The Hydro-Micro Grid!

Sustainability issue – energy and renewables

Electricity is the backbone of development. Nevertheless, the current gird is firmly based on fossil fuels. additionally the grid’s design is decades old. If we wish to successfully transition to a cleaner and smarter grid and mitigate climate change we need innovative solutions…


The solution – hydro-micro grid


  • LucidEnergy is an American company based in Portland that creates hydro-turbines for municipal water pipes.
  • Many cities receive their water from remote and elevated locations. When gravity “powered” water flows towards a city, strong pressure (i.e., water speed) builds up in the pipes –  LucidEnergy harnesses this power by installing pipes with an intergrated micro-turbine.
  • The system is scalable and can generate between 18kw to 100kw based on the diameter of the pipe system and the flow rate.
  • The power generated can be sold to a 3rd party (e.g., a utility company via a P3). Anticipated return over the investment is 10 years.
  • The solution has been tested successfully in Portland, Oregon and Riverside, California.
  • The company is currently working on the 2nd generation of its LucidPipe turbine design, “which will significantly increase power output, operate across a wider range of pipe sizes and flows and significantly reduce capital cost”.

20130322 LucidPipe - bluehouse 08 EDIT reduced.jpeg


  • Municipalities
  • Water utilities
  • Electric utilities
  • Army bases, universities and any entity that owns its own water (pipes) infrastructure


Step 1 – The company should finish developing LucidPipe 2.0

Step 2 – The company should begin partnering with municipalities and key stakeholders – first as pilots then as contracts.

Step 3 – The company should expand its operations, ideally to countries that are undertaking a lot of infrastructure projects (e.g., China and India) and look into the possibility of opening manufacturing facilities there.

Company Website – Link


Link to comment –

Light-manipulating algae could boost solar power technology



Sustainability Problem: Energy

Sustainability Technology:

A study done by a research team from Yale, Princeton, and Lincoln University have discovered that diatoms, single-celled alga with silica walls, can be used to boost the efficiency of solar cells.

The single-celled organism can be found easily in nature, thus making it inexpensive to acquire.

This system is cost-effective by replacing the conventional solar cells.

The diatoms are placed in an organic solar cells’ active layer,



Scientists/ researchers/ engineers

Solar Panel Companies

Deployment of the technology:

1. Finalize the thickness of algae to place in the solar cells’ active layer

2. Research opportunities for using different types of algae

3. Reach out to solar panel companies




Water from thin (but humid) air!

Sustainability problem

Water security (both quality and quantity)

The problem

Water is not only necessary to survive, but it is also a fundamental building block of a decent quality of life. Nevertheless, nearly 800 million people do not have water security (link).  Fresh water, which includes safe drinking water, account for less than 4% of all the water of the plant (link). Moreover, these water bodies are localized and accesses to them is limited. In short, there is an urgent need for potable water in many parts of the world. On the other hand, air is very abundant….

The solution – Water from air!


  • Water-Gen is a Israeli company that produces a line of Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) and de-humidifing products.
  • The units only require electricity to operate. The company’s largest generator can  produce up to 6,000 liters per day. Standard operating conditions are 26.7°C and 60% Relative Humidity.
  • The company claims its solutions are ideal for cities in developing countries and has identified 12 cities (ranging from Jakarta, Indonesia to Salvador, Brazil) that can greatly benefit from the technology, which can be integrated into existing buildings,
  • One of the nice features about the water generators is that their optimal operating period (when humidity peaks) is at night (when electricity demand is low).



  • Individuals in developing countries with poor access to water
  • Individuals in developed countries who live in areas with contaminated water (e.g., Flint, Michigan)
  • Army and Science facilities that are “off the grid”.


Step 1 – Partner with cities, organizations and countries that are in need for humanitarian aid  for pilot programs to increase public awareness.

Step 2 –  continue to improve the product and make it more “renewable energy friendly”, which will increase its attractiveness for communities with poor access to electricity.

Step 3- Expand operations and open additional factories that will allow the company to reach economies of scale, which will lower the product’s price.


Company website – Link


Comment on A Bay Area Startup Spins Lab-Grown Silk (JANEVAMORFAW):

Thats is a very cool idea with great potential. I hope that the company will be able to cheaply produce enough “silk” and have a global presence so that they will be able to bring about a real change.

Two things stand out to me in this technology: 1) Is the farming of the planets the company extracts sugar from sustainable and are these plants widely available?  2) Can the company bring the technology to a sufficient scale so that it can “move the needle” and meaningfully make the apparel industry more sustainable?

