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Top 100 Innovations shape The Blue Economy for Zero Emissions

The Blue Economy is based upon one hundred plus breakthroughs in businesses that have proven their competitiveness. It showcases cascading business models that have multiple cash flows, examines new energy and building options, and explores 100 innovations that achieve zero pollution and build social capital. The Blue Economy discusses how to achieve true economic sustainability. The solution rests with linking processes into whole systems.

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The innovations being addressed at the World Congress are related to Energy, Food, Health, Housing, Transportation, Water and Waste, and how these innovations integrate and provide new job opportunities in today’s changing world. Concrete case studies from around the world will inspire entrepreneurs to follow suit.

The World Congress on Zero Emissions Initiatives – Launching "The Blue Economy" slated from September 13-17, 2010 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu will focus on the design of an economic system driven by innovations, generating jobs and building social capital.

Attracting experts from around the globe, The World Congress will help shape how to develop models and assist in guiding how to implement best practices, integrate the latest technologies and forge a business exchange amongst participating countries.

World renowned leaders and entrepreneurs including Professor Gunter Pauli founder of Zero Emissions Research Initiatives (ZERI) and author of "The Blue Economy." will speak at the World Congress on Zero Emissions.

The Blue Economy - 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs

Gunter Pauli

Gunter Pauli - The Blue Economy - Full Length Complete Talk - May 6 2010 from Brendan Miller on Vimeo.

This book will encourage thousands, perhaps millions, of us to apply a Blue Economy business model to shift us from scarcity to abundance.

Dr. Gunter Pauli is challenging the green movement he has been so much a part of to do better, to do more. He is the entrepreneur who launched Ecover; those products are probably in many of your homes. He built the largest ecologically-sound factory in the world. His participation in the Club of Rome and the founding of Zero Emissions Research Institute (ZERI) has made an immense contribution to sustainability both in terms of research, public awareness and articulating a visionary direction. He has dedicated himself to teaching and the hands-on implementation of projects that have brought healthy environments, good nutrition, health care and jobs in sustainable commerce to a myriad of places in the world.

The Blue Economy began as a project to find one hundred of the best nature-inspired technologies that could effect the economies of the world, while sustainably providing basic human needs - potable water, food, jobs and healthful shelter. Starting with 2,231 peer review articles Dr. Pauli found 340 innovations that could be bundled into systems that function the way ecosystems do. These were then additionally reviewed by a team of corporate strategists, expert financiers, and public policy makers. Further meetings with entrepreneurs, financial analysts, business reporters and corporate strategy academics reduced the list to one hundred. These are listed in an appendix of The Blue Economy.

SOURCE: Publisher, Paradigm Publications Distributor Redwing Book Company

Professor Pauli stated, ”Our challenge today, is to respond to the basic needs of all with what we have, to build upon indigenous cultures as in Hawaii, learning from the ancient systems of the past, while drawing upon concrete innovations and examples from around the world”.

The central principle of The Blue Economy is the idea of cascading nutrients and energy the way ecosystems do. A cascade is a waterfall. It requires no power, it flows with the force of gravity. It transports nutrients between biological kingdoms — absorbed minerals feed microorganisms, microorganisms feed plants, plants feed other species, with the waste of one being nourishment for another. Cascading energy and nutrients leads to sustainability by reducing or eliminating inputs such as energy and eliminating waste and its cost, not just as pollution but also as an inefficient use of materials. In ecosystems there is no waste because the by products of one process are inputs to another process.

Leading the Way for Market Leaders

In Chapter 4 of The Blue Economy, we learn how standard "MBA" analysis makes it impossible for large companies to innovate because of the "inside the box" thinking demanded by corporate systems and the diverse and sometimes conflicting interests of management and shareholders. In essence, corporations are locked out of sustainable advances by the logic of their decision-making process. One of these principles is known as "supply chain management." This describes a company's efforts to control the supply, cost, and timing of the materials it needs for the items it produces for sale.

One successful innovation discussed in Chapter 4 shows how to use this to advantage by integrating a sustainable technology into an existing supply chain.

