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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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

Energy from Radio Waves

  1. Sustainability Problem

Energy: Global energy demand is at an unsustainable rate. At this rate, the world will lock itself in an insecure, inefficient, and high-carbon energy system. Thus, innovations are needed to produce energy without consumption of non-renewable energy source. Free volt technology can be a solution to such a problem.

Source: https://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2011/november/the-world-is-locking-itself-into-an-unsustainable-energy-future.html

  1. Technology

Article: Charging gadgets using THIN AIR: Freevolt captures radio waves to wirelessly power small devices

By Victoria Woollaston

  • Freevolt transforms energy in signals from TV, Wi-Fi and mobile networks into a current that can be harvested by devices
  • The harvester is capable of absorbing energy from multiple RF bands at almost any orientation
  • The design is scalable and can be used with wearables, sensors, or fitted into large-scale buildings
  1. Organizational Stakeholders
  • Drayson Technologies
  • Imperial College London
  • General Public
  • Investors
  1. Implementation
  • Lord Paul Drayson from Drayson Technologies developed Freevolt with support from Imperial College London
  • Drayson Technologies will license out Freevolt for big partners and a Freevolt developer kit for do-it-yourself customers
  • The first device that will make use of Freevolt technology was already launch in November 2015

Source: http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2015/09/freevolt-perpetual-free-rf-energy-harvesting-to-power-the-internet-of-things/

 

CO2NCRETE – Researchers turn carbon dioxide into sustainable concrete

Sustainability Problem:

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.

Technology:

  • CO2 released from limestone to produce lime gets captured
  • CO2 is then separated from gas stream by membrane
  • CO2 is integrated into building material

Stakeholders:

  • Citizens
  • Government
  • Construction Companies

Steps to Deploy Technology:

  1. Develop scalable technique for 3D-printing
  2. Integrate all processes into a pilot facility
  3. Optimize process parameters

 

 

 

 

Starbons produced from waste biomass outperform conventional solid-state carbon capture materials

1. Sustainability Problem

Energy and climate: in order to mitigate the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels, power plants capture carbon dioxide from flue gases for permanent storage or alternative uses. Amine-based and other liquid absorption methods are complex and have a high parasitic energy load (considerable energy is required to regenerate the material), so there is a need for highly efficient solid absorption materials.

2. Technology Article Summary

Article:
York chemists lead breakthrough in carbon capture

Published 7/04/2016 on University of York News at http://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2016/research/starbons-carbon-capture/

  • Scientists at the University of York have developed a method for producing mesoporous carbon materials from waste biomass.
  • The process involves the carbonization of polysaccharides by heating to high temperatures – creating materials which selectively bind CO2 from a gas stream, and are easily regenerated under vacuum.
  • The properties of the “starbons” produced differ depending on the temperature and time applied to the biomass.
  • Some starbons capture as much as 65% more carbon dioxide than conventional activated carbon.

3. Organizational Stakeholders

Starbons have already been commercialized for other applications, such as catalysis and chromatographic separations, but are not yet available for carbon capture. Stakeholders in this process will include:

  • Researchers
  • Starbon Technologies
  • Owners and managers of power plants

4. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • UoY researchers and Starbon Technologies: characterize the optimal material, and commercially produce a starbon for carbon capture
  • Power plants with solid-state carbon capture: phase in starbon to replace activated carbon
  • Power plants with liquid-state carbon capture: investigate opportunities to redesign carbon capture systems to incorporate solid capture materials

See also:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201602226/full for the recent research paper.

http://www.starbon-technologies.com/ for information on the company and other applications of starbons.

 

Online Body Measurements to Reduce Energy Use

fits-me_4demo

Problem: Textile and Energy Waste due to Improper Body Measurements  

Online retailers use a lot of energy when it comes to shipping and reshipping items that don’t fit their customers properly or due to material quality satisfaction, and or customer’s just not liking what is sent to them. These items are returned or even thrown away by the customer, ending up in landfills- increasing textile waste.

