A Solution to Complicated City Budgets

Peter Schott // pcs2144

*an article cannot be found however the concept is an interesting take on our capital city/government budget discussion from 6/1)*

*this is not investment advice*

(1) Sustainability Problem: Everything / Civic Engagement

By utilizing blockchain and the Bitcoin infrastructure, the concept of Citycoin(s) attempts to raise equity for US cities, allowing for external investment.

(2) Citycoin attempts to strengthen the treasury of existing cities, as individuals stake their existing crypto (Stacks, or STX) to support the particular city.

  • The first city (arguably the pilot) is Miami
  • Without getting technical, users can commit their STX crypto, exchanging it for Citycoin.
  • With Citycoin, users are able to “stack” (lock) the currency, providing security to the network while earning interest paid out in STX/BTC
  • Big picture, this mechanism provides the given city an ongoing revenue stream to benefit its infrastructure and civic engagement
  • While this is a premature idea (in my opinion), Citycoin provides a clever way for cities to generate external capital without raising debt

Source: https://www.citycoins.co

(3) Stakeholders

  • Includes Local (and potentially State) Government (in the case of Miami, specific the Mayor and other public offices like the Treasury Dept.)
  • Includes the general public within the cities as ideally they support a crypto treasury
  • Potential projects resulting from the funds can span various industries and consequently NGOs, Universities and Corporations (e.g, Utility companies, Water companies, Waste companies, etc.)

(4) Next Steps

  1. Develop a user engagement plan/strategy to spread the concept of Citycoins, in an effort to gather feedback/input from City Governments and the community (both general public and crypto community)
  2. Have individuals that hold Stacks (STX) vote in their desired cities to be a part of Citycoin(s) to ensure the sustainability of the Citycoin concept
  3. Request that Stack (STX) holders execute a Stacks smart contract (already a part of the ecosystem), locking their crypto to mine Miamicoin ($MIA); publish results from first mining and staking cycle to justify concept

Returning “Oil” to the Earth

Charm Industrial’s “bio-oil” — a carbon-rich oil made from almond shells and other types of biomass

Peter Schott // pcs2144
(1) Sustainability Problem: Waste // Carbon
In order to curb the effects of climate change, it is essential to phase out fossil fuel use and decarbonize the economy more broadly. Carbon removal is one solution.

(2) Charm Industrial represents a significant change to reduce the cost from $600 to $50/ton CO2e while elimination 10%+ of global CO2e in the process.

  • Charm partners with farmers (who grow a lot of crops) that generate biomass waste, converting the left over biomass into “bio-oil”, drilling a well, and pumping the bio-oil underground; this achieves the removal of carbon from the atmosphere “permanently, reliably and potentially on a grand scale”
  • This is achieved through a process called “pyrolysis,” (read: organic chemistry) producing hydrogen (that can be used in refineries or to make fertilizer/power vehicles) and “bio-oil”
  • The modular Pyrolyzer can be put on the edge of the farm, reducing the need to transport the biomass outside of a local area; this technology has gained attention from Stripe and Microsoft

Source: Meet the startup producing oil to fight climate change, Grist

(3) Stakeholders

  • Fortune 500 companies and beyond: who are seeking to reduce their environmental impacts as they attempt to offset their corporate emissions through carbon removal opportunities. Stripe and Microsoft to name a few.
  • Nonprofits and academic institutions: to provide a third party assessment of the carbon removal projects (e.g, Carbonplan) and potential analysis around the broader carbon removal market.
  • Lobbyists/Government: to ensure that Charm Industrial can receive federal tax credits, as only CO2 gas is recognized as a CO2e carbon removal technique.

