Graphene battery storage:

Graphene structure photoGraphenano bike batteries image

Sustainability Problem: 

Currently used batteries such as lithium-ion and lead acid batteries take hours to charge and have short lifespan for charging and discharging. They can also be harmful to the environment.  Lithium-ion batteries are unstable and can explode and cause fire.

Technology:

Graphene battery storage is under production at Graphenano, a Spanish based company that develops diffierent technologies using graphene. Graphene is a monolayer carbon lattice that is harder than diamond. These new battery  offers much higher energy density than Lithium-ion (1000 Wh/kg vs. 200Wh/kg on a Tesla Model S), has no fire or explosion danger unlike Li-ion, and charges in minutes, lasts longer , and 3 to 5 times smaller than Li-ion battery.

These battery can be used for electric bikes, electric motorcycles, and to store solar energy. Grabat company shows advantages of graphene-based battery over other batteries:

Grabat say that their battery chemistry will drastically decrease charge times

Grabat suggest that the current energy density of their battery chemistry is far ahead of the competition

Sources:

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/graphene-battery-too-good-to-be-true

https://transportevolved.com/2016/05/05/tech-insight-are-graphene-batteries-just-around-the-corner-or-just-wishful-thinking/

Stakeholders:

  • Graphenano, Grabat, Chint companies
  • bicyclists, motorcycle drivers
  • residential solar system owners
  • researchers
  • government

Implementation: 

  1. More media exposure to encourage attractiveness  of graphene-based battery to the public.
  2. Full production of the battery will be underway by October.
  3. Continuous research to improve this battery to lower its cost.

Sensors to measure and monitor water quality in real time

Technology:

Sensors made from gallium nitride can be placed in any body of water to deliver real-time, continuous monitoring of water quality.

Article: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/super-sensors-could-monitor-water-quality-around-world-real-time.html

and  http://www.sciencewa.net.au/topics/technology-a-innovation/item/4277-environmental-monitoring-to-surge-via-potential-super-sensors#k2Container

Sustainability challenge:

While tackling water problems around the world, it is very hard to get the right data at the right time to help speed up the decision making process to manage the water problems. Getting access to real time water data can help make better watershed management, water pollution and water supply decisions. Having data about the entire water system, rather than about specific points along the system, will also help tackle the water problem immediately.

Collecting the data regarding the water is currently a long and cumbersome process: You first physically collect the sample of water along certain specific points. You then take this to the laboratory and test the small sample for specific contaminants. This process only helps prove a hypothesis, it doesn’t throw light on the current situation without any assumptions.

Getting real time access to water quality data can be effective in any and all countries alike. Important steps can be taken by the authorities like the EPA, Water Corporation and Department of Water

Stakeholders:

  • Governments and Water (utility) departments
  • Researchers
  • Universities
  • Private companies working in sustainability and water management
  • Communities around critical water sources

Process of implementation:

The process needs to be customized for each water body in each region/country. An overall process flow that is necessary involves: Partnership with the government or respective utility department -> Invest in buying the sensors -> Deploy the sensors along the entire water system -> Track and monitor the data -> Use data to make relevant water system decisions

Some examples where I think this would be very relevant:

  1. Polluted water systems clean-up efforts: Like the Gowanus Canal or the Ganga river

Development around crucial water systems: Like the Ala Wai Canal in Hawaii or that entire watershed

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Sustainable Replacement for Palm Oil

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Problem: Palm Oil is an incredibly unsustainable and ecologically damaging resource, which is commonly found in most commercially produced, processed foods. The cultivation of the resource has lead to a large amount of deforestation, as well as the endangerment of animal species, most notably the Sumatran orangutan. Although companies like Unilever have claiming awareness and action to help rectify the damaging effects of obtaining palm oil, largely by creating “sustainable” palm oil forests, harvesting this resource is ultimately damaging local ecosystems, fracturing communities, and is of great harm to the planet.

Technology/Solution: A company called Kiverdi is creating a synthetic palm oil-like blend by using CO2. Akin to the process of brewing beer, Kiverdi uses, “microbes to transform waste carbon from industry into the new oil inside bioreactors.”