Technology: 10 awesome innovations changing the future of fashion” by Melissa Breyer

A new technology promotes “smart” online shopping, which has the potential to reduce returned items, minimizing shipping energy and limiting waste. The companies, MyShape and Fits Me, have developed a patented technology that matches shopper with items that correspond to their personal measurements and style preferences. The latter even has a virtual fitting room with a shape-shifting robotic mannequin that mimics your personal body shape so that it can find an exact size and fit. This technology has found success at online German retailer, Quelle, which saw returns reduced by up to 28%, saving energy and money.

Stakeholders:

Smart online shopping tech engineers/designers

MyShape and Fits Me designers

Technological partners

Investors

Fashion designers

Online clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced

Fits Me and MyShape both appear to be European companies, and in order for it to have an even bigger impact, it must be introduced to the US market, which has a big influence in the fashion industry

Smart online shopping connects both fashion and technology. In order for this specific kind of engineering to take flight, there should be promotion and marketing geared towards students and designers who would be interested in furthering this field

Sources:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/10-awesome-innovations-changing-future-fashion.html

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Fit Origin

Comprehensive Healthcare Staff Culture Survey

By Niall Wallace
Edited by: Michael Diamond
July 5, 2016
Source: http://infectioncontrol.tips/2016/07/05/comprehensive-healthcare-staff-culture-survey/

A. Sustainability Problem

Many initiatives of safety and quality improvement to prevent and control hospital-acquired infections have failed. They have been unmeasurable or have ignored clinical outcomes.

Culture often determines and limits strategic planning efforts in large complex organizations. Organizational culture enacts extreme resistance to efforts at changing policy and practice.  Organizational dynamics and structures prevent improvement at multiple levels of analysis: the industry, the institution, the department. Therefore, quality and safety interventions aimed at changing collective work practices are unlikely to be sustained beyond the intervention period itself.

To get at the root of the infection issue, it is necessary to approach the culture of the hospital, on a unit-by-unit basis, to really understand what hospitals are up against in order to design and implement strategy.

To this end, Infonaut has developed a software – Risk, Behavior and Culture Assessment – that involves participating staff taking online survey.

B. Technology Stakeholders

Hospital and its participating staff: Physicians, Physicians’ Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical, Nurses, Radiology Technologists, Other Technologists, Aides

C. Implementation

First: Focus on psychological processes of the individual, rather than the normative behavior of the group. Review the key psychological principles that govern the cognition and behavior of individuals.   

Second: Target specific behaviors among staff by levering the survey results which provide a foundation for quality and safety interventions.  A focus on the individual, rather than the group, can change patient safety behavior on the hospital’s front lines.

Third: Using the survey model, draw a broad set of theories and principles concerned with changing the behavior of the individual, rather than trying to redirect the herd.  In contrast to efforts toward change directed at groups of people, individual behaviors can be highly receptive to change.

Fourth: Use the survey and assessment to highlight the challenges the individual faces to improve quality and safety and then, highlight those interventions that will be the most successful, based on the culture of the unit.

Fifth: Invite front-line staff to participate anonymously to help identify the challenges facing hospitals, to enact the change needed for improving patient safety. Invite clinical staffs to complete the Risk, Behavior and Culture Survey developed by Infonaut who built into the software an incentive feature to motivate and award stakeholders up to 1.25 hours of professional continuing education credits.

Sixth: Use the results to identify both obstacles and opportunities for introducing specific interventions on a unit-by-unit basis. The survey model serves as an instrument to learn about clinical staff perceptions of their information use habits and norms, and perceptions of patient safety and the role of management.

Seventh: Present to staff the results of these measures which act as a baseline measure for interventions targeting staff attitudes and dynamics. The survey specifically measures:

1. Unit attitudes to patient safety;

2. Unit capacity-to-learn as a group;

3. Unit information culture; and

4. Personal perception of risk.

Eighth: Follow-up retesting after a set period (i.e. a year) to determine measureable change in culture based on the effective interventions and relationships.

D. Benefits of the Technology

Infonaut is useful for solving the challenge of deadly hospital infection through their proprietary real-time surveillance, analytics and behavior improvement platform. Data sets of population health, public health, data-warehousing and privacy were referenced to develop innovative platforms that use the power of location technology, and B.I. systems for disease and infection surveillance.

E. References:

1. http://infectioncontrol.tips/2016/07/05/comprehensive-healthcare-staff-culture-survey/#_edn4

2. http://www.infonautinc.com/

3. http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/675390.pdf