Smart Cities Empowered by Blockchain #BT2443

1) Sustainability Area(s): Covering all three sustainability pillars (economic, social, and environmental) direct and indirect way.

Inefficiency within public and private sectors causes an enormous amount of unsustainable issues including carbon footprint.

2) Sustainability Technology: Blockchain

– The technology shift could help cut its cost though transparency and optimization and security to all processes
-Improve government management, support urban planning, underpin the collaborative economy and contribute to sustainability policies
-Digitization of the systems that surround citizens of the cities
– Help avoid corruption and hierarchy
#waste #safety #health #energy #water #suplychainmanagement #economicdevelopment #transportation #smartcity #transperancy #cybersecurity #sustainable transportation, #public safety, #the environment, #thecirculareconomy, #smart buildings, #puplicprivatepartnership, etc
1. Stefan Junestrand, “How Can Blockchain Helps Smart cities,”
BVVA, 09, August 2017
2. Ronan O’Boyle, “Block capital: How blockchain could change planning,” The Planner, 06, January 2017
3. Nikhil Lohade “Dubai Aims to Be a City Built on Blockchain,” The Wallstreet Journal, April 24, 2017
3) Key Stakeholders and their role in the implementation:
-Government institutions
-Citizens of the cities

4) Steps Deploying Technology:
– Data collection
– Transfer existing data to blockchain as well as create a system for new information
– Optimize operations through blockchain using transferred data
-Build smart contracts





Sustainable Problem: Agriculture/Infrastructure/Public Safety Solutions by Drones with sensors part of the Energy and Waste, and Agricultural sectors


  • Sentera drone sensors deliver unrivaled performance and consistently beat competitors in price, quality and function. Sensors produce high-quality, context-rich color and near-infrared (NIR) image data to deliver unsurpassed NDVI data to growers.
  • The Sentera Double 4K is a small, fully customizable twin-imager sensor that is universally compatible with any UAV. Fitting in the footprint of a GoPro® HERO 4, the rugged, high-throughput Double 4K Sensor is designed for use in harsh environments with configuration options that make it ideal for use in agriculture and infrastructure inspection applications. Both cameras are capable of capturing high-megapixel color stills, near-infrared (NIR), and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, and 4K video.
  • The intelligence provided by this sensor makes it ideal for Universities, researchers, large growers, and advisors to provide high-precision, low-distortion vegetative health data tailored for unique applications.
  • Use the mobile app to document + precisely locate weeds, compaction, growth stages + more. Photos live with aerial data to give you a complete picture of your operation, top to bottom. Our iOS mobile app also allows you to autonomously fly a host of DJI products!


  • Sentera Company
  • Farmers/Agriculture sectors
  • Energy Companies/Sector
  • Universities
  • Community


  • Attract more investors for the drones and sensors from different sectors
  • Advertise all the different capabilities across all sectors of the drones and sensors emphasizing agriculture and infrastructure inspection applications
  • Train buyers in implementing the most sustainable solutions tailored to their needs



UNI: AV2698

Solar Paint

Sustainability Problem: Mass adoption of Clean Energy Alternative

It took 60 years (1840-1900) for coal to rise from supplying 5% of global energy to 50%, dethroning wood. Oil took another 50 years (1915-1965) to beat coal, rising from 5% to 40% and more recently from 1930 to 1985, Natural Gas rose from 5% to 25% of global energy supply. Given how long these transitions take, it is important to invent, develop and market technologies in clean energy for mass adoption – considering the pace at which the world is grappling to avert catastrophic climate change.

Solution: A team of researchers from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has developed a paint that can be used to generate clean energy.

