Solar Water Capturing Device

Many developing countries in the Middle East and Africa are experiencing water shortage problems. The amounts of water vapor that can be found and potentially captured from the air are equal to about 10% of fresh water found in lakes on Earth. Most of the countries in question rely on importing water and aid from other word organizations. Furthermore, those areas experience low humidity which restricts the use of current technology due to their low efficiency.

A research team at MIT has come up with a design for a device that can capture water vapor at an average rate of 2.8 liters daily at relative humidity levels as low as 20%. The design is based on “porous metal-organic framework-801” that utilizes adsorption properties of the metal and organic material. The frame absorbs water and then the device uses the heat from the sun to release the water into a storage device. This means that no additional heat or energy is required to operate the device. The design is still in its early stage and further research and development are needed to make sure of its efficiency and reliability.



  • Potential investors
  • Scientists and institution working on the research
  • Manufacturers of metal-organic material
  • People living in areas with water shortages

Next Steps
Since the technology is still in development, MIT and other investors should back the project for further development. The device is still a prototype and requires additional filtration system and an improved collection system for water particulates that form on the surface of the device. Advertise the technology and shift focus to countries in need of new freshwater resources to help fund the manufacturing process of the device and start initial testing.

By: Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098)

Resources used:


Comment on “Hybrid Wind Power Generating & Fish Farming System

Although I like the idea of integrating different technologies and ideas and finding more efficient uses of spaces, there are many debates growing on whether these can be called “sustainable.” There are many issues with fish farms:

  • They disturb other fish habitats in the area
  • Inconsistent water currents and circulation can result in water with high health risks
  • Generally, they acquire a bad image in the eyes of the public vs. wild fishing
  • Risk of fish “escapes”

Maybe the technology can be modified so that the energy generated can somehow try to fix or minimize some of the issues listed above.


Turning Climate Pollution Into Fish Feed



Area of focus: Safety and Health


Overfishing is a global issue that causes environmental and social problems. From an environment standpoint, it not only affects fish stocks around the world which are declining at an alarming rate but also represent an important source of water pollution due to massive fishing boats deployed in various locations. Those big scale exploitations then affect small scale fishermen by decreasing the amounts of fish reaching the coasts. Also, a lot of fish caught by the bigger boats are exported, leaving local population with a reduced quantity of food available.

One of the drivers of overfishing is the need for small fish used as feed (usually for bigger fish productions and livestock).  As the Fast Company’s article mentions : “NovoNutrients wants to replace that fish food with something more sustainable: microbes grown with carbon dioxide”.

The company uses carbon dioxide to feed microbes that become protein used for animal feed production. A pipe is connected to water where the gases are dissolved.

During the process, Hydrogen is also being produced thru (solar-powered) hydrolyse which helps power the installation.



Stakeholders :

  • Animal feed manufacturing companies
  • Livestock and aquaculture farms
  • Government officials


  • Research countries with the highest concentration of aquaculture farms
  • Approach farmers to show them the product
  • Work with government officials to integrate the use of the product in best management practice guides for farmers

Other technology:  Fighting fire with math and maps (

This technology is interesting as it could help cities with diseases spreading among trees. By mapping the type of trees available around the city, officials would be able to better diversify the kind of new trees planted making “greening” efforts more efficient.


Fighting fire with math and maps

1. Sustainability Problem: Forest fires in California have increased in frequency and magnitude. This is causing increased loss of human life and property. After the forest fires subside, Forest Department prunes/ cuts down trees in uniform manner, similar to farming, to avoid future fires. However, this results in artificial spacial patterns among trees thereby increasing chances of disease, fire and loss of biodiversity. It is important to mimic natural forest patterns, to avoid these issues and to enable forests to survive on their natural resilience. However, there is no easily available technology for this.

Category: Safety & Health, Waste

2. Technology: QuickMap – A forestry app

  • University of Washington has developed an app called QuickMap which uses statistics and GIS data to randomize tree patterns, to closely mimic nature, based on which foresters can prune trees, to avoid future fires.
  • An experienced 2 person team can mark 10-20 acres of land per day, which is quick.
  • It will take time for tree removal and for the forest to take over the job – growing, seeding new areas, and dying back from others – but this approach gives the forest a head start at creating healthier, more resilient conditions.

3. Organizational Stakeholders: Forest Department, Policy makers, Academic institutions

4. Next steps for deployment:

  • Train forest staff in use of the app and GIS.
  • Create synergistic partnerships between academic institutions in the country, to increase availability of GIS data and to adapt it to other forest types
  • Create policy to ensure this app is used in all forests in the country

5. Comment on another article: IceEnergy

Comment: Ice banks have traditionally been used in the dairy industry, to avoid peak demand. Recently few building complexes have started installing icebanks.

