Stronger concrete using plastic bottles

Sustainability Problem:

Concrete is the second most widely used construction material in the world, after water. Manufacturing and transporting concrete is responsible for 4.5 percent of all man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Also, there is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year.

Technology Solution:

Team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working on the impact of adding bits of irradiated plastic into cement.

This technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. The plastic is first blasted with gamma rays, a process which is completely harmless.

Exposing the plastic to gamma radiation alters the material’s crystalline structure to such a degree that the plastic turns stiffer, tougher, and stronger.  Presence of the gamma-ray irradiated plastic and fly ash enhanced the strength of the concrete by 15 percent. Replacing just 1.5 percent of concrete with plastic makes it stronger, and could have a significant impact. By one calculation, 1.5 percent plastic in concrete implies 0.0675 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions would be slashed.

Source:

Article: https://inhabitat.com/mit-students-develop-method-to-reinforce-concrete-using-plastic-bottles/

Website: http://news.mit.edu/2017/fortify-concrete-adding-recycled-plastic-1025

Stakeholders:

  1. Construction Industry and Road contractor
  2. Environmental NGO’s
  3. Municipalities and city governments
  4. MIT researchers involved in further evolving this technology
  5. Waste collection companies

Implementation:

  1. Identify and partner with governments and NGO’s that support, and are interested in implementing the technology.
  2. Find investors for funds.
  3. Generate pipelines for gathering plastics.
  4. Set up plastic bottle pulverization machines at a local rubbish dump sites.
  5. Identify, educate and partner with construction manufacturers for scalability.
  6. Incentivize contractors for using this new concrete in their future construction projects.
  7. Partner with other developing countries to increase scale of production

UNI – rs3750 (Riya Suthar)

 

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3D printing help tackle poverty and plastic waste

 

A worker washes shredded plastic waste for recycling

Sustainability Problem

Plastic bottles lying in the gutter, grocery bags tangled in branches, food wrappers scuttling across the ground on a windy day are all threatening the ecosystem. The problem with plastics is they do not easily degrade. They may break down, but only into smaller pieces. The smaller those pieces get, the more places they can go.

Technology Solution

Deep within those piles of plastic waste lies an opportunity for the expanding 3D printing industry. Instead of melting new plastic to create these products, some companies are seizing the chance to build more sustainable, cost-effective, socially conscious ways of dealing with the looming demand for raw plastic.

Team of researchers at Michigan Technological University have been working on open-source, environmentally friendly 3D printers for years. They created the Recyclebot, which turns waste plastic into 3D printer feedstock, using the RepRap model, a self-replicating 3D printer. The used plastic is pushed into a headed pipe, melting the plastic and forming it into a long plastic spaghetti, which is then molded to the desired/designed shape.

Commercial plastic filament costs about $35/kg or more — if you make it yourself with a Recyclebot the cost drops to only ten cents per kilogram for the electricity to run it. Using recycled plastic in 3D printers can help create jobs, open new markets, and even change the cycle of poverty in some cases.

Source

Article: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/nov/06/3d-printing-plastic-waste-poverty-development-protoprint-reflow-techfortrade

Stakeholders:

  1. Individuals and companies using 3D printers (e.g. design/architecture/manufacturing industries)
  2. Recyclebot company
  3. Environmental NGO’s
  4. Municipalities

Implementation:

  1. Identify governments and NGO’s that support, and are interested in implementing the technology.
  2. Partner with municipalities and  NGO’s for outreach and training in regions where there is high amount of plastic waste.
  3. Find investors for funds.
  4. Identify and partner with logistics and industrial manufacturers for scalability.

UNI – rs3750 (Riya Suthar)

NEWgenerator – Technology for the Global Sanitation Challenge

 

Sustainability Problem

For about 40 percent of the world’s population, “going to the bathroom” is often done outdoors in unhealthy conditions. Most people don’t think about human waste much past the moment their toilet flushes each time, there exists infrastructure that transports waste to separate locations for processing in plants. This large-scale process costs money that most developing countries don’t have.

Technology

University of Florida researchers have built portable wastewater treatment system called the NEWgenerator. The NEWgenerator is a resource recovery machine that harvests nutrient fertilizers, renewable energy, and clean water from human or food wastes.  The machine achieves a high level of waste treatment through the use of state-of-the-art anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology.  Extensive pathogen destruction is achieved to ensure safe sanitation.

The NEWgenerator is built inside a shipping container, making it compact and easy to transport. There are solar panels on the top of the container that provide all the power, something necessary in areas that don’t have large power grids. There is also a hydroponics system on one of the outside walls where plants can be grown using water generated by the device.

The NEWgenerator takes wastewater and converts it into three things: nutrients, energy and water — hence the “NEW” in NEWgenerator. The water is treated so it is safe to use for irrigation and toilets, while the physical waste filters out as nutrients for plants. Methane gas that can be used for energy is trapped in a large bag on top of the generator.

