First assignment of group n° 051


Resources used by the team

Zinan YANG
  • Video 1 : June 2009 Ted talk: Jaqueline Novogratz A third way to think about aid
  • Video 2 : Arte, l’architecture climatique documentaire 2015
  • Video 3 : Earth day festival 2015

Book : Benyus, J.M. (2002), Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Harper Perennial


Nancy SHAN
  • Video 1 : Save the Ocean, Feed the World!, Jackie Savitz, TED Talk
  • Video 2 : Biomimicry in action, Janine Benyus, TED Talk
  • Video 3 : The Circular Economy, Ellen MacArthur

Book : "Richesse du monde, Pauvretés des Nations" de Daniel Cohen


  • Article 1 : "Des fauchers de chaises agissent pour le climat", Le Monde
  • Article 2  : "L'Inde mise tout sur efforts sur le solaire", Le Monde
  • Article 3  : "Des enfants qui naissent "prépollués"" , Le Monde
  • Article 4 : "A qui profitent les éoliennes : un docu qui manque d'air", Terra Eco
  • Article 5 : "Avant la COP21, quel pays s'engage à quoi ?", Terra Eco
Elodie TSANG
  • Video 1 : ARTE documentary movies: "J'arrête le sucre"
  • Video 2 : ELLEN Mac Arthur videos: "The circular Economy"
  • Video 3 : Latitude Responsable: "Latitude Responsable- Danone Communities"

Book : "Hervé-Gruyer, P. et C. (2014), Permaculture: Guérir la terre, Nourrir les hommes, Edition Actes Sud


Yang XU

Book : Papanek; V. (2005), Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, Second Revised Edition, Chicago Review Press


  • Article 1 : The magazine of the makers "5 Tutorials for Next Level Pumpkin Carving"
  • Article 2 : WE Demain "Pressé par l'opinion, McDonald's se convertit au bio en Allemagne"
  • Article 3 : Kaizen "Connexions Solidaires, pour aider les plus fragiles à entrer dans le monde 2.0"
  • Article 4 : Terra Eco "L’arbre à vent, l’invention française qui amène l’éolien dans les villes"
  • Article 5 : Soon soon soon "Remplacer un bouquiniste par une machine"
Skander KOOLI

Book : Rifkin, J. (2013), The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World, St. Martin's Griffin


  • Video 1 : Ellen MacArthur Video-Project ReDesign Renault Internship
  • Video 2 : The Future of Mobility TED talk
  • Video 3 : Jackie Savitz: Save the oceans, feed the world!

Book : Sempels, C. and Hoffmann, J. (2014), Sustainable Innovation Strategy, Palgrave Mac-Millan


Delphine KHAU
  • Video 1 : Latitude Responsable: "Clinton Center Earth Day Festival 2008"
  • Video 2 : Ellen MacArthur videos: "Project ReDesign Renault Internship - The Future of Mobility"
  • Video 3 : Les barbares attaquent : "Les barbares attaquent le Luxe!"

Book : Benyus, J.M. (2011), Biomimétisme: Quand la nature inspire des innovations durables, Edition Rue de l'échiquier


First description of our project

First description of our project's idea
Project name to be determined. However, our group found two different problems we would like to solve. Being unable to make a choice, we are posting our two ideas and hope to get some advice from our referent teacher Ms. BERNASCONI during our upcoming Skype meeting with her. Thank you.

Please answer to the three expected questions:


1. What Problem do you want to solve ?

Did you know that each year, 339 million tons of paper are used worldwide, which correspond to 10 750 kg of papers used each second? These big numbers are quite surprising, aren’t they? And this isn’t the only surprising fact, since papers’ demand keep growing every year (+2,2% in average every year). But behind these numbers, who are suffering the most? Probably our friends: trees. It’s not a secret, everyone knows that most papers are made from tree wood fibers (one tree can produce 35kg of paper). However, raising a mature tree not only requires time, but killing trees also destroys landscapes and natural ecosystems: that is the problem we would like to solve. We shouldn’t forget that trees are beneficial for our health, since a mature tree can produce in average 120 kg of oxygen from CO2; and in only one year, trees are able to eliminate 42 000kg of carbon produced by cars. But once trees die, they are broken down and some of the stored carbon returns to the atmosphere in the form of various greenhouse gases that are dangerous for human health. Now let’s stop destroying forests and find a more sustainable way to produce paper! Green tides might be an alternative way to substitute tree wood, and using them will able us to solve a whole different problem too: in fact, gathered green algae in the sea create pollution because when their putrefaction happens, it not only smells bad, but the emission of greenhouse gases (methane) can cause toxicity phenomena that can kill both humans and animals.