Stakeholders:

  • Citizens who live in regions with palm forests (Malaysia and Indonesia) where pollution rates are sky-high, due to palm oil cultivation
  • Multinational corporations such as ConAgra and Unilever that use palm oil in a large percentage of their product offerings
  • Global citizens/future generations

Implementation: Once approved, and deemed safe to use, it would likely take lobbying to activate legislation, mandating multinational corporations that manufacture processed food and personal care products, to (over a certain time period) shift the source of palm in their production lines to this more sustainable source.

Or, perhaps government could create tax incentives that encourage such businesses to gradually shift their palm provider to this synthetic source.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3062466/this-startup-turns-co2-into-a-sustainable-replacement-for-palm-oil

 

Joule Assets Pays For Customer’s HVAC & Lighting Retrofits

HVAChttp://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/04/joule-assets-pays-customers-hvac-lighting-retrofits/

  1. Small to medium size businesses would save money on their utility business and energy consumption if they did energy retrofits to their buildings and HVAC systems, yet 95% of these businesses do not do them because of steep upfront costs.
  1. Joule Assets, has realized this untouched market and is enabling businesses to get their retrofits done which is financed by the yieldco firm. A new form of financing technology is being deployed.
  • The cost of Joule Assets’ services is taken out of the subsequent savings from reduced monthly energy bills.
  • Peak energy consumption is reduced through retrofits, allowing local utilities a sense of peace when it comes to demand and reliability.
  1. The stakeholders involve Joule Assets, New York City’s 99% small to mid-sized businesses that are interested in retrofits, and local utilities.
  1. Financing for performance based market solutions is not a new technology but it is likely to be more common. More utilities could soon be paying for energy savings through a pay-for-performance model and businesses interested should consider a financing mechanism like Joule assets provides.

100% Leaf Plates

Sustainability Problem:

Plastic waste is a problem, because it takes hundred of thousands of years to degrade.

Technology:

Bowl is made out of a layer of leaves, a layer of water-proof leaf-made paper, and another layer of leaves. These layers are compressed with a machine press and the leaves are stitched together with palm fibers

Stakeholders:

  • Citizens of the world
  • Waste Management Facilities
  • Governments

Steps to Deployment:

  • Continue gathering support on Kickstarter
  • Advertise on Social Media

 

 

Smart Cities – Fighting Crime

Fighting Crime.jpg

  • Problem:

By 2050, 66% of the world’s population will live in cities. Urbanization combined with population growth will add another 2.5B people in 35 years. Effective identification, prosecution and minimization of crimes in cities globally can only be achieved through smart deployment of technologies. The right technologies can also enable more prevention than post-occurrence actions which are time consuming, resource intensive and costly.

  • Technology:

Biometrics is increasingly being used very rapidly and precisely for preventing and catching crimes globally. The various modalities of Biometrics being used either by each one or in combination of multiple modalities have made our environment, institutions and locations more secure and easy to use. Great example of this at the consumer level is the fingerprint technology TouchID from Apple on iPhones.

Biometrics

  • Stakeholders:

Commercial Enterprises

Cities, Communities and planners

Government

Law enforcement

  • Implementation:
  1. Study cities like Singapore where such technologies are already being successfully used for Smart cities
  2. Fully understand and comply with privacy regulations
  3. Initially deploy to cover small areas and then expand to entire cities

Sources:

http://graduatedegrees.online.njit.edu/mscs-resources/mscs-infographics/fighting-crime-with-biometrics/

http://www.biometricupdate.com/201605/infographic-fighting-crime-with-biometrics

http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2014/N2014-095

More Effective Rain Water Handling

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Problem: Underground tanks that store waste water are over flooding at an alarming rate causing water pollution.  When a storm occurs, these water tanks quickly reach their peak capacity and are unable to hold onto the excess water.

Technology:  A sensor and valve that is added to existing water tanks to measure how full the tanks are.  Weather alerts that are aligned with this sensor inform the tank when a storm is coming so that the water currently in the tank can be safely dumped beforehand.

Stakeholders: Every day citizens who are affected by waste water.  Also, the professionals who work in waste water cleanup business would benefit from this technology.

Implementation:  It would be expensive, timely, and invasive to install these smart valves and sensors onto all existing water tanks.  A likely scenario would be to focus on a small number of tanks first so that the benefits can be adequately measured and implemented again down the road.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/gallery/technology/2014/11/11/innovative-city-tech/8.html