A portfolio of innovations
Two U.S. entrepreneurs come up with an initiative for Bhutan
22 March, 2010 – Using potato starch to make plastic bags, instead of just harvesting the tuber for sale or consumption, and building structures from glass powder rather than just using them to manufacture windows. Who even imagined of such wonders?
Well, the founder and chief executive officer of zero emission and research initiatives (ZERI) in the U.S., Dr Gaunter Pauli, certainly did and he even tried them out. ZERI is a global network of creative minds, seeking solutions to the ever-increasing challenges of the world.
After a 12-day field trip across the country, Dr Pauli identified a portfolio of innovations that could steer Bhutan towards pragmatic sustainability for water, food, health, housing and energy, using different initiatives.
From using sheets of various kinds on the roof to tap water from air, generating energy from wind using turbines under bridges, producing silk using suture thread to producing purified gasoline from forest and fuel, Dr Pauli said he had it all.
“If any Bhutanese entrepreneur wants to try out these ideas, I’m ready to help them in detail, provided the Bhutanese government agrees to assist with the funds,” he said.
Dr Pauli was accompanied by Anders G Nyquist, an eco-cycle design architect, who runs his own eco-cycle design studio in Sweden. He specialises in green, sustainable and durable building designs.
Nyquist felt the need to interact with Bhutanese architects to help them design buildings, which are both adapted for cold zones and earthquake prone regions. He shared his ideas about building structures with eco-cycle adaptation, characterised by green buildings to suit Bhutan’s environment-friendly policies and without wasting much energy.
A Bhutanese NGO, rural education and development (READ), a project partner with the royal education council, organised the working session forum for representatives from various ministries with Dr Pauli and Mr Nyquist yesterday.
READ, which will be building libraries for rural communities, including the ongoing work in Ura, Bumthang, with possible sites in Thimphu, Gelephu, Punakha and Paro, is awaiting government approval to use Nyquist’s ingenuity.
“If government approves our policy document to incorporate the ideas we bring, we’ll help the country build eco-friendly libraries for READ, as they had proposed,” Nyquist said.
READ and ZERI, with the government’s cooperation and support, could partner in implementing ideas and programmes to assist Bhutan in taking its building standard and youth employment to the next level.
“If government approves their idea, the proposed innovations are expected to create an estimated 10,000 jobs for Bhutanese youth over the next decade,” READ’s Thinley Choden said.