2. Why does this problem exist?

In order to satisfy human needs, it seems legit for most people to kill trees as paper is a must in our everyday life. In fact, paper is omnipresent: at your working office, you need paper. You are a student? You need paper. You want to pack something? You need a paper box. Thus, we only think of our well-being and don’t really care about the consequences we are raising by killing trees. The second problem regarding green tides, several factors can explain this phenomenon:

  • The first cause is probably the importance of nitrates from rivers and water runoffs that are sometimes loaded by nitrates. Nitrates come from agriculture activities, such as industrial farming and fertilizers.
  • Overfishing: by fishing herbivores such as fish, crabs, shrimps, etc. that usually can limit population of green algae, we are responsible of many green tides found in many coastlines of seas.
  • Seas warming and climate change can also explain green algae’s rapid growth.

3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?

As an alternative to tree wood fibers, why don’t we produce paper with green algae? It would solve two problems in one, as we will be able to reduce green tides (thus, any toxicity phenomena) as well as saving forests! In fact, we used to raise trees for many years then we cut them to make paper, but algae are tremendous and we can use them without any fear since they can be dangerous for our health when their putrefaction happens. By using algae, we will be able to clean seas coastlines very quickly because we will use them in mass to make a better use. Furthermore, if we can produce paper with algae, even if one day – from a very optimistic viewpoint – there are no more green tides to clean, we still can raise algae ourselves, and the main point is that, algae will always grow faster than trees! Eventually, paper will be made from a more ecological material with great qualities (no bad smell at all), that is biodegradable and sustainable.


1. What Problem do you want to solve ?

Two-thirds of our planet is covered by water, but there is almost no clean fresh water and only salt water. Less than 3% exists as fresh water and only a small part is accessible to us. The ⅔ of fresh water on the planet are not even liquid, they are frozen. Today, accessing to clean water is a real problem, especially in the less developed countries where it lacks in sanitary facilities. In our world, more than 800 millions of people are still using and drinking unsafe dirty water, and by using this water, diseases which can cause death are inevitable, and children are the main victims. According to ONG Solidarités Internationales, every year, 2.6 millions of people are dying in the world because they have used or drunk dirty water. Without fresh water and sanitation, man cannot live (food and drink), have a healthy lifestyle (washing, wash clothes...) and avoid water-borne diseases (cholera, diarrhoea, hepatitis and thyroid disease...). Thus the problem we would like to solve is clear: helping people – and more precisely the less developed countries – to have access to clean water, in order to improve the quality of their life and their hygiene.

2. Why does this problem exist?

Water is a vital need for human. We can more easily survive without eating food than without drinking water. Without water, it is dehydration. It is well known that we must have at least drink one liter and a half of water daily. Then, why clean water is so rare? The following factors are the main causes:

  • In less developed countries, poverty makes the construction of improved water and sanitation facilities hard. Wars and natural disasters (droughts, floods) are the main reasons why it lacks of clean water and sanitation in these countries.
  • Pollution is one of the biggest factor: industries returns to rivers and lakes most of the used water and by doing this, fresh water is contaminated and no longer drinkable. Fresh water is often contaminated by fertilizers and pesticides too.
  • The demographic explosion: world population is expected to count 8.7 billion people by 2025, which is 2.6 billion more than in 1995 and this growth will be especially noticeable in areas already suffering from scarcity or shortage of water. Currently, three quarters of world population live in regions that consume only over 20% of available water resources.

3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?

Our goal is to create clean water in a more ecological, natural, and sustainable way. And one natural material is going to help us to do so: Binchotan charcoal, from Japan. In fact, Binchotan charcoal can be used to improve the quality of water, or even tea. Once you combined water and this charcoal together, this charcoal reacts – no chemical reactions – with water and then, hours after, water is automatically and naturally cleaned, and the taste is pure! Binchotan charcoal is also known to be used by in industries to capture chlorine, pesticides and herbicides, benzene, radon, solvents and other chemical products. This reaction is actually called “adsorption” (do not be confused with “absorption”) and is the phenomenon whereby the molecules present in suspension in dirt water bind to the charcoal. According to this principle, the particles responsible for the unpleasant taste and smell of dirty water disappeared. By using this coal to filter water we consume has ecological virtues, because it avoids the use of plastic, but also economic, since one rod of Binchotan charcoal is effective for at least 3 months. Thanks to this natural and ecological charcoal, people will be able to pick dirty water in every area (rivers, lakes, public fountains, etc.) and then, drink a filtered, pure and non-aggressive water four our health in a safe and practical way.

Potential experts already identified
CEVA (Centre d'Etudes et de Valorisation des Algues) - - Likelihood to convince them: 7,5/10

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