Conserving water, one shower at a time.

Sustainability problem:

California is the most populous state in America. Where does it source its water? The Sierra Nevada’s snowpack and state reservoirs, accumulating water from precipitation.

In years of drought and exceedingly hot temperatures, water supply from the snowpack and reservoirs fall short. In such years, the state pulls from and depletes its aquifers for groundwater. California must save water and all citizens are encouraged to do so.

Technology:

Each citizen can play a role in conserving water, and this applies to the mundane daily shower. This is where Nebia comes in. Nebia is a start-up, back by Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt, providing a shower product capable of saving up to 70% in water in comparison to traditional showers of the same duration. The Spa Shower System, which is its first product, creates a cloud of mist by creating more droplets with less water, covering 10 times the surface of a traditional shower head. Yet, per the company, the technology does not compromise on comfort or efficiency, guaranteeing temperature and pressure.

Stakeholders:

  • California residents
  • Customers
  • Investors
  • Large institutions piloting the product
  • Competitors

Development/Implementation:

Business development:

  • Develop pilot projects with large institutions (currently working with Equinox, Apple, Google, Stanford University)
  • B2B campaign: target large clients such as hospitality groups and residential real estate developers

Communication plan:

  • Digital marketing push to encourage B2C sales
  • Simultaneous PR campaign
  • Develop presence and buzz tech and water management conferences

Operations:

  • Land first large business partner then expand operations
  • Scalability is compromised by high cost

Sources:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-02/documents/ws-ourwater-california-state-fact-sheet.pdf

http://www.businessinsider.com/nebia-shower-head-launches-2017-10

https://nebia.com

Comment on ‘A Pill that won’t let you forget to take it’

I see value of this technology, beyond application for Alzheimer patients. High risk patients after hospital discharge often require a strict and precise dosage of medication post-surgery. If patients do not follow the regimen, it can lead to readmission to the ER. I see this as a sustainable option for both patients and ER services.

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/21/a-pill-that-wont-let-you-forget-to-take-it/

Prior weeks’ comments:

Week 1 (9/21): See comment here  https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/09/21/cut-food-waste-boost-kitchen-profits/#comments

Week 2 (9/28): Comment on ‘Smart Cities empowered by Blockchain

I also wrote about blockchain’s potential in my post for this week, in the context of IBM providing Blockchain technology to its food retailer customers for increased food security. This is exciting, given the many applications. I am particularly interested in its application for the fashion industry. As large fashion conglomerates are trying to clean up their supply chain and provide more transparency to the consumer, this technology will surely be a crucial mechanism.

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/06/smart-cities-empowered-by-blockchain-bt2443/

Week 3 (10/5): Comment on ‘New Textile Technology Makes Leather Alternative from Discarded Pineapple Leaves’

This week, I also wrote about alternative leather sources. Modern Meadow bioengineers real leather from producing collagen from fermenting a specific strain of yeast. In my opinion, faux-leather is not as strong of an alternative as fashion and luxury companies do not want to compromise on quality and mentalities are unlikely to change overnight. What I like about Modern Meadow, if scalable, is that it could present a true alternative combatting animal cruelty, without compromising the sustained growth of retailers. What remains to be seen is whether Modern Meadow is less GHG intensive than sourcing real leather from animal skin.

https://makeasmartcity.com/category/fall-2017-week-3-week-of-102/

Week 4 (10/12): Comment on ‘Long Lasting Produce!’

When reading about these ‘Hazel’ technology, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘why is this not being used everywhere’? Is it cost, or simply that the word has not gone out yet? I would love to know more about cost of this product and discuss with companies such as Driscolls for example. In any case, this technology so far looks like a win-win.

https://makeasmartcity.com/category/fall-2017-week-4-week-of-109/page/2/

Week 5 (10/19): Comment on ‘Turning Climate Pollution into Fish Feed’

In one of my posts, I also discuss fish feed, its implications for sustainable farming and environmental challenges (ocean depletion). In researching, sustainable fish farming, I explored the topic in further depth: overfishing is not simply an issue of direct consumption but also of fish feed, as you explain in your post. This makes technologies like this one and Entocycle very relevant in solving this sustainability problem. I wonder, though, whether research is comprehensive on ensuring that Novo Nutrient is safe for humans consuming the fish it feeds.

 

 

 

 

 

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What about feeding the livestock?

Sustainability problem:

We know that global livestock contributes about 15% of human driven GHG emissions. And this is a data point from 2006, when there was a billion less people on earth. This ecological problem does not just concern livestock for our own consumption, but also feeding it. Soy bean farming depletes soil and fish feed is caught in the ocean. We also know this problem is only worsening, thanks to accelerating global population growth.

