Technology Enabling the Circular Use of Textiles

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 14.08.44
Sustainability issue:

According to Evrnu, it takes over 700 gallons of water to produce a cotton-shirt. A large problem in this water use is the amount of water needed to irrigate the crop. However, the manufacturing process also requires water. Rather than recycling these water-intensive textiles and developing a circular economy for textiles, much of it goes to waste. For example, the U.S. wastes 12 million tons of textile waste each year.

  • Evrnu has created a patent that takes old garments, shreds them, break down the molecules, and engineers a new fiber.
  • The fiber can be used to create new premium garments. In doing so, the technology would create a diversion in the supply and life cycle chain of textile garments.
  • Evrnu assumes that a typical life-cycle of the textile is as follows: farm ->yarn -> fabric -> dye -> cut & sew -> retailer -> customer -> landfill. Evrnu could work with large fashion retailers to ensure that they create a closed loop process.
  • At the end of the lifetime of a garment, any recuperated clothes could use the Evrnu technology to create new fiber turn it into yarn and recreate a new life cycle for the textile.

Article title: Evrnu Recycles Old Cotton Garments into New Fibers
Website name: Ecouterre
Company website:


  • Evrnu company
  • Retail fashion companies and their suppliers
  • Society/communities
  • Governments
  • NGOs


  • To deploy the technology the patent first needs to be secured.
  • Evrnu will then have to work with big fashion retailers (as well as smaller ones in the long-term) to help them achieve a circular business model.
  • While the technology seems sound, the largest barrier to achieving these circular business models are the customers themselves. Evrnu’s technology seeks to recycle and repurpose post-consumer cotton textile waste. However, this requires fashion retailers to incentive consumers to recycle their old garments in store rather than selling them, donating them, or throwing them in the landfill.

Air Quality Improvement with “Bioweapon Defense Mode”

Sustainability Problem: Air Quality and Air Pollution (Health and Safety)

The World Health Organization estimates that over 3 million people die each year from environmental health related impacts. Tesla has recently used this statistic as a marketing tactic to promote its new “Bioweapon Defense Mode” implemented in it’s vehicles using HEPA filtration system technology.

The Technology: 

  • While HEPA filters are not new technology, Tesla’s innovation of combining them with their car models allows for air quality standard to be met in unconventional spaces such as cars.
  • True HEPA filters are 99.9% efficient at removing even small particles from the air and they have 3 filter layers: a prefilter that blocks large particles and dust, a HEPA filter that traps germs and other small particles, and a charcoal filter that removes odors and purifies the air.
  • In test environments with near-lethal doses of pollution, the system was able to completely clean the air inside the car within 2 minutes.
  • More importantly, the tests showed that it was also able to filter the air outside of the vehicle as well to reduce pollution levels by 40%.

Organizational Stakeholders:

  • Automotive industry
  • Consumers in air polluted countries
  • Wealthy individuals in polluted areas
  • Individuals with asthma

Technology Deployment: 

  • While this adaptation is already being used by Tesla, the next step would be to enhance technological recognition beyond the buzz around Tesla to get more people involved in backing clean air conditions.
  • Next the improvement of current vehicles is important to help drive down the cost of the technology. Currently, the problem with implementing HEPA filters in existing vehicles is that they lack an air-tight cabin needed for efficiency.
  • Then Initiate government involvement in subsidizing the cost for less wealthy consumers.


Dominic Bell (dlb2189)
Image Source:

Micro Fuel Cell, generating electricity of wastewater

fuel-cell1) According to the UN Water at a global level, 80% of wastewater produced is discharged into the ecosystem untreated, causing widespread water pollution. Wastewater treatment is not only relevant to reduce environmental pollution but also to ensure drinking water supply, around 1.8 billion people use a contaminated source of drinking water. Even though there are numerous processes that can be used to clean up wastewaters depending on the type and extent of contamination, the most common barriers are the affordability of these technologies and their energy consumption.

2) Microbial Fuel Cells

Technology: A microbial fuel cell (MFC), is a bio-electrochemical system that drives an electric current by using bacteria and mimicking bacterial interactions found in nature. “The direct conversion of organic matter to electricity using bacteria” Logan.  These electrochemical cells are constructed using either a bioanode and/or a biocathode. Inside the fuel cell,  anaerobic bacteria releases electrons in an oxygen-free environment. The electrons flow to an anode and then into a circuit to cathodes in a separate chamber on the outside of the membrane.