Source

Article: https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/mini-wastewater-treatment-plant-produces-energy-clean-water-and-fertilizer.html

Website: http://news.usf.edu/article/templates/?a=8125&z=220

Organizational Stakeholders

  • University of Florida
  • Investors
  • Logistics suppliers
  • Municipal governments/sanitation departments
  • NGO’s
  • Communities and individuals that lacks access to safe sanitation

Deployment of Technology

  • Perform a pilot study to prove efficiency of the technology and finish field tests of prototypes
  • Identify governments and NGO’s that support, and utilities that are interested in implementing the technology.
  • Find investors for funds
  • Partner with such NGOs and governments for outreach, training, to disseminate and install toilets in areas in need
  • Identify and partner with logistics and industrial manufacturers for scalability

By Riya Suthar (rs3750)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIT robot swims through water and gas pipes to detect leaks

The team carried out field tests of its pipe-inspecting robot in Saudi Arabia earlier this year

Sustainable Problem:

Leaks from pipes, plumping fixtures and fittings are a significant source of water waste. According to MIT, an average of 20 percent of the water flowing through today’s distribution systems is lost to holes along its journey. These leaks not only make shortages worse but also can cause serious structural damage to buildings and roads by undermining foundations. Current leak detection systems can be tedious and expensive, and are often not suited for the type of systems used in developing regions,

Technology Summary:

PipeGuard team at MIT has provided a fast, inexpensive solution that can find even tiny leaks with pinpoint precision, no matter what the pipes are made of. Researchers at MIT are developing a small robot that can be deposited through a fire hydrant to hunt out the leaks. The robot is called PipeGuard and resembles a large shuttlecock. Attached to the robot’s rubber body, where the feathers would be, is a soft rubber skirt that expands to fill the diameter of a pipe. This then detects variations in pressure caused by a leak, by continually sensing the degree of pull at its edges.

This robot can be inserted into the pipe system through any fire hydrant, where the flow of water carries it along its merry way as it logs its position in the pipe and detects small variations in pressure, thanks to its sensitive rubber skirt. Then at the end of its journey, it can be retrieved with a net through another fire hydrant and its data can be retrieved. No digging is required, and there is no need for any interruption of the water service. Also, in addition to the above passive device, the team has produced an active version that can control its motion.

 

Article: https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/mit-robot-swims-through-water-and-gas-pipes-detect-leaks.html

Website: http://news.mit.edu/2017/robot-finds-leaks-water-pipes-0718

Stakeholders:

  • Local Government
  • Utilities
  • Engineers
  • Water consumers

Steps in deploying this technology:

  • Perform a pilot study to prove efficiency of technology in saving water.
  • Identify governments that support, and utilities that are interested in implementing the technology.
  • Do a study of each location to determine best implementation strategy
  • Collect and analyze data with goal of finding “win” for this new technology.

UNI – rs3750

 

 

Ink researchers find magic in algae

 

Sustainable Problem:

The majority of printing ink uses a significant amount of petroleum. Carbon black is the most common pigment used in black inks. It’s most commonly made from of the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such TAR all of which have detrimental human and environmental impacts. Thus, current ink is unsustainable, non-renewable and toxic.

Technology Summary:

Colorado-based Living Ink Technologies has created a type of ink that’s “green” in more ways than one. It’s made from algae, it’s non-toxic, and it’s produced in a way that’s environmentally sustainable.

Living Ink’s technology uses algae cells as bio pigments within ink formulations. The cells are diluted in the liquid and can’t be seen by the human eye. When the ink is exposed to sunlight and CO2 from the atmosphere, the cells multiply and become so dense that they become visible to the human eye and the writing or drawing reveals itself, its only byproducts are oxygen and clean water. Living Ink has manufactured two kinds of pens, one with ‘slow’ ink, with a lower density of cells and one with ‘fast ink’ with a higher cell density in addition to special watercolors for artists. The pens come with special paper and a closed glass frame that serves as a greenhouse. Even after the algae cells have died, the drawings remain intact.

Living Ink is the first step in weaning the world off of regular ink and moving towards a safe and renewable solution and is currently working on methods to print algae cells with traditional printers; the algae specialists are also teaming up with a company to develop sustainable packaging inks using algae cells.

 

Article: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/livingink/living-ink-time-lapse-ink

Website: https://livingink.co/

Stakeholders:

  1. Investors to commercialize the technology
  2. Potential Customers (Architect/Designers/Academia/writers/officers)
  3. Businesses (producers of technology and business consumers)
  4. Suppliers of component parts

Steps in deploying this technology:

  1. Introducing this new technology via workshops, media and marketing outlets to educate potential customers about its benefits.
  2. Expand scope and application of technology to traditional printers to maximize relevancy in marketplace.
  3. Monitor the progress of this technology switch and record data on how it has reduced the environmental impact

UNI – rs3750

FireBee Power Tower turns any heat source into an electricity generator

Sustainability Problem

Billion-low-income people in developing countries don’t have access to electricity at all. Small-scale electricity production can be a complete game changer for such off-grid communities.

Technology Summary

Seattle-based HydroBee has launched a 5W thermoelectric generator that uses heat, which would usually dissipate from chimney or cooking stove, turning it into clean electricity for charging small electronic devices off-grid or at home.

