Rechargeable Cement Batteries

Andrea Strang / als2380

Summary:

Buildings currently use over a third of all the world’s energy and account for 40% of carbon emissions.

Technology:

The Rechargeable Cement Battery That Could Power the World, Popular Mechanics: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/green-tech/a36478422/rechargeable-cement-battery/

  1. Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a way for buildings to act as their own battery storage facilities using the cement that they’re made of.
  2. Buildings typically include structural metal rebar within the concrete. Incorporating strategically placed metal plates within the concrete can allow the concrete to conduct electricity and act as a battery.
  3. Concrete batteries can help to store renewable energy during peak production times and feed it back into the grid during peak usage times. Also, buildings could store and discharge enough energy to help stabilize their occupants’ power supply in case of emergencies or other outages.

Stakeholders:

  • Building Developers (Commercial/Residential/Industrial)
  • Renewable Energy Installers
  • Concrete and Rebar/Metal Manufacturers
  • Structural Engineers
  • Real Estate Management Companies

Next Steps:

  1. Further R&D into the practicality/feasibility of introducing this type of technology into new building construction, including researching building codes and engineering limitations.
  2. Partner with Building Developer and Renewable Energy Installer to implement full-scale renewable/battery-powered building system in a new development.
  3. Monitor system regularly for potential areas of improvement and move to broaden scope of clientele.

3D Printed Meat

Andrea Strang / als2380

Summary:

The meat industry faces many sustainability problems. Animal livestock uses large amounts of land, which has led to deforestation. Additionally, the meat industry is also is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions as methane from livestock and nitrous oxide from fertilizer and manure.

Technology:

3D Printed Meat: Lab-Based Alternative Could Unite Both Meat Lovers, Vegans–Find Out Why, Tech Times https://www.techtimes.com/articles/260444/20210520/3d-printed-meat-lab-based-alternative-unite-both-lovers-vegans.htm

  1. 3D printed meat is becoming more commonplace since it began in 2018. The startup, “Eat Just,” has been producing 3D printed meat and has introduced this meant to the Singaporean consumer marketplace. And currently, a restaurant in Tel-Aviv has been offering lab-grown chicken dishes.
  2. The cell-grown meat is produced from one stem cell from a cow or chicken egg, which is humanely extracted while the is anesthetized. The cell is than lab grown into a tissue, and then a 3D printer will be used to transform the tissue into edible products.
  3. The challenge will be in convincing consumers to try lab grown meat.

Stakeholders:

  • Consumers
  • Livestock Industry
  • Restaurants/Grocery Stores

Next Steps:

  1. Further R&D into making 3D printed meat as realistic as possible in both taste and look.
  2. Public education efforts about the environmental and humanitarian benefits and overall safety of migrating from real meat to 3D printed meat.
  3. Partner with supermarket chains that are ethically and sustainably minded to gain consumer base and following.

Wastewater as an Industrial Resource

Andrea Strang / als2380

Summary of Problem:

In India, an ongoing water crisis attributed to lack of replenishable water sources, poor government planning, and increased corporate privatization will continue to worsen as the overall population of the country is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by 2050. Industrial processes consume a lot of freshwater resources, especially in industries such as textiles, which only worsens the water shortage issue. As the water crisis worsens in India, drought regulations target industries and manufacturing, as domestic and agriculture freshwater supply are prioritized.

Technology Solution:

Wastewater As A Resource: Some Learnings From Gujarat, The Logical Indian: Sustainability. https://thelogicalindian.com/environment/wastewater-as-resource-learnings-from-gujarat-28491

  • In Surat, groundwater cannot be utilized for industrial purposes, as the proximity to the Arabian Sea causes the groundwater to be too saline for equipment. Therefore, freshwater from the Tapi River must be tapped into. The Tapi River is the same source of freshwater that is relied on for the area’s domestic water supply, which continues to increase in demand as the Surat population grows substantially.
  • The Pandesara Industrial Area in Surat, which is an industrial cluster, is very water intensive.
  • In a strategic move, the Surat Municipality constructed a treatment facility that effectively diverts treated municipal sewage water to the Pandesara cluster as industrial grade water.

Stakeholders:

  • The Surat Municipality can alleviate some of the freshwater demand from the Tapi River while also profiting from industrial grade water sales to the Pandesara Industrial Area.
  • The Pandesara Industrial Area is able to operate while using reused water and avoid drought regulations that could have negatively affected their operations.
  • The population of Surat is able to have a more stable source of freshwater without industrial depletion.

