Over 60 percent of our electricity comes from fossil fuels that generate greenhouse gases. It is now more important than ever to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that increase air pollution and the the effects of climate change. Renewable energy is one way to do that.
Sustainability Technology: Wearable technology that produces power using sweat
Researchers at Tokyo University of Science tested a biofuel cell that uses lactate chemicals in sweat and a specific enzyme to create a chemical reaction and produce power.
This wearable tech is like a bandage that one can wear alongside an Apple Watch or a Fitbit and it uses the “capillary effect” method to transfer the sweat through the layers and create chemical reactions that transfers energy to the wearer’s wrist device (Apple Watch, Fitbit, etc).
Currently, the researchers have managed to power an activity meter for 1.5 hours using a drop of artificial sweat with their biofuel cells.
There is potential for this technology to work with not just smart watches, but other smart devices as well.
The aquaculture industry in Singapore, while trying to meet the demand to produce safe and quality seafood, enables an annual consumption of 100 million kilograms of frog flesh and fish. More than 20 million tonnes of frog skins and fish scales are discarded every year.
Technology solution: A biomaterial made from discarded bullfrog skin and fish scales
Scientists and researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a new biomaterial with discarded fishery by-products that could help in bone repair
The material contains the same compounds that are in bones and helps bone-forming cells to multiply – creating new bone cells. This material acts as a scaffold and has many beneficial uses regarding bone tissue regeneration.
Using aquaculture waste and turning it into a valuable resource can help close the waste loop in the future.
For more in-depth information about this technology, please check out the articles below:
Sustainability Problem: Energy + Safety and Health
Air conditioners produce about 117 million metric tons of CO2 annually and make up about 6% of all electricity produced in the US. To homeowners, this accounts to a total cost of $29 billion.
Cooling is important for the safety and health of people, especially when people are working in hot conditions for a long duration. Extreme heat, especially longer exposure to extreme heat can cause heat exhaustion, heat strokes and death. More than 600 people in the US die from extreme heat each year.
Sustainability Technology: FedEx Ground’s Solar Thermal Air Conditioning System
At Fedex Ground’s sorting facility in Davenport, Florida, the solar thermal air conditioning system provides cooling for packages that are not usually insulated as well as for workers who have to load and sort packages for prolonged periods of time in the heat.
This technology provides thermal comfort for workers and also cuts down the work air conditioner compressors have to do to provide cooling.
Solar thermal panels mounted on the roof of the distribution center take the sunlight and convert it to heat which is used to heat the compressed fluid inside the air conditioners.
This solar thermal technology will reduce energy demand by 33% and reduce 11.4 metric tons of CO2 per year.
For most commercial buildings, lighting constitutes as the highest electricity user compared to other single uses. Additionally, many office buildings do not take advantage of daylighting, either because it is infeasible in some buildings or they don’t have the right design tools. Only employees sitting by the window receive natural sunlight. Studies show that daylight improves an occupant’s health and well being as well as productivity. An average person in the US spends over 90% indoors, without natural light.
Technology Solution: Solar Lighting
Parans has developed a daylight system that uses fiber-optic cables that deliver natural light captured by solar roof collectors (pictured above). The sunlight collectors are designed track the sun’s movement and therefore capture maximum sunlight. The free and renewable resource that is sunlight, would therefore also lower a building’s total energy usage from lighting.
This technology can provide natural light to the interior of the building as well as the basement – the two areas that typically lack access natural light. This light can be distributed as Point Light, Ceiling Light and/or Wall Light.
Originally a Swedish company, the technology is being integrated in many parts of the world. Lumenomics has partnered with Parans and is now the US distributor of their daylight systems.
This system is being used in healthcare facilities like NICU at Denver’s Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, at University of Arizona’s Innovative Health Sciences Building, and even in Rijnands Tunnel in Netherlands, where lighting is crucial to avoid accidents.
Many regions around the world still lack easy access to clean drinking water. People have to walk vast distances to get water and carry all the water needed for the day on their way back. This is true for military operations too, where access and transportation of clean water in many remote expeditions is a challenge.
2. The technology: Portable drinking water harvesting from the air
Honeywell was recently awarded a defense contract to develop a portable device that would harvest water from air droplets to help the military and non-profit organizations (NGOs) around the world to bring clean drinking water to those in need.
This device would use little power to sustain an individual’s daily drinking water needs (5-7 liters a day) and weigh about 5 pounds, making it easy to transport. The device will incorporate the metal-organic framework (MOF) technology, which would absorb water particles from the surrounding air to provide clean drinking water.
It is estimated that the initial prototype of this device would be completed in a year and a half.