Foster Idea Lab participants brainstorm sustainable solutions

May 24, 2013

Looking for a challenge? How about trying to cut total emissions from the global commercial aviation fleet in half—even as it doubles from 20,000 to a projected 40,000 planes—by 2050.

That tall order is the very real pledge of the world’s aviation industry.

And leading the quixotic charge is the Boeing Company, whose Bill Glover provided the keynote for the 2013 Foster Idea Lab, a kind of high-level sustainability brainstorming session hosted by Net Impact at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

The paradox of reduce-reuse-recycle

When I think Cleantech, my mind goes straight to the triangular logo on my waste container at work: “reduce, reuse, recycle.”  These three words are central to most enduring cleantech innovations, though sometimes in paradoxical ways.  “Reduce” is the most prone to paradox, since reducing one thing generally happens by increasing another. Let’s explore this “reduce” paradox via two well-known examples in that space.

Turning tires into technology

Where others see piles of rubber, Ricky Holm eyes a heap of opportunity. Mountains of used tires once littered his favorite drag race entryways and rimmed the tracks at his motocross competitions. But with encouragement from his father, Ricky developed a way to recycle old tires into a new technology.

“Innovation is in our blood – I knew I could solve this huge environmental problem,” says Ricky, a senior in the Foster School of Business. “The UW gave me the resources and the motivation to really flesh out my idea.”

UW students to design ultra-efficient hybrid powered by biodiesel

January 24, 2012

The engineering students of today will soon be designing the cars of tomorrow. In an effort to draw the best and brightest minds to the automotive field, the U.S. DOE has a long history of sponsoring advanced vehicle design competitions to foster innovation and skill development in the fields of vehicle design and engineering. In fact, the department has sponsored this type of competition for 23 years, during which time approximately 16,500 students have participated, with the vast majority of them finding work in the automotive sector.