Spending an afternoon at Movin’On Summit, the international event on sustainable mobility organized in Montreal by Michelin was very enlightening, here are a few impressions, from this first day.
Applying circular economy to mobility
This year, talking about sustainable mobility is associated with circular economy, which is quite innovative. Indeed, we usually think of recycling when we hear about circular economy, but it can be so much more than that.
Putting circularity at the core of new mobility products and services, we realize that it has to do with shifting behaviours.
For example, being circular can translate into finding solutions to commuting and therefore, working from home can be a solution to decreasing traffic jam while increasing quality of life and well-being of workers in urban areas.
Embracing climate constrains to design urban spaces
Thai architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom designs parks, gardens, green roofs and bridges that address the city’s flooding problem while also reconnecting residents to their natural environment. She has designed a stunning park in the center of Bangkok where rainwater is collected, cleaned and reduces urban heat. Considering the recent Montreal flooding, this project was truly inspiring.
Making the automotive industry greener
Did you know that there were cars working with hydrogen instead of CO2? Did you know that in Quebec, there was a 100% electrical dumpster? That Michelin is developing an air-free tire, Uptis, that was connected and 3d printed? All these innovations are happening to make the future of mobility greener and more efficient.
The solution to making mobility more circular lies in technology.
Movin’On is happening in Montreal, from 4 to 6 June 2019. More information here.
From electrical vehicles to lab-grown meat, from humanizing design to promoting circular economy, C2 Montreal is once again enchanting.
Setting its 2019 theme as Tomorrow, the 2019 edition of C2 Montreal was expected to be all about futurism but the lesson that arises from this very first day, is that tomorrow will only be possible if we start changing ourselves, the way we behave, and if we give a voice to young innovators.
Lab-grown meat anyone?
What if, instead of turning vegan, you could actually taste meat while avoiding the killing of animals? Beyond Meat has been producing plant-based meat substitutes for a decade but a 15-years old scientist explains how she wants to develop genetically modified proteins and a new generation of lab-grown meat. Isabella is part of a The Knowledge Society, an innovation programme that develops young leaders skills. She wants to disrupt food production processes through her cellular agriculture research.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere
It is a known fact that artificial intelligence was everywhere, from healthcare to transportation, from Google search to agriculture… For the general public, AI is associated to Siri, robots and sometimes machine learning (when Gmail suggests the end of your sentence). Even better, AI can be used to predict if someone is likely to contract a disease. Samarth and Ayaan, 14 and 15 years old, are working on algorithms to make diseases predictions even more accurate and better understand human biomarkers. Today, accuracy for an AI-generated diagnosis is of 90% (vs. 70% for a human).
The future is circular
Did you know that IKEA had launched a programme dedicated to circular economy? Dominique Fularski‘s mission, through Circular IKEA, is to work towards becoming the biggest circular retailer, reusing only existing material, by 2030. The giant Swedish retailer wants to work towards a better world, at its own scale. If circularity is often associated to recycling, it also has to do with refurbishing and remanufacturing. IKEA has decided to reuse, repurpose, repair and recycle, not only because it makes the company grow sustainably, but also because it is more convenient for its customers.
Stay tuned for more highlights around C2 Montreal. The 2019 edition is happening from 22 to 24 May in Montreal.
3D printing is at the core of innovation and opens the possibilities for the hardware industry. You can now print pretty much everything, from the little piece that would allow to stabilize your living room table, to a new shinbone for surgery. Two French engineers have developed a new material, made of recycled plastic, to make these more sustainable.
Today, Nefilatek’s Kickstarter campaign is almost over but the project started a year ago, as a school project. Bastien was studying at Polytechnic and was convinced that developing recycled 3D printing filaments could be realistic. He was able to win grants from Fondation Arbour and enter Universite de Montreal and Polytechnique JAB incubator.
A few months after, Angel joined the adventure with a background in Physical Engineering. After working in a biomedical lab, he wanted to find a meaningful project that allowed him to contribute to society.
Recycling makes the cost of raw material much cheaper
Thanks to research and development innovations, pretty much all plastics in the industry can be recycled: old electronics, home appliances are thrown in recycling factories and transformed into plastic pallets.
Nefilatek has been able to develop different filaments: HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) is good for the general public and for startups while PC (Polycarbonate) is more resistant and used in biomedical labs. In addition, the team builds spools that are also recycled, reusable and very light to avoid wasting empty stools.
Closing the loop of the circular economy
For now, the team at Nefilatek uses plastics from sorting centers which is not 100% clean and needs to be decontaminated but the aim is to find raw plastics and make their own mixture.
We want to be able to collect used filaments from 3D printed prototypes and objects and recycle it to develop Nefilatek filaments. Then, we would be truly closing the loop.
3D printing could be the new DIY trend
Over the past years, it is mostly known by geeks and tinkers, but 3D printing is a fun and useful hobby … and it is not that expensive! Did you know that you could buy a 3D printer for $350? And you can use it for making a missing piece of furniture, instead of buying a new one, or to make a new flower vase, deco pieces or toys for your children, or anything you want! Most models are open source so you can find them on websites such as Thingiverse.
