Flying Taxis

Sustainability Problem: Traffic Congestion and Carbon Emission

Transportation is one of the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel.

Solution: Uber, the ridesharing company wants to deploy flying taxis in Dallas, Texas and Dubai by 2020. These taxis would be electric, would have vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capability, and would be quiet enough to operate in urban areas.

  • Called as Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT), the vehicle is environmentally friendly, powered by electricity, and the prototype version has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, at a cruising speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h (62 mph).
  • As with longer-distance flights, the advantage of flying taxis would be low travel times. They could cut the travel time between San Francisco’s downtown Marina and San Jose down to 15 minutes from the two hours it takes to make the same trip by road.
  • Costs should be reasonable as well. In early, small-scale operations, Uber believes it can achieve costs of $1.32 per passenger miles, slightly higher than taking UberX over the same distance. Though as technology evolves and flying taxis gain popularity, cost will fall below that of cars.
  • While it will take some time to put in the infrastructure to park and charge these taxies they are bound to create a more comfortable and time saving travel experience, while reducing significant amounts of carbon emissions.

Stakeholders: City transport and aviation authorities, private companies willing to invest in and operate flying taxis, manufactures and operators of charging stations for electric cars, city residents.

Deployment: Before the flying taxis start commercial operation:

  • Companies manufacturing these vehicles will have to pilot test these for operational, efficiency and safety measures.
  • Operating and charging companies will have to work closely with transportation and aviation authorities
  • Operating companies will have to coordinate with charging and infrastructure companies.
  • General awareness among city residents along with highlighting safety issues


Comment on other blog:


tidal 4

Tidal power or tidal energy is a form of hydro-power that converts the energy obtained from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity. Although not yet widely used, tidal energy has potential for future electricity generation. Tides are more predictable than the wind and the sun.

Sustainable Problem: Energy


Tidal power or tidal energy is a form of hydrophone that converts the energy obtained from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity. Although not yet widely used, tidal energy has potential for future electricity generation. Tides are more predictable than the wind and the sun.

  • Potential: Worldwide potential for wave and tidal power is enormous, however, local geography greatly influences the electricity generation potential of each technology. Wave energy resources are best between 30º and 60º latitude in both hemispheres, and the potential tends to be the greatest on western coasts.


  • One type uses floats, buoys, or pitching devices to generate electricity using the rise and fall of ocean swells to drive hydraulic pumps.
  • A second type uses oscillating water column (OWC) devices to generate electricity at the shore using the rise and fall of water within a cylindrical shaft. The rising water drives air out of the top of the shaft, powering an air-driven turbine.
  • Third, a tapered channel, or over topping device can be located either on or offshore.



  • Smart Growth Companies
  • Institutions or Companies that use energy
  • Utility Companies


  • Develop technology fully and attract investors
  • Make technology most efficient
  • Implement into society at different levels
  • Marketing Campaign

UNI: AV2698

Comments to Wakati : Keep food fresh using solar power by RS3686 by AV2698 :

Unlike a refrigerator, the Wakati does not control temperature and, therefore, cannot store fruit and veg for long-term periods. Wakati have shown that a one or two-day shelf-life in a hot climate can be increased to 10 days. In developing countries this can be significant because some food will not go to waste and some companies can even profit.

Advancement in Bio-medical Technology Offers an Alternative to Antibiotic Treatment in the Aquaculture Industry

© brianskerry

Antibiotic treatments in the aquaculture industry has been a hot topic of debate for a few decades now. The possible negative effects to human welfare and environmental impact are a concern stemming from any possible development of bacterial resistance. The development of bacterial resistance can occur when any leftover antibiotics mixed into fish feeds or from the excretion of fish feces, settle in the sediment or are ingested by the wild fish population. Once introduced into the environment, “antibiotics alter the composition of the microbiota” (fishnavigator, 2017). This means that antibiotic resistant bacteria could replace non-resistant bacteria and could then limit the options available for treatment solutions in disease control.