The FireBee Power Tower is the most powerful thermoelectric generator of its kind. Even a small amount of heat makes a lot of power. You can customize it to use with a small alcohol or propane camp stove, or inside a chimney pipe.

The company claims its Power Tower can produce up to 7 watts of electricity, which is dispatched to two output options, a 5V 2A USB port for portable electronics, and a 12V 125mA terminal that can be used to trickle charge 12V batteries. That’s enough to charge Android or iPhones and light up your cabin, ice fishing shack, or camper with LED lights. It even boils water for cooking while making power!

Heat from the stove or fire is absorbed by radiator fins inside the device, which then passes through a pair of thermoelectric modules and eventually into the cooling tank, which is full of water. The thermoelectric modules generate the electricity from the temperature difference between the heated fins and the cooler water tank, and this electricity is then converted into the common 5V 2A USB format that most portable devices use.

The Power Tower is cooled with a water reservoir that will eventually boil as heat goes through the thermoelectric generator. Essentially, users can get a hot meal, charge their device, and heat the dinner cleanup water all at the same time.  The boiling water can be drained through the spout on the side of the tower for cooking or washing. Please note – it is critical to always keep the water reservoir filled above the spout line to avoid overheating the power modules. So, if you continue to use the Power Tower after draining the water, just fill it up again and watch the power rise.

HydroBee currently is running for a National Geographic Chasing Genius award.

Article: https://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/firebee-power-tower-turns-any-heat-source-electricity-generator.html

Website: http://www.hydrobee.com/products/firebee-products/

Organizational Stakeholders

  1. Investors to commercialize the technology
  2. Potential Customers (home-owners, renters, municipal and emergency services)
  3. Businesses (producers of technology and business consumers)
  4. Suppliers of component parts
  5. Utilities
  6. Governments (developed & developing countries)

Steps in deploying this technology

  1. Educate homeowners/municipal services
  2. Determine economic efficiency/profitability
  3. Share new technology and best practices

UNI – rs3750

POP-UP CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTION

ILLUSTRATIVT-SNIT-TEST-948x671.jpg

Sustainability Problem:

The greatest challenges with sustainability today are urbanization and motorization. As Earth’s population continues to grow, so does car traffic and issues related to climate change. It has been estimated about 30% of urban roadway congestion are drivers searching for a place to park. Car culture puts the pressure on cities to build more parking garages, which usually win out over green parks. Meanwhile, climate change continues to challenge cities to handle a great deal of storm water.
If we can agree that sustainable car parking doesn’t mean getting rid of all vehicles, including electric, what then is sustainable parking?

Technology Summary:

THIRD NATURE, a Danish architecture firm, designed a solution for the modern-day urban issues of flooding, parking and lacking green spaces with their project, POP-UP. A stacked green space, car park, and water reservoir, from top to bottom respectively, POP-UP uses Archimedes’ principle to store water and create floating space to store cars.

POP-UP’s varying height changes the city skyline based on the weather. On a dry, sunny day, the car park exists underground with the green space above. On stormy days, overflow sewers lead rainwater below the car park to the water reservoir. As the water reservoir fills up, the parking structure moves up. POP-UP works because of Archimedes’ principle of flotation which states, “buoyancy of a submerged body corresponds to the weight of the displaced fluid.” Hydraulic lifting and steering bearings, along with retaining walls and supplementary guide tracks, secure the structure’s movement up and down during water level changes. No matter the water level, the car park stays accessible to pedestrians and cars alike

While POP-UP is more expensive than a traditional parking garage and water reservoir, it combines three urban elements into one which frees up building plots for residential or commercial spaces. Plus, building just one structure instead of all three would save on construction costs.

Article: https://www.6sqft.com/pop-up-concept-is-a-floating-parking-garage-with-moving-water-reservoir-and-green-space/

Article: https://hypebeast.com/2017/9/third-nature-all-in-one-parking-structure-flooding-green-space

Website: http://tredjenatur.dk/en/portfolio/pop-up/

Organizational stakeholders

  1. Communities, Businesses, pedestrians, citizens in neighborhood
  2. City’s Urban Planning & Infrastructure department (Buildings, Roads, parks)
  3. City council for water works
  4. Sustainability department
  5. Architect/Designers/developers
  6. Visitors and Tourists

Steps in deploying this technology

  1. Study the opportunity profile of a Pop up project and identify potential benefits for all stakeholders
  2. Propose to City Planning Commission a plan with Sustainable water works department to implement pop up designed buildings alongside existing infrastructure requiring use of land and modest funding.
  3. Bring a Third Nature engineer onboard as a consultant to translate the information so that an Urban Planner can understand it and use it.
  4. Assign the responsibility of incorporating pop up design into the urban planning process to one of the Urban Planning deputies.

In 2015, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, along with Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Administration, signed an agreement to develop innovative climate adaptation solutions. Currently, the project has been developed for locations in both Copenhagen and New York’s St. John’s Park in Lower Manhattan.

UNI -rs3750