Electricity-Free Water Treatment Plant

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Sustainability issue

Category: Water

According to the report from World Health Organization in 2017, 844 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, including 159 million people who are dependent on surface water. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. AguaClara is in the process of solving this challenge. It is a multi-disciplinary program at Cornell University that has designed sustainable water treatment systems committed to long-term environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Technology solution

  • Their plants are cheaper and more reliable for communities by using gravity and mechanical device to operate since it is electricity-free.
  • Communities avoid risks of failure or shut-down that plague projects dependent upon the proprietary expertise and applies.
  • Their plants are specifically designed to be constructed using materials and labor that are able to be locally-sourced.
  • To date, AguaClara has assisted in the design of 13 plants in Honduras and 4 village water treatment facilities in India.
  • So far, water treatment plants built using AguaClara technologies provide clean water to more than 50,000 people.

Stakeholder

  • Residences who live in clean water shortage area
  • City planners and urban designer
  • Companies in renewable and sustainable water treatment field
  • Governmental department relate to environment

Implementation steps

Step 1: Build cooperation relationship with government and water management companies

Step 2: Set up pilot study at local communities to show the effectiveness of the technology

Step 3: Monitor the plant together with the locals and adjust the working parameters

Source

http://aguaclara.cornell.edu/ 

Comment on Another Blog Post

Post: Can air pollution be controlled by drones?

Comment: When I check the source of the article, I find out that it is from 2014. And I think there are better ways to solve the air pollution issue in China now. At the presents, they are reducing the use of coal and trying to replace it with clean energy. And they are restricting the number of vehicles on the road each day.

 

UNI – wy2283

 

 

 

 

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Implementation pilot scale multi-phase anaerobic fermentation and digestion of faecal sludge

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Sustainability issue

Category: Energy, Waste Management

In Ghana, faecal sludge from on-site sanitation facilities is often discharged untreated into the environment, leading to significant insults to environmental and human health. A research team headed by Professor Kartik Chandran from Columbia University has innovated an attractive pathway to solve this problem. The treatment process separates digestion into acidogenesis (production of volatile fatty acids (VFA)) and methanogenesis (production of methane), which could ultimately facilitate the production of an array of biofuels and biochemicals from the VFA.

Technology solution

  • A pilot-scale anaerobic fermentation process was implemented at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly’s Oti Sanitary Landfill Site at Adanse Dompoase.
  • The process consisted of six 10 m3reactors in series, which were inoculated with bovine rumen and fed with fecal sludge obtained from public toilets.
  • The performance of the fermentation process was characterized in terms of both aqueous and gaseous variables representing the conversion of influent organic carbon to VFA as well as CH4.
  • Using the operating data, the first-ever process model for FS fermentation and digestion was developed and calibrated, based on the activated sludge model framework. 

Stakeholder

  • Citizens
  • City planners and urban designer
  • Companies in renewable and sustainable energy field
  • Companies in waste management

Implementation steps

Step 1: Partner with the government, energy companies and citizens, and call for the awareness of issues.

Step 2: Set up pilot study at local communities.

Step 3: Monitor the plant together with the government and adjust the working parameters.

Source

https://gatesopenresearch.org/articles/1-10 

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Post: Truck Platooning

Comment: Great technology! This product can reduce fuel and accidents. Operations center would monitor the trucks and watch for changing conditions such as weather, traffic and construction work. This would mitigate any risks by requiring an operator in the second truck to be “ready to assume control of the vehicle in the event of a technology failure”.

UNI – wy2283

 

 

 

This Startup Developed a Promising New Battery Material—and a Novel Survival Strategy

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Sustainability issue

Category: Energy

In order to introduce electric vehicles to consumer mainstream, technologists must first solve the problems of power density. Lithium-ion batteries need to become lighter and cheaper if they are to succeed in automotive applications and become as universal as they are in electronic goods.

Technology solution

  • CAMX’s researchers improve the energy density, cycle life, and price of lithium-ion batteries, by using the ovens to heat mixtures of metals and producing slight variations of a nickel-rich cathode recipe.
  • This technology will help tip electric vehicles into the consumer mainstream.
  • This technology can store and release a lot of the lithium ions that ultimately power gadgets and cars, delivering energy over long periods between charges.
  • Using more nickel also makes it possible to use significantly less cobalt, which is rare and expensive.
  • 25% improvement in energy density over the nickel-manganese-cobalt cathode materials, which are used in many electric vehicles today, has been achieved by this new material. 

