Tag Archives: Environment

How Feed Supplements Could Solve Cow Farts and Fix the Planet

It’s time we acknowledge an uncomfortable truth: everybody burps and farts.

But amongst all animals, cows are the reigning champions. Those charming emissions contain methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Indeed, cows produce more greenhouse gases than Brazil or Germany. But an innovative startup may have found the solution.

Mootral produces a garlic-based product that farmers can mix into cow feed. It cuts methane emissions by 20 to 38% and boosts milk production by as much as 5%.

Best of all, it doesn’t hurt the cow or change the flavor of the milk or flesh. Think of it as Beano for cows.

As far-fetched as it may sound, Mootral’s product is backed by numerous peer reviewed studies. UK farmers can even get the supplement for free if they share their methane data.


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Mootral isn’t the only startup tackling this pungent problem.

Blue Ocean Barns has created a seaweed-based supplement that may be even more potent than Mootral. Their product reduced methane emissions by 52% in a recent study.

A young lady I spoke with recently told me that the world is doomed because of climate change. I couldn’t disagree more.

Bit by bit, innovative scientists and companies are figuring out this problem. A feed supplement here, a wind turbine over there, and we may soon be amazed at the progress we’ve made.

What do you think of Mootral and Blue Ocean Barns? And what are the most interesting environmental technologies you’ve seen recently?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

Have a fantastic week everyone!

More on tech:

Growing Veggies on Mars

Coffeebots and the Search for the Perfect Cup

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

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Growing Veggies on Mars

NASA intends to put the first man on Mars in the 2030’s. But once he’s there, what will he have for lunch?

Perhaps veggies grown in a BioPod.

This incredible new device from startup Interstellar Lab could finally allow us to cultivate crops in space. It could also revolutionize agriculture here on Earth.

The BioPod is an inflatable dome about 20 feet wide, 33 feet long, and 15 feet tall. It uses aeroponics, precision nutrient delivery, and careful climate control to produce the ideal growing environment for plants.

This means it can grow high value crops like flowers and microgreens. It can even grow plants that can’t be grown with traditional agriculture, like vanilla.

It’s also remarkably efficient, reducing water consumption by 98% while boosting yields up to 300-fold.

The BioPod is designed not just to feed humans in space, but on an increasingly unpredictable Earth. From a recent interview:

“Climate change is a real emergency for Earth, and we only have a small window to bring about positive change. We are developing a new framework for sustainable living on Earth and a testbed for future space missions,” Barbara Belvisi, Founder and CEO, Interstellar Lab said.

The BioPod is currently in production. You can even pre-order one now!

But at $250,000 each plus a monthly subscription fee, it’s a bit out of reach for most gardeners. Oh, and shipping’s not included.

However, if the BioPod can reduce inputs and boost yields as radically as Interstellar claims, I could see rapid adoption in the agriculture industry.

Already, companies like Bowery Farming are taking agriculture from farms to urban warehouses using hydroponics. They seem like a natural customer for Interstellar Lab, and I’m sure there are many more.

Long term, perhaps the BioPod will be deployed on Mars to support astronauts brought there by a SpaceX Starship. It’s a beautiful future I look forward to.

In the mean time, I’m itching to try a BioPod salad! 🙂

What do you think of the BioPod? Would you try its food?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

Have a great day everyone! 👋

More on tech:

Coffeebots and the Search for the Perfect Cup

Robot Pizzas and the Future of Fast Food

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

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If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

VADE: The Future of Parking

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I recently took a short ride with my friend Paulie. We reached our destination in less than 10 minutes, only to find nowhere to park.

We circled block after block. Any open spot turned out to be a fire hydrant.

Finally, after 20 minutes, we found a spot! Then, we walked many blocks in the cold to our destination.

Parking had taken more than twice as long as our trip!

But what if you could instantly see on your phone where the open spots are? A company called VADE is making that a reality. 

VADE puts wireless, solar powered cameras in cities to monitor parking use. It can find open spots, double parked cars, and blocked bike lanes automatically.

Quickly directing drivers to an open spot could save tons of time and carbon emissions. Researchers estimate 15-30% of all driving is people searching for parking spots

VADE could have a profound effect on climate change. Imagine if we eliminated 15-30% of all vehicle emissions!

VADE also makes cities safer. If a city can find blocked bike lanes and clear them, bicyclists no longer have to venture into perilous traffic to get around obstacles.

I had some privacy concerns with putting cameras all over a city, but VADE’s cameras are intentionally lower resolution. They can spot a car but can’t identify a person, a wise design decision.

I’m super excited to be an investor in VADE. I look forward to a day when Paulie can save tons of time and effort parking, and you can too!

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The #1 Reason I Say No to Founders

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

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Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

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Cana: The Star Trek Replicator for Beverages

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I woke up this morning and wandered into the kitchen. I opened the fridge and poured a delicious glass of tingly seltzer.

Mango flavor.

After a glass or two, I threw out the empty plastic bottle. That bottle may soon make it into the ocean and perhaps even back into my body as microplastics.

But what if I could have my yummy seltzer, along with my morning coffee or even a glass of wine…all from one printer?

This is what Cana, an incredible startup backed by David Friedberg, may soon make a reality. Cana has spent 3 years developing a 3D printer for beverages.

It can make thousands of drinks, from iced coffee to orange juice to beer. Since those drinks are 90% or more water, Cana only has to send you a tiny cartridge with flavor compounds.

The water comes from your tap!

And Cana can add unique flavors to your drink. Maybe almond seltzer is what we’ve been waiting for all along!

If it works, Cana will be incredibly convenient and should be cheaper than regular beverages. But Cana offers a lot more than convenience.

