1) Sustainability problem: Lack of access to clean drinking water. Area: Water
Billions of people around the world still lack access to clean drinking water around them.
Many have to travel for tens of kilometers just to access this resource.
Many of these areas are located in rural parts of the developing world which are also not connected to the grid (i.e, are un-electrified).
Arizona start-up called Zero Mass Water, has invented a solar-based system called Source, that absorbs moisture from the air and converts it into drinking water. It does not have to be hooked up to an electric grid or an existing water system.
It contains a solar panel that provides energy which drives air through a proprietary water-absorbing material and powers condensation of the extracted moisture into fluid.
The systems also contains a small lithium-ion battery to operate the device when the sun is not shining.
Windflock is a wind-energy system based on a modular structure with an open and flexible ‘add-on’ system made of mini windmills. The structure looks like a 3D crystal composition, and the assembly is described to be as easy as putting together LEGOs, and other mini windmills can be connected to each other, which makes the units widely accessible for buyers ranging from different skill levels. This Windflock may be located between buildings or atop them as part of the whole construction.
Main parts – rotor blades, engine/rotor, back wing
Turbines turn the kinetic wind energy into electric energy
Rotor blades spin and collect energy
Transfer it to the rotator
Transfer this natural energy into electrical energy
Department of Energy/Governments
Energy companies/Technology partners
Introduce this technology to governments, building owners, energy companies, and residents.
Establish a partnership with the governments/energy companies
Technologies: Offshore seaweed and microalgae farming, which has been around for many years, can lead to mass production of clean energy in the form of biofuels. Seaweed grows faster than land-based plants and sequesters large CO2 amounts as it does, decreasing carbon emissions in the air. Feeding cattle seaweed can reduce their methane emissions. Furthermore, these efforts could restore carbon-rich marine ecosystems.
US Department of Energy (who has already invested $1.5 million in this) & other governments
Farmers & wholesale buyers
Car companies & drivers
Disaster areas where energy is not available on land
Deployment first 3 steps:
Conduct further research to determine net benefits of seaweed, as well as effects on marine life.
Determine proper locations and times where seaweed can be harvested and create more commercialized farms with advanced components such as computer modeling and aquatic monitoring for better maintenance.
To begin using biofuels in cars however, more research must be done on improving the power density of this fuel source.
Comment on Dominic Bell’s “Fog Harvesting for Water Resources” Post:
I’ve seen this being used on the coastal areas of South America as well. This comes from a survival technique, similar to using a plastic bag to collect transpiration from nearby plants and trees or from rainwater. My only concern is how does this trapping of condensation, which acts as the main sink of atmospheric water, affect the water cycle and climate?
Over 30% of produce harvested is never consumed and every year, almost $30 billion worth, or 25 billion pounds, of fruits and vegetables are wasted. This happens even though there are about 42 million people who don’t have enough to eat in just the U.S. alone. Wasted produce also means that all the time, energy, money, and water put into cultivating it is also wasted. However, it is hard to avoid this problem because there are so many steps between the growth and consumption of produce.
Summary of Technology (Hazel Technologies):
FruitBrite and BerryBrite are essentially biodegradable and non-toxic packaging inserts that fit into fruit containers and emit ingredients to keep produce from spoiling without having to spray on any additional chemicals
The inserts allow the produce to last longer, which also means that the produce can have a greater range of area where they can be transported to and sold in before spoiling
FruitBrite is a time-release sachet that contains an ethylene blocker (ethylene is the gas given off by some fruits that speed up the ripening process)
FruitBrite can extend produce’s lifespan by 2-3 weeks and has been tested on various produces including apples, asparagus, broccoli, cherries, tomatoes, etc.
BerryBrite delivers controlled dose of a blend of natural essential oils that inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and molds in berries
BerryBrite extends the shelf life of berries by up to 3x, reduces disease and rot by up to 90%, and improves post-harvest firmness by up to 2x
Infrastructure Problem: Renewable Energy From microgrid can be wasted due to inefficient data and demand
Solar panel owners get a small return for feeding excess power from their roof back into the grid, which power companies then on-sell at a much higher price. Peer-to-peer trading overhauls the system by opening up the market to allow households to buy and sell solar energy without a power company, trading their energy for more than the feed-in tariff while still undercutting power providers for buyers.
Power Ledger has developed software which reads the outputs of electricity meters and can therefore measure the amount of energy that is consumed or generated. Power Ledger is a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading platform enabling consumers and businesses to sell their surplus solar power to their neighbours without a middleman.
Those two pieces of information are then recorded on the Blockchain and used to move energy from one person to another via a unit called ‘Sparkz’, which is a digital representation of energy. The buyer receives the energy and the seller banks payment for the electricity almost simultaneously
The Power Ledger system tracks the generation and consumption of all trading participants and settles energy trades on pre-determined terms and conditions in near real time. A user simply receives a registration email from their Application Host, they click on a link which takes them to the Power Ledger platform where they create a userid and password. That’s it, once logged in they can see their electricity usage and all their P2P trading transaction details.
Problem: current individual transportation modes, especially in developing countries, still rely on vehicles such as scooters that burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gasses. In addition, vehicle ownership in developing nations is expected to rise.
Solution: A zero emission electric scooter that is powered by a removable battery which is obtained through a shared charging network.
Gogoro is a Taiwan-based startup that manufactures and sells electric scooters powered by removable battery packs.
Customers purchase ownership of the scooter, and gain membership to a charging network where they obtain and swap out the battery packs.
Battery station locations and battery availability is managed through a mobile app.
