Sensors to measure and monitor water quality in real time

Technology:

Sensors made from gallium nitride can be placed in any body of water to deliver real-time, continuous monitoring of water quality.

Article: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/super-sensors-could-monitor-water-quality-around-world-real-time.html

and  http://www.sciencewa.net.au/topics/technology-a-innovation/item/4277-environmental-monitoring-to-surge-via-potential-super-sensors#k2Container

Sustainability challenge:

While tackling water problems around the world, it is very hard to get the right data at the right time to help speed up the decision making process to manage the water problems. Getting access to real time water data can help make better watershed management, water pollution and water supply decisions. Having data about the entire water system, rather than about specific points along the system, will also help tackle the water problem immediately.

Collecting the data regarding the water is currently a long and cumbersome process: You first physically collect the sample of water along certain specific points. You then take this to the laboratory and test the small sample for specific contaminants. This process only helps prove a hypothesis, it doesn’t throw light on the current situation without any assumptions.

Getting real time access to water quality data can be effective in any and all countries alike. Important steps can be taken by the authorities like the EPA, Water Corporation and Department of Water

Stakeholders:

  • Governments and Water (utility) departments
  • Researchers
  • Universities
  • Private companies working in sustainability and water management
  • Communities around critical water sources

Process of implementation:

The process needs to be customized for each water body in each region/country. An overall process flow that is necessary involves: Partnership with the government or respective utility department -> Invest in buying the sensors -> Deploy the sensors along the entire water system -> Track and monitor the data -> Use data to make relevant water system decisions

Some examples where I think this would be very relevant:

  1. Polluted water systems clean-up efforts: Like the Gowanus Canal or the Ganga river

Development around crucial water systems: Like the Ala Wai Canal in Hawaii or that entire watershed

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100% Leaf Plates

Sustainability Problem:

Plastic waste is a problem, because it takes hundred of thousands of years to degrade.

Technology:

Bowl is made out of a layer of leaves, a layer of water-proof leaf-made paper, and another layer of leaves. These layers are compressed with a machine press and the leaves are stitched together with palm fibers

Stakeholders:

  • Citizens of the world
  • Waste Management Facilities
  • Governments

Steps to Deployment:

  • Continue gathering support on Kickstarter
  • Advertise on Social Media

 

 

Solar Ivy: Photovoltaic Leaves

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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.

Technology Summary

Article – ‘Solar Ivy’ Photovoltaic Leaves Climb to New Heights http://inhabitat.com/solar-ivy-photovoltaic-leaves-climb-to-new-heights/

  • Designed by Brooklyn based SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology)
  • Thin-film material on top of polyethylene with a piezoelectric generator attached to each leaf.
  • Wind and solar power generating photovoltaic leaves can be easily integrated on the side of a building to produce energy
  • When the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, energy is being generated via Solar Ivy.
  • Easily mounted on a vertical wall due to its light weight.

Light-sourcing leaves move around and catch the sun from many directions

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Organizational Stakeholders

Potential Stakeholders include:

  • Architect/Designers
  • Product Manufacturers
  • Building Operators/Owners
  • Energy Industry

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Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Coordinate installations displaying viability of technology to investors/shareholders.
  • Forge partnerships with institutions, agencies, and building companies to secure funding
  • Expand scope and application of technology to maximize relevancy in marketplace.

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See also:

http://www.usgbc.org/articles/green-building-facts Building Energy Consumption

http://inhabitat.com/smits-grow2-project-new-solar-and-wind-solutions/ Photovoltaic Leaves

 

 

Organic mega flow battery

Sustainability Problem

Depleting fossil fuels and its consequent  environmental impacts on climate change means alternative sources of energy need to be found, and soon.

Technology

The organic mega flow battery is an economically feasible option for storing  energy. This is particularly useful for renewable technologies such as solar power and wind power which rely on sunlight and wind power. Essentially, the flow battery stores the excess energy generated from these technologies and is available when either sunlight or wind is unavailable. They are much more efficient than the traditional batteries used to store energy from wind and solar power.

Stakeholders

  • Energy companies and consultants
  • Energy consumers
  • Investors
  • Government

Implementation

  1. Conduct a pilot test and use it to complement one of the ongoing solar projects in a region- possibly Africa (Tanzania) which has abundant solar projects.
  2. Collect data analytics and present data in energy conferences to attract investors
  3. Collaborate with city governments and implement with an upcoming Smart City project.

