Environmental Issues: 2 Solutions from Social Solver 🌊


Environmental Issues: 2 Solutions From Social Solver

Social Solver is a reality and it works. The first challenges that we launched last June 2021, which aimed to end environmental issues for real social purposes, now have a solution and the development of its implementation is starting.  We present the first two winners of the Social Solver challenges and the solutions they have developed.

This new ecosystem was born in 2021 from an alliance promoted by Ennomotive and the NGO Ayuda en Acción, as a result of their collaboration in the development of the Oxyvita emergency respirator to combat COVID 19. Its main objective is to contribute to the resolution of the great social challenges of the most vulnerable communities, such as Latin America, Africa and Asia, through open innovation, shared technology and the contribution of the best technological talent worldwide. Social Solver is aimed at all those with technical knowledge capable of proposing solutions, from students to professionals in the sector; and also to all those companies or organisations that want to support the projects as promoters.

Fish Conservation: Cold Chain and Other Solutions

The first challenge arose during the development of a project of Ayuda en Acción in Honduras, in a native community made up of 7 municipalities in the MAMUGAH territory, with very precarious conditions and where fishing is the main source of income. AeA has obtained funding from a private company to invest in the seafood processing plant in the municipality of Santa Fe, which will make it possible to export fish to the international market. Despite this important achievement, one problem remains, and that is that the local fishermen practice artisanal fishing, and are not sufficiently equipped with their boats to be able to keep the fish fresh until they reach the processing plant.

This is where Social Solver comes in. The objective of this challenge we launched was to design a system to preserve the quality of the fish from the catch to the processing plant, in order to achieve the export of at least 6 different species:

  • Red fish
  • Lobster
  • Jellyfish
  • Sea cucumber
  • Shrimp
  • King krab

One of the first solutions of the Social Solver Challenge was designed by Karl Grimsehl, a mechanical engineer from South Africa with more than 12 years of experience in Design, Biomedical Engineering and Green Technologies. He argues that the easiest way to keep fish fresh is to keep them alive and has designed a recirculating water tank, a system that involves attaching a container filled with seawater to fishermen's boats where they can deposit the fish. This container is connected to a supply pump that supplies it with fresh seawater, and through an outlet discharges the spent water into the ocean.

Karl is aware that European or American solutions to certain environmental issues do not always work in developing countries, because there the constraints are different, things work differently and you may have to do, as he says, a bit more "MacGyvering". And that is what motivated him to take part in the challenge, to be able to draw on his South African experience and bring a different perspective to the problem.

Solution Prototype

Ayuda en Acción is currently working on the implementation plan for the project. The idea has been shared with local fishermen, and after they have assessed the feasibility of the concept, a prototype has been built to be placed on one of the fishing boats and tested for a few weeks.

Solution Prototype

Collection of Maritime Plastics in Mexico

The second challenge launched by Social Solver comes from the Chacahua National Park in Oaxaca, Mexico, where several impoverished and marginalised communities living on the banks of the local rivers have no public solid waste collection service and are used to throwing their rubbish into the river or burning it next to their homes.

The objective of this challenge consisted of the development and implementation of a system for the collection of plastics in the water, and their subsequent separation and transport, which is energy efficient, to contribute to the reduction of pollutants deposited in the Chacahua lagoon. In addition, a system for the promotion of good practices for the reduction of bad polluting habits, aided by a waste management system with the separation and collection of rubbish, which will help to alleviate the current insufficient infrastructure in the area.

The second solution was developed by Piotr Januszkiewicz, an electrical engineer from Poland with more than 25 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. His design is about converting plastic into liquid fuel, and to achieve this he will use thermal cracking, which, using only thermal energy and electricity to drive some motors and pumps, converts plastic into steam. This vapour after condensing forms liquid fuel, gases and coke. Thermal cracking of plastic waste is based on a circular, sustainable and win-win economy. It generates a demand for waste plastic, which encourages its collection and stops it spreading in the natural environment.

In this way, the community is also involved in the collection of plastic waste, since in exchange for handing over the plastic collected at the facilities, they will receive the fuel already transformed, and the rest of the fuel generated will be sold at a lower price.

This project does not yet have the necessary funding to develop a pilot project to test this ingenious solution to the problem threatening Oaxaca, Mexico's most biodiverse state.

These two first solutions are just the beginning, and a sample of what technological cooperation can do to improve the world and solve the environmental issues. In order to get involved in new challenges and to continue helping to solve the problems of the most disadvantaged and needy communities, intellectual and financial collaboration is needed, so that all ideas, no matter where they come from in the world, can become a better reality.

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