Innovation That Matters

Global innovation spotlight: Chile

Global Innovation Spotlight

From animal-free proteins built by AI, to a countertop device that produces purified water from the air, discover exciting innovations from Chile

Reflecting our global Springwise readership, we explore the innovation landscape and freshest thinking from a new country each week. This week, we’ve headed to South America…

Chile Innovation Facts

Global Innovation Index ranking: 53rd

Climate targets: Reduce black carbon emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2030 (from 2016 levels), carbon neutral by 2050.

Sustainability issues

Water scarcity – Underpinning many of the environmental challenges in Chile is the issue of water – or rather the lack of it. The country is currently suffering from a decade-long drought, which scientists believe is exacerbated by climate change. In total, around 1.4 million Chileans don’t have access to drinking water or sewerage – eight per cent of the population.

Deforestation and desertification – Chile suffered an 11 per cent decrease in tree cover between 2000 and 2020. And the country is similarly affected by desertification and land degradation – with two-thirds of the country’s territory affected or threatened by desertification and drought.

Impact of mining – Many of the raw materials driving technological progress—such as copper, lithium, and rare earth metals—are found in Chile. And their extraction has a significant environmental impact. For example, lithium—crucial for electric vehicle batteries—is found in abundance in the Atacama Desert region. The process for extracting lithium is extremely water intensive in a region that is one of the driest in the world.

Sector specialisms

Energy and environment

Foodtech

Fintech

Source: Startupblink

Three Exciting Innovations From Chile

Photo source Pixabay

COUNTERTOP DEVICE CREATES PURIFIED WATER FROM AIR

Designed explicitly for communities living in remote areas that lack a consistent source of clean drinking water, Chilean company Fresh Water Solutions’ Urban device captures tiny water particles suspended in the air. By gathering the particles together, the moisture becomes heavy enough to form a rain cloud. The device then pools the water in preparation for filtration. Read more.

Photo source Carlos Muñoz on Unsplash

TURNING WIND, WATER, AND AIR INTO GREEN FUEL

Chile’s largest and southernmost region has been chosen as the setting for an innovative, $55 million (€50.6 million) facility that is exploring the commercialisation of synthetic fuel. The project—called ‘Haru Oni’—is an initiative of startup Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF). The first-of-its-kind facility is designed to convert three ingredients,—wind, water, and air—into a green fuel that could play an important role in the energy revolution. Read more.

Photo source Protera

USING AI TO BUILD ANIMAL-FREE PROTEINS AND PRESERVATIVES

Lab-grown food is no longer science fiction. As alternatives to traditionally farmed ingredients, cultured meats can replace almost any animal product with a more sustainable version. Now, Chilean biotech startup Protera is using artificial intelligence (AI) to copy the amino acid structures of naturally occurring proteins – such as those in flowers. Once a complete protein is built, the company uses fermentation to produce the ingredient at scale. Read more.

Words: Matthew Hempstead

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