  • They developed a new compound that sucks water vapor from the air – much like those humidity-absorbing packets of silica gel one can find in many consumer products. But unlike silica, the new material (synthetic molybdenum-sulphide) also acts as a semiconductor and water-splitting catalyst, meaning that it takes water molecules and separates them into oxygen and hydrogen, a clean fuel source.
  • The compound is made more effective when mixed with titanium oxide, a white pigment often found in house paint, which makes it easily applicable to a wide range of buildings – converting a brick wall into energy harvesting and fuel producing real estate.
  • This paint is likely to be effective in a variety of climates, from damp environments to hot and dry ones near large bodies of water.
  • It can be used to cover areas that wouldn’t get enough sunlight to justify the placement of solar panels, maximizing the solar output. With this paint any surface can be painted — a fence, a garage, or a doghouse and transformed into an energy-producing structure.

Stakeholders: Policy makers (Green Building Codes), Real Estate Contractors, Paint Manufacturers and typically any home/office owner.

Deployment: Before the paint gets commercially viable in next five years:

  • Paint manufacturers will have to collaborate with researchers to understand the technology and start aligning their manufacturing lines
  • Policy plays a significant role in any city dynamics – effort should begin to include such paint in any new building codes including retrofit codes
  • Awareness – researchers, paint industry (upstream and downstream) and government agencies should create awareness among residential and commercial building owners – not an expensive paint to use as an alternative, generates clean and cheap energy, an easy to use – mass adoption solution!


Connecting the World Through LoRa


  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy, Water, Waste, Civic Engagement, Safety and Health
  2. Technology: Semtech LoRa technology is a wireless, silicon microchip with long-range and low-power features for Internet of Things (IoT) operating under the LoRaWAN protocol developed by the LoRa Alliance – an open, non-profit organization. Through the LoRaWAN standards-based approach to building a LPWAN (low-power wide area network), quick public or private IoT networks can be accessed through the creation of gateways with end-devices such as LoRa, that are bi-directionally secure, mobile, and localized. These chips work through a spread-spectrum strategy to transmit at a variety of frequencies and data rates, connecting to other chips to create nodes which are then connected to gateways. These chips can be added to any device for connectivity to address issues such as water, energy and agricultural monitoring, as well as home security and hazard detection.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • Government for smart city development and community needs.
    • Industrial companies and their investors and employees that can benefit from monitoring carbon emissions, water/energy usage and waste management in order to cut spending, increase productivity and contribute to sustainability efforts.
    • Anything from schools, fleet and asset management, healthcare, to retail.
    • Households with children or elderly that are worried about safety.
  4. First 3 steps in deployment: 
    1. LoRa microchips are already on the market but marketing efforts should be increased for companies and cities to adopt this platform, in order to increase engagement of data collection for sustainability.
    2. Be strategic in deployment, ensure modernized network and management tools for non-stop information flow.
    3. With the microchips already in place, networks assessments to guarantee accuracy and security in case of cyber-attacks.

Geothermal Earth Tubes

Geothermal Earth Tubes Shown on the Right

The Problem
A lot of energy is wasted in office buildings after hours to try to keep the temperature in the building at an optimum temperature especially just before workers enter in the morning. Using energy during the night is wasteful and cooling and heating units produce GHGs that are harmful to the climate.

Technology: Geothermal Earth Tubes
The technology takes advantage of the difference in temperature between the ground and air. In winter, the ground is typically warmer than the air and the opposite is true for the summer. Since these tubes are in contact with the ground, they acquire the same temperature. During a cold night, cold air is sucked into these tubes and it travels through the ground, it slowly absorbs heat from the tube and ground and finally, the tube delivers the air to the building and provides heat, as well as fresh air and circulation. This technology does require maintenance to remove dust accumulated from outside. Also, monitoring technology is needed to control temperature levels and flow.

Cooling Air in the Summer

Residents and companies in areas where a constant need for heating or cooling is present. Manufacturers of sensors used, construction companies as well as concrete suppliers. Electricity provider who might see their revenues fall.

Next Steps
Market this new technology as futuristic and taking advantage of natural phenomenas that promote reduction of GHG emissions by humans. Promote use of earth tubes with construction companies to utilize time efficiency with installation process (These can easily be installed while construction in place). 