Gogoro can analyze data of charging activity to help inform where to distribute more batteries and when to take advantage of off-peak charging
conventional scooter owners
cities with high traffic pollution
First 3 steps:
identify cities with high scooter/moped ridership
propose the Smart Energy Network to municipal transportation departments
Each year there are thousands of truck accidents, leading to injuries and fatalities. And these accidents have a higher rate of fatalities due to the sheer size of their vehicles. And of all fatalities in semi-truck accidents, 98 percent of those deaths occur to the passengers in cars struck by trucks. Could a computer have done better at the wheel?
Uber released new footage and some images of its self-driving trucks, which reveal an updated look with some powerful new sensors.
The sensors are now embedded in the truck’s exterior, creating a more seamless look.
The addition of a new, spinning 64-channel LIDAR laser sensor on the roof indicates the trucks are operating on a more sophisticated autonomous system than the previous models.
The 64-channel spinning LIDAR array will help Uber improve its data collection. The LIDAR builds a very high-quality point cloud of its surroundings. So that really helps the software system make better decisions about what’s out there in the world and make better decisions.
Truck driving companies
Organizations that are related to the safety of truck driving
Government department which is responsible for the safety of truck driving
Step 1: Introduce this new technology via a variety of methods to the government, energy companies and citizens.
Step 2: Set up the studio to show audience about the feasibility and potential market of the technology.
Step 3: Establish a corporation relationship with the government and build an incentive system to encourage the truck driver to get involved with this technology.
Comment: Helpful technology! The maintenance cost for the system is a relatively insignificant since that can be incorporated into the regular maintenance of transit vehicles and systems. In a demonstration project on busy Los Angeles County Metro bus lines, the Transit Signal Priority improved travel time savings by 25 percent and, on one line, increased overall travel speeds by 29 percent.
A well-functioning transit system is a essential component of any major city. However, in cities with narrow streets and high level of traffic volume like NYC, buses or other transit vehicles often trapped in busy intersections, resulting in traffic congestion and excessive air pollution emitted by standstill vehicles. According to a mobility report issued by NYC government, in n central business districts like Midtown Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and Jamaica Queens average travel speed for buses are often 4 mph or less. Prioritizing traffic signal at busy intersection for buses could lead to higher travel speed of buses and therefore improve overall efficiency and service quality of the transit system.
Technology: Transit Signal Priority
Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is a set of operational improvements for traffic lights that use technology to reduce dwell time at traffic signals for transit vehicles
Such a technology includes a detection system and a priority request generator aboard transit vehicles (or in centralized location)
As TSP equipped transit vehicles approach corridors, a signal will be sent by the priority request generator wirelessly to the traffic light control system
As the system receives the priority signal from transit vehicles, a set of pre-set strategies will be utilized to either hold green lights longer or shorten red lights until the transit vehicle pass the intersection
The same system could also be utilized to prioritize traffic signal for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks
Department of Transportation
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Traffic signal providers
Identify intersections and corridors with highest traffic volume
Launched a pilot program to upgrade traffic signal system and install priority request generator in some transit vehicles (especially BRTs)
Evaluate effectiveness of the system and improve shortcomings
Employ the system in all transit vehicles and corridors to improve transit efficiency
1. Sustainability Problem Area: Social/Engagement/Transparency
It is difficult for online shoppers to learn about the sustainability aspects of products they buy. Mainstream retailers do not often disclose helpful information, and consumers need to spend time investigating brands and products to be well informed.
Impakt, an “ethical shopping” extension, hopes to bring this common browser technology, also used by ebates (reward for online shopping), Honey (coupon finder), and Amazon (price & product finder), to the world of social responsibility
The Impakt extension uses algorithmic machine learning to access public information such as government data, industry studies, and university or NGO reports
It then will flag those products and companies that exploit child labor or climate change (just 2 examples), and recommend alternative products that may match user preferences better (and be more sustainable)
Impakt can be used on both retailer websites (Amazon, Macy’s, Best Buy) as well as company websites (H&M, Sephora).
Impakt will need to grow their user base via marketing or word of mouth to spread the word about their service
Impackt will need to build relationships with brands and retailers, so that they do not figure out a way to block the extension because of information they do not want to share with their supplier
Impackt could work to make their information more specific, so that not just entire brands (e.x: H&M), and partner with companies to help them tell sustainability stories.
Comment: The power reserve for the “e-dumper” is 600kWh, as much as an average home in the Mid-Atlantic US uses in a month. In one day, the truck can generate 200kWh of energy from 20 round trips. What happens, however, if this truck isn’t’ going downhill everyday, and can’t generate energy from breaking?
Energy Conservation. Around 30% of a building’s energy is from the HVAC equipment. 10-30% of this is wasted due to system inefficiences.
Fault Detection & Diagnostics (FDD) uses standard “rules” to determine when these pieces of equipment are operating at deficiencies and alerts stakeholders to correct. Building Automation Systems are already in place (in most locations) and monitor the system parameters required for these rules to take place. What’s needed is to trend the data and run through data analytics to determine where the deficiencies exist.
Building Owners – Required buy in to fund the FDD process
Building Automation Companies – Work hand-in-hand with Building Owners to ensure the equipment is operating efficiently.
Utility Companies – Partially fund energy service projects, including FDD.
Government – Ensure Utility Companies are funding energy service projects.
Setup pilot projects demonstrating energy savings potential for FDD. From these pilot projects, calculate an expected energy savings utility companies can use to base rebates off. With buy-in from utility companies, building owners will trust the process and purchase FDD solutions from their Building Automation Company.
Article: “Re-circulating Aquaculture Systems (RAS)”
Comment: So good! Great solution for farmers wanting to grow fish and not grow food. There’s also a solution, aquaponics, which uses the “wastewater” directly to grow crops without going through an intermediary step of being filtered and extracted. Anything to get the word out on sustainable methods of fishing!