Dezeen Magazine

The Climate Science Fair in NYC

"We need to distribute electricity" to combat climate change says Bill Nye

Booths demonstrating a hybrid-electric aircraft and other innovative projects as well as talks by scientists such as Bill Nye were among the climate-focused presentations at the Climate Science Fair held on New York's High Line.

More than twenty exhibitors displayed novel technology, strategies and art and design that seek to address a spectrum of climate-based issues.

For the four-day event, called The Climate Science Fair, participating groups set up individual exhibits in wooden booths along The Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck, with additional programming hosted in the 10th Avenue Square and Overlook amphitheatre and the Chelsea Market Passage.

Bill Nye talking
Emerson Collective organized the Climate Science Fair along New York's High Line

Talks during the four-day event featured Deem Journal co-founder Marquise Stillwell and Studio Zewde founder Sara Zewde, with scientist and entertainer Bill Nye taking the keynote at the High Line's 10th Avenue Square and Overlook amphitheatre.

"First of all, we need to distribute electricity," said Nye in response to a question about the most important innovations needed to fight climate change. "We have the ability to generate electricity right now with existing technologies, wind and solar, some geothermal, some hydroelectric dams, but we have to get it distributed."

Nye mentioned Australia's use of solar water hot tanks and the viability of localised geothermal energy as ways that power could be better distributed.



A person at a wooden booth along the highline
The four-day event coincided with Climate Week NYC

The fair was organized by Emerson Collective, a grantmaking enterprise founded by Laurene Powell Jobs that works across a wide variety of sectors including immigration, the environment, education, media and journalism, art and health "in the pursuit of a more equal and just America".

"This transformative experience is designed to ignite optimism and meaningful conversations about the future of climate and our communities," said the team.

"Climate optimism means being clear-eyed about the challenges before us, while drawing inspiration from those—like the participants at the Climate Science Fair—working to overcome them," said Jobs.

The Climate Science Fair in NYC
An electric hybrid aircraft company and carbon conversion were technology and design included in the fair's participants

Among the exhibitors, California-based aircraft manufacturer Ampaire showed its hybrid-electric aircraft models.

Using a battery-powered electric motor system, the start-up aims to replace conventional aircraft engines.

"Upgrading existing aircraft to hybrid electric power is Ampaire's rapid, capital-efficient approach to making commercial electric air travel a reality with available technology," said the Ampaire team.

Nearby, technology company Twelve also exhibited its "carbon transformation technology" which converts CO2 found in the air into chemicals, products and fuels otherwise made from fossil fuels sourced underground.


A person at a wooden booth along the highline
The event aimed to celebrate "optimism at work" within the environmental sector

Throughout a catalyzation process, the technology combines CO2, water and electricity to produce just water and oxygen as outputs, effectively working as industrialized photosynthesis.

"Twelve's technology is a critical missing piece to closing the carbon loop to create fossil-free materials and energy systems," said the team.

According to the team, the technology could eliminate up to 10 per cent of global fossil fuel emissions.

A person at a wooden booth along the highline
Participants displayed exhibitions in wooden booths

Other exhibitions included work from Evernu, which converts textile waste into a regenerative fibre through liquefying and purifying unwanted clothing and Chicago-based start-up Rheaply, which provides an online marketplace for urban businesses to re-sell surplus items, including construction materials such as marble slabs and bricks.

The event coincided with Climate Week NYC, which was held from 17 September to 24 September, which sees some 400 climate-focused events and activities hosted across New York City both in person and online.

Other recent climate-focused fairs and installations include a series of geodesic domes at the Earth Edition festival held at the California Institute of the Arts and Prowl Studio's Beacon exhibit in San Francisco which explored sustainable materials and technology.

The photography is by Slaven Vlasic courtesy of Getty Images for Emerson Collective.

The Climate Science Fair took place from 20 September to 23 September 2024 along New York's High Line.  See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.