By: Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098)

Resources used:

Community-based parking

1) Sustainability Problem:

Persistent inefficiency as drivers seeking parking can not be matched with available supply.
However, ICT-based systems connecting users, vehicles (V2X) and infrastructure can increase transportation system efficiency. In this particular case, employing the automated parking sensors on vehicles traversing the city is an innovative way to use the fleet to collect real-time data about available spaces. This obviates the need for parking detection hardware on street lamps or embedded in the pavement.
Category: Mobility

2) Technology Summary:

Article: Work together, park faster with community-based parking
Website: Bosch
Tags: #smart parking

3) Organizational stakeholders

  1. automotive manufacturers
  2. IoT sensor manufacturers
  3. ICT regulators
  4. privacy advocates

4) Steps in deploying this technology

  1. identify lowest cost, highest performance sensor equipment
  2. mandate lidar & camera technology inclusion for all new vehicles
  3. establish privacy/cyber requirements to allow new data streams to be fully leveraged
  4. develop easy, highly usable UX/UI for drivers to combat learning curve and slow adoption issues
Related Resources:

Uni: jz2805

Blockchain Technology for Food Security

Sustainability problem:

Every year, hundreds of thousands of deaths are attributed to food contamination. Because a supply chain is extremely complex, it is lengthy and costly to identify the source of contamination, which leads to illness, food waste and costly financial losses.

Food traceability is, therefore, a crucial challenge to be tackled in working towards sustainable development and specifically SGD goal #2 – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.


IBM has partnered with global companies Nestle, Unilever and Tyson Foods to integrate its block chain technology platform into their supply chains.

Blockchain technology allows transactions to be permanently recorded and easily traced within a business network. Groups of transactions are blocked together and, what IBM calls a ‘fingerprint’ of that block is then added to the next block. In addition, since no transaction can be altered without being recorded by the entire network, the data is secure and accurate.

In the context of food supply chain, Blockchain would allow to quickly and accurately follow the origin of goods. When cases of contamination arise, it would also allow to identify with certainty the origin of contaminated foods and track them while reducing other food wastes.


  • Farmers
  • Processors
  • Distributors
  • Retailers
  • Consumers
  • Governments
  • United Nations


  • IBM must develop partnerships with companies interested in adopting the technology for their supply chain
  • Identify stakeholders in supply chain
  • Provide secure access to the platform to all stakeholders
  • Deploy trainings on technology


Breath Brick (2015 R&D Award Innovative Architecture)

Break Brick

  • Sustainability Problem:

Effects of air pollution cause 3.3 million premature deaths each year[1] and majority of household pollutants are due to domestic fire for cooking and/or heating homes. The aforementioned are acquit in developing densely populated cities – Beijing, Manila, Nairobi, Cairo, etc.  Access to air filtration systems are limited to a variety of  issues, but the most common are socio-economic and infrastcture.

Category: Clean Air, Energy Efficiency, Energy Savings, Infrastructure, Innovative, Sustainability


  • Breathe brick is a porous concrete module that forms an air-filtration façade. Pulls in air and separates heavy particles and drops them to collection bin at bottom of the façade. Filter can separate 30% of fine particles and 100% of coarse particles.
  • Simple inexpensive framework, brick and coupler. Coupler are manufactured from recycled materials and can take on most structural forms.  
  • Breathe brick system can operate as active (integrated into existing HVAC system) or passive as independent system.
  • Breath brick is electric free.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 2.17.04 PM Breathebrick03


Organizational Stakeholder:

  • California Polytechnic State University – School of Architecture
  • Homeowner (especially no access to electricity, densely populated cities developing countries, and governments interest in reducing air population)


Next steps for deployment:

  • Waiting for patent approval
  • Refining design to expand to alternative modular forms
  • Regulatory approval in several development nations as sustainable and clean technology product
  • Funding for production




Reducing GHG in NYC Through Organics Collection

Article Thumbnail

1) Sustainability Problem: Organic waste in NYC

Category: Waste

2) Technology

NYC produces 14 million tons of waste every year. The single largest segment of this waste is organic refuse which releases methane gas through decomposition. In response, the city has launched a multi million dollar campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and landfill reliance by turning food scraps and yard waste into compost. The upshot is that the methane released through decomposition can be harnessed and used for fuel through the same technology we currently use to treat wastewater.