Natural enzymes can sequester carbon dioxide, making it available for other processes that require it, such as the carbonic gases used in the production of construction materials. Industry has resisted even more conventional scrubbing technologies because of their cost. However, now that Canadian entrepreneurs have devised a means of using enzyme sequestration directly in the existing scrubbing systems of coal-fired power plants and cement factories, even the least progressive management can be inspired to invest. The fact that the sequestered carbon dioxide can create additional revenue may be inspiration enough. All too often breakthrough innovations require scrapping existing facilities. That makes it hard for even the most progressive companies to adopt innovations; however, no or low additional cost to provide an additional income stream can motivate everyone.

The Blue Economy approach to planetary sustainability.

The objective of introducing innovations is to better respond to basic needs. Replacing a toxic process with a less toxic alternative equates "doing less bad" to "doing good." That is exactly the approach that sees billions of dollars invested in less toxic and longer lasting batteries. Yet, even less toxic batteries rely on mining, smelting, and toxic chemistry. They will do less bad but not enough good. The vast majority of batteries are not recycled but are dumped into landfills, toxifying our ecosystem and posing long term health hazards.

Is it enough "to do less bad?" Under the old business model a company polluting less, reducing its release of toxins into our environment, our homes, and even into our childrens' bedrooms, might even get an environmental award! Perhaps it is time to adjust our thinking and increase our ambitions. The innovations described in The Blue Economy demonstrate how we can simply replace bad with good. For example, there are fire and flame retardants produced from food grade ingredients that are ready to be adapted by the construction and home-building industry. These can achieve the necessary protection without endangering food supply and health.

Cascading Models, Multiple Cash Flows

At times of upheaval positive minds look for solutions wherever they can. There are always pockets of growth even when the overall economy is considered to be in decline. Health care, food supply, and the environment are three areas where experts anticipate increased expenditures even in rough times. This growth potential is clearly demonstrated by the burgeoning worldwide demand for tropical mushrooms. Ever since a middle class with purchasing power emerged in China, demand for the fruiting bodies of shiitake and other edible fungi has been explosive. Double digit growth rates have been the norm for over two decades. Europe and North America are also discovering the enoki, maitake and reishi as healthful, protein-rich foods.

What if the coffee and tea waste from coffee shop chains were systematically converted into rich substrate for growing mushrooms at inner-city production centers?

It can and has been done. In the San Francisco Bay Area, two college graduates followed through on the scientific studies and testing involving growing high-protein shiitake mushrooms on coffee shop waste. They began collecting coffee grounds from local coffee shops in the early morning hours, then seeding them with mushroom innoculant in a warehouse. Two years later, their startup enterprise is enormously successful. A similar initiative started across the bay in Marin City. There, children grow mushrooms on nothing less than the biomass of removed invasive species blended with coffee grounds. The same can be even done with abundant orchard prunings. This would further stimulate entrepreneurship.

Cleaning Without Soap

The Blue Inspiration

The self-cleaning of lotus flowers has been described in Chinese and Japanese literature for hundreds of years.

The Blue Innovation

"The Lotus Effect", which is based on hydrophobicity (water repellent) combined with nanoscale surface design that dramatically reduces adhesion of particle. This removes dirt by minute water droplets, as little as morning dew. This implies that one not only reduces the labor input, but the business model eliminates the regular use of chemicals. One day this could put car wash companies out of business, since the car will be rendered clean the day it rains.

The Blue Economy Commercialization

The concept of self-cleaning and detergent-free maintenance offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs in a business service that is characterized by thousands of small operators.

Provided that the chemical suppliers of the world opt for silicone treatments on structured surfaces instead of fluor chemistry, then a wide portfolio of new business models will soon impose themselves on the market. The application is not limited to cleaning, it also offers protection against fungi which under certain conditions cannot adhere to the surface. Today the application of technology inspired by an animal (snail) and a plant (lotus) is finding its way to building surfaces, solar panels, fabrics, medical equipment, and even traffic sensors and anti-icing equipment.

Research funds are quickly flowing into a wide variety of commercial applications, and large chemical groups like Evonik (Germany) are joining the bandwagon, the real short term application is to design cleaning systems for offices and homes that eliminate the needs for contaminating chemicals. We should not forget that simple cleaning works great when temperature, pressure and friction rises, and that the use of chemicals, even biochemicals on a daily basis should be the last resort, instead of the first option. This innovation gives rise to a new business model which is ecological, it is competitive and has the potential to generate jobs with higher revenues. In addition, it will provide smarter service content than the ones that are currently dominant in the cleaning industry today.

For further background on the 100 cases:

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| Zero emissions | air quality | indoor air quality | clean technology innovation |


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