How African knowledge-based enterprises seek scale: Research findings from 10 countries

Handloom-woven clothes talls in Shiro Meda market, Addis Ababa

Innovation is a vital practice in the knowledge economy. Also vital is finding ways to scale innovations so that they can have significant impact. The Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) network has collected data in numerous African innovation settings over the past decade, and has, in the process, developed a four-pillar taxonomy of scaling practices. As outlined in its […]

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High entropy to power a high energy world

A home energy storage system based on a lithium ion battery pack.

Scientists are continuously searching for new materials whose properties may solve the toughest challenges of our heavily technological society. To tackle the need for longer-lasting energy storage, for example, Dr Ben Breitung, Dr Torsten Brezesinski and their teams at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing high-entropy materials by diversifying the composition of crystal structures. The properties of these […]

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Urban water and sanitation reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa

Access to clean water is critical for human survival.

Many countries in the developing world have undertaken ambitious reforms of their urban water and sanitation. Unfortunately, few have achieved excellent, sustainable results. In his recent book, Empty Buckets and Overflowing Pits, Dr Roland Werchota describes his research into urban water and sanitation sector reforms in four Sub-Saharan African countries, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, and explains why these […]

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Harnessing the photochemistry of bromine for sustainable manufacturing

The researchers utilised Corning’s heart-shaped fluidic module design.

Chemical production can be fraught with hazards. From explosions to toxic chemicals, making useful molecules often requires careful thought about how to make a process inherently safer. Researchers at RCPE (Austria) have developed an ingenious way to use the automated flow reactors manufactured by Corning SAS (France) to safely harness the photochemistry of bromine – a highly toxic, sludge-brown substance […]

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Soil and groundwater contamination: An old and new issue needs to be solved

Industrial and agricultural waste contaminate the soil and groundwater.

Dr Ming Zhang is an innovation coordinator at Geological Survey of Japan, AIST. Alongside his research group, he is advocating the importance of using interdisciplinary tools for sustainable remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater. Their research has shown that cost-effective and environment-friendly technologies such as the use of microorganisms to degrade organic contaminants and the use of minerals to immobilise […]

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Sufficiency economy philosophy: buddhism-based sustainability framework in Thailand

Buddhism-Based Sustainability Framework in Thailand

  Buddhism-based sustainability framework in Thailand The Thai Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) framework directly reflects the concept of Buddhism. In fact, the word root of Buddha’s teachings, Dharma (Dhamma in Pali), literally means “sustain.” One of the central doctrines of Dharma is to take a middle path between the two extremes of continuum, namely maximizing growth and minimizing utility or […]

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Renewable energy concepts for addressing climate change

The Earth's feedback mechanism can be compared to a sleeping tiger.

Climate change is real, is here, and it will not go away unless we do something. Based on current scientific advancements on energy systems, energy storage, renewable energy options, and understanding of the Earth’s feedback mechanism, there is hope that global efforts could help avoid an environmental catastrophe. However, the action plan needs to be global, based on collective approaches, […]

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Why we need to reassess the sustainability of aging populations

The rise of fossil fuels and with it mechanisation means that people now live much longer and healthier lives.

Modern societies have largely been able to grow and develop due to fossil fuels and monetary systems. However, with more aging populations around the world, questions are starting to be asked about the sustainability of this paradigm. Professor Kozo Torasan Mayumi of the Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics in Japan reassesses the double-edged nature of fossil fuels and […]

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Sustainable construction for a circular economy

CO2 emissions are a result of the lifecycle of buildings.

Prof Dr-Ing Danièle Waldmann and Dr Gelen Gael Chewe Ngapeya from the Institute of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Luxembourg are developing sustainable solutions for the construction industry in the form of modular building components that can be reused, reconditioned and recycled. Rather than standardising buildings, the research team have developed standardised building components including new masonry […]

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Save Frankincense: Overharvesting of a precious commodity and approaches to ensure sustainability

Frankincense resin is highly sought after and as a consequence, frankincense-bearing trees are being overharvested.

In Somaliland, a northern area of Somalia that operates as an independent country, many of the population rely on frankincense for income. Frankincense is a resin derived from the Boswellia tree. However, the trees are being overharvested, and locals have found themselves in a poverty trap. Despite a huge increase in the price of frankincense on the global market, harvesters […]

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