Sustainable Invention


Sustainable Invention

April 22, 2014

The world’s population is growing by roughly 200,000 people every day, in the midst of a massive global migration underway from the countryside to cities. With this much pressure on our food, water, and energy resources, Earth Day marks another important reminder of the massive investments in invention needed to make entire economies more sustainable.  

Intellectual Ventures’ President and COO, Adriane Brown, often remarks that, “We believe in invention not just as an economic opportunity, but as a distinctly human characteristic that empowers us to improve our world.” At IV, we have had the opportunity to spinout, launch, partner, and collaborate with companies that are focused on producing more with less.

For example:

  • IV recently helped to launch Coffee Flour, a company that creates a nutritious and high protein flour from the billions of pounds of discarded coffee cherries that are harvested every year.
  • Dairy production may not be the first industry you associate with inventive sustainability, but IV has partnered with the Finnish company Raisio to create and market a new cattle feed that increases the protein content of milk and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions from cows.
  • Water scarcity is becoming a serious problem, particularly in Australia, where IV is working with Irrigation & Water Technologies (IWT) - a company focused on deploying new underground irrigation solutions for commercial, agricultural and domestic use that use water up to 60% more efficiently than traditional systems.
  • Most progress in terms of sustainability happens incrementally, but IV’s spinout company TerraPower is seeking a major environmental breakthrough with their traveling wave reactor (TWR). The TWR would have a significantly lower environmental impact than traditional nuclear energy by requiring far less uranium mining and producing at least 7X less waste.

For more information on how to add your “act of green” and show your support for Earth Day, visit or follow #EarthDay on Twitter.

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