If we quit shipping heavy beverages that are almost entirely water, and quit stocking them on shelves and housing the empties in landfills, the environment will benefit greatly. Imagine all the carbon emissions of trucks and warehouses used to transport and store beverages, gone!

And drinks are just the beginning. Some day, Cana aims to print any consumable item you may need.

The device, about the size of a toaster oven, should be available within the next year, with pricing to be released in February.

I signed up for early access on their website, and I’ll knock over 10 people to be an investor too!

What do you think of Cana’s technology? Let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

And check out this great interview with David Friedberg on Cana from the This Week in Startups podcast!

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3D Printing a Human Ear

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Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

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Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

How Tech Could Stop Wildfires

The US West Coast wildfire season used to be 4 months long.

Now it’s 8, running from May to January. 2.5 million acres of land have burned in California alone this year.

But for desperate homeowners in fire prone regions, there may be hope. Several new technologies have been developed recently that may protect homes from these terrifying fires.

Long-Acting Chemical Sprays

Just today, the US Forest Service approved a new fire retardant chemical. It can be sprayed on houses and critical infrastructure and last for months.

It may even last an entire fire season.

The chemical is called PHOS-CHEK FORTIFY®. Developed by Perimeter Solutions in Missouri, it is the first fire retardant that can protect structures for the long term.

I could see every house in the West being coated in this material or something like it each spring.

Fire Blankets

Giant foil blankets have saved some homes from wildfires.

However, a study by Case Western Reserve University Prof. Fumiaki Takahashi found that fire blankets are usually only effective for short periods. In a prolonged fire, they may fail.

Dry Ice

An intriguing possibility I first heard about on a recent episode of This Week in Startups. The idea is that CO2 from the dry ice would suffocate the fire, which needs oxygen to burn.

Unfortunately, this approach does not seem very effective for forest fires. From a study presented at the International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology:

To be effective against class A fires, the solid state CO2 tends to need to be in direct contact with the fuel material. As many forest fires travel through the canopy, this is not a feasible extinguishment method.

Wrap Up

The best candidate looks like a long term fire retardant chemical. Coupled with advanced satellite imaging to track fires just seconds after they begin, it could be a powerful tool to stop these fires.

Best of luck to the innovative companies and researchers tackling this huge challenge!

More on tech:

What if Everyone on Earth Had Super Fast Internet for $1?

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

Robot Hands, Vertical Farms, and the Future of Food

Why I Just Invested in Capbase, The Startup in a Box

Photo: “Wildfire” by USFWS/Southeast is marked with CC PDM 1.0

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Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! 

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

Meet New Jersey’s Biggest Polluter

Along the New Jersey Turnpike, it comes into view: a massive complex of tanks, smokestacks, and tangled pipes. This is New Jersey’s biggest polluter: the Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery.

The Phillips refinery releases far more toxic chemicals than anywhere else in the state, and more than twice as many as the runner-up (another refinery). Some of these chemicals may cause cancer.

Where do these chemicals go? Into poor communities in surrounding Linden, NJ:

“We live in a very low-income neighborhood, so we’re advocating for food, and shelter and everything else. I don’t believe we can get to the point where we’re able to advocate for the smells or the chemicals that are released in the air,” she said.

Despite its staggering environmental toll, the plant employees just 800 people and, even at full capacity, produces only 155,000 barrels of gasoline daily. This is less than 0.05% of the gasoline the US uses every day.

Even those far from New Jersey may have cause for concern: the plant sits two miles from Arthur Kill, the waterway that separates Staten Island from the Garden State and feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. I shudder to think what could happen in a natural disaster, to say nothing of a man-made one. Indeed, the refinery had to shut down prior to Hurricane Sandy.

We have a dangerous plant in the middle of one of the most densely populated places in the country, leeching out toxins. Its damage falls disproportionately on the poor and nonwhite. Its economic impact is modest.

Perhaps it’s time for a change?

More on New Jersey:

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This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been good so far. More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days. With their 1% management fee, this could save you $250 on a $100,000 account. I will also get a fee waiver for 90-365 days, depending on what type of account you open.

iHerb

The only place I buy vitamins and supplements. I recently placed an order and received it in less than 48 hours with free shipping! I compared the prices and they were lower than Amazon. I also love how they test a lot of the vitamins so that you know you’re getting what the label says. This isn’t always the case with supplements.

Use this link to save 5%! I’ll also get 5% of however much you spend, at no cost to you.

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me. Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor. I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy! I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. I’ll also get $10.

In Norway, 60% of Cars Sold are Electric

Norway’s electric car market is powering ahead, with most new cars registered in September either fully electric or hybrids.

Electric cars accounted for 61.5% of the 15,552 cars registered that month in the country. When hybrids are included, the total jumps up to 89%.

The new Volkswagen ID.3 was the bestselling car, with 12.8% of sales, followed by the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2.

Globally, too, we could be on track for an electric car breakthrough as battery technology gets less expensive. The cost of a lithium-ion battery pack for an electric car fell 87% from 2010 to 2019, according to research by BloombergNEF.

More here.

In the US, by contrast, only 2% of new car registrations are electric.

So why is Norway leading the world while the US, a major producer of electric vehicles, straggles far behind? Are Norwegians just a lot more environmentally conscious?

Well, not exactly. Norway currently has big tax incentives for buying an electric car as opposed to an internal combustion one. Those incentives are set to be pared back this year, but will still provide a tax advantage for electrics. US tax incentives are less generous, which is one major factor behind slower adoption.

Another factor: gas costs the equivalent of about $8 a gallon in Norway, compared to about $2.75 in my neighborhood in New Jersey.

High gas prices and huge tax incentives mean that Norwegians don’t have to be environmentalists to choose an electric car. They just have to be frugal.

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Photo: “IMG46347-2” by odd.bakken is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0