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The GreenTech Festival Offers a Deep Dive Into Innovation in Sustainability

31 May 2019

Last week there was a sustainability festival with a difference. Environmental sustainability is often pitched as a collective effort of individual actions of 'What can you do to save the planet?' the reality is that consumer action is nothing without a corresponding effort by companies whose products are implicit in damaging the planet.  By comparison, the GreenTech Festival focused on the creation of technological innovation to reduce the impact of human life on the environment, from the evolution of sustainable materials to new building design principles and the creation of new forms of energy.

It was a mightily expansive festival with a Green Leaders Conference, Green Awards, exhibitions and Formula E Racing. The event was co-founded by former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg with a strong focus on innovation in transport. The Festival showcased the use of high-end products as a testing ground for innovation, and catalyst to popularize and innovate their process. For example, Formula E provided a platform for testing and developing street-relevant technologies that actively drive the transition to electric vehicles worldwide.


HYGH provided digital screens featuring the HYGH digital ad prototype for exhibitors and sponsors to display ads as well as green facts. We were on hand to discuss our progress pioneering digital sustainability as a standard in the Out of Home advertising industry.  It was a jam-packed event, let's take a look:

Beyond Planes, Trains and Automobiles - The Evolution of Sustainable Transport

As migration and international travel increase, it follows that the full diversity of transport is a crucial tier of sustainability. At GreenTech we saw it all, the huge hangar space demonstrating all wonder of sustainable transport. The mighty Volocopter was on display, announcing a partnership with Skyports to build the first mobile Volo-Port for air taxis. The partners plan to build it in Singapore for the scheduled public flight trials in the second half of 2019.

XShore talked about sustainability on the seas with their electric boat able to travel up to 100 nautical miles on a single charge. Also present was Yara Birkeland the world's first autonomous and zero-emission container vessel. Ready for launch in 2020, the vessel will gradually move from manned operation to fully autonomous operation by 2022. It's creators, Yara International Asa and Kongsberg Gruppen were awarded the Special Prize Norway.


Deutsche-Bahn showcased Der Ideenzug, a prototype train that included sports cabins with digital fitness trainers,  bistro benches and tables, game consoles, and more.

One of the most intriguing displays was PopUp Next, a collaboration between Audi and Airbus) was a car that will have the ability to convert to flight module and fly over traffic jams. While there was ample adoration of off-road transport, the reality is that cars will always have an important place. BYTON showcased the platform of the M-Byte, which will be the first vehicle built on the BYTON Smart EV platform. Nearly 100 vehicles are currently being tested on tracks and roads worldwide.  


Last Mile Solutions are Competitive But Crucial


While we will use cargo ships, commuter trains and flying taxis for distance transport, last mile transport is a highly contested space for emerging technology. There is not just one solution but rather a range of sustainable solutions involving pedal and push power, solar energy and rechargeable batteries.  Germany recently authorized battery-powered scooters on its streets and cycle paths but has banned them from pavements to protect pedestrians - electric scooters will only be allowed on pavements in exceptional cases, to be expressly indicated by signs.

Hamberg-founded E -floater, exhibited a solar-powered electric scooter made from lightweight plastic. Berlin scooter startup Flash was present, the company the brainchild of the founder of Delivery Hero, alongside veterans of Uber and McKinsey, while Tier Mobility, shared not only their scooters but their intention to soft-launch in around 10 cities in Germany from mid-Jun. The HYGH team were particularly enamoured by Stigo folding electric bike with two team members buying one! You can see our full stack web developer below trying one out:

Deliveries are a key area where shipping and logistics companies aim to reduce their carbon miles. DHL Express and electric vehicle maker StreetScooter announced their new H2 Panel Van will become the first 4.25-tonne electric vehicle with an added fuel cell, which will provide additional power and enable a range up to 500 kilometres. DHL Express has ordered 100 of the fuel cell vehicles, with delivery expected from 2020 through 2021. By 2025 70% of delivery tours are to be converted to clean solutions.


Another solution was ONO's weatherproof e-cargo bike with a focus on the parcel industry. The vehicle has an electric motor, changeable containers and a driver's cab. It can  be driven without a license. The company is planning trials with delivery companies later this year.

Material Innovations are Making a Big Impact in Fashiontech


But it wasn't all transport. Parley for the Oceans shared their efforts at diverting plastic from the ocean. A partnership with adidas has paved the way for the use of recycled materials in high-performance sneakers. The two have worked hard to create numerous shoes created from plastic bottles recovered from the oceans and more recently shoes constructed with yarn made out of found plastic. Also present was the BLUE 90 line of biodegradable tights made from sustainable materials like fishing nets and other recycled materials.  developed by  Kunert and GREEN WINDOW. CALIDA unveiled a t-shirt made of TENCEL the first ever completely compostable t-shirts - it can be thrown on the compost bin to biodegrade.


Partnerships are the Power of Progress

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A key message inherent throughout the Festival was the power of partnerships. As technology innovations in sustainability rapidly advance, the combination of those technologies leads to even faster innovation. Cross-sector collaborations offer the opportunity for trials and prototypes to set new standards for sustainability and bring those products closer to market. HYGH was proud to be a part of the festival - it offered us a fantastic opportunity to showcase our product at an international festival.


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