Stakeholder

  • Citizens
  • Municipal government
  • Companies in renewable and sustainable energy field
  • Electrical appliance manufacturer and retail shops

 Implementation steps

Step 1: Introduce this promising technology to energy companies and citizens in the aspect of energy saving and environmental friendly characters.

Step 2: Set up a pilot plan for implementation.

Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive policy to encourage energy company to use this technology.

Source

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609027/this-startup-developed-a-promising-new-battery-material-and-a-novel-survival-strategy/

http://www.eurekamagazine.co.uk/design-engineering-features/interviews/for-electric-vehicles-to-begin-to-have-a-real-impact-technologists-must-first-solve-the-problems-of-power-density/163431/

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Post: How policy can encourage sustainable products consumption…Japan case

Comment: This is a wonderful policy! Eco-point Program could serve as a model for other national governments seeking to rapidly transform their domestic sustainable retail markets.

 

UNI – wy2283

 

 

 

 

The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies

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Sustainability issue

Category: Energy

Currently, food waste makes up the largest share of what goes into U.S. landfills and 1/3 of the world’s food is wasted. While finding ways to prevent food waste is incredibly significant, having a way to keep the food from being wasted, in the end, is also very valuable. Keeping the waste out of landfills and instead of producing clean energy could go a long way to reducing our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.

Technology solution

  • The technique developed at Cornell University first utilizes hydrothermal liquefaction to essentially pressure cook the food scraps to make a bio-oil that can be refined into a biofuel.
  • The food waste that remains after removing the oil is a watery liquid.
  • This is fed to an anaerobic digester to convert the waste into methane over a few days. This two-step approach quickly produces a usable energy source that can be used to generate electricity or heat and doesn’t let any go to waste.
  • The aqueous product from hydrothermal processing is much better for bacteria in anaerobic digestion than using the raw biomass directly. Combining hydrothermal processing and anaerobic digestion is more efficient and faster.
  • Approximately, minutes in hydrothermal liquefaction and a few days in an anaerobic digester.

Stakeholder

  • Citizens
  • Municipal government
  • Companies in renewable and sustainable energy field

Implementation steps

Step 1: Introduce this technology to government, energy companies, and citizens and call for the awareness of issues.

Step 2: Set up pilot study at local communities and government facilities.

Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive system to encourage city and energy company to use this technology.

Source

https://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/new-technology-quickly-turns-food-waste-fuel.html

 

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Post: Timber Towers – Future of Construction

Comment: Cross-laminated timber sites are still hard to find in the country. Prefabricated slabs of cross-laminated timber, which form the framework of most timber buildings, are usually shipped in from Austria. And cross-laminated timber manufacturing isn’t sufficiently developed in France.

 

UNI – wy2283

 

 

New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

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Sustainability issue

Category: Energy

It is costly to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater in the aspect of electricity. However, a researcher Yang in the University of Central Florida has come up with a new hybrid nanomaterial that harnesses solar energy and uses it to generate hydrogen from seawater more cheaply and efficiently than current materials.

 

Technology solution

  • Yang developed a method of fabricating a photocatalyst composed of a hybrid material. Tiny nanocavities were chemically etched onto the surface of an ultrathin film of titanium dioxide, the most common photocatalyst.
  • Those nanocavity indentations were coated with nanoflakes of molybdenum disulfide, a two-dimensional material with the thickness of a single atom.
  • Typical catalysts are able to convert only a limited bandwidth of light to energy. With its new material, Yang’s team is able to significantly boost the bandwidth of light that can be harvested.
  • By controlling the density of sulfur vacancy within the nanoflakes, they can produce energy from ultraviolet-visible to near-infrared light wavelengths, making it at least twice as efficient as current photocatalysts.

 

Stakeholder

  • Consumers
  • Companies that concentrate in renewable and sustainable energy
  • Organizations that are related to the renewable energy
  • Government department which is responsible for energy

 

Implementation steps

Step 1: Introduce this technology by a variety of methods to the government, energy companies and citizens.

Step 2: Set up a workshop to show audience about the feasibility and market of the technology.

Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive system to encourage city and energy company to use this technology.

 

Source

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171004162013.htm

 

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Post: Don’t Waste Water: here is the smart way to keep your lawns Green!

Comment: The majority of the work is done through the Rachio mobile app, which guides you through a series of questions that, in theory, determine how much water your plants need. Come prepared with knowledge about what kind of vegetation is being watered, the soil type, sun exposure, and the slope of the land. Rachio crunches the numbers and figures out how long to run the system.