Next steps:

  1. If this system is utilized in municipalities outside of Surat, the first step would be stakeholder engagement and would include the owners of the municipal water system and local industries who will accept the industrial grade water.
  2. Engineering proposals and specifications must be focused on lowest implementation cost and timeline, overall effectiveness, and social impact.
  3. Construction and maintenance of the wastewater treatment system and necessary sewer pipe connections.

Algae-Based Bio-Fabric

Andrea Strang/als2380

Summary of Problem:

Emissions from clothes manufacturing, which has increasingly become more rapidly and mass-produced with the rise of fast-fashion, now results in more carbon emissions than aviation and shipping combined. The clothes manufacturing industry also uses enormous amounts of water and energy, and in return produces harmful byproducts such as toxic wastewater and micro-plastic pollution. A majority of fast-fashion garments produced wind up discarded within only a few years.

Technology Solution:

In a Big Step Towards Sustainable Fashion, Scientists Create a Biodegradable, Carbon-Capturing Textile From Algae, Anthropocene Magazine: Daily Science https://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2021/05/algae-could-help-make-the-fashion-industry-green/

  • A research team from the Delft University of Technology and the University of Rochester have made an algae-based bio-textile material that is resilient and easy to produce for the large-scale production of clothes and labels.
  • The production of algae takes up much less land and requires much less water and energy than conventional natural materials such as cotton, wool or silk. In fact, because the algal bio-textile material is made of algae, clothing made from it would be photosynthetic, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and breathing out oxygen. Additionally, algal bio-textiles are a biodegradable alternative to synthetic fabrics.
  • Algae on its own is not a long-lasting material, but the scientists were able to utilize 3D printing to make a more resilient material. Scientists used bacterial cellulose as the paper in a 3D printer and an ink made of live micro-algae to deposit the living algae onto the cellulose.

Stakeholders:

  • Clothing manufacturers who are looking to minimize their impact on the planet and establish themselves as a sustainability-minded brand.
  • Fabric producers who pursue the development of this type of algal bio-textile over other natural (cotton, silk, wool) or synthetic alternatives.

Next steps:

  1. The 3D printing technology needed to develop the algal bio-textile will have to be bolstered to a level that can sustain large-scale production.
  2. Research and development must be focused on how the use of bio-textiles might affect the clothing manufacturing process as well as supply chain and distribution processes.
  3. Public awareness campaigns and advertising will help to get the word out about how algal bio-textiles could help to mitigate some of the environmental and natural resource issues associated with fast-fashion.

Imaging Technology for Food Waste Reduction

Apeel Sciences

Andrea Strang/als2380

Summary of Problem:

In America, roughly 40% of food that is produced goes to waste. While food losses occur at every point of the food supply chain, the most significant losses occur as food waste. Food waste is defined as by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) as food discarded by retailers due to color or appearance and plate waste by consumers. Households are the largest contributors of food waste, with approximately 40-50% of food waste happening at the consumer level. In addition to the lost costs of uneaten food items, wasted food puts a strain on our environment through excess resource depletion (water, land, and energy) and methane emissions in landfills.

Technology Solution:

Apeel Acquires Imaging Technology for Better Ripening Insight, Produce Blue Book, https://www.producebluebook.com/2021/05/11/apeel-acquires-imaging-technology-for-better-ripening-insight/#  

  • Apeel Sciences, a company that develops and produces science based solutions to extend the shelf-life of fresh produce and mitigate food waste, will be incorporating ImpactVision hyper-spectral imaging technology into their application system.
  • ImpactVision imaging technology allows users to see the inside of produce and collects quantifiable quality data such as ripeness, freshness, and nutritional density. The datasets from ImpactVision can be used by suppliers to sort and ship produce in a more strategic fashion. For example, riper products will be shipped sooner and across shorter distances to prevent spoilage and ensure retailers get a higher quality product.
  • The combination of ImpactVision datasets alongside Apeel’s plant-derived coatings that effectively double the shelf-life of produce can greatly reduce post-harvest food losses and waste.

Stakeholders:

Stakeholders include food suppliers, retailers, and regional populations who will be positively impacted by a reduction in wasted resources and greenhouse gas (GHG emissions). Food suppliers will be able to use ImpactVision datasets to more effectively distribute produce and reduce food waste, ultimately improving their bottom-line. In turn, retailers will likely receive a better quality product with optimal ripeness for consumer purchase, likewise eliminating food waste and seeing positive financial impacts.

Next Steps:

  1. Begin with a pilot program. A small pool of food suppliers and retailers should be utilized to get feedback about application improvement opportunities from their standpoint as end-users.
  2. Utilize the feedback from selected users to make adjustments and ensure user-friendliness of application for wide-scale deployment.
  3. Offer reduced cost deals during the early stage of application deployment and invest in digital/social media advertising to garner publicity and reach a broader audience.