It would be great to build a community of individual clients and democratize circular economy, show people that they can make everything by themselves.
If you’re interested in testing 3D printing and doing it in a sustainable manner with Nefilatek filaments, you can contribute to their Kickstartercampaign until 22 April 2019!
Elizabeth Coulombe and Valérie Laliberté are two Product Design students who made the choice of entrepreneurship to bring their innovative and sustainable design to the world. Elizabeth talks about human-centered design, sustainability and R&D.
Building on the recycling trend
The idea emerged as Elizabeth and Valerie were doing their Bachelor in Product Design, a new programme at Laval University (Quebec City). They had to work on resolving a social or environmental issue.
In Quebec City we do not have an organized compost collection system from the city. People who want to compost have to take lessons but it is not so well-known. We wanted to design a new product that would make composting easier.
A similar product was already designed in Korea – the Food Cycler is a machine that grinds food waste to reduce it up to 90% of it’s original volume and make it odourless. Indeed, food waste management is already well-advanced in South Korea, where the government initiated a “pay as you trash” policy: the heavier your trash bag, the more you pay.
Composting with style
Drawing inspiration from Korea, the two Quebec students started designing a smaller and more ergonomic product:
We want Tero to be like another household appliance, something that you will feel comfortable leaving on your kitchen table.
Closing the loop of the circular economy
The final product should turn one kilo of food waste into 100 grammes of fertilizing powder within three hours through a dehydration process – it is a quick and odourless process.
We worked with agronomists and academics to find the best way to recycle food waste. We did not want to burn it. The dehydration process allows to retain all the nutriments to use as a fertilizer for gardening
It is one goal to design an innovative product, it is a completely different one to launch your first company after only three years of studying! The two entrepreneurs are still studying today – Elizabeth is doing an MBA – and working with engineers to make the best and most affordable product (through partnerships with Solutions Novika and the Center for industrial research support in Quebec – CRIQ), But entrepreneurship is also about finding investments, selling products, marketing….
From designers to entrepreneurs
We remain designers – we always focus on putting the user at the center of conception and development.
When the product is finalized, you will be able to order it through a crowdfunding campaign. In the mean time, you can follow Tero’s adventures on their website or Facebook page.
If your mission goes beyond selling your product, you will sell more products. That was the first lesson learnt from listening to David Côté, VP of Loop Juice. He discussed entrepreneurship, alive food, fermentation, health, circular economy and innovation at HEC Montréal…
Trekking, traveling, food experimenting
David has always been interested in health, nature and plants. When his father wanted him to follow his footsteps and become a doctor, David was yearning for more – more passion.
He had a revelation when trekking the Appalachian mountains and eating candy bars to get his daily dose of energy. He was surrounded by natural beauty but he was eating unhealthy transformed products. He decided to travel and test all kinds of food habits from fasting in a cave in Hawaii, to experimenting raw food habits. Eventually, after 8 years of traveling and working on organic farms throughout the world, he came back to Montreal with the goal of changing the world.
Entrepreneurship, a way to change the world
“I learned to be an entrepreneur. Starting a venture was not my original idea, but it became the most relevant means to deal with the issue of healthy food and eco-friendly products.”
With his friend Mathieu Gallant, David was experimenting with new food habits taken from his travels in Hawaii and California: making vegan no-bake energy balls and brewing Kombucha in the kitchen. He started delivering lunch boxes made exclusively with raw food to companies and decided to create two startups – a restaurant to promote raw-foodism (Crudessence) and the first Quebec Kombucha company (RISE Kombucha)
“With Crudessence, we wanted to innovate eating habits and give back to people the ability of better feeding themselves.”
In 2016, after 8 years of managing two impact-driven ventures, David decided to sell his shares. His mission was accomplished. He had democratised the fundamentals of raw-foodism and provided an alternative to traditional soft drinks.
More than a serial entrepreneur, a serial world-changer
45% of all the fruits and vegetables produced in the world are wasted
David and Julie decided to open a cold-pressed juice company to fight against food waste. They met Frédéric Monette from Courchesne Larose, a historical player in the Canadian fruits and vegetables industry. When they found out that the company was throwing 16 tons of fruits and vegetables every day, their mind was set and LOOP Juices was born.
Looping around a circular economy
Some might say that it is a project “dans l’air du temps”, that circular economy is nothing but a green washing concept. Maybe. But what David wants to prove that it is possible to provide valuable solutions to a problem.
Everything in LOOP is targeted towards recycling and reusing food waste: one bottle of juice is made out of 1.5 kg of unused fruits and vegetables. But the circular process goes even further: The residual but still nutritious high-fiber pulp is then reused by a pet food company, Wilder & Harrier.
Loop is revolutionizing the value chain by making it circular. It is also providing a model for conscious capitalism.
Limitless innovation possibilities
Starting next week, LOOP is launching a partnership with Sobeys to blend cold-press juices exclusively with products from the giant food retailers. In two months, they will launch their first beer, brewed with dry unsold bread. They are also thinking of making milk out of brewers’ spent grain and flavored water out of leftover essential oils…