Algae Scampi

NWF+shrimpProblem: Carbon emissions
People love to eat shrimp, but some estimates place their carbon impact as higher than even beef, mostly due to the destruction of natural habitats near shrimp farms.

Technology: Algae Shrimp

  • New Wave Foods has developed a highly realistic synthetic shrimp that is made out of algae, which is ubiquitous and solidly occupies a bottom rung on the food chain.
  • Algae needs only sunlight, water and CO2 to grow. In contrast shrimp are fed wild-caught fish. Producing 1 pound of shrimp is estimated to use up three pounds of fish.
  • Algae uses CO2 to perform photosynthesis, serving to convert carbon into useable, sequestered energy (food calories).
  • Scientists analyzed and mimicked the molecular structure of shrimp flesh in order to create a realistic substitute out of red algae.
  • The shrimp industry globally utilizes a lot of slave labor, particularly for removing the shells and appendages. Algae shrimp does not require anything preening, which could eliminate the worst labor practices.

Stakeholders:
Early adopters including Google’s cafeteria
New Wave Foods
Investors

Steps to implementation:
1) Run pilot at Google cafeteria.
2) Perform sustainability analysis of algae farms and production plants.
3) Develop campaign to fight misconceptions of algae as food.

Google’s Famous Kitchens May Serve Fake Shrimp Made of Algae

Uber for trucks?

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Problem: Carbon Emissions

The trucking industry is composed of small, disparate actors who require brokers to organize shipment routes. This inefficient system often leaves trucks returning to their home bases empty, which is a waste of gas and contributes unnecessarily to congestion, accidents and carbon emissions.
The Solution:
  • Several companies have developed Uber-like apps that send pings to a nearby trucker about a shipment.
  • Like Uber, the trucker can either accept or reject the pick-up.
  • Whereas currently a broker is required to make hundreds of calls to arrange a shipment, the app uses algorithms applied on big data to understand and respond to shipping trends.
  • Ensuring trucks are always full decreases the total number of trucks on the road, which reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion and accidents.
Stakeholders:
The 3 main companies developing apps.
Trucking companies.
Major shippers (Amazon, Walmart).
Steps to implementation:
1. Expand mobile platforms to span the entire country.
2. Engage more trucking companies and their customers to use the apps.
3. Analyze impacts of apps on trucking routes, congestion, carbon emissions, cost etc.

Smart hydration

1. Problem: Health & Safety

Individuals require vastly different amounts of water each day depending on their age, activity level, size and other factors such as pregnancy/medical conditions. This makes providing accurate recommendations to individuals difficult.
2. Pryme Vessyl prymeVessyl smart cups link biological data (age, weight, height, etc.) with data generated by fitness trackers to determine how much water a person should drink and when.
– The cup is outfitted with sensors that detect how much you’re drinking.
– If you aren’t drinking enough water, the cup will ping you.
– This solution may prove especially useful for athletes, pregnant/nursing women and others who require more hydration than the average person.
3. Stakeholders
– Athletes/athletic organizations
– The medical community
– Pryme (the manufacturers of Vessyl)
4. Implementation
– Target advertising of the device towards athletic societies, organizations and teams.
– Perform research on hydration needs associated with certain medical conditions.
– Develop compatibility with FitBit (currently only available for Apple Health and Jawbone)

Growing cement

cylinder_samples-960x525_c1. Problem: Energy

The cement industry requires massive amounts of energy and is a major carbon emitter, second only to the fossil fuel industry.

 

2. Technology: BioMason cement.

  • BioMason cement uses bacteria for hardening, rather than heat, cutting out the most significant energy-using and carbon-producing step in the manufacturing process.
  • The concept mimics the formation of coral reefs, wherein living organisms calcify sand and minerals, forming a very durable cement-like structure.
  • The dry materials can be shipped anywhere. All the recipient needs to do is add water and form into the desired shape. This reduces logistics costs (e.g. cement mixers, shipping).
  • Materials are all sustainably sourced.

 

3. Stakeholders

Construction firms.

Plant currently manufacturing the cement.

Government buildings departments.

 

4. Next steps to implementation

a) Meet with buildings departments to prevent unforeseen building code compliance issues.

b) Secure financing for plant expansion.

c) Identify firms seeking to reduce construction-related carbon emissions.

