Solar-Powered Hearing Aids



1. Sustainability Problem: Health

Approximately 360 million people suffer from hearing loss around the world. In developing countries approximately 32 million hearing aids are needed each year; however, only 750,000 are provided.

2. Technology Summary

  • Solar Ear developed digital hearing aids with rechargeable batteries and has left their designs open-sourced so that the innovation can benefit the largest number of people.
  • The batteries used in Solar Ear’s hearing aids are only 50 cents more expensive than disposable alternatives, but can last up to three years as opposed to 1 week for conventional batteries. Solar Ear’s batteries are also compatible with 95% of all hearing aids.
  • Batteries are charged using a palm-sized solar charger which can also be used to charge cellphones and other electronics
  • The hearing aids cost only about $100 per pair and include batteries and a charger at no additional cost.

3. Stakeholders

  • NGOs and individuals in developing nations
  • The World Health Organization
  • Health Departments and governments in developing nations
  • Low income or uninsured individuals globally

4. Implementation 

  • Develop more manufacturing centers that employ deaf individuals to increase the availability of these hearing aids
  • Partner with NGOs working in developing nations to disseminate the hear-aids and educate those in need of hearing aids
  • Work with other organizations to share the technology, business model and program so that they can develop and disseminate similar hear aids


Comment on Would Your iPhone Survive a Disaster?

The device is based off the technology that is used by FireChat a smartphone app technology that protesters have used when governments limit connectivity. The key difference is that this physical device is much more study than a cellphone. FireChat itself may also be useful to disseminate communications to civilians whose cellphones are able to operate during a disaster in conjunction with this device to communicate to the Red Cross.



Smart meter for water use monitoring



Sustainability problem: Water

Approximately 18% of water used in residential homes is lost as a result of leaks. This can result in an annual loss of 13,000 gallons of water per household.

Technology summary:

  • Calliope’s Bouy is whole-house water flow meter that is connected to a house’s water supply to monitor water use.
  • Bouy incorporates machine learning and predictive analytics to provide real-time water use insights about how much water is being used by which devices.
  • Bouy provides also provides real time data about when and where leaks occur and other waste via an app.


  • Homeowners and building owners
  • Water utilities
  • Individuals in drought stricken areas
  • Plumbers
  • Contractors installing the technology
  • Home improvement retailors


  • Educate consumers about benefits of the technology via marketing campaigns
  • Seek partnerships with water utilities in dought-stricken areas to promote adoption of the technology
  • Increase commercial availability by partnering with home improvement retailors


Comment on You Can’t Spell ‘Carbon Nanotube Electricity’ Without ‘Yarn’

As an alternative to yarn made with carbon nanotubes, energy can be harvested from other fabrics via piezoelectric generators to harvest energy from stress and strains and triboelectric generators to harvest energy generated from friction. However, these generators are costly and have a low efficiency making carbon nanotube technology a superior option.

Solar-powered cold storage


1.Sustainability Problem: Waste

In developing countries that lack access to a reliable power grid, approximately 40% of total food production perishes before it can be sold or consumed.

2. Technology Summary:

  • ColdHubs is a modular, solar powered cold room, where farm­ers can pay per crate to store produce to prevent it from spoiling.
  • The cold rooms use solar panels mounted on the roof generate electricity to power a refrigeration unit to keep the room between 8 and 16 degrees Celsius
  • ColdHubs can extend the shelf life of perishable food from 2 to 21 days and can potentially reduce post-harvest loss by 80% percent, reducing food waste and enabling farmers to sell a larger portion of their crops.


  • Farmers
  • Customers
  • NGOs
  • Governments in developing nations
  • Farming organizations

4.Technology Deployment:

  • Produce more cold storage units for use in communities
  • Educate farmers about the benefits of cold storage, to promote the use of the technology
  • Work with NGOs, governments, communities to disseminate and install Coldhubs in areas in need


  • Article:
  • Company website:

Comment on How about use waste o build green artificial Islands?

