We at BlackStar become genuinely excited by global advances in environmental technologies. We know that it is only a matter of time until these filter down the supply stream and we want to push them into mainstream consciousness to accelerate this movement.

So here are our top picks as 2016 draws to a close;

  1. HYDRAIL — the sustainable solution for non-electrified networks.

Germany has ordered 14 silent hydrogen-run trains from French company Alstom. Hydrogen power works when hydrogen is combined with oxygen to produce huge amounts of energy. 

Holding 300 passengers, with 150 seated, the Coradia iLint trains are a giant step forward in sustainable transport, away from our mostly diesel models, as the only thing they release on their 140km/h runs is steam.

Testing will occur throughout 2017 with the revolutionary transport option available to the German public in December 2017. Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands have also shown great interest in adopting this transport option.

2. CONCEPT SNEAKER MADE FROM OCEAN PLASTICS — Adidas and Parley for the Oceans collaborate to make recycled sneakers.

Each pair of the 7000 created include 5% recycled polyester and 95% waste (about 11 plastic bottles). The plastic waste is collected by ocean-focused environmental group Parley for the Oceans in the Maldives and surrounding beaches. 

Adidas are working to utilise the sneaker fabrication process into other apparel lines and have fazed out microbeads and plastic bags in their products and stores worldwide. They aim to create one million pairs of recycled sneakers in 2017.

3. WASTE TO FUEL WITH TYRES, SUGARCANE AND AGAVE — Biofuel gets better with Australian-based developments in technology to produce oil from waste.

Each Australian generates 2,000kg of waste per year and registered motor vehicles in Australia consume an estimated 32,402 million litres of fuel per year.

This initiative works to reduce waste and increase fuel production by supplementing petrol or diesel for liquid biofuel made from tyres, agavé, and sugar cane. 

The Queensland Government recently appointed Queensland University of Technology’s Professor of biofuels and biorefinery Ian O’Hara as their Biofutures Ambassador. Professor O’Hara outlines that the biggest challenges in establishing this industry are supply chain development, creating cost-effective methods of conversion, and building networks. He also highlights that regional and rural economies would benefit greatly from investments here as biofuel production can take place on the feedstock site.

In line with these challenges, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced a $2.37m investment in an advanced biofuels laboratory in Queensland which will transform bagasse (fibrous sugar cane) and acacia into one million litres of kerosene and diesel within the next three years.