(4) Design/Implementation/Next Steps:

  • Raise capital from existing investors to scale manufacturing capabilities of the Pyrolyzer machine
  • Manufacture one machine and dedicate it to launching a pilot on a large-scale farm to collect data and conduct research; use biomass to create bio-oil and measure components on transporation, equipment cost, potential revenue, etc. to forecast the scale-up of the business
  • Meet with scientists and clients to share results of the pilot program to collect feedback, with the goal of creating a pitchbook for future investors

Sticky Geckos Get Investment

A Tokay Gecko (Source: The Guardian)

Peter Schott // pcs2144

(1) Sustainability Problem: Waste

*please note – old article – but biomimicry represents sustainable solutions in the technology space*

In the past, Ford has blended wheat straw into its plastic hardware, in an effort to reduce their petroleum use, and plastic bottles have been used to create fibers that tie together the covers of their car seats. Per the Fermanian Business & Economic Institue, “bio inspiration” efforts have increased 15% between 2000 and 2012.

(2) Biomimicry of Tokay geckos (and their toes!!) represent a potential to increase recycling rates for Ford vehicles by 10%.

  • By 2030, FBEI estimates that biomimicry will represent $425B of the US GDP (up $1.6T globally)
  • By mimicking the stickiness of gecko toes, Ford is able to extract more materials at end of life (separate the materials), by adding an adhesive layer between the foam, plastics and other materials in its car parts
  • Other examples of biomimicry include replicating sea sponge properties for fiber optics and replicating the nose of a Kingfisher bird to make the 200-mph Shinkansen Bullrt Train more aerodynamic
  • By integrating biological science into design and manufacturing/production/the broader value chain, companies are able to engage with scientists to develop long term solutions that mimic natural phenomenons

Source: Ford looks to geckos to boost recyclability of its cars, The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/nov/12/ford-motor-company-recycling-biomimicry-proctor-gamble-nih-nsf

(3) Stakeholders

Stakeholders are across public and private, all of which benefit from biomimicry – in this example, Ford has partnered with Proctor & Gamble and the Biomimicry Institute to explore nature-inspired solutions. Specific to this example, entities across the value chain, including waste management plants and manufacturing companies, will benefit from the Gecko adhesive as they are able to extract more materials (as it is easier to recover/separate the different components of Ford parts); this makes their products worth more at their end of life.

(4) Design/Implementation

The following are possible first steps:

  1. Patent said technology (Gecko adhesive); or create a universal spec to share, to increase the efficiency of the market
  2. Run a pilot to confirm and verify that the 10% increase in recycling rates applies to all Ford models/parts (beyond just plastics and foams) as well as where else the solution might be used; continue to use said product and it’s specifications and share data to encourage and influence policy that supports biomimicry research/solutions (through PPP)
  3. Use the patent and pilot program to engage peers, the market and institutes to partner and raise capital to invest in further biomimicry R&D, as resources are needed to further study and development of biomimicry. Specific to Ford, this could be research on how biomimicry may influence materials used, how mechanical components function, how the color of the paint or an element of the car improves functionality or the wellness of the user, etc.

Low-Tech Solution for High-Profile SDG (Water Scarcity)

CloudFisher fog-harvesters on a mountain

Peter Schott // pcs2144

(1) Sustainability Problem: Water
Per the UN, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remains one of the world’s most water-scare regions, with 17 countries considered below the water poverty line. Around 1.1M people lack reliable access to water and 2.7M live in regions where water scarcity exists for at least one month of the year.

(2) Water scarcity is an issue – analysts predict that water scarcity may contribute to future conflict in the region.

