Utilizing solar energy all night long

  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy storage
  2. Technology: A long-term solar energy harvesting and storage solution used by USC scientists is a cobalt-based metal-organic framework. It has been discovered that they are able to conduct electricity in the same way metals do. Thermal energy storage has been making new waves and is a promising addition for the future of solar power. This porous storage is highly concentrated: 1 gram of surface area = thousands of square feet in light and compact storage. The earth gets more energy from 1 hour of sunlight than is consumed in 1 year by the entire planet, but conservation of this energy for usage is the greatest battle.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • Energy generators and providers interested in these technologies if they can be somehow added into the electrical grid
    • Investors of renewable energies
    • Countries that are wholly dependent on fossil-fuels
    • Grid operators
    • Consumers
  4. Deployment steps:
    • Increase investor engagement in order to raise capital.
    • Conduct further R&D into this technology, as well as other solar energy storage technologies in order to improve the product.
    • Scale these technologies and put them to market.
  5. Response to ETG2132
    • This is a self-sufficient and decentralized step towards creating a smart grid that is reliable locally during a power outage. It does not create tension between energy generators and suppliers, grid operators, and consumers and service providers. Diving a larger central grid into smaller fragments makes it more effectively utilized. CSGriP shows potential for underserved areas, particularly in developing countries and is a great solution for incorporating renewables into the grid. I would be interested in the costs of scaling this project.

Sensors warning of water-shortages

  1. Sustainability Problem: Water shortages due to anthropogenic forces and natural variations in climate patterns.
  2. Technology: These sensors made using an ink from carbon nanotubes dissolved in an organic compound called sodium dodecyl sulfate, were created my MIT engineers. They can be printed on plant leaf pores, creating an electronic circuit warning when a water shortage may be coming thus alerting farmers that their crops are in danger giving them time to plan solutions. Plant stomata responds to light, to carbon dioxide concentration and to drought, which can be monitored more closely for better agricultural practices.
  3. Stakeholders:
    1. Agricultural farmers
    2. Food & beverage and other industries with large agriculture supply chain
    3. Sustainable investors
    4. Developing countries concerned with drought and flooding
    5. Consumers
  4.  Implementation:
    1. Continue researching into whether detection of water stress can be earlier than 2 days. Also continue research into creating arrays of these sensors that could be used to detect light and capture images like a camera and create a database.
    2. Encourage those concerned climate change effects on agriculture, to invest and run pilot projects for these sensors.
    3. Bring this technology to market and determine where else in agriculture it can be used.
  5. Response to: JM4202
    • The mesh in the catch bag is made from recycled plastic mesh, and currently recycled HDPE ocean plastics are also being trialed in the production of the Seabins to see what content recycled material vs. virgin materials they can utilize. Creating this product with more oil absorption technology would be even more beneficial. My two questions are: What is done with the debris collected from these mesh bags and how much more efficient is this catch bag in comparison to other technologies currently on the market?

Bacteriophages improve food safety and animal health issues

  1. Sustainability problem: Food chain safety and animal antibacterial resistance
  2. Technology solution: PROTEON, a pharmaceutical company based in Poland, has developed bacteriophages in feed to target infections in fish poultry that works as an alternative to antibiotics. Antibiotics usually kill and target all bacteria inside the animal’s gut, even the beneficial bacteria, whereas bacteriophages target specific bacteria and don’t require animal to be in quarantine after treatment.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • Investors
    • Aquaculture and farm owners
    • Veterinarians
    • Consumers
  4. First 3 steps in deployment:
    1. Place or register products in various markets: BAFASAL® for poultry which eliminates human-pathogenic Salmonella in poultry farming. BAFADOR®, for commercial aquaculture which eliminates Pseudomonas and Aeromonas infections.
    2. Continue looking for funding to commercialize products globally and develop production capacity.
    3. Figure out how to get around challenges for producing at scale.
  5. Reply to post, Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098):
    • From a sustainable development standpoint, this is a great idea to implement solution for education and water sanitation. The pages are made from cellulose, which is a good alternative to using trees and perhaps more alternatives can be thought of for the future scalability of this project. I’m concerned about how we would know when a person is running out of pages. The estimate of a book lasting 4 years is vague and depends on the person. Perhaps pairing this with a microchip sensor that sends warnings to teams notifying them of a need in supply might be an effective solution to add? It would also be great if the educational information was available in multiple language, or perhaps in both the native tongue and English to improve language learning.

