Product Design

Plant cell structure discovery could lead to improved renewable materials

Major steps forward in the use of plants for renewable materials, energy and for building construction could soon arise, thanks to a key advance in understanding the structure of wood.

The step forward follows research by the Universities of Warwick and Cambridge and the unexpected discovery of a previously unknown arrangement of molecules in plant cell walls.

The paper describing this work was Editors’ Choice for the American Chemical Society for March 25th. The researchers investigated the polymer xylan, which comprises a third of wood matter. Read more »

Tetra Pak launches carton made entirely from plant based and renewable materials

Tetra Pak, the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions, is launching the industry’s first carton made entirely from plant based, renewable packaging materials. The new Tetra Rex® carton will be the first in the market to have bio-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films and bio-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) caps, both derived from sugar cane, in addition to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard. Read more »

US tour gives Europe’s brightest cleantech start-ups a crash course in entrepreneurship

Climate-KIC, the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative, has kicked off its 2014 US Start-up Tour where 13 of Europe’s most promising start-ups will get a crash course in cleantech entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley and the Boston area. The US Start-up Tour is a vital part of Climate-KIC’s mission to create opportunities for innovators to address climate change and shape the world’s next economy. This year’s tour will provide participants with vital international experience, mentoring, networking and potential investment opportunities. Read more »

German-designed long-distance solution for electric vehicles wins European Satellite Navigation Competition 2012

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The ebuggy e-mobility project has won the Hessen region's European Satellite Navigation Competition 2012. The award is sponsored by the European Space Agency, the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and Nokia, among others. Read more »

Resource efficiency: New designs for a circular economy - competition announced

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is to invest up to £1.25m in feasibility studies into the re-design of products, components and systems to retain material within the economy over several cycles of use – ‘closing the loop’. The new designs should lead to products with a lower environmental impact and/or that are less dependent on the use of strategic materials. Read more »

Innovative natural play area trialled at a Glasgow primary school reduces accidents and bullying

The play area allows children a natural space with hills, valleys, willow tunnels and a rope bridge

An innovative new natural play area trialled at a Glasgow primary school has been hailed as a remarkable success, with a 94% reduction in accidents and bullying since its introduction in 2009. Read more »

Clean-tech university start-up wins top prize at Ethical Business Awards

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The Pavegen system generates electricity from footsteps

An innovative flooring system that generates electricity from footsteps and which was dreamed-up in Loughborough University’s Design School, has won its twenty five-year old inventor a top award at Read more »

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