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/bricks-from-bugs

Solar tents to preserve fish in Malawi

1) Energy

Problem: In Malawi, drying fish is currently achieved by chopping down trees and burning the logs, which simultaneously removes a carbon sink and produces additional carbon emissions. 

2)  The technology: solar tents: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/tech-solar-tent-boosts-malawis-dried-fish-industry-160609125320780.html

– A new “solar tent” allows fisherman to dry their fish only using only solar energy.

– A polyethylene sheet is hung over a wooden frame shaped so as to maximize the captured solar heat and ensure optimal airflow.

– The tent is more sanitary than the wood-burning open-air drying, which exposes the fish to dust, pests and contaminants. Fishermen thus lose fewer fish to spoilage.

– Farmers get a higher price for cleaner, higher quality dried fish and don’t need to cut down as many trees (just enough for the wooden frame, which can be used for years).

– Sustainability is paired with economic development.

3)   Stakeholders

– Local and international development NGOs

Fish buyers

–  Local councils in fishing communities

 Fishermen

4)   The first 3 steps in deploying this technology

  1. Perform research to compare economic and environmental impacts of an average wood-burning fishery compared to a solar tent fishery based on the pilot project.
  2. Identify fishermen using wood-burning strategies and gauge interest in solar tents.
  3. Solicit funding from local and international NGOs to provide credit and/or grants to build tents for interested fishermen.

Turning over a new (Bionic) Leaf

 

1) Energy

Carbon-based fuels produce climate change-inducing greenhouse gases and are in limited supply. Renewables like solar, wind and geothermal energy are more difficult to store for use in the future or in a different location from the collection site. Batteries can be used to store energy, but they are expensive and inefficient.

2) The Bionic Leaf 2.0 – 

  • “Bionic Leaf 2.0.” is a highly efficient artificial leaf that turns solar energy into liquid fuel.
  • The leaf performs a more efficient version of photosynthesis, capturing 10 times more solar energy than plants do.
  • Bionic leaves split water into its constituent parts – oxygen and hydrogen. Then microbes digest the hydrogen, which converts carbon dioxide from the air into liquid fuel (see diagram above).

3) Stakeholders

  • Generator manufacturers
  • Car manufacturers
  • Researchers developing and perfecting the bionic leaf

4) Deployment

  1. Prototype models that are integrated into existing systems (car engines, generators)
  2. Perform a greenhouse gas assessment of the prototypes
  3. Identify and address barriers to scaling up the technology

Sorry, leaves — we figured out a way to do photosynthesis better than you

 

San Francisco Water Woes

1920px-san_francisco_downtown2c_and_golden_gate_bridge_early_morning_panorama

  1. Sustainability problem: Unsustainable water sourcing for the San Francisco Bay Area
  • California has faced record-breaking droughts putting stress on existing water sources.
  • Existing water resources cannot be used at current rates without depleting long-term capacity.
  • Most of the water resources available to the city are far away and used by other municipalities. Water is not collected or controlled locally

 

  1. The technology: Advanced Fog Collection

“How to get fresh water out of thin air” MIT News [ http://news.mit.edu/2013/how-to-get-fresh-water-out-of-thin-air-0830 ]

  • Fog collection is an ancient practice, but recent advances in materials science can make fog collection more efficient for use in densely populated areas.
  • San Francisco is surrounded by seawater, but does not have much fresh water. However, it experiences fog clouds that derive from evaporated seawater that blows inland from the Pacific Ocean.
  • Unlike existing desalination methods, no energy is required to collect fog, as it takes advantage of the sun’s energy to desalinate the water.  Fog collection methods are affordable and require little maintenance. They are easy to install on both small and large scales.
  • Innovators at M.I.T. have optimized the material characteristics and mesh-size of fog-catching nets to produce more water in a smaller space, and reduce evaporation off the nets back into the air. These new methods can extract up to 10% of the water in fog and triple the collection capabilities of existing methods. 

 

  1. Organizational stakeholders:
  • City Water Authority
  • Consumers
  • Property owners and developers
  • Environmental organizations

 

  1. Steps to deploy the technology:
  • Step 1: Identify areas that receive the most fog and relevant building codes.
  • Step 2: Identify pilot partners to install roof top fog collectors and MIT researchers and patent holders willing to pilot their designs and integrate them into a water system. Partnerships may be made with those who have or are looking to build green roofs, as water can be collected and distributed on the roof without creating new piping systems.
  • Step 3: Launch pilot with willing partners and optimal locations identified in Steps 1 and 2.