 

UNI – wy2283

 

Tractor-trailers without a human at the wheel

Sustainability issue1

Category: Self-driving truck

Each year there are thousands of truck accidents, leading to injuries and fatalities. And these accidents have a higher rate of fatalities due to the sheer size of their vehicles. And of all fatalities in semi-truck accidents, 98 percent of those deaths occur to the passengers in cars struck by trucks. Could a computer have done better at the wheel?

Technology solution

  • Uber released new footage and some images of its self-driving trucks, which reveal an updated look with some powerful new sensors.
  • The sensors are now embedded in the truck’s exterior, creating a more seamless look.
  • The addition of a new, spinning 64-channel LIDAR laser sensor on the roof indicates the trucks are operating on a more sophisticated autonomous system than the previous models.
  • The 64-channel spinning LIDAR array will help Uber improve its data collection. The LIDAR builds a very high-quality point cloud of its surroundings. So that really helps the software system make better decisions about what’s out there in the world and make better decisions.

Stakeholder

  • Consumers
  • Truck driving companies
  • Organizations that are related to the safety of truck driving
  • Government department which is responsible for the safety of truck driving

Implementation steps

Step 1: Introduce this new technology via a variety of methods to the government, energy companies and citizens.

Step 2: Set up the studio to show audience about the feasibility and potential market of the technology.

Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive system to encourage the truck driver to get involved with this technology.

Source

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/5/15924010/uber-otto-self-driving-truck-new-look-lidar

https://pstriallaw.com/trucking-accidents/facts-and-statistics/

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Post: Transit Signal Priority (TSP)

Comment: Helpful technology! The maintenance cost for the system is a relatively insignificant since that can be incorporated into the regular maintenance of transit vehicles and systems. In a demonstration project on busy Los Angeles County Metro bus lines, the Transit Signal Priority improved travel time savings by 25 percent and, on one line, increased overall travel speeds by 29 percent.

 

UNI – wy2283

Next-Generation Perovskite Solar Cells Healed with Light

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Sustainability issue

Category: Energy

Perovskite solar cells have revolutionized the field of thin-film photovoltaics in less than one decade. However, tiny defects in the crystalline structure of perovskites – called traps – can cause electrons to get stuck before their energy has been harnessed. The easier an electron can move around in a solar cell material, the more efficient that material will be at converting photons, or particles of light, into electricity. These so-called traps hamper the efficiency of the perovskite material.

A team of Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bath, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Delft University of Technology reports that these defects can be permanently healed by exposing it to light and just the right amount of humidity.

 

Technology solution

  • The team used techniques compatible with scalable roll-to-roll processes to print a perovskite-based device, but before the device was completed, they exposed it to light, oxygen and humidity.
  • Perovskites frequently start to degrade when exposed to humidity, but the team found that when humidity levels were between 40 and 50%, and the exposure was limited to 30 minutes, the perovskite did not degrade.
  • Once the exposure was complete, the remaining layers were deposited to finish the device.
  • When the light was applied to the material, electrons bound with oxygen, forming a superoxide that could very effectively bind to electron traps and prevent them from hindering electrons.
  • In the accompanying presence of water, the perovskite surface also gets converted to a protective shell. The shell coating removes traps from the surfaces but also locks in the superoxide, meaning that the performance improvements in the perovskites are now long-lived.

 

Stakeholder

  • Consumers
  • Utility companies
  • Organizations that are related to greenhouse gas and climate change
  • Energy companies that aim at the utilization of solar energy
  • Government department which is responsible for the city residency’s energy supply

 

Implementation steps

Step 1: Introduce this new technology via a variety of methods to the government, energy companies and citizens.

Step 2: Set up workshop and studio to show audience about the feasibility and potential market of the technology.

Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive system to encourage people to get involved with this technology.

 

Source

http://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(17)30021-1

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/low-cost-solar-cells-poised-commercial-breakthrough

https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=14450

 

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Post: IoT powered by wireless signals

Comment: One version of the called passive Wi-Fi, is being commercialized through a spin-off company, Jeeva Wireless. It allows battery-free devices connect with traditional devices such as computers and mobile phones by backscattering Wi-Fi signals. In tests, prototype passive Wi-Fi unit have beamed data as far as 100 feet and made connections through walls. Doing that requires changing the software of a Wi-Fi access point to generate an additional signal for passive Wi-Fi devices to use, very slightly increasing its power consumptions.

 

UNI – wy2283