Hypersonic Flight with Boron Nitrogen Nanotubes

  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy & aircraft travel times
  2. Technology Solution: Extremely high travel speeds generate high heat. A study done by NASA and Binghamton University investigated using nanotubes made from boron nitride (BNNTs) to allow for hypersonic travel at speeds above 4,000 miles per hour. Currently, carbon nanotubes can withstand temperatures of 400 degrees Celcius but BNNTs can withstand 900 degrees Celcius.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • NASA
    • Elon Musk and hyperloop
    • Investors
    • Private aerospace or automotive companies in competition
    • Governments and smart cities attempting to create more efficient technology solutions
    • NGOs
    • Local communities in need of resources such as food or after disasters
  4. Deployment:
    1. Investors must be engaged to further R&D efforts. BNNTs cost about $1,000 per gram and are too expensive for production. However prices may decrease, and production may increase, after more studies detail the material’s usefulness and durability. Carbon nanotubes were around the same price 20 years ago but are now between $10-20 per gram.
    2. Create pilot projects for military fighter jets and high-speed trains. Use these pilot projects to demonstrate the productivity of this technology in addressing weather disaster areas that need relief and developing countries in need of physical access to food.
    3. If successful, expand to commercial flights.
  5. Comment on “Smog Free Tower” post:
    • This has been a great addition to some of the CO2 inhaling technologies out there. As the article mentions, developing countries, such as places in China and Malaysia with many manufacturing plants, have very unhealthy air. Not only does this attempt to combat particle emissions contributing to climate change, it also targets health & safety of the global population since our bodies were not made to withstand so much air pollution. Perhaps air filters could be implemented in other infrastructure at lower costs? Apparently now this compressed polluted air is also being turned into jewelry.

Seaweeds role as biofuel and carbon sequester

  1. Sustainability Issue: Energy, Carbon Emissions
  2. Technologies: Offshore seaweed and microalgae farming, which has been around for many years, can lead to mass production of clean energy in the form of biofuels. Seaweed grows faster than land-based plants and sequesters large CO2 amounts as it does, decreasing carbon emissions in the air. Feeding cattle seaweed can reduce their methane emissions. Furthermore, these efforts could restore carbon-rich marine ecosystems.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • US Department of Energy (who has already invested $1.5 million in this) & other governments
    • Farmers & wholesale buyers
    • Investors
    • Car companies & drivers
    • End consumers
    • Disaster areas where energy is not available on land
  4. Deployment first 3 steps:
    • Conduct further research to determine net benefits of seaweed, as well as effects on marine life.
    • Determine proper locations and times where seaweed can be harvested and create more commercialized farms with advanced components such as computer modeling and aquatic monitoring for better maintenance.
    • To begin using biofuels in cars however, more research must be done on improving the power density of this fuel source.
  5. Comment on Dominic Bell’s “Fog Harvesting for Water Resources” Post:
    • I’ve seen this being used on the coastal areas of South America as well. This comes from a survival technique, similar to using a plastic bag to collect transpiration from nearby plants and trees or from rainwater. My only concern is how does this trapping of condensation, which acts as the main sink of atmospheric water, affect the water cycle and climate?


Seafloor “Magic Carpet”

1.) Sustainability Problem: Energy, water & safety

2.) Technology: A multi-directional ocean wave energy converter is being developed by the US Berkeley team with an approach that emulates natural ecosystems – the ability of muddy seafloors to absorb ocean waves within a couple of wavelengths. A synthetic-seabed-carpet is connected to a grid of generators underneath for the extraction of wave energy to generate electricity, creation of safe zones in oceans and prevention of erosion. Many current technologies harnessing ocean energy contribute to the interference of ocean currents that affect the global weather system and may harm marine life (turbines), however this solution may be more natural as it imitates “mud holes” on the coastal seafloor.