Potential: MFCs use energy very efficiently than standard, in theory, an MFC is capable of energy efficiency far beyond 50%. Nonetheless, MFCs are only attractive for power generation applications that require only low power, therefore the amount of electricity generated will not compare will a power plant, or even cover the entire processing facility, but it can offset the energy used to clean the water. “The energy we don’t consume is more important than the electricity we might produce” Logan.

Constraints: The fuel cell is ideal for wastewater with a high concentration in organic material, mostly wastewater from agriculture and food processing rather than municipalities. This technology has had interesting advances in the proof of concept but it is still has a  wide range of opportunity to increase processing volumes until it can be implemented at a large scale.

3) Municipal, industrial and agricultural water treatment facilities, will be able to increase the efficiency and reduce the sludge by applying this technology. Furthermore, this technology will enable small-scale decentralized water treatment facilities, owned by either farmers or communities.

4) The next steps to deploy this technology would be to increase processing volumes until it can be implemented at a large scale. Moreover, to evaluate the possibility to automatize the small-scale facilities to reduce operation and maintenance efforts to expand the user market.





Vacuum Glazed Windows for Energy Efficiency



  1. Sustainability Problem: Heat loss through windows in buildings. Category: Energy

Buildings are one of the highest sources of energy consumption and GHG emissions. In NYC, buildings account for over 75% of the city’s emissions, making them the largest contributors to the city’s carbon footprint.

  1.  “Vacuum Glazing: Windows that are Energy Efficient AND Cost Effective”

  • Approximately 40% of heat loss from buildings occurs due to poorly insulated walls, floors and windows, making building envelope improvements an effective way to decrease energy bills and reduce a building’s carbon footprint.
  • Vacuum glazing is an innovative window technology that can greatly improve window insulation performance and reduce heat loss from windows.
  • Vacuum glazed windows are similar to regular double paned windows. The difference is that here air is removed from between the two panes of glass. This process reduces the conduction and convection abilities of the window, allowing less heat to leak out.
  • While they are still fairly expensive, the energy savings from installing vacuum glazed windows reduces the payback period to approximately 14 years.
  • The effectiveness of the technology may be reduced in regions with extreme temperature fluctuations.
  1. Organizational stakeholders for this technology include green building companies, utility companies, and local governments looking for ways to reduce energy consumption in their regions.
  2. The first three steps for deploying this technology:
  • Increase research funding to improve the technology and allow for use in extreme climate regions.
  • Increase competition to reduce cost and make the technology competitive with standard windows.
  • Offer local grants and/or loans to help businesses and homeowners finance new window installations.

Agricultural drones for farm imaging

1. Sustainability Problem: Agriculture (including animal farming) consumes about 2750 billion cubic metres of freshwater every year (70% of global water withdrawals) and will rise to 3300 – 3400 bcm per year (80-85% of global withdrawal, an increase equal to the water consumption of China), with increase in global population to 9.6 billion by 2050.

Category: Water, Health, Energy

2. Solution:

  • Crop imaging through easy-to-use ­agricultural drones equipped with ­cameras, worth less than $1,000, identifies specific areas on a field that needs to be attended to.
  • Tractors autonomously plant seeds within a few centimeters of their target locations, and GPS-guided harvesters reap the crops with equal accuracy.
  • Close monitoring of crops could improve water use and pest management, thereby reducing overall global water consumption.

3. Organizational Stakeholders: Drone manufacturers, Farmers and Regulatory agencies

4. Next steps for deployment:

  • 3 million drones will be manufactured in 2017. Drone manufacturers have to create designs that can fit the imaging cameras.
  • Farmers need to be trained in operating drones and in accepting the new technology.
  • Regulatory agencies like Federal Aviation Agency need to ease aviation restrictions for drones, for wide deployment.

Reducing the electrical load in NYCHA buildings

Sustainability Problem: Energy

The New York City Housing Authority pays resident’s utility bills in 27 developments, a total of 166,952 units and 1,979 buildings, which add up to $180 million yearly. Demand has been the main driver of the utility cost increase witnessed by NYCHA in the past year, with consumption remaining stable. The authority faces many deep challenges, including increasing maintenance demands, declining funding, and aging housing stock, which make extensive energy retrofits difficult to fund. In this context, NYCHA would like solutions to manage electricity demand and in turn reduce electricity costs without having to replace building systems entirely.

