New Textile Technology Makes Leather Alternative From Discarded Pineapple Leaves

1. Sustainability problem: leather production

The textile industry produces a lot of leather. The production of leather is extremely resource-intensive (water, land, food, fuel) and produces large amounts of waste, including toxic chemicals used in tanning. Faux leather (e.g., made from PVC) is another prevalent material and is not a sustainable material either as its production and disposal release a lot of toxic materials into the environment.

Category: Waste

2. Technology Summary

Source: “63-Year-Old Designer Creates Faux Leather From Pineapple Leaves”, Greenmatters (http://www.greenmatters.com/living/2017/10/19/Z1Y0sHm/63-year-old-designer-creates-faux-leather-from-pineapple-leaves)

  • This article discusses a materials technology innovation called Piñatex, which is a material made from discarded pineapple leaves and serves as an alternative to leather and faux leather
  • As pineapple leaves are a crop by-product, creating the material is not resource intensive, requiring no additional water, land, fertilizer, or fuel to make the material
  • Sourcing pineapple leaves from pineapple farmers also provides these farmers with an additional revenue stream
  • The resulting material can be mass-produced and used for virtually everything that leather could be used for, including apparel, shoes, bags, car seats, and upholstery
  • This material is produced in a closed loop process, starting with sourcing the pineapple leaves directly from farmers, returning any waste products during production to pineapple farms to be used as fertilizer, and composting piñatex materials at the end of a product’s life

Tags: #textiles #materialsresearch #fashion #sustainability #closingtheloop #cradletocradle

3. Stakeholders

Piñatex is currently only distributed in a brand-to-brand (B2B) format. Therefore, the key stakeholders are companies that currently design products with leather or faux leather. Specifically, design teams would need to learn about the material and design with this material in mind.

End customers are another stakeholder as they could drive demand for this material, asking companies to include this material in their collections in the future.

4. Deployment Strategy

  1. Proactively send samples to key companies that design with leather and/or faux leather and have sustainability goals, e.g., Eileen Fisher (fashion), Veja (shoes), Matt and Nat (bags), Tesla (car seats), etc.
  2. Build relationships with fabric retailers in cities with large fashion industries (e.g., New York City, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, etc.)
  3. Explore partnering with pineapple farmers in other parts of the world to increase production and reduce the carbon footprint for customers in other parts of the world (other top pineapple producing nations are Costa Rica and Brazil)

5. Comment on Another Post

I commented on “Sensor-Packed Pedestrian Crossing”

The article also discusses how this sensor-based crossing is envisioned to be integrated into the road. A responsive, sensor-based surface made of steel would be integrated under the regular road surface. On the top of these two layers of the road would be the LED lights, covered in a high-impact plastic to prevent damage from vehicles and weather.

 

Advertisements

Optimization Medical Staff Location

 

Sustainability Problem: Cities have an difficult time allocating resources to specific locations during large events.  Inefficiencies and dangers occur when assistance is not provided in a specific location to meet the demand. Moreover, the arrival of resources can be delayed due to traffic, crowd sizes, and routing issues.

About Technology

  • Team at Northwestern developed an algorithm to optimize, in real time, staffing locations and demand for medical medical volunteers and aid workers at Chicago’s marathon.
  • The team created a mobile data visualization dashboard that provides real time analysis.  The mobile dashboard also allow staff to enter real time data.
  • The machine learning algorithm uses historical observations to predict and determine optimal location for medical tents.  In addition, the algorithm predicts likely number of individuals seeking medical attention at specific tents base on historical and real time data.
  • Dashboard provides optimal routing for medical.

http://www.mccormick.northwestern.edu/news/articles/2017/10/engineers-optimize-marathon-volunteers.html

Stakeholders:

  • City Chicago
  • Marathon organizers
  • Marathon participants
  • Medical staff
  • City Chicago Police
  • Marathon onlookers
  • Northwestern University – School Engineering / Medical School

Next steps:

  • Improve the training dataset of the algorithm / algorithm itself
  • Provide service to marathon organizers and/ or any large event organizers
  • Provide algorithm to Chicago Police Department for future events.

Comments: 

 

 

 

 

Affordable and Mobile ALPOD House #BT2443

1) Sustainability area(s).

Most of the Mega-Cities facing issue affordable and smart buildings due to growing urban citizens. Majority of cities designed for fewer people.

2) Sustainability Technology: Futuristic Aluminum AlPOD Houses by James Law

-A distinctive feature of the AlPOD project is its potential to be stacked into a uniquely designed multi-structures to accommodate ever increasing populations and lack of available land

-Explores modular construction based on creating a flexible and open-plan living space

-Affordable about 65000 USD

-The aluminum house has multi-faceted advantages of being lightweight, durable, corrosion resistant, and impervious to fire and wind as well as its ability to dampen noise and insulate against heat and sound.

– Lightweight also enhances mobility, allowing a home to be moved from one place to another comfortably and conveniently without dismantling or reconstructing facilities.

-Moreover, aluminum can be recycled, making it a green, earth-friendly building material.

Enid Tsui, “Cheap Hong Kong-designed ‘container homes’ the way of the future,” South China Morning Post, 03 February 2016

#Energy, #Water, #Waste, #Civic Engagement, #Land use, #affordablehousing

3) Key Stakeholders and their role in the implementation:

-City stakeholders- Include their plan
-Government agencies-Legislate and helping private sectors to participate
-Civic society- Connect and partnership with the stakeholders
-Citizens of the city-Live in the houses
-Financial Institutions-Finance

4) Steps Deploying Technology:

Public-Private People’s Partnership is the key to successful deployment of the project.
– Within the city, planing decide to finance aspects
– Build a community and infrastructure
– Within Public Private People’s Partnership leverage project within significant cities

Since one out of six people today in the world live in a migrant slum, this number will raise within few decades one out of three. I believe that this ALPOD housing could bring a progressive solution to this issue.

