Seven From Seven: Afri-Challenge awards over £700k to 15 finalists and the return of the Great British bison

22nd July 2022

Each week, we scour the worlds of innovation, tech for good and social impact to bring you seven of our top stories…

  1. Challenge Works and the Government of Canada have announced the finalists of the third strand of the Afri-Plastics Challenge. The final phase of the prize is rewarding innovators in sub-Saharan Africa with creative communications approaches for encouraging individuals and communities to understand the vital role they will play in the circular economy for plastics. Across three prize strands, the ultimate aim of the Afri-Plastics Challenge is to reduce the amount of plastic being burnt, buried or dumped in sub-Saharan Africa, which then makes its way into waterways and the ocean.
  2. Faradair is planning to develop and sell a hybrid-electric passenger plane, aimed at the regional aviation market. The plane will have fewer moving parts than a conventional propeller aircraft, making it cheaper to run. It would also be much quieter and produce fewer emissions.
  3. The UK government has approved plans for a 165-mile-long ‘drone superhighway’ network connecting Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Coventry and Rugby. On the highway, ground-based sensors will be installed to guide drones along ‘corridors’ to their destinations. ‘Detect and avoid’ technology will prevent collisions between the flying vehicles. It is hoped that the superhighway will unlock the huge potential offered by unmanned aerial vehicles.
  4. The Wilder Blean project is an experiment to see how well bison – animals that haven’t been endemic in the UK for thousands of years – can act as natural ‘ecosystem engineers’ and restore wildlife. This week, the first three bison began roaming the Kent countryside in the hope to restore some of the UK’s natural ecosystem, which in recent years has become one of the world’s most depleted.
  5. A “transformational” therapy has effectively cured people with the bleeding disorder haemophilia B. The treatment corrects a genetic defect that leaves people’s blood struggling to clot. Experts say advances like this could revolutionise the lives of adults with haemophilia within the next few years.
  6. Volkswagen has teamed up with non-profit Energy Web to develop a smart charging solution that gives electric vehicle drivers access to real-time electricity consumption with assurances that vehicles are charged with green energy. In a significant move for electric vehicles sector, the company is now exploring how the solution can be further developed and scaled.
  7. The UK government has made £3 million available to boost space-based solar technology. This will use the Sun’s energy to power solar panels orbiting the Earth, the clean energy is then beamed back down, without being impacted by weather. Space-based solar power could provide an affordable, clean, and reliable source of energy, helping the world move away from expensive fossil fuels.

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