Route Optimization Software for Waste Management

1) Sustainability Problem:

In 2014, in the United States, about 258 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste were generated. ( In addition to the environmental impact of the waste itself, the waste has to be hauled and carted to landfills or recycling facilities. This is performed by heavy-duty trucks which produce significant pollution per mile.
Category: Energy/Water & Waste Management

2) Technology Summary:

Route optimization software can ensure that fleet operators are driving the minimum necessary distance to efficiently pickup and deliver waste to the appropriate intermediate facility.
From the article:

Joe Burkel, vice president of digital operations and process improvement at Republic Services, estimates that a one percent reduction in total fleet miles traveled can save more than 631,000 gallons of fuel. The carbon emissions savings from that would be equivalent to removing 1,400 cars from the roads, he says.

Article: How Some Hauler Routines Have Been Transformed by Technology
Website: Waste360
Tags: #waste #route optimization

3) Organizational stakeholders

  1. City councils
  2. Procurement officials in each municipality
  3. Waste management officials
  4. Software vendors

4) Steps in deploying this technology

  1. Establish SOW’s and service contracts with route optimization software vendors
  2. Establish data integration & data governance protocols for incoming data streams into municipal data warehouse
  3. Work with drivers unions to get buy-in on relying on new technology for their operations
  4. Measure and evaluate software effectiveness in mileage reduced and iterate on route tweaks

Related Resources:

Note: This software is extensible into all fleet operations, including school buses and all other service operations.

Uni: jz2805

Smart Fishing Technology

crab boat2

Blue Ocean Gear, a participant of the Ocean and Clean Technology Program in Nova Scotia was selected as a round one winner for the Blue Solutions Startup Challenge. The company focuses on making smart commercial fishing gear that minimizes wild life entanglements and energy savings for boat operators by providing them with real time data on catches and equipment. This benefits all the stakeholders involved such as the operators, fisheries, environmentalist, consumers and governing agencies. The technology is fairly simple and off the shelf, and has already been deployed in the industry. It works by having the gear trap cages send a signal up to the buoys that they’re full and then a signal is sent to the operators via an app. This allows for the operator to save on fuel cost by not having to blindly travel to pick up possibly empty cages. The gear also notifies operators of possible marine life entanglements so that could alert the proper rescue agencies to save the wildlife. Another feature is that the gear provides retrieval information data for lost gear which saves on lost gear costs.

By Octavio Franco


Reply to Pablo Mandiola’s “Elevated Bike Path to Fight Congestion”

This is an interesting concept that has been adopted in the past for buses and light rail congestion in some cities. I’m not certain what the data suggested concerning its success or failure, but it seems like a good solution.



A greenhouse that lets you produce crops and electricity simultaneously

  1. Sustainability Problem: Food production will continue to be an exigent issue tied with population growth. The development of greenhouses has been revolutionary, but they are expensive to install and operate. Soliculture provides a sustainable solution that creates clean energy and optimizes growing practices.
  2. The LUMO technology commercialized by Soliculture and Solaria Corporation utilizes the Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs) to enhance light quality by converting green light to red light. The optimized light spectrum enhances power production from the solar panels and facilitates plant growth. Other features are as follows:
    • Reduces capital cost of installation – from solar energy incentives and grants
    • Offsets electricity bill with sustainable solar energy production
    • No harm on plants and energy production – positive effects on plant growth
    • Land use efficiency – co-producing crops and electricity
    • Energy monitoring with user-friendly online software


Soliculture | Innovative Technology

This solar greenhouse could change the way we eat | UCSC NewsCenter

Solar greenhouses generate electricity and grow crops at the same time, UC Santa Cruz study reveals | UCSC NewsCenter

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Citizens around the world
    • Urban farms
    • Agriculture industry
    • Energy Markets
    • Energy Industry
    • Building contractors and architects
    • Groceries and supermarkets
  2. Next steps:
    • Do a feasibility study and engage with stakeholders to improve relations
    • Reach an agreement on costs and economic outlook
    • Initiate pilot-scale project through government funding


By: Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618

Comment on Conserving water, one shower at a time.:

“This is an innovative technology that building contractors should really think about when equipping shower heads in accommodation units. The technology does not only saves water but also saves money through savings on water/utility bill. The website even has a feature to count your annual savings!”

Print Your Own City: 3D printed furniture from plastic waste

Problem: plastic waste (it is estimated that Amsterdam residents generate 23 kg of plastic waste per person annually)


  • Rotterdam-based studio The New Raw is turning household plastic waste into furniture for public spaces
  • Household plastic, including plastic shopping bags, can be melted into a base product for large-scale 3D printing
  • They have also launched a campaign called “Print Your City!” to redesign urban spaces, whereby communities’ own collected plastic can be used to make the same furniture used in their community
  • The annual plastic waste from two people is enough to produce one bench such as their prototype – the XXX bench (in collaboration with Actual,  who specialize in large-scale bio-based 3D printing).