Hybrid Wind Power Generating & Fish Farming System


Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.42.17 PM

Sustainability: Energy, Wind power, small-scale fishers

Small-scale fishers are concerned about offshore wind farms but the scale and speed of wind farm development offshore might mean that the situation is likely to change in the near future. The primary concern for small-scale fishers is the potential loss of access to fishing grounds within turbine zones. Infrastructure cost for the conventional floating wind turbine is a tremendous cost. Hybrid Wind Power Generating and Fish Farming System resolve conflicts between wind energy companies and small-scale fishers, leading both parties to collaboration.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.42.31 PM


  • Base: Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT)
    • VAWT doesn’t have complex steering systems
    • Lower center gravity
  • Fish cage structure with a small waterplane area twin-hull feature
    • More stable system against ocean wave impact


  • Fishman
  • Small-scale fishing companies
  • Local government
  • Wind energy company
  • Turbine Manufacturer
  • Turbine  Installer

Steps to deploy this technology:

  • Engage small-scale fish companies, governments, and energy companies
  • Wind energy companies can rent fish farming zones from small-scale fishers to set up these hybrid systems
  • Hire and train local coastal fishers to work as wind turbine maintenance engineers
  • Local government or NGOs can fund small-scale fishing companies
  • Encourage Fishman to grow into an energy company and run both a wind energy and a fish farming business

UNI: QS2162

Comment on another post:


Smart Transportation & Smart Waste Management.

Sustainable Issue: Waste Management
Technology: Smart Bin with IoT Sensors
Waste is collected on a regular schedule to ensure that the streets, neighbourhoods and businesses are clean, safe and able to be enjoyed by all. This has been achieved by scheduling regular or static collections by waste collection staff in trucks to empty our bins.
SmartBin’s Intelligent Monitoring solution enables waste management and recycling companies to optimize their collection operations and maximize the use of valuable resources. By deploying SmartBin wireless ultrasonic sensors to a wide range of containers, and using the data intelligence to drive operational efficiencies including optimized routes, asset tracking and cost analysis. SmartBin sensors leverage the latest in IoT and cellular network technologies.
Key Features
• Ultrasonic fill-level, geo-location & temperature
• Optimizes the dumper route to landfill.
• Zero maintenance with a non-corrosive protective shell
• Know the fill-level of your containers at all times.
• Send optimized routes directly to dumpers to schedule pickup.
• Cut your service costs by up to 50%.
• Provide a world class service.
• Reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

Stake Holders:
• Manufacturing units
• Government
• Commercial building users
• Communities
• Waste Management Utilities
Deployment / Implementation:
• Work with the local government to implement in the city
• Educate local bodies for waste management about the technology; have three to four sessions.
• Awareness among the community

Response to Another post

Lab-grown meat: fantasy or reality? By Agathetech

I believe lab grown meat is one of best solution to meet the food scarcity issue without killing any animals around the world. But my only concern is how healthy is this meat and will it really suffice the purpose of reducing GHG Emission? As I read more one this technology, I learnt that all lab-grown meat so far requires a product called fetal bovine serum which is a by-product made from the blood of cow fetuses. And thus, Millions of fetuses are slaughtered for this purpose. I think Cultured meat grown by way of FBS doesn’t, at all, address that problem.

IceEnergy – Cool battery Storage


Energy: electricity from renewable energy is generated only when specific environmental conditions are met (e.g. the sun is out, the wind is blowing etc.). Nonetheless, the renewable energy generation profile does not reflect energy demand and as such there is a great need for energy storage. Current solutions are expansive and not viable at the scale needed to truly transform to a renewable, clean grid.

The solution

A novel battery storage solution using ice to store energy.


  • Ice energy is a company based in Santa Barbara, California. The company uses off-peak electricity to create a thermal battery (i.e. cool water into ice). The battery connects to a facility’s HVAC system and helps it produce cool air for AC use. By lowering the temperature of input air, the battery reduces the system’s cooling needs – thus saving energy.
  • The technology is commercial, tested and reliable. The company has a verity of solutions including products for residential, commercial & industrial as well as for the grid.
  • Each unit “saves” (on average) 2,000 lbs of CO2 and reduces peak load by 95%.



Every facility that has an HVAC system, ideally in a warm climate where the need for cooling is large, including:

  • Warehouses
  • Manufacturing facilitates
  • Single and multi family homes


Step 1 – Further develop and optimize the product line.

Step 2 – Step up production to the point where economics of scale help reduce unit price substantially.

Step 3 – Open  sales offices in multiple cities in the US and evaluate the international market for a second manufacturing facility.


Company website –

Comment on “Vertical Farm Acupuncture – made from recycled materials for Indonesia’s migrant farmers”: “This is a pretty cool idea. Another benefit of the vertical farm building, especially when it is implemented at scale, is a reduction in the urban heat island effect, which is in addition to the thermal insolation the vegetation will provide.”

Unifying payment for shared transport services and public transit

Category: Mobility

Shared modes of transportation, paired with public transit, provide great benefit to cost of living on the individual scale, and to broader issues like air pollution and traffic congestion on a city-wide scale. In an attempt to simplify the use of the multiple services available to city residents, and hopefully provide incentive, these services should consider unifying fare payment systems by using software development kits (SDK).

In the way that Lyft drivers are guided by Waze for navigation, the MTA, citibike, Zipcar, and Lyft, can pool together a resource of funds for in-app purchases of metrocards, subscriptions, or rides.

For the volume of funds a system like this would require, it seems like the financial management would be best housed in a city government entity. The other parties involved would be responsible for app production and maintenance. Together staff members of each service would represent their organization’s interest and be the liaison between the joint venture and the support of their organization.

How can smart cities encourage public transit ridership

Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit

Hypersonic Flight with Boron Nitrogen Nanotubes

  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy & aircraft travel times
  2. Technology Solution: Extremely high travel speeds generate high heat. A study done by NASA and Binghamton University investigated using nanotubes made from boron nitride (BNNTs) to allow for hypersonic travel at speeds above 4,000 miles per hour. Currently, carbon nanotubes can withstand temperatures of 400 degrees Celcius but BNNTs can withstand 900 degrees Celcius.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • NASA
    • Elon Musk and hyperloop
    • Investors
    • Private aerospace or automotive companies in competition
    • Governments and smart cities attempting to create more efficient technology solutions
    • NGOs
    • Local communities in need of resources such as food or after disasters
  4. Deployment:
    1. Investors must be engaged to further R&D efforts. BNNTs cost about $1,000 per gram and are too expensive for production. However prices may decrease, and production may increase, after more studies detail the material’s usefulness and durability. Carbon nanotubes were around the same price 20 years ago but are now between $10-20 per gram.
    2. Create pilot projects for military fighter jets and high-speed trains. Use these pilot projects to demonstrate the productivity of this technology in addressing weather disaster areas that need relief and developing countries in need of physical access to food.
    3. If successful, expand to commercial flights.
  5. Comment on “Smog Free Tower” post:
    • This has been a great addition to some of the CO2 inhaling technologies out there. As the article mentions, developing countries, such as places in China and Malaysia with many manufacturing plants, have very unhealthy air. Not only does this attempt to combat particle emissions contributing to climate change, it also targets health & safety of the global population since our bodies were not made to withstand so much air pollution. Perhaps air filters could be implemented in other infrastructure at lower costs? Apparently now this compressed polluted air is also being turned into jewelry.

From landfills to community based “biogas generators”

Sustainability problem

Waste to landfill, improper waste management and climate change

According to the EPA Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.3 percent recycling rate (as of 2013). On average, 1.51 pounds of the 4.4 pounds per person per day of our individual waste was recycled and composted.

Another study estimates that on average America tosses five pounds of trash per person per day into its landfills, based on actual landfill data as opposed to government estimates. Regardless of the facts and figures, it is safe to assume that the amount of waste going to landfills and resulting methane production (a gas that has 23 times the carbon intensity of carbon dioxide) is an issue of paramount importance.

Sustainability technology

Home or community based biogas generators for cooking and heating

Biogas digesters take household and yard waste and convert it to a useful, methane rich substitute that can be channelled to homes for various applications. Think of this as capturing the methane at landfills and converting it to useful energy. However, why let the waste reach the landfills when it can be converted to energy right at the source?

A well-managed methane digester can produce approximately its own volume of biogas each day. Anywhere from 10 to 60 percent of the solids will convert into biogas during digestion, so expect between 3 and 18 cubic feet of available biogas energy for each pound of dry material.

While the technology is not new, the accompanying governance and management is where innovative ideas can take shape. By creating neighbourhood based “gas plants”, households can all channel their waste to a local plant which generates gas and pipes it back to them for cooking and heating. This cannot completely replace industrial standard supply of natural gas but can certainly reduce the dependence on it, which in turn can have downstream effects of overall reduced demand.

It will also minimize the amount of waste going to landfills and in the long run the need for landfills. The leftover material is a useful fertilizer which can be utilized to nurture local parks or farms.

Key stakeholders and their role in implementation

  • Municipal authorities and organizations- for construction and maintenance
  • Citizens- responsible for segregating waste with care
  • Governments- to do a cost benefit analysis of this project at a neighbourhood and municipality level and subsequently to create subsidy programs to allow this program to pick up speed


Post on Smog Free Tower

Very unique technology! This is needed in cities like Delhi and Shanghai, though the primarily roadblock i foresee is the availability of space. Several of the most polluted cities are also very densely packed and availability of land is always an issue. Is there a range over which this technology operates?

Perhaps the solution lies in situating them on the outskirts (this depends on the range over which this technology can “vacuum and clean”), or rather to innovate to the point where this acts as a final stage scrubbing technology and cleans right at the source?

By Aksheya Chandar (ac4154)

Image source-