 Technology: Smart sensors on window-mounted air-conditioning units

  • To cut down on usage, H.T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design proposed installing sensors that regulate the air-conditioning compressor during peak energy usage, when watts are more expensive, while keeping the unit on and residents comfortable.
  • The companies estimate that this technology can reduce energy demand of air conditioners by 40 to 60 percent when demand is highest.


  • NYCHA and its residents
  • Utility company
  • Local government
  • T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design


  • NYCHA is currently working with H.T. Lyons and Consolidated Energy Design to implement their solution as a small-scale pilot projects that will range from 3 months to 1 year
  • The companies will install the solution at their own expense to demonstrate the benefits of the solution
  • At the end of the pilot, the Authority will evaluate the impact of the technology and, if successful, it may be applied NYCHA-wide


Read More »

Salt Storage

  1. Sustainability Problem: Renewable Energy Storage
    • There is a mismatch between when renewable energy is available (solar – during a sunny day, and wind – intermittently) and when energy is needed (all the time). Storage allows renewable energy to be used at any point in time, eliminating the need for “peaker plants” which emit large amounts of CO2 relative to ordinary power plants that run when demand is larger than the renewable energy supply. Storage will enable the scaling of renewables and a faster transition away from coal and fossil fuels.unnamed.png
  2. Technology:
    • Alphabet’s research lab X is working on a new energy storage technology called Malta. Malta works by storing wind and solar power in giant vats of molten salt and antifreeze, instead of lithium-ion batteries.  This technology is supposed to last for longer periods of time and be cheaper than the giant lithium-ion batteries currently available.
    • The technology works by converting wind and solar power to thermal energy. Heat is stored in molten salt, and cold is stored in a vat of liquid antifreeze solution. When the power is needed, the hot and cold energy are converted back into electricity by a heat engine.
    • The materials needed for thermal energy storage are cheaper and more abundant than this needed for batteries  — steel tanks, salt, and antifreeze — meaning this technology has the potential to be much cheaper than batteries. The company says its Malta technology may be recharged thousands of times and last for up to 40 years, several times longer than today’s batteries.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • Renewable energy producers
    • Utility companies
    • Regulators
    • Energy customers
    • Energy system designers and manufacturers
  4. Deployment
    1. Commercial viability test – the technology is still in the design phase.
    2. First commercial contract – partnering with a city that has committed to 100% renewable energy may be good place to start
    3. Work with utilities and regulators to enable the adoption of their technology across the grid.


Storing clean energy in salt isn’t as crazy as it sounds

Zero emissions Hydrogen-based liquid fuel

  1. Sustainability Problem: The energy mix is a significant problem that needs a quick resolution. The negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel have been scorned for the past decade. Many experts agree that the complete shift to renewable energy needs to be completed soon.
  2. HySiLabs has developed a technology that maintains the advantages of a liquid fuel, without generating emissions. It consists of a hydrogen-based liquid fuel system that releases hydrogen on-demand and consumes it directly for a wide range of applications. Due to its stable liquid and non-explosive nature, the HySiLabs fuel is easily transported and stored at standard conditions while employing well-known liquid-handling logistics and already-existing infrastructure. H2 fuel is a better liquid fuel alternative by adding the following aspects:
    • Zero emissions: the only non-emissions-generating liquid hydrogen source that requires no energy input to produce hydrogen.
    • Safety: avoiding the need to store explosive gas by producing it on demand and as needed
    • Transportable: similar to the liquid transportation and storing logistic
    • Easy to use: liquids can be stored at room temperature and atmospheric pressure



HySiLabs | InnoEnergy – pioneering change in sustainable energy

HySiLabs, the fuel of the future that comes from the South | ENGIE Innovation

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Energy players
    • Financial Industry
    • Technology Industry
    • Utility companies
    • Consumers all over the world
  2. Next steps:
    • Introduce this innovative technology to the market by establishing partnerships and investing in outreach
    • Quickly and efficiently scale up the solution to a mass market
    • Expand and strengthen the management team

By Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618

Promising Feed for Farm Raised Tuna

According to a Pew Trust industry report the global tuna industry  is valued in the billions of dollars annually. They reported that in 2014 alone the yearly take was $42.21B, slightly higher than the 2012 take of $41.63B. With the increase in demand for the species, global fish stocks have decreased and are in danger of being depleted towards extinction. In order to keep this from happening the Japanese mariculture industry has been trying to produce enough farm raised Blue Fin Tuna to meet the growing consumer demand for the product.

