This month Horizon looks at the latest technology to turn on power in places which are off the grid. We learn about solar power tech that's being used to clean water, bring internet to mobile phones and even sustain temporary housing pods after a disaster. We also hear from Michael Gera, who’s investing in off-grid energy companies in Africa, so that businesses can stay open and children can study after the sun goes down.
A new breed of emergency shelter with built-in solar power, a backpack that gives access to mobile charging and a bag that converts manure into cooking gas are among the new generation of emergency response kits that could help people survive in the wake of a disaster that knocks out their energy supply.
Mini-grids, mobile payments and smart meters are all helping to create an off-grid model of electricity provision in Africa, helped by bottom-up funding and low-cost solar power, according to Michael Gera, managing partner and co-founder of specialist venture capitalist firm Energy Access Ventures (EAV).
Hormones are blamed for everything from weight gain to mood swings and this December, Horizon takes a closer look at these chemical regulators and their effects on our bodies and minds. We explore the impact of the so-called love hormone on the human-dog relationship and what it can tell us about social disorders. We find out what’s being done to neutralise the hormone-disrupting chemicals that are found in water and sewage, and we discover the importance of hormonal rhythms in tracking disorders that can lead to obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Forests cover around 30 % of the Earth’s surface, are home to millions of species, capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2), influence the local climate and provide us with water. This month, Horizon examines how the health of the world’s forests impacts on climate change. We explore the link between deforestation, forest degradation and CO2 emissions, examine the push to combine farming and forestry for better land management, and find out how scientists are using tree rings and DNA to combat illegal logging.
Decades of scientific research into areas including plant genetics and data science helped doctors successfully carry out an experimental therapy to create a new skin for a seven-year-old boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder.
Rising populations and climate change are putting pressure on the water needed for agriculture but a solar-powered irrigation system may reduce the amount that farmers use – while simultaneously slashing the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
How plant genetics and data science helped doctors replace 80 % of a boy’s skin.
Solar-powered irrigation could offset 16 mn tonnes of CO2 a year.
A new device to monitor so-called ultradian rhythms could speed up diagnostics.