The article notes that this technology would help New York City divert 30 percent of its waste stream from landfill. However, I’m skeptical of the feasibility of requiring New New Yorkers to compost their organics. I believe that in reality this solution would result in a much waste lower diversion rate.

Larvae convert food waste


Sustainability Problem: Waste

Over 30% of the global food supply ends up in landfill. According to the United Nations Food and agriculture organization, each person wastes approximately 95-115kg of food per year in Europe and North America.

Technology Summary

  • EVO Conversion Systems X JM Green use black soldier fly larvae to turn food and organic wastes into animal feed and organic fertilizer.
  • Sorted and crushed food and organic waste is mixed into containers with fly larvae, where the larvae consume and process the waste.
  • Larvae are extracted from the residuals, sterilized, washed, and packaged for sale as high-protein animal or fish feed.
  • Residuals are quite similar to compost and serve as fertilizer for gardens and agricultural crops.
  • The technology converts 100 tons of organic or food waste into 20 tons of larvae and 40 tons of fertilizer.


  • Organizations and individuals producing food waste
  • Public and private composting companies or organizations
  • Garbage disposal companies
  • Local governments and municipalities
  • Livestock farmers
  • Aquaculturists
  • Home improvement stores selling composts and fertilizers
  • Farmers and agriculture organizations


  • Partner with public and private composting or waste companies or organizations to implement the technology at existing facilities
  • Work with home improvement stores, agriculture organizations, and farmers to educate and market the residual product for compost and fertilizer purposes
  • Educate livestock farmers and aquaculturists about larvae as an alternative feed source



Comment on: Smart Recycling Bin 

  • The smart recycling bin can educate the consumer and encourage the correct recycling of products in the home or in places without smart recycling bins. This will help to increase the overall recycling capture rate.

Pay-as-you go solar




1. Sustainability Problem: Energy

More than 620 million people, about two-thirds of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to an electrical grid. These populations rely on the use of Kerosene that contributes to CO2 emissions and indoor air pollution.

2. Technology Summary

  • M-Kopa IV Solar Home System is a pay-as-you-go home solar system that combines uses micro payments and mobile technology to provide electricity to people in Africa who are not connected to the electrical grid.
  • The system is rent-to-own: the unit requires a deposit of $35 and then customers make 365 payments of $0.43 though M-Pesa, a mobile money system to purchase the system.
  • The unit includes a solar panel, a control unit, two LED light bulbs, one portable LED flashlight, a rechargeable radio, and a USB port for charging cellphones

3. Stakeholders

  • NGOs
  • Electricity companies in Africa
  • Individuals without connection to electrical grid
  • Governments
  • M-Pesa
  • M-Kopa

4. Deployment

  • Increase awareness of product by performing demonstrations in common community areas
  • Provide thorough training and education to customers on proper use and maintenance of solar systems
  • Strengthen repair services and customer service to allow for effective trouble shooting of problems and to complete repairs, if necessary



Supporting article:

Company website:

Comment on Automated Underground Bike Storage Technology

  • A key feature of this technology is that instructions are given via audio and visuals, making this technology easy to use for first time users and accessible for those who may not speak the language or for those who ma have an impairment.


Solar-Powered Toilet That Treats and Recycles Water


Sustainability Problem: Health and water

2.4 billion people do not have access to safe and adequate sanitation. Sanitation related diseases are one of the leading of children under the age of 5. Further, access to clean and safe water is a growing concern: at least two-thirds of the world’s population lives with severe water scarcity for at least a month of every year and half of the world’s population is expected to live with water stress by 2030.