  • In 2013, NYC began handing out brown counter top buckets and large outside bins to collect organic waste. This is expected to apply to all residents by the end of 2018.
  • Organics are collected via curbside pickup on a weekly basis and trucked to a waste transfer station where compostables are separated from contaminants.
  • Compostables are then transferred to a composting site or aerobic digestion facility.
  • The city is exploring ways to retrofit wastewater treatment plants to harness the methane gas (already a byproduct of wastewater treatment) released by food waste.
  • National Grid is planning a 30 million dollar system for the Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility in Brooklyn to harness the methane and use it to heat NYC by the end of 2018.

3) Organizational Stakeholders:

  • NYC Government
  • NYC Residents
  • NYC Businesses
  • NYC Waste Management
  • Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility
  • National Grid

4) Deployment:

  • NYC implements brown bin organic waste collection across all city residences and businesses on a compulsory basis.
  • NYC supplies trucks and personal to collect organic waste and truck it to partnering waste transfer stations and antibiotic digestion facilities.
  • National grid rolls out compost methane-capture systems in wastewater treatment plants around NYC.


Rueb, Emily. How New York is Turning Food Waste into Compost and Gas. New York Times. June 2, 2017.


Fire brick Resistance-heated Energy Storage

Firebricks offer low-cost storage for carbon-free energy

Sustainable Issue: Energy storage/Efficiency

Technology: Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have drawn from an ancient technology as their latest solution for enabling rapid expansion of wind, solar and nuclear power. Heat-storing firebricks could be used to level electricity prices for renewables.


The researchers’ idea is to make use of excess electricity produced when demand is low — for example, from wind farms when strong winds are blowing at night — by using electric resistance heaters, which convert electricity into heat. These devices would use the excess electricity to heat up a large mass of firebricks, which can retain the heat for long periods if they are enclosed in an insulated casing. Later, the heat could be used directly for industrial processes, or it could feed generators that convert it back to electricity when the power is needed. The potential usefulness of FIRES is a new phenomenon has brought about by the rapid rise of intermittent renewable energy sources, and the peculiarities of the way electricity prices are set.


The firebrick, insulation, and other storage components are like high-temperature firebrick industrial recuperates. The ceramic firebrick is used because of its low cost and durability, while also having large sensible heat storage capabilities. If one allows a 1000 °C temperature range from cold to hot temperature, the heat storage capacity is ∼0.5–1 MWh/m3. Storage capacity of FIRES is governed by the sensible heat capable of being stored in a volume of material over a chosen temperature range (minimum and maximum temperatures). The chosen temperature range and material will be determined by the needs of the industrial process. More firebrick will store more energy.

Stake Holders:

  • Manufacturing units
  • Public/ Government body
  • Commercial building users
  • Utilities
  • Communities

Deployment / Implementation:

Step one: Showcase the reliability of the technology to the public and private entities. Attract more investors and spread awareness about the usage to this technology.

Step two: Set up some full-scale prototype units to prove the principles in real-world conditions.

Step three: Find companies that could use this technology in their buildings to demonstrate the efficiency of the technology.


Comment on another post 

Solar Paint by Drb2171

I think Solar Paint could be the latest breakthrough in Renewable Energy. This may sound like a new kind of solar panel, but it’s a completely different technology, and one that should prove to be far less costly than the use solar panels to harvest energy. The paint that covers our home can be a source of clean energy.

UNI: SN2754