Total Value of 7 Most Commercially Important Tuna Species

The challenge in achieving their goal lies in increasing the mortality rate of the farmed tuna until they’re able to be harvested. The fish feeds that are currently available in the market cannot replicate the Tuna fish’s natural diet, therefore the Tuna are unable to reach maturity and die before harvesting.

A Nikkei Asian Review article reports that the Japanese company Feed One has developed a feed that could sufficiently raise the mortality level of the farmed raised Tuna towards maturity and subsequent harvesting.

The Yokohama based company has labeled the feed Ambrosia and has implemented the feed into production in a joint effort with a Sukumo based farm. Although only one other company has achieved a compete farming cycle with their Tuna, Feed One hopes to complete one also by November and market their Tuna under the brand name Tunagu.

by Octavio Franco

oaf2118 / Fall 2017 – Week 2

Making Nylon from Solar Energy

Solar Nylon Image


1. Identify a sustainability problem: Large-scale, unsustainable nylon production

Category: Energy

The fashion industry, especially the fast fashion segment of the industry, widely uses nylon (6 million tons/year). Nylon production is highly unsustainable as it’s a very energy-intensive process based on petroleum. In fact, nylon scores worse on the Higg Materials Sustainability Index than 79% of other fabric types. With growing demand for nylon, there’s a need to reduce the negative impacts nylon production has on the environment.

2. Technology: Solar Nylon

Article: “Tandon Professor Earns Award for Eco-Friendly Textile Manufacturing”, Washington Square News (

  • The article discusses a technology developed by an NYU professor called “solar nylon”, which harnesses the sun’s energy to create a textile similar to traditional fossil fuel-based nylon
  • The technology uses solar energy, plant waste and water to produce the fabric and the process is akin to that used to create solar fuels
  • The cost of production of this nylon alternative is expected to be “inexpensive” or at least not more expensive than current nylon production
  • Not only does the textile use less energy and release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere due to its renewable energy source, it also has the ability to directly absorb CO2
  • The technology is still in its early stages and can only produce 1 kg of textile per day, so scaling of production is a large focus point going forward

I also used the following source: “Solar Textiles Project Wins Global Change Award”, Energy Matters (

Tags: #solarenergy #sustainablefashion #sustainablemanufacturing #sustainability #sustainabletechnology #cleantech

3. Organizational stakeholders who will use the technology

There are two main “users” for this technology. At the production level, textile manufacturers would be the ones to use this technology, as they’d create the solar nylon out of its raw materials at their facilities. High-level manufacturing managers at these manufacturing facilities would have to be won over to integrate this technology, but manufacturing workers would be the ones to actually use the technology.

Additionally, buyers of nylon (e.g., apparel companies) would also be users of this technology. The design team of such a company would have to know about the textile to design their products with this fabric in mind, the sourcing team would have to procure this textile, and then their manufacturing facilities would actually create the products out of the solar nylon.

4. Three steps in deploying this technology

The deployment strategy depends on whether the creators of the technology want to sell the technology to existing nylon producers or set up their own company to produce the solar nylon themselves and sell to buyers directly. For the former strategy, they’d need to take the following steps.

  1. Conduct further lab work to scale up production of the material
  2. Educate nylon fiber producers on the technology (costs and benefits) in the hopes of eventually selling to them directly
  3. Educate buyers of nylon on the technology in the hopes of them pressuring their suppliers to produce solar nylon for them

If the creators wanted to produce the textiles themselves, steps to deploying the technology would be:

  1. Conduct further lab work to scale up production of the material
  2. Build relationships with and educate buyers of nylon (e.g., apparel companies) on the technology (costs and benefits)
  3. Set up the first manufacturing facility for producing solar nylon in bulk to sell to nylon buyers