By 2050, the world population may reach 10 billion people. Unfortunately, there’s not enough agricultural land available to sustainably produce the food needed to feed this many people. To help, the EU-funded FutureAgriculture project has designed a new type of crop capable of producing the amounts required to feed a rapidly growing population and to adapt to the effects of climate change.
Waste is only waste if you cannot put it to good use. EU-funded researchers have developed a circular value chain deriving income sustainably from deep litter, wet straw, biogas digestate and similar residues, via products such as fertilizer, fuel pellets and substrate for mushroom and growing media for plants - and boosting biogas production in the process.
Climate change, pollution, mass tourism, and invasive species are wreaking havoc on large lagoon areas like Venice. To help monitor - and mitigate - the impact these factors have underwater, one EU-funded project is using a swarm of autonomous aquatic robots. As a result, researchers can now take multiple measurements at the same time and from different places, which will be hugely beneficial in the fight against climate change.
Harvesting white asparagus relies heavily on manual labour, an expense that places a financial strain on farmers. To address this, an EU-funded project has developed an automated harvesting tool that selectively picks only ripe asparagus and doesn’t damage the crop. This saves farmers money, improves crop quality and removes the need for back-breaking work.
Lightning strikes can cause substantial damage to buildings and critical infrastructure, such as airports. To mitigate this risk, one EU project is attempting to use powerful laser technology to control where lightning strikes. If successful, the resulting laser lightning rod could help save money - and lives.
The maintenance of pipelines is constrained by their inaccessibility. An EU-funded project developed swarms of small autonomous remote-sensing agents that learn through experience to explore and map such networks. The technology could be adapted to a wide range of hard-to-access artificial and natural environments.