Other sources:
http://www.utopiacities.org/about/
http://www.alpod.com/product.php
https://competition.adesignaward.com/design.php?ID=44286
https://www.designboom.com/architecture/james-law-cybertecture-alpod-mobile-house-aluhouse-hong-kong-12-15-2015/
http://www.jameslawcybertecture.com/?section=projects&id=1055
https://www.treehugger.com/modular-design/alpod-lot-more-cute-little-new-prefab-unit.html
http://inhabitat.com/futuristic-plug-and-play-home-can-pop-up-anywhere-in-the-world/
https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/alpod-stackable-aluminum-pod-homes/
http://www.alpod.com/product.php

Farm Uses Seawater and Solar Power to Grow Crops

Sustainability Problem: Combating hunger

Typically technology has focussed on improving what we farm: genetically modified seeds, better adaptability to climate change, etc. This approach hopes to change how we do farming.

About the technology:

Every day, seawater is pumped 2 km (1.24 miles) from the Spencer Gulf to the 20-hectare farm.

The water is then run through a desalination system that produces up to 1 million liters of fresh water every day, which is then used to irrigate 18,000 tomato plants inside a greenhouse.

That desalination system is powered by solar energy. 23,000 mirrors focus sunlight onto a receiver tower 115 meters (377 feet) tall to produce up to 39 megawatts of energy per day.

There is no need for pesticides since the plants are grown in coconut husks and seawater sterilizes the air. Herbicides are also unnecessary as the employees weed the plants by hand

Stakeholders;

  • Farmers
  • Disributors
  • Suppliers

Deployment:

This is a pilot system for now. Scaling it is a concern.

If successful, this can be a useful model to farm in typically unfarmable regions of the world.

 

 

References:

http://www.sundropfarms.com/

https://futurism.com/first-of-its-kind-farm-uses-seawater-and-solar-power-to-grow-crops/

 

Comment:

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/05/solar-try-windows-if-roof-space-is-not-enough/comment-page-1/#comment-1145

Demand Response through Alexa

1. Sustainability Problem: Residential energy consumption constitutes about 40% of total US energy consumption. Grids are programmed and operated based on the demand curves created by residential sector. If there can be a way to moderate the electricity demand depending on availability of load, at the user level, excellent energy savings can be achieved.

Category: Energy

2. Technology to address the problem: 

Image result for iot homes

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-echo-alexa-control-smart-home-with-voice-2017-1/#dimmers-and-switches-4

  • Voice controlled smart speakers have become a common device in most households in the US, with companies like Amazon and Google expecting huge demands in the future.
  • These devices are currently being used for basic entertainment purposes like playing music or listening to updates. However, they are capable of controlling other smart / IoT gadgets like refrigerators. However they can be used to control electrical dimmers.
  • If the utilities can securely connect with the speakers and control variations in energy consumption, depending on grid variations, energy savings can be achieved at residential level.

3. Stakeholders involved: Home Users, Equipment Manufacturers, Utilities

4. Next Steps:

  • Utilities need to partner with manufacturers like Amazon and Google to embed the necessary communication software.
  • Home users need to be educated about the benefits and a program can be designed to incentivize them.
  • Systems at grid level need to be upgraded.

5.  Comment: on LED Street Lights (https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/05/energy-efficient-led-lighting-the-smart-way-to-light-up-the-city/comment-page-1/#comment-1140):

LED Street lights are currently being implemented in many developing countries. Large stretches of roads are being illuminated with control system based LED systems.

Reference:

http://blog.buildinginternetofthings.com/2015/06/25/using-amazon-echo-alexa-as-an-interface-for-the-iot/

Solar: Try windows if roof space is not enough

Sustainability Problem: Not enough roof space for large buildings to go solar

Large commercial estates consume a lot of energy. Roof space is never enough for such buildings to go energy neutral. Therefore, actively using buildings’ facades will generate the much needed renewable energy.

About the technology: Solar Windows

  • Solar-power-generating windows have solar cells installed in the edges at a specific angle that allows the incoming solar light to be efficiently transformed into electricity.
  • Such windows can generate 8 to 10 watts of power, which enables the user to charge a phone per every square meter two times a day.
  • The surface of Power Windows is coated with a special material that transforms incoming visible light into near-infrared light, which is then transported toward the solar cells in the edges of the windows. This works similarly to a glow-in-the-dark star, the difference is that the glow star emits the green wavelength, but the coating on such windows emits light in near-infrared wavelength.
  • The cost of the wiring that brings power from the grid to such windows is considerable in large commercial estates, and investing in power-generating windows would, therefore, make commercial sense.

Stakeholders: 

Policy makers (Green Building Codes), Real Estate Contractors, Solar Panel Manufacturers and owners of large commercial and residential buildings.

Deployment:

  • Awareness -Several iconic buildings have gone live with solar windows, especially in Netherlands – experience, cost effectiveness and benefits for such buildings should be widely publicized for educational purpose
  • Solar panel manufacturers will have to collaborate with researchers to refine this technology for a mass production
  • Policy plays a significant role in any city dynamics – effort should begin to include solar windows in any new building codes including retrofit codes

Source: 

Comment on other post:

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/05/solar-crematoriumsolving-indias-problem-of-pollution-from-crematoriums/comment-page-1/#comment-1139