Technology:

Entocycle is one of many start-ups working on developing alternative protein, growing larvae of black solider flies. However, Entocycle focuses of alternative protein to sustainably feed our livestock. In addition to being a feed for livestock, Entocycle larvae consume food waste, which doubles the environmental benefits. At its facility in London, the company monitor the larvae with visual recognition and machine learning tech logy that promises cost-efficient scaling.

Stakeholders:

  • farmers
  • food retailers
  • consumers
  • feedstock suppliers

Development/Implementation:

Business development:

  • directly go to large food retailers with vertically integrated operations for pilot project on a certain product category
  • develop pilot projects with independent farmers

Communication plan:

  • Marketing plan for brand launch
  • Simultaneous PR campaign
  • Develop presence and buzz at Agri-Tech conferences

Operations:

  • Land first business partner then expand facility locations

Sources:

https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/21/entocycle-uses-larvae-to-fuel-a-more-sustainable-food-chain/

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/197623/icode/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/agriculture-can-rein-in-emissions-immediately-says-un/

Comment:

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/12/smart-cities-ho-hum-lets-step-it-up-with-art-and-culture-based-climate-action/

Really interesting post @greentechsmartcities  I find the approach of engaging citizens though art a powerful approach. It reminds me that, in one of my classes yesterday, we were discussing the challenges of engaging the masses on sustainability related matters. It is becoming clear that the carrot will be more successful than the stick. How can we make the sustainability message a positive one? For inspiration, we watched a video on the theory of fun. See below. Regardless of ordinary citizens’ reasons for engaging, what matters is the outcome.

 

Sidewalk Labs takes on health care

Sustainability problem:

Good health and well-being is the third Sustainable Development Goal as outlined by the United Nations in 2015. In the United States, life expectancy remains far behind that of other developed countries. Yet, the US is spending way more per capita on medical treatment. In addition, life expectancy in US cities varies dramatically from zip codes to zip code, per median household income. Cleary, we are challenged by inefficiency and access: communities are not receiving the appropriate care they need.

Technology:

City Block is a start-up within Sidewalk Labs, Google’s parent company’s urban innovation group. It focuses on providing healthcare to low income communities in urban areas, by leveraging technology to better customize care and follow-up with each patient. Through its Neighborhood Health Hubs set up in targeted neighborhoods, City Block plans to provide hyper localized care by trained providers and connect patients and care professionals through their proprietary digital platform, Commons. Hubs will provide treatments for depression, substance-use disorders, anxiety, and others, including serious mental. Healthcare innovation has typically only reached high income communities. By contrast, City is partnering with Medicaid for coverage.

Stakeholders:

  • Sidewalk Labs
  • Target low-income communities
  • Medicaid
  • Healthcare providers

Development/Implementation:

  • Roll-out of first clinic in NYC in 2018
    • Finalize and test proprietary data management and communication platform
    • Complete development of care offering and processes
    • Hire and train community health workers
    • Partner with Medicaid for coverage
    • Customer acquisition campaign
  • Expansion to other locations in NYC and other US cities

Sources:

https://www.sidewalklabs.com/blog/announcing-cityblock-bringing-a-new-approach-to-urban-health-one-block-at-a-time/

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-health-care-spending/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/08/this-chart-is-a-powerful-indictment-of-our-current-healthcare-system/?utm_term=.11bcb593df66

https://www.athenahealth.com/insight/zip-code-might-key-health

Comment:

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/02/new-textile-technology-makes-leather-alternative-from-discarded-pineapple-leaves/

I enjoyed learning about this leather alternative from pineapple leaves. I’m very interested in fashion tech and especially new textile technologies to address animal welfare and environmental issues. This reminds me of Modern Meadow, a technology company growing leather derived from collagen, the same animal protein found in animal skin.

Lab-grown meat: fantasy or reality?

memphis meats.jpgSustainability problem:

Global livestock farming generates 7.1  gigatons of CO2 annually, which represents 15% of human induced GHG emissions.

To top it off, our global population is fast increasing (10 billion by 2050), and so is our meat consumption (+ 4.5% by 2024).

At this rate, it is evident that our GHG emissions from livestock farming are only going to increase at accelerating speed.

Technology:

Lab-grown meat. There are studies showing that lab grown meat’s carbon footprint is less intensive than slaughtered meat’s.

Currently, fetal serum is taken from unborn calves to grow muscle tissue. The current technology produces about a pound of meat for $9,000.

Stakeholders:

  • alternative meat producers
  • investors
  • livestock farms meat producers
  • slaughterhouses
  • consumers
  • government

Development/Implementation:

  • Improve technology to reduce the cost of production
  • Launch consumer product
  • Elaborate communications campaign and educational programs
  • Partner with food suppliers and retailers

Sources:

http://www.memphismeats.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/startup-to-serve-up-chicken-strips-cultivated-from-cells-in-lab-1489570202

https://gizmodo.com/behind-the-hype-of-lab-grown-meat-1797383294

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095311914608911

Additional thoughts:

This technology could revolutionize the way we consume and feed ourselves. Currently though, the only proved advantage is related to animal welfare. Although there are some studies showing a lower associated GHG footprint than with traditional meat, more research needs to be done. Finally, product cost remains astronomical and scaling strategy unknown.

