Two ideas — one quite specific, the other, not so much

Both this week’s co-op ideas are very local, but the similarity ends there.

Source. CC BY-SA 3.0

The first, as the picture above has probably already revealed, is hops. Hops are one of the primary ingredients in beer, and (as I happen to know from personal experience) are not particularly difficult to grow. There’s a bit more to growing them and marketing them at scale than there is to growing a plant or two in the backyard, but it’s nothing a co-op couldn’t handle. And there’s pretty clearly a market.

The second idea requires a bit more context. If you’ve read through the co-op ideas, you’ve probably noticed that many of them focus on environmental sustainability, and even regeneration. This idea falls squarely into that category, but it doesn’t have a convenient title, beyond “sustainable energy storage.” Most of us are familiar with sustainable energy generation, such as the ever-increasing number of homes, businesses, and other buildings with solar panels on them. That’s good news… sort of. There’s a dark side to the current state of renewables that isn’t as renewable as it sounds, such as mining materials like cobalt and lithium (for rechargeable batteries) under conditions that are socially and/or environmentally deplorable. Additionally, there are other obscure but important materials that are simply too rare to keep up with demand.

So, the idea is a research and development co-op to seek out forms of energy storage that could store renewably-generated energy at scale, using cheap, common, local materials.

This sort of challenge isn’t for everyone, but if it’s for you, write to and say so. If you have a challenge that’s a better fit for you, write in and say that. Either way, we look forward to hearing from you.