Seven From Seven: Space-based solar power and a vaccine for cancer

10th June 2022

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

  1. Scientists have made a cancer vaccine breakthrough after manufacturers behind the Pfizer Covid jab used the same technology to stop the disease returning in patients. The new vaccine, which is custom-made for each patient, triggers the immune system to attack pancreatic cancer tumour cells.
  2. China is bringing forward its launch of a solar power plant that would beam energy back down to Earth from space, with the first step of the project slated to take place in 2028. Such technology could become key in helping nations minimise carbon emissions and reach climate change targets.
  3. New masonry blocks have been developed from a  low-carbon cement-like material grown from micro-algae. It is hoped that if these methods become widespread, the construction industry can eliminate most, if not all, of the carbon emissions associated with traditional concrete-based building materials.
  4. Finland has committed to becoming net negative – absorbing more CO2 than it emits – by 2040. A distance-based transport tax is one measure the government is bringing in. For the agricultural industry, Finland is planning to mitigate emissions from peatlands and reduce methane production from dairy cows.
  5. A way of covering a robotic finger with living human cells has been developed by Japanese scientists. The method not only gives a robotic finger a skin-like texture, but also provides water-repellent and self-healing functions.
  6. Marks & Spencer has launched its first innovation challenge in the environmental sustainability space, pledging to trial emerging solutions in its stores and supply chains. The retail giant is keen to support innovations that could improve the shelf life of food.
  7. Working with the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), Uber has built a “private-label” version of its delivery platform to help deliver food and water supplies to war-torn areas of Ukraine.

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