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Act now or perish, scientists say of war on harmful gases


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Act now or perish, scientists say of war on harmful gases


Youth climate activists protest outside the Standard Chartered HQ against the financing of fossil fuel projects during Defund Climate Chaos global day of action. FILE PHOTO | AFP

Scientists now say only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to humanity amid rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), comprising the world’s leading climate scientists, released its 8,000 pages sixth assessment report this week detailing the devastating consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

While the window to address the climate crisis is rapidly closing, the IPCC affirms that we can still secure a safe, livable future through deep GHG cuts on fossil fuels across all of society to combat the climate crisis.

Experts have argued that aside from managing usage, biotechnology can play a key role in addressing the nutritional needs of growing populations and taming raw material costs for businesses.

Natural solutions have been preferred over synthetic or chemical-based ones owing to their friendliness to the habitat.

Denmark-based firm Novozymes is assisting businesses to navigate a difficult economic time by offering biosolutions that can enable them to produce more from less while managing their carbon emissions.

Its innovation works in a broad array of industries including household care, bioenergy, animal feet, textile, microbial cleaning solutions as well as food and beverage.

For instance, the biological enzyme solution it offers allows bakeries to create bread that stays fresh longer and lowers the quantity of sugar added to it.

Read: Net-zero future possible despite complex sectors

“With such an extension, you bring in a lot of supply chain efficiencies such that you remove the need of operating many tiny bakeries and simply have consolidated ones,” explains Krishna Mohan Puvvada, Novozymes vice president for Middle East Africa and India.

In the US, the technology has been applied by manufacturers to extend the shelf life of bread by up to two weeks. At room temperature, bread typically lasts between three to four days.

Extending the shelf life of bread, he notes, cuts food wastage which is rampant across the world, while saving on transportation costs and overheads for running numerous outlets.

For laundry and dishwashing detergent producers, the biological enzyme solutions increase the stain removal efficiency of the product, thereby reducing water wastage during cleaning.

Enzymes are proteins that catalyse the reaction between stains and the water solution, thus aiding stain removal.

For brewers, Novozymes biotechnology in the conversion of starch to syrup provides a more efficient at producing beer.

Thanks to enzymes, breweries can use local raw materials such as sorghum and cassava instead of expensive imports to produce delicious, local brews.

In the textile industry, enzymes are applied to achieve the desired textural finishes. For instance, they are used to achieve the denim feels in jeans.

Before the cotton is made into the fabric, there are lots of processes involved. Industrial enzymes are used for the removal of some of the impurities which go into the manufacturing of the textiles before dying.

“Enzymes help in reducing the processing time, and decrease water and energy consumption while improving the functional properties by raising the quality,” says Mr Puvvada.

While a lot of this can be done by chemicals, industrial enzymes come from a natural source meaning they are very sustainable oriented hence the most efficient way of improving processes.

Read: Why climate change has now turned into a race against time

Novozymes is also keen on managing its carbon footprints by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels.

The company opened a regional office in Nairobi in 2019, in a bid to offer biological solutions, producing industrial enzymes and microorganisms for customers across east Africa.

It operates in 140 countries serving over 30 industries and has embarked on a biotechnology journey to spearhead green transformation.

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