Save the trees!
A staggering 60,000 new wooden electricity poles are needed in the UK every year, with a further 50,000 in the telecoms industry. These poles can take up to 18 months to source and deliver, because exactly the right kind of pine tree has to be sourced. these trees are than treated with creosote, a carcinogenic substance being phased out across the EU. In addition, a large number of these poles are produced and sit in storage wastefully, rather than being manufactured to order in case of storm damage to the existing network.
The obvious answer to this problem in the past has been to build poles from plastics or fibreglass. However, the production process for these is slower, less energy efficient, uses more harmful chemicals and ultimately produces products that are almost impossible to recycle, not to mention, also carcinogenic.
Thanks to the growing awareness around sustainability, people are beginning to understand the environmental damage caused by plastics and are looking for sustainable alternatives.
The challenge this month is to come up with a way to replace the traditional wooden electricity pole with something that is lighter and stronger than fibreglass and biodegradable but isn’t coated in harmful substances.
The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the October issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit your ideas by leaving a comment on the Coffee Time Challenge section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the editor: email@example.com
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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the
comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course,