes living in dirt. This soil-powered technology, about the size of a standard paperback book, could fuel underground sensors used in precision agriculture and green infrastructure. Offering a sustainable and renewable alternative to batteries, this technology avoids the environmental and ethical issues associated with battery production and disposal. The fuel cell has been successfully tested to power sensors measuring soil moisture and detecting touch, showcasing its practical applications.

2️⃣ Why is this good news: The development of this dirt-powered fuel cell represents a significant advancement in sustainable energy technology. It operates in both wet and dry conditions and has outlasted similar technologies by 120%. This innovation could provide a renewable energy source for a variety of applications, reducing reliance on toxic, flammable batteries and contributing to the reduction of electronic waste. The ability of the fuel cell to power sensors and transmit data wirelessly further enhances its utility in monitoring and managing agricultural and environmental systems.

3️⃣ What’s next: The next steps involve exploring the scalability and versatility of this technology. The potential applications extend beyond agriculture to other areas where sustainable, low-impact energy sources are needed. The researchers’ focus will likely be on refining the technology for broader use and integrating it into existing systems to maximize its benefits. As the world continues to seek sustainable energy solutions, innovations like this dirt-powered fuel cell could play a crucial role in shaping a more environmentally friendly future.

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📢 More Good News…

🐛☀️ Insect populations flourish in the restored habitats of solar energy facilities:

  • Although global insect biodiversity has been deteriorating due to habitat loss and climate change, a 5-year study has shown that restoration of insect habitat along with strategic land use can help reverse the decline.
  • The two solar sites studied, planted with native grasses and flowering plants, demonstrated increases in native plant species diversity, flower abundance, and diversity of native insect pollinators. At the end of the study, total insect populations tripled, and native bees showed a 20-fold increase. This combination of solar energy production with agricultural practices, known as agrivoltaics, is suggested as a win-win strategy. 
  • Further research is still needed to understand the feasibility of developing habitat-friendly solar sites across different regions. However, the current research suggests that habitat-friendly solar energy can be possible and can help safeguard insect populations, promote biodiversity, and address the land-use conflicts that are typically associated with solar development

🍃 Wind farms supplied 35% of electricity in Ireland in 2023

  • Wind farms in Ireland supplied a record-breaking 35% of the island’s electricity in the past year. This achievement saved €1.6 billion ($2 billion), as it reduced the need for importing gas and associated carbon credits. 
  • The wind energy contribution prevented over 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to taking 1.9 million cars off Irish roads. Additionally, a report concludes that 2023 was the best year for wind energy generation, contributing to over 50% of electricity consumed in December and 35% for the entire year.

 🇳🇬 Nigeria’s Lagos State bans single-use plastics and styrofoam

  • To reduce plastic pollution, Nigeria’s most populous city of 15.4 million is immediately banning single-use plastics starting with styrofoam, straws, plastic spoons, disposable cups, carrier bags, and more. 
  • If successfully executed, this act could reduce tonnes of CO2 emissions in the Lagos State perimeter.
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🤝 Event of the Month: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

👉 Did you know that this month is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month? This event was founded in 2010 to raise awareness of human trafficking and inspire change. 

1️⃣ The big picture: National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month was set up by President Obama to educate the public about human trafficking and how to identify and prevent this crime. This decree followed the implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000. Since then, the US government has raised awareness of human trafficking and slavery, both nationally and worldwide, annually in January through US embassies and consulates. Today, the event is marked by celebrating the achievements made by governments, international organizations, businesses, and citizens around the world who raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking. 

2️⃣ Why is this important: Slavery seems like a problem left in history. However, the reality is that an estimated 50 million people were living in situations of modern slavery around the globe in 2021. According to the latest Global Slavery Index, the 10 countries with the highest rates of slavery today include Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Russia. This issue is often underrepresented in the media, meaning that many people still don’t understand the extent of the problem. 

3️⃣ How can you get involved: You can get involved in National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by learning the ways you can help fight the human trafficking epidemic and by familiarizing yourself with the human trafficking hotlines. In addition, you can raise awareness about human trafficking and slavery in your own community by setting up a fundraising event or through social media platforms.

You can also check out the organizations below that are working to end human trafficking and support victims of slavery:

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📜 This Week in History

👩🏻 January 25, 2017: American actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her portrayal of an independent, career-oriented woman challenged traditional gender roles and contributed to the empowerment of women. Her show, aptly named The Mary Tyler Moore Show, also became an important series in the era of second-wave feminism and helped redefine the portrayal of women on TV.

👬 January 27, 1945: Around 7,000 people in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland, were saved when the camp was liberated by Soviet troops.

🤝 January 27, 1973: The Paris Peace Accords are signed, bringing an end to the Vietnam War and paving the way for the withdrawal of American troops.

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💭 Quote of the Week

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
― Mary Tyler Moore; American actress, Emmy Award and Tony Awards winner, author, activist, and advocate for diabetes awareness

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Share the news with your friends to make a bigger positive impact on the world and society!

Stay impactful 💚

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