  • Agriculture comprises of 80% of the water usage in the MENA region; often the cultivation of crops, specifically citrus fruit in rural Morocco, has depleted the natural groundwater reserves and aquifers at a rate faster than replenishment
  • Seawater desalination and dams are the current tools used to address water scarcity in the region, however they come with several negative externalities
  • In Morocco specifically, the NGO Dar Si Hmad has partnered with German WaterFoundation to utilized their CloudFisher fog-harvesters, which use no energy, to collect up to 600L+ of drinking water per day per net*
  • The CloudFisher technology can withstand win speeds up to 120kph while catching water droplets in the air that (often) comply with WHO drinking water standards*

    Article: Can tech advances solve arid Middle East’s water scarcity problem?, Arab News

(3) Stakeholders:
Stakeholders include NGOs that provide local solutions to rural farmers and villages in the MENA region.
An example of this in Morocco is Dar Si Hmad for Development (NGO) connecting the CloudFisher fog-harvesters (local solution) to 16 villages in rural Morocco.
Additionally, Governments and Ministers are stakeholders as “water is the lifeblood of civilizations that shape economies, as said by Reem Al-Hasimy, UAW minister of state.

(4) Deployment/Adoption/Implementation:
Given that the focus of this is to drive end-user (customer) adoption, the below does not contain steps to fix the broader water scarcity problem across MENA; additionally, influencing government will delay broader adoption but is needed to create a robust market.

  • Educate communities and farmers about the importance of water, specifically the importance of protecting water supplies, to help introduce good conservation habits and available technologies
  • Pilot the CloudFisher technology in communities, collecting data around environmental conditions (weather, air temp, etc.), water collected, time spent by community to harvest, etc.; attempt to create a business case as to what the technology actually achieves (is it time saved, money saved, lives saved, etc.)
  • Explore conversations with government to discuss the importance of water scarcity in the MENA region, the success of the pilot program, the impact of international trade on water scarcity; propose a potential export tax through policy that could be used to provide solutions such as CloudFisher to farmer villages, in an effort to provide drinking water

Additional Sources:

Edible Packaging??

Snact’s 6-month-garden-compostable packaging*

Peter Schott // pcs2144

(1) Sustainability Problem: Waste
Per the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 32% of plastics escape the collection system to urban infrastructure and waterways. 8M tons of plastic are diverted to the oceans annually while after-use externalities and the costs associated with GHGe from plastic packaging production are estimated to be 40B annually (conservative, by UNEP)**. This cost is only expected to increase as volume grows with consumption patterns (business as usual).

(2) Plastics are bad and biodegradable plastics are not necessarily better!!!

  • More sustainable alternatives to plastic, such as biodegradable plastics, are controversial as the ocean environment is not conducive to promote the break down of the materials
  • Snact and Tipa have created packaging that can be composted in a garden in 6 months
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are experimenting with the creation of an edible plastic made from casein (milk protein), which looks promising as it is 60% more effective in reducing foods exposure to oxygen; there is potential to add flavors and/or nutrients to these edible films
  • Packaging materials and waste is part of the problem however the broader waste management system is important to promoting/enabling recycling and composting

    Article: Compostable and edible packaging: the companies waging war on plastic, The Guardian.com

(3) Stakeholders:
Food & Agriculture companies (Business-to-Business) will remain the main stakeholders with implementing this technology however consumer demand (Business-to-Consumer) will be a key component to driving this adoption as these sustainable packing alternatives are more expensive than traditional plastic.
Other stakeholders include policymakers to overcome the challenges to remove traditional plastics from the waste stream (and drive adoption of alternatives) and industry associations/NGOs to foster relationships and the implementation of pilot programs.

(4) Deployment/Adoption/Implementation:
Given that the focus of this is to drive end-user (customer) adoption/deploy this technology, the below does not contain steps to fix the broader re-processing infrastructure

  • Support research that attempts to investigate the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable packaging materials to identify adjacent sector synergies; use these insights to build an evidence-based business case for the technologies
  • Use the business case to steer investment towards funding R&D of plastic material alternatives (see video below) to expedite a vetted packaging product that is less destructive and more effective than plastics
  • Collaborate with Industry Associations/NGOs to pilot products B2B and B2C, to test user adoption, so that the pilots can be scaled and further investment reduces the cost gap between the manufacturing of traditional plastic packaging and the edible, biodegradable food packaging alternatives
Cool video

Sources (in addition to article linked above):