Energy: Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, but solar energy is a readily accessible source of electricity generation. Solar panels, depending on the design and context of a structure, may not always be an option for curbing energy consumption from fossil fuels.
Over 30 billions tons of concrete are produced every year. Cement, main component of concrete, emits 0.8 tons of CO2 per ton of cement produced. This is about 7% of total global CO2 emissions. First source comes from CO2 released from limestone to produce lime. The second source is from lime and clay being heated to 1450 degrees celsius to make cement. UCLA research is trying to create a close loop process.
CO2 released from limestone to produce lime gets captured
Smog Free Project consists of a 7m tower that sucks in the pollution from the air and converts it into diamonds. The Smog Free Tower cleans 30.000m3 per hour without ozon, runs on green wind energy and uses no more electricity than a waterboiler (1400 watts). The prototype was successfully implemented in Rotterdam, and is soon being implemented by the government in China.
For most developing nations the cost of achieving development has to be paid by the environment. Using different technologies to offset or manage this cost is a good balance between the much needed development and the environmental sustainability. Doing this requires a different way of thinking and approaching the problem.
We already know about the smog problem in China. Smog is a problem for most other nations. The Smog Free Project uses technology to convert the problem to a product of great value.
Project developers (designers, architects and engineers)
Marketers and sellers
Citizens on that region/nation
International NGO’s (like the World Economic Forum)
Process of implementation:
The process of implementation will take a while. The pilot project was successful in Rotterdam. To take this forward will require multiple partnerships to work in tandem with successful implementation of technology. The article (and the videos) elaborate on the complexity of this problem in great detail.
The process in brief would include: Deploying these towers in strategic locations -> Converting the smog into diamonds -> Implementing other policy and technology initiatives that won’t hinder economic growth and would still help reduce pollution -> Create a market for these diamonds and jewelry (possibly use De Beers marketing tactics).
Health and Safety: Natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. Flooding and mega-storms were the leading cause of disaster from 2000-2010, and there is growing evidence that warming temperatures are increasing the destructive force of hurricanes. With increased likelihood and destruction of these super storms, there comes a need for better temporary housing.
This technology is addressing plastic waste pollution, by transforming used plastic into bricks. Plastic can take up to 500 years to biodegrade and 75% of plastic produced globally is in a landfill or not formally disposed of.