Comment on post ‘Not a Plastic Bag’: This is a very promising technology. I would say that part of the current problem associated with alternative plastic bags is the lack of clarity to the consumer. Are they actually more sustainable? If so, which ones are best amongst the many options? This is a case where consumers need to be better informed in order to actually put pressure on retailers to adopt such technologies and create systemic change.

Fashion’s solution to waste methane

Sustainability problem:

Methane is a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Methane is emitted by natural sources, but also by human activities such as leakage from natural gas systems, landfill and dairy farms.

CH4 is more efficient at trapping radiation than CO2: the comparative impact of CH4 is more than 25 times greater than CO2.

Technology:

Mango material is a startup using Methane to create fabric for apparel. The technology involves using waste methane to feed bacteria that then produce PHAs, a fully biodegradable bio-polyester fiber that can be turned into thread.

Mango Material is currently working on a pilot project, with a wastewater facility in California.

Stakeholders:

  • Waste facilities
  • Apparel companies
  • Apparel consumers
  • Textile industry
  • NGOs
  • General population

Development/Implementation:

  • Expand network of waste facilities to recycle waste methane
  • Develop technology to expand Methane sourcing to dairy farms and natural gas leakage
  • Implement an awareness campaign on the technology and quality of product
  • Business development campaign to partner with apparel companies

Sources:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40476430/the-shirt-of-the-future-is-made-from-polyester-thats-been-created-by-methane-eating-bacteria?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds&

http://mangomaterials.com/technology/

https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

Fashion tech: animal-free leather?

Sustainability problem:

Leather is a $100 billion global business. It is an industry tied to a complex and unreliable supply chain, challenged by price volatility and sourcing inconsistency due to the non-homogenous quality of the material. Research has shown that 20 to 30% of the raw material goes to waste.

The industry is dependent on animal skin, and is petrochemical and GHG intensive.

Technology:

modernmeadow1-500x625.png Fake or real? (source: Courtesy)

Modern Meadow is a biotechnology startup fabricating leather without animal skin. The company produces a fibrous protein called collagen by fermenting a specific strain of yeast. The collagen is then assembled and tanned to create a material that is almost identical to traditional leather.

Stakeholders:

  • any company sourcing leather to manufacture its goods
  • fashion and luxury industry with high margins and a pressing need to innovate
  • traditional leather suppliers
  • NGOs

Development/Implementation:

  • Raise product and technology awareness
  • Strategic B2B business development campaigns
  • Product development partnerships with clients
  • Further technology/advance to reduce the price of currently costly product and unlock mainstream markets beyond the luxury industry

Sources:

http://www.modernmeadow.com

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/fashion-tech/bof-exclusive-with-lab-grown-leather-modern-meadow-is-bio-engineering-a-fashion-revolution?utm_source=Subscribers&utm_campaign=c58e96867e-modern-meadow-s-biotech-revolution-burberry-s-arti&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d2191372b3-c58e96867e-417127961&

 

Blockchain Technology for Food Security

Sustainability problem:

Every year, hundreds of thousands of deaths are attributed to food contamination. Because a supply chain is extremely complex, it is lengthy and costly to identify the source of contamination, which leads to illness, food waste and costly financial losses.

Food traceability is, therefore, a crucial challenge to be tackled in working towards sustainable development and specifically SGD goal #2 – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Technology:

IBM has partnered with global companies Nestle, Unilever and Tyson Foods to integrate its block chain technology platform into their supply chains.

Blockchain technology allows transactions to be permanently recorded and easily traced within a business network. Groups of transactions are blocked together and, what IBM calls a ‘fingerprint’ of that block is then added to the next block. In addition, since no transaction can be altered without being recorded by the entire network, the data is secure and accurate.

In the context of food supply chain, Blockchain would allow to quickly and accurately follow the origin of goods. When cases of contamination arise, it would also allow to identify with certainty the origin of contaminated foods and track them while reducing other food wastes.

Stakeholders:

  • Farmers
  • Processors
  • Distributors
  • Retailers
  • Consumers
  • Governments
  • United Nations

Development/Implementation:

  • IBM must develop partnerships with companies interested in adopting the technology for their supply chain
  • Identify stakeholders in supply chain
  • Provide secure access to the platform to all stakeholders
  • Deploy trainings on technology

Sources:

https://www.ibm.com/blockchain/what-is-blockchain.html

https://www.greenbiz.com/article/unilever-nestle-and-other-food-giants-team-blockchain