3.) Stakeholders:

  • Cities and governments attempting to mitigate disaster risk management – this technology can potentially cancel waves of large hurricanes and store them as energy.
  • Residents of coastal regions.
  • Public and private companies working on blue economy initiatives and water/energy technologies.
  • Energy distributors.

4.) Deployment:

  1. Collaborate with atmospheric science and marine life biology research teams to determine harmful impacts on ocean currents and marine life.
  2. Fully proof the functionality of a pilot plant in the ocean.
  3. Begin construction development of pilot plant and testing in the ocean.

5.) Reply to Octavio Franco

  • Yang developed a new bioplastic called polylactide (PLLA), a biodegradable polymer made from either corn starch or sugarcane through a heating process of the polylactide to nearly 400 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by slow-cooling it. However, this might not be the best solution for plastics because they can often take decades to actually break down completely, unlike often advertised. (https://ww2.kqed.org/quest/2014/06/12/biodegradable-plastics-too-good-to-be-true/).

By: Sylwia Zieba

UNI: sz2673

Connecting the World Through LoRa


  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy, Water, Waste, Civic Engagement, Safety and Health
  2. Technology: Semtech LoRa technology is a wireless, silicon microchip with long-range and low-power features for Internet of Things (IoT) operating under the LoRaWAN protocol developed by the LoRa Alliance – an open, non-profit organization. Through the LoRaWAN standards-based approach to building a LPWAN (low-power wide area network), quick public or private IoT networks can be accessed through the creation of gateways with end-devices such as LoRa, that are bi-directionally secure, mobile, and localized. These chips work through a spread-spectrum strategy to transmit at a variety of frequencies and data rates, connecting to other chips to create nodes which are then connected to gateways. These chips can be added to any device for connectivity to address issues such as water, energy and agricultural monitoring, as well as home security and hazard detection.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • Government for smart city development and community needs.
    • Industrial companies and their investors and employees that can benefit from monitoring carbon emissions, water/energy usage and waste management in order to cut spending, increase productivity and contribute to sustainability efforts.
    • Anything from schools, fleet and asset management, healthcare, to retail.
    • Households with children or elderly that are worried about safety.
  4. First 3 steps in deployment: 
    1. LoRa microchips are already on the market but marketing efforts should be increased for companies and cities to adopt this platform, in order to increase engagement of data collection for sustainability.
    2. Be strategic in deployment, ensure modernized network and management tools for non-stop information flow.
    3. With the microchips already in place, networks assessments to guarantee accuracy and security in case of cyber-attacks.

Off-grid devices create drinking water

  1. Sustainability Problem: Water & Health
  2. Technology to address water-crisis: 
    • A device that converts sunlight (or other source of heat) into water and does not require high moisture nor electricity, becomes a solution for arid areas where many poverty-stricken populations live today.
    • MIT and UC Berkeley researchers developed this technology that is able to produce 2.8 liters of water per day for every kilogram of spongelike absorber it contains.
    • Crystalline powders called metal organic frameworks (MOFs) create 3D networks of metal atoms and sticky organic compounds linking together which can bind specific gases. A kilogram of MOFs is pressed into a thin sheet of porous copper metal which is placed between a solar absorber and a condenser plate.
    • References:

3. Organizational Stakeholders: Developing countries and their governments, farmers, residents and companies living in arid and poverty-stricken areas, any private sector companies and even communities committed to achieving SDGs, NGOs, researchers working on solving similar issues.

4. The first 3 steps in deployment:

  1. Currently, this MOF is zirconium-based which costs $150 a kilogram and too expensive to be broadly distributed. But zirconium can be successfully replaced with aluminum, which is 100x cheaper. First, find funding for further research to replace device with aluminum.
  2. Once enough many prototypes are created, these can be used for a pilot project to demonstrate effectiveness.
  3. Send to areas of most need, where use can be monitored and analyzed. Provide proper training on use and maintenance of the device.

By Sylwia Zieba, sz2673