Reference

http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2014/01/organic-mega-flow-battery-promises-breakthrough-for-renewable-energy

Playing for M.O.R.E. Energy

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Problem:

The increasing demand for energy is putting pressure on the entire energy system, as it has to keep with the rising levels of consumption. In a climate change context, this task results even more difficult because the increase in energy production has to come with a reduction in carbon emissions.

Technology:

Up.org has developed a kinetic energy technology called M.O.R.E. which basic idea is to turn movement into energy. In this first stage the technology is currently being commercialized in items like balls or jumping ropes, with which people can play while generating energy that they can use to charge their cellphones among other purposes.

Stakeholders:

  • Energy consumers.
  • Energy companies.
  • Countries´ governments.

Process:

The technology is in an early development stage. So far they have only been able to apply it in a small scale (for balls and ropes). By commercializing these initial products, and probably securing funds from other sources, up.org could improve the technology in order to apply in larger scale projects that could actually serve as some larger power generators.

http://uporg.co/pages/tech

Algae Scampi

NWF+shrimpProblem: Carbon emissions
People love to eat shrimp, but some estimates place their carbon impact as higher than even beef, mostly due to the destruction of natural habitats near shrimp farms.

Technology: Algae Shrimp

  • New Wave Foods has developed a highly realistic synthetic shrimp that is made out of algae, which is ubiquitous and solidly occupies a bottom rung on the food chain.
  • Algae needs only sunlight, water and CO2 to grow. In contrast shrimp are fed wild-caught fish. Producing 1 pound of shrimp is estimated to use up three pounds of fish.
  • Algae uses CO2 to perform photosynthesis, serving to convert carbon into useable, sequestered energy (food calories).
  • Scientists analyzed and mimicked the molecular structure of shrimp flesh in order to create a realistic substitute out of red algae.
  • The shrimp industry globally utilizes a lot of slave labor, particularly for removing the shells and appendages. Algae shrimp does not require anything preening, which could eliminate the worst labor practices.

Stakeholders:
Early adopters including Google’s cafeteria
New Wave Foods
Investors

Steps to implementation:
1) Run pilot at Google cafeteria.
2) Perform sustainability analysis of algae farms and production plants.
3) Develop campaign to fight misconceptions of algae as food.

Google’s Famous Kitchens May Serve Fake Shrimp Made of Algae

Worn Again: circular textile recycling technology for (almost) zero textile waste

1. Sustainability Problem: Textile waste

The U.S. EPA estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space.

While the EPA estimates that the textile recycling industry recycles approximately 3.8 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) each year, this only accounts for approximately 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in our landfills.

The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.

Decomposing clothing releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to global warming. There are dyes and chemicals in fabric and other components of clothing and shoes that can leach into the soil, contaminating both surface and groundwater.

2. Technology solution: Worn Again

Worn Again has been developing chemical recycling for over three years and through trials and lab experiments they are perfecting a process where solvents are used to selectively dissolve different types of textiles, recapturing them as a raw material, which can be used to make new clothes, thus being reintroduced into the supply chain as new. Within the Textile Sorting Project Worn Again is dedicated to achieving the shared goal of creating circular supply chains for textiles through collaboration and new technologies.

The tests for this new technology, which will be monitored by H&M and Puma, are built around separating and extracting polyester and cotton from blended fiber clothing. Another task will be to separate dyes and other particles from polyester and cellulose, which has always been a challenge when recycling. The raw materials that are recaptured can then be used to spin new fabric for clothes. This circular process will have an extremely positive effect on bringing down the need for virgin resources and as such reduces carbon emissions, as well as the use of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or exhaustion of land for growing crops.

Worn Again isn’t the first to develop a textile-to-textile technology. In 2014, Swedish scientists developed a process to recycle cotton by shredding clothes to pulp and turning the substance into threads of viscose. The company responsible for making the pulp is now preparing its first fabric-recycling factory and teaming up with several entrepreneurs in the textile industry.

The stakeholders

  • The product developer (Worn Again)
  • The subsidizing companies (H&M, Puma)
  • Local governments / NGOs to foster usage of this product

Deployment

  • The team is currently engaged in full time development of a circular recycling technology for the textile and clothing industry, working closely with its’ development partners, H&M and Kering Group’s Sports & Lifestyle brand Puma.
  • H&M and Puma have enough infrastructure to deploy the product worldwide with a strong marketing campaign. However, costs should be mitigated in order to make the products accessible and the process economically viable.
  • Consequently, support from NGOs and local governments is key to allow tax reduction on recycled clothing and recycling plant set-up in order to lower costs as present them as feasible alternatives.

Links