Technology Summary

  • Seva Sustainable Sanitation is a smart electro-chemical toilet that uses power from solar panels to sterilize and clarify wastewater for reuse for flushing or irrigation.
  • Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus can be almost fully eliminated from the wastewater.
  • The toilet can be used off-grid in developing nations.
  • The toilet is outfitted with sensors, a smartphone maintenance guide, and smart grid technology that allows individuals and communities to repair the toilet as needed with only a screwdriver


  • Communities and individuals that lack access to safe and adequate sanitation or in areas with severe water stress
  • Governments of developing nations
  • NGOs

Deployment Steps

  • Develop and test maintenance system
  • Finish field tests of prototypes
  • Work with NGOs, governments, communities to disseminate and install toilets in areas in need


Comment on: Kelp as a fiber

  • Kelp is a zero-waste fiber that could result in saving tons of materials, that do not readily decompose, from entering landfills. AlgiKnit could also reduce environmental pressure and resource degradation caused by the harvesting of raw materials that we currently use to make our clothing.

Solar-Powered Water Purification


1. Sustainability Problem

Category: Water

One billion people on the planet do not have access to clean water. At least two-thirds of the world’s population lives with severe water scarcity for at least a month of every year. Half of the world’s population is expected to with water stress, where their demand exceeds supply by 2030. These shocking statistics are fueled by the contamination of groundwater via pollution and increasing groundwater salinity caused by rising sea levels. Further, climate change and a growing population have put increasing pressure on available water reserves.

2.Technology Solution

  • The Desolenator is a portable solar-powered water purification system that can purify water from any source for human consumption.
  • Using the power of the sun, water is boiled to produce steam; steam is subsequently converted back into water and any wastes flow out of the machine. A particle filter is also used to remove any solid contaminants in the water.
  • The machine can produce 15 liters of distilled water per day at a cost of $0.0005 per liter.
  • The device contains a sim card that enables the product to offer a pay-per-use micropayment.
  • The product has applications in the developing nations where there is not access to clean and safe water, but also in the developed world for people who are living off the grid or in communities with water quality problems.


  • NGOs
  • Individuals and communities that lack access to clean water in both developed and developing nations
  • Governments of developing nations
  • Militaries
  • Individuals in niche water markets (campers, boaters, survivalists)

4. Technology Deployment

  • Carry out necessary field tests to produce commercially available Desolenators
  • Partner with NGOs and governments in developing nations to provide the technology to communities that lack access to clean water
  • Market the Desolenator to niche markets such as campers, boaters, and survivalists



Supporting article:

Company website:

Waterless Textile Dyeing


Sustainability Issue: 

Category: Water

The textile dyeing industry is one of the largest consumers and polluters of water:

  • Water use: The amount of water needed in the dyeing process and the scale of industry put pressure on the availability of clean water in developing nations. Traditional fabric dyeing methods use an estimated 30 liters of water to dye a single t-shirt.
  • Water pollution: Dyes and process chemicals are used inefficiently resulting in large amounts of waste and wastewater that is released often untreated into bodies of water. Between 17 and 20% of water pollution from industrial sources is produced by the textile dyeing process.

Technology Solution:

  • DyeCoo is waterless dyeing technology that uses reclaimed CO2, a waste product, to dye textiles in a closed loop system. The system uses pressure to bring CO2 to a supercritical state where it acts as a highly effective solvent, allowing dye to dissolve and permeate deep within textile fibers. The CO2 used in the system is reused with a 95% efficiency.
  • The DyeCoo technology eliminates the need for water, reduces the amount of dyestuff needed by 50%, and does not require any additional dyeing or process chemicals. This technology eliminates the waste and wastewater produced in traditional textile dyeing.
  • This process of textile dyeing reduces energy usage and operational costs. It is estimated DyeCoo can result in a cost savings of 40-60% for companies.
  • Nike has utilized DyeCoo’s technology to create a collection of polo shirts under the brand of “ColorDry”.


  • Clothing manufacturers
  • Clothing companies
  • Textile dyers
  • Textile manufacturers
  • Dyestuff suppliers


  • In conjunction with dyestuff suppliers, develop dyestuffs that are compatible with DyeCoo machines and all all fabric types
  • Increase the commercial availability of the DyeCoo machines
  • Implement a maintenance and service structure allowing for the correct set up and longterm use of machines around the world


Article: “Dyeing Without Water”  –

DyeCoo website

Supporting articles: