Solar Tree

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Sustainable Problem: Energy, Public Space

The Solar tree is designed to promote awareness of sustainability within the community. It is a public facility with high-speed WiFi internet. The solar tree can provide clean energy and has a high educational value for the community.

Sustainable Technology:

– Qualification for wind speeds up to 175 MPH
– Flexible configuration and orientation
– High-performance powder coat in over 200 colors
– Integration with beautiful, efficient Lumos solar modules
– Assembly in one day or less

Stakeholders Involved: Community Authorities, Utility Companies, Solar Panel Companies, General Public

Steps in Deploying the Technology:

  1. Mapping areas where the Solar Trees could be deployed
  2. Partnership with existing tech company to develop the technology
  3. Working with designers to design the solar tree
  4. Contract with local communities to implement the solar trees


Comment on another post:

UNI: QS2162


Using drones to monitor air pollution

Sustainability problem: Public Health

Large cities are facing increasing levels of air pollution, which causes severe respiratory issues and public health problems. Identifying with precision the main sources of air pollution is essential to design and enforce effective policies to reduce it.

Technology solution

  • Scientists from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health are working with the School of Engineering to develop a platform for measuring air pollution using drones. Also, in this crowdfunding website another group of scientists from Eastern Michigan University are rising money for a similar project.
  •  The basic idea is to attach lightweight and low power pollution sensors to remote controlled multi-rotor drones, in order to collect samples and information on air quality and toxic gases for later analysis in a lab.
  • This technology would enable the monitoring of air conditions in a city, and control polluting levels directly at the source where many of the emissions are happening, like industries, coal plants or residential wood-burning heating.

Organizational stakeholders

  • City government
  • Department of Health and Sanitation
  • Citizens
  • Industry

Implementation steps

  1. Develop air pollution sensors suitable to be attached in a drone, which have to be lightweight and with low energy demand.
  2. Test the drones in a known pollutant facility, where a static sensor should be installed near the source of pollution to compare results.
  3. Partner with City Government and the Department of Health and Sanitation to deploy a fleet of drones to monitor pollution in a specific industrial area of the city.


Comment: Bladeless Wind Turbines of the Future

“Mitti Cool is also extremely affordable. According to one of the articles, it costs only $50 dollars and as it doesn’t require electricity there are no recurring costs associated.”

Fog Harvesting for Water Resources

1) Water and Health: There are areas around the world with limited access to natural water resources but with considerable proximity to fog. This is where fog harvesting can come into play but capturing fog and producing useful water because without water, people cannot survive.

2) Technology: 

  • Dar Si Hamad has established a 600 square meter installation in Morocco, becoming the largest fog harvesting site
  • MIT was able to develop material that could produce 5 times more water with a mesh made from stainless steel filaments
  • The mesh is dip-coated, causing droplets to flow down to a water basin quickly rather than getting lost back to the environment

3) Stakeholders:

  • Inhabitants of arid regions
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Metals sourcing companies

4) Deployment: 

  • Raise financial support for R&D
  • Have research teams improve the technology further for greater efficiency
  • Work with manufacturer to scale up development

5) Comment for other post:



Image Source:


By: Dominic Bell (dlb2189)

Stanford District Energy System cuts GHG emissions 68 percent and fossil fuel 65 percent #BT2443


1) Sustainability area(s).

Cities consuming over 70 percent of global energy use and, producing 40 to 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In some cities, heating and cooling can account for up to half of local energy consumption. Any solution for the climate and energy transition must address sustainable urban heating and cooling, as well as electricity. One of the least-cost and most efficient solutions for reducing emissions and primary energy demand is the development of modern (climate-resilient and low-carbon) district energy in cities.

2) Sustainability Technology:

The combined new system – Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) – makes Stanford one of the most energy-efficient research universities in the world.

-SEIS represents a transformation of university energy supply from a 100% fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant to grid-sourced electricity and a more efficient electric heat recovery system.

-High-efficiency new-building standards and improvements to existing buildings, a high-voltage substation, state-of-the-art solar arrays and a new central energy facility (CUP) that incorporates the largest heat-recovery chillers ever installed in the U.S

-SESI uses a combination of heat recovery, low-temperature hot water distribution, and thermal energy storage to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 68% and drinking water use by 15%

-Technology roadmap for building heating and cooling

United Nations Environmental Programm,  “District Energy in Cities,” page-11, 2015

David M Brown, “Energy/Industrial Best Project: Stanford Energy System Innovation” ENR California, November 24, 2015

Stanford Energy System Innovations, youtube, Stanford, April 22, 2015

Technology Roadmap: Energy-Efficient Buildings: Heating and Cooling Equipment

#energy #water #systemsthinking #technology #ghgemission

3) Key Stakeholders

-City stakeholders- Include their plan
-Government agencies-Legislate and help private sectors to participate
-Civic society- Connect and partnership with the stakeholders
-Property owners-Able to join or innovate DES
-Financial Institutions-Finance DES projects

4) Steps Deploying Technology:

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

Although DES is common on university and college campuses and more accessible to regulate, it’s possible to duplicate Stanford model within major cities. Current DES powered by mainly Fossil Fuel for changing that financial institutions and state, city policies will play an enormous role.

PaySecure Technology to tackle Food Insecurity

Sustainability Problem: Food deserts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food deserts as communities where a minimum of one-third of the population lives at least one mile away from a supermarket in an urban area or ten miles away in rural areas. Based on several reports, some 37million people or over 10% of US population live in food deserts – typically a low income neighborhood that lack access to nutritious food like fresh fruits and vegetables.

About the technology: PaySecure 

  • The links between food insecurity, hunger, and public health have prompted a variety of policy solutions. From small-scale farming to urban community gardens or the USDA Double Bucks program at farmer’s markets, which doubles the worth of every EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) dollar spent at the farm stand to financing new grocery stores in food deserts.
  • In rural communities with smaller populations, economics does not support a grocery store every 10 miles. Similarly, no access to private cars and limited public transport makes it difficult to visit farmers market. Some elderly and disabled customers cannot navigate farmers markets or even grocery store aisles.
  • Till recently EBT cards could only be used at physical grocery stores as recipients had to enter a personal identification number to verify their identity. Last year USDA partnered with a company called Acculynk, which develops a software for an online PIN-pad, a technology that protects users’ identity when shopping online. They further mandated a few food retailers to accept EBT card payment on their online ordering sites
  • Though this is not a foolproof solution to tackle food insecurity as residents in many rural areas may run up against a lack of high speed internet access, it creates convenience and scale of reaching a wider population by moving away from brick and mortar grocery stores.


Government Agencies (USDA), Food Retailers offering online service and free delivery, Technology Companies that can offer PaySecure Technology and Residents living in food deserts


  • Engage with and mandate several food retailers to accept EBT card payment.
  • Improve internet connectively in specific rural areas of offer a centralized wifi hotspot with high speed interest access.
  • Train and educate residents to order fresh food online
  • Engage and encourage couple of unemployed residents in such neighborhood to register themselves with food retailers, who can employ them for delivery service. This to an extent will also tackle the unemployment issue faced in food deserts.


Comment on other post:



Sustainable Problem: Waste

According to Time magazine, Americans throw away an estimated trillion disposable plates and utensils per year.


  • Brand Name: Leaf Republic
  • Focus on food packaging and one-way dishes
  • Claim: outdoor tableware has to be fully renewable and fully biodegradable.
  • Packaging products consist of a lid made from bioplastic or recycled plastic and a three-layer natural bowl made of
    • Leaves
    • water-proof leaf-made paper
    • Leaves


  • No synthetic additives, no coloring, no glue – and no tree has been cut! Additionally, the bowl is biodegradable in only 28 days.
  • These actions lead to building up a sustainable, social, gainful company


  • Leaf Republic
  • Their Partners such as:, Bird&Bird, Dachser, Infiana, Makerspace, LMU, Illig, Stoeger, Huber+Suhner, Steuerkanzlei Kisslinger-Popp
  • Institutions or Companies to use the products
  • Community


  • Fund the project to obtain more pressing machinery
  • Find local sources needed for leaves
  • Obtain contracts with universities and/or companies
  • Get community involved, maybe gather the leaves
  • Marketing Campaign


Comments to Off grid solar powered water device – Zero Mass Water by JV2610

  • A unit with one solar panel, the company says, can produce two to five liters of liquid a day, which is stored in a 30-liter reservoir that adds calcium and magnesium for health and taste. This seems very energy efficient and seems to be able to store a pretty good amount. The addition of electrolytes is even more interesting and beneficial for health.

UNI:  AV2698

Dirty Clothes and No Grid Access? No Problem!

Sustainability Technology: Yirego Corporation has developed a quick way to do laundry without using electricity.  With a holding capacity of up to 2kg (4.4 pounds), the Drumi, can do a load of lightly soiled clothes within about 5 minutes.  Pedal operated, the Drumi can handle 5L of water for each load.

Sustainability Issue: An estimated 1.2 billion people or 16% of the global population do not have access to electricity and most of them live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia meaning without a significant change in infrastructure, they are unlikely to get grid access any time soon.  Doing laundry in the developing world is very time consuming and takes a lot of physical energy as well.  The laundress (or launder) has to find a water source, soak then scrub the clothes, wring them dry, and carry the clothes back to be dried out in the sun.  On top of all this, the harsh scrubbing process can compromise the structural integrity of the clothes being washed.  The Drumi drastically cut down on the time and physical activity.  The water can be collected separately, which is probably already a daily task, and the cleaning can be done at home.  With just a 5 minute cycle, approximately 5-6 loads (including hanging) can be done in one hour. Admittedly, the Drumi, at $140 is probably too expensive for some households, and financing would most likely be necessary, but a cost benefit analysis would likely show that it is a useful investment.

Sustainability Stakeholders: 

  • Families with limited or No Access to the Grid
  • Launders/Laundresses in Developing countries
  • Developmental Organizations
  • Rural Communities
  • Avid Campers
  • Mobile Home Residents
  • Urban Residents without Washer/Dryer

Implementation Steps:

  • Research a community in sub-Saharan Africa with a need for a better laundry system.
  • Find funding through a development grant using the research as a basis for need.
  • Establish a public/private partnership with Yirego
  • Work with local community and establish a working partner in region who can train, maintain, and distribute Drumi systems to families in the region.
  • Offer a financing package through the grant and private partnership
  • If successful, create the same model with other developing communities.


Click to access Laundry.pdf

Comment on Other Blog Post:

Simple Technological Innovation Raises Productivity In The Shrimp Farming Industry

Sometimes by re-configuring dumb technology, a simple innovative solution could be attained that produces better results. The space needed to farm shrimp has been a constraint in the aquaculture industry for some time. Due to intense regulations concerning environmental factors, the most effective method to grow shrimp inland was in tubs operated with a flow systems. This system allows for the re-circulation of the limited water supply available and minimizes any effluent seepage, or soil contamination. The production capacity of the farm was limited to the space available because the tubs could only produce a limited amount of shrimp and thus made it cost prohibitive for American farmers to operate at a profitable level. This made importing shrimp a cheaper alternative and placed American farmers in a competitive disadvantage in the international market. In a NY Time article Dr. Addison L. Lawrence has figured out a simple solution to obtaining higher yields by re-configuring the same technology that was already available. Dr. Lawrence increased the volume of production by stacking the water tubs on top of each other and thus maximizing the use of the available space. This simple solution benefits all the industry’s stakeholders (American consumers, American farmers and the environment), by increasing the production level, lowering market prices and maintaining proper environmental stewardship.

Octavio Franco

To: JMB2408

I think that this water metering technology is a simple but innovative solution for better individual water management. The only drawback would be user incentive for those consumers in regions that are not currently affected by water stress. Those users tend to reside in more economically developed or affluent regions that could afford to buy the technology but are not motivated to do so due to plentiful clean water. On the other hand those that do need the technology are in less economically developed areas that can not afford the devices. In those situations I think that it would help the government by investing in the technology.


EV/PV integrated charging system

1) Sustainability Problem:

As is well understood, the greater the percentage of EV fuel derived from renewable sources, the greater the sustainability edge is to electrified transportation over fossil-fuel based transportation.

The need for separate electrical equipment to handle PV capture and EV charging is both a cost and a hassle barrier to adoption. Not all PV users drive EV’s, and not all EV drivers have roofs with PV panels but this is a population which will grow exponentially as both technologies improve and become ubiquitous.

The increased efficiency in EV charging by leveraging gathered solar energy at the point of collection is a material gain to the consumer/homeowner.
From the manufacturer:
The SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter with integrated EV charger offers homeowners the ability to charge electric vehicles up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger through an innovative solar boost mode that utilizes grid and PV charging simultaneously. This product is the first PV inverter-integrated EV charger.
The SolarEdge HD-Wave inverter-integrated EV charger reduces the hassle of installing a separate standalone EV charger and a PV inverter. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for additional wiring, conduit and a breaker installation. By installing an EV charger that is integrated with an inverter, no additional dedicated circuit breaker is needed, saving space and ruling out a potential upgrade to the main distribution panel.
Category: Energy

2) Technology Summary:

Article: SolarEdge unveils inverter-integrated EV charger
Website: PV Magazine
Tags: #electric vehicle #solar power

3) Organizational stakeholders

  1. utilities
  2. public service commission / regulators
  3. EV manufacturers
  4. PV manufacturers
  5. banks providing clean energy financing products

4) Steps in deploying this technology

  1. partner with solar installers to promote PV/EV option over standard grid connection
  2. develop innovating PV/EV rebate programs from state governments
  3. mandate utilities to market/offer inverter charging equipment
Related Resources:

Uni: jz2805

All-Electric Mining Truck produces more energy than it consumes via Regenerative Breaking

Source Article
Company website
js5079 – Joshua Strake

Sustainability Issue: Energy, Waste (of energy)

Kuhn&Komatsu have developed a massive new all-electric mining vehicle known as the “E-Dumper”. I liked reading about this vehicle because it represents such a simple yet effective idea: heavy thing going downhill can store its energy through breaking (two birds one stone), and use that energy to put the now-lighter truck back up the hill (three birds one stone!).


-Mining trucks historically are absolute monsters of fossil fuel usage. They need immense power to remove tons and tons of material from mines.

-Much of the time a truck full of materials is going downhill to drop off its load, and then goes back uphill much lighter to be refilled. This downhill phase is very brake-intensive, and the uphill phase is a breeze comparatively.

-This new all electric engine contains a massive battery that charges when the truck moves downhill. Instead of conventional braking, the force of the braking is used to charge a battery.

-With this energy-producing framework, trucks with routes like this (heavy downhill light uphill) can actually generate clean energy that they store per day, effectively using none at all. Of course in actuality one should also expect cases where a heavy truck drives uphill and a light truck goes downhill, like when leaving a quarry, but this doesn’t change the fact that in some mining scenarios this truck consumes no energy and actually produces it.


Mining companies

Truck producers Kuhn & Komatsu

Battery Producers

Electric utilities receiving excess electricity from trucks

Three Steps

1 – Assess feasibility of wide production of these huge batteries / their lifespans (is it worth it?)

2 – Market the truck to other mining outfits

3 – Develop a framework for mass production if one is not already in place.