ArticleThis brilliant project turns plastic waste into 3D-printed benches for Amsterdam

Link: The New Raw – Print Your City! 

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 4.07.30 PM


  • city residents – who have the opportunity to design their own pieces of furniture for public spaces
  • municipalities and city governments
  • business owners around public spaces which are prime sites for urban rejuvenation

First 3 steps in deploying this technology: 

  1. Public awareness & engagement for design ideas
  2. Collect plastic from recycling depots
  3. Design furniture


Poultry waste to energy

Problem: While biomass accounts for 73 percent of renewable energy production worldwide, crops grown for energy production burden land, water and fertilizer resources. Also, environmentally safe disposal of poultry excrement has become a significant problem.


A new study shows that turkey excrement may have a future as a fuel for heat and electricity. Treated excrement from turkeys, chickens and other poultry, when converted to combustible solid biomass fuel, could replace approximately 10 percent of coal used in electricity generation, reducing greenhouse gases and providing an alternative energy source. Converting poultry waste to solid fuel, a less resource-intensive, renewable energy source is an environmentally superior alternative that also reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

The researchers have compared the production, combustion and gas emissions of biochar, which is produced by slow heating of the biomass at a temperature of 450°C (842°F) in an oxygen-free furnace with hydrochar. Hydrochar is produced by heating wet biomass to a much lower temperature of up to 250 °C under pressure using a process called hydrothermal carbonization (HTC).

The researchers found that poultry waste processed as hydrochar produced 24 percent higher net energy generation. Since poultry waste hydrochar generates heat at high temperatures and combusts in a similar manner to coal, it can replace it as a renewable energy source.

Researchers also showed that higher HTC production temperatures resulted in a significant reduction in emissions of methane (CH4) and ammonia (NH3) and an increase of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Thus, treated poultry waste could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation and agricultural wastes.


  • Poultry farm owners
  • Biomass handling agencies
  • Biofuel consumers: companies, government agencies, individuals


  • Further assessment with hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) reactor should be conducted to confirm the assessments from this laboratory-scale study
  • Collaboration with poultry farm owners for collection of poultry waste and then treating it for generating renewable energy



Comments on other blogs:

Keeping Cool with Smart Glass

Interesting! This glass can also be used in automobiles too, especially for roof tops!

The RS-360 – Water Leak Detection

1) Sustainability Problem – Water Management

2) Technology – the RS-360 is a wireless expandable system designed for localized leak detection for multi-floor facilities. In the event of a leak, it detects and shuts off the water supply, using dual sensors that detect leaks or temperature dips; an audible alarm is then sounded.

A customizable cellular SMS text message is sent in the event of a detection (by the SensorSays accessory, which is part of the system. There is also the option of relaying the message via an Auto Dialer, which is also available for land line-generated phone call notifications.

The RS-360 also has a/an

  • 100′ wireless signal range between the wireless sensors and receiver; each system can accommodate up to 78 additional sensors
  • Closed-loop RF system, which keeps the system working even when power and Wi-Fi are lost
  • Remote manual valve override control
  • Onboard battery backup providing up to 48 hours of ongoing protection during a power outage;



3) Organizational Stakeholders

  • Government Agencies
  • Real Estate/Property Managers
  • Educational Institutions
  • Hotels/other commercial buildings


4) Deployment of technology – 3 Steps

  • Assess buildings
  • Procure hardware and proceed with installation
  • Make provision for technical support and institute a System Maintenance log


5) Comment on ” Conserving water, one shower at a time” by AGATHETECH ()

Nebia has 10 precision-tuned nozzles that atomize water into millions of microdrops which hydrate skin far better than ordinary showers.



Plastic Roads

Sustainability Problem: 

Roads laid with asphalt are unsustainable, brittle and they contribute over 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide around the world each year.

Solution: Roads made from recycled plastic are stronger, greener and maintenance-free

  • It takes less time to lay than asphalt
  • Durability is likely to be three times higher
  • Plastic is compressed into prefabricated sheets, which are easy to transport and install on site
  • Each sheet is recyclable and replaceable – making it very easy to maintain roads
  • These sheets are light weight and hallow, can suck in water to avoid flooding and allow plumbing and cable installations underneath

Stakeholders: City municipality, road contractors, manufacturers of prefabricated plastic sheets, academia and scientific researchers involved in further evolving this technology

Deployment: This technology is tried and tested in couple of cities mainly in Netherlands, UK and the US

  • Draw experience from the cities where this technology is already adopted
  • City municipality to engage with manufactures of prefabricated sheets and road contractors to understand the feasibility and scale of deployment
  • Start with changing asphalt roads with this technology in parks, local communities before moving to main city roads or highways. This will help in testing the durability, traffic load and also creating awareness


Comment on other post: