Toyota’s latest Mirai is just one amongst other innovations made from biowaste

In April, Toyota released an ad – ‘Fuelled by Bullsh*t’ – for its 2016 Mirai model. The ad shows how cow dung is processed into bio fuel for automobiles. This was for two obvious reasons; to promote the new hydrogen –powered Mirai, and to dispel sceptics of fuel cell vehicles who had out rightly called the innovation “bullshit.”

Mirai, which means ‘future’ in Japanese, is no longer a dream as it hits the market this season. It will arrive in the United Kingdom next month. Aside the obvious criticism of the shortage of hydrogen stations, the Mirai has received rave reviews from automobile critics.

Turning waste into fuel is a great idea given the oil crisis and the ever-increasing price of fossil fuel. But this also brings afore the steady increase of ‘waste innovations’. In January, news and pictures of Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates, made headlines for drinking recycled sewage water. And just last month, the ‘waste transformer’ which is specially designed for countries with major sewage challenges was taken to Dakar, Senegal from Washington, USA. The Bill Gates’ Foundation sponsored plant is capable of producing not just clean drinkable water but also electricity and ash.

In 2012, a British company, Encos, developed bricks made from sewage and coal. To make the carbon-negative bricks, waste materials are mixed with vegetable oil containing glyceride and triglyceride molecules. When heated, the glycerides attach themselves to the triglycerides, forming chains of carbon atoms that surround the particles and bond them to the brick.

And though the environmental-friendly bricks which requires 20 percent less energy in manufacturing than conventional bricks are said to be as strong, and completely recyclable, the CEO of Encos did admit at the time that the market could be resistant to a product with human waste in it. He should probably have that conversation with Bill Gates.

Credit - Design-4-Sustainability
Credit – Design-4-Sustainability

Moving away from bio-waste (human and animal centred), several other amazing innovations have been made from waste. As it is, this disruptive trend is not about to stop soon; it just keeps getting better, or weirder. Be it reusing, recycling, or something as absurd as transforming sewage to drinking water, the idea of recycling  waste is a commendable and sustainable system of waste management and it could solve quite a number of the world’s environmental problems.

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