Bacteriophages have been in the development stages in a project funded by the EU that was seeking for an alternative solution to using antibiotics in aquaculture. Unlike antibiotics that work broadly to kill all bacteria, Bacteriophages work by targeting only specific bacteria and they are fully natural so animals do not have to be in quarantine after treatment. The premise of the technology is similar to the probiotic technology for humans where maintaining a healthy digestive system prevents or reduces  diseases. The Polish company Proteon has developed a bacteriophage that they are marketing commercially under the name Bafador. The product is currently designed to combat two pathogens that are detrimental to farmed fish mortality rates: Pseudonomas and Aeromonas.

This technology should help increase the food production of fish farmers by decreasing the mortality rates of their stocks and lower the environmental/human health risk associated with the overuse of antibiotics.

proteon phage 2

An illustration of a bacteriophage attacking a bactera strain by Proteon.

By Octavio Franco / oaf2118 / Fall 2017

Response To: DNA Barcodes for Sustainable Seafood Production-

This seems like a promising tool to help government agencies in preventing fraudulent sales of illegal or mislabeled fish species. I was trying to figure out FishDNAID’s current business model. Their website offers services for a fee but they were not offering those services at all times. Also I wasn’t sure if they were affiliated with the Florida State University or if they were a private organization.
I think that exploring for a viable business model that could provide a stable revenue stream is certainly worth the effort.

oaf2118 / Fall 2017

Smart Parking & Superblocks in Barcelona

1. Sustainability Problem: 40% of traffic in city centers is caused by drivers looking for parking spaces. This gridlocked inertia is a universal frustration creating increased congestion, noise and pollution in areas where citizens live and work. Barcelona, Spain had been facing this issue for a long time.

Category: Energy, Waste

2. Solution implemented: Smart parking using IoT sensors, apps and innovative traffic routing

Barcelona’s Eixample district

  • Barcelona has been a pioneer in implementing IoT and smart technologies to improve civic service. As a part of it, they have identified traffic congestion as one of the areas to be worked on.
  • Using smart sensors, display boards and apps, drivers can locate nearest empty parking spot, park and get a parking receipt over the app.
  • Barcelona has also also come up with a design solution, to identify a group of city blocks (called superblocks) and allows traffic only in its perimeter, thereby reducing traffic congestion in the inner crossroads of the superblocks. (

3. Organizational Stakeholders: City Government, Community leaders, technology vendors

4. Steps for deployment:

  • Identify locations across the city where this technology can be implemented in.
  • Educate communities and citizens to accept the changes taking place in their neighborhood.
  • Increase Internet connectivity across the city, to help drivers connect with the app easily.

5. Comment on another blog:



The Drinkable Book

Clean water availability in many third world countries is proving to be a major problem. A lot of these countries do have some water sources, but the problem lies with the process of filtering and converting it into potable water. The WHO estimates that 2 billion people in the world drink water from a source that has been contaminated.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University with the help of Water is Life, have come up with a solution that tackles a few issues with this problem. They have invented a book, that provides educational advice and lessons for pupils about water sanitation. The pages also turn into water filtration tools and it is estimated that each book can provide a person with clean water for four years. The design takes advantage of silver’s effective antimicrobial characteristics. Each page weight contains less than 1% of silver. Bacteria absorb silver ions as they pass and eventually die.


  • Researchers working on the project
  • Non-profit organizations such as Water is Life
  • Manufacturers
  • People living in third world countries with limited access to clean water
  • Booksellers

Next Steps
The book is currently being distributed in certain countries such as Haiti and Kenya. I think the first step now is to see how effective this technology is. I am skeptical that people who will be using this book as a filtration device will gain much from the educational aspect of the design. Some metrics need to be put in place like the number of people drinking from a contaminated source to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this technology. This is key for the next step, which is to try to sell the idea to the WHO and other nonprofits that can potentially adopt this book into their distributive practices.

By: Ahmad Al Zubair (aa4098)

Resources used:

Comment on “Heat to keep things cold and fresh? Solar powered micro-chillers for produce

Although a very interesting idea and I can see this being utilized in many equatorial countries, I see one key issue. A hefty portion of this investment must go to education, many of these farmers are either not equipt with smartphones or don’t have the experience with dealing with new technologies such as solar PV. These (I am assuming) will be operated by the farmers themselves, and they will need to be properly trained to able to maintain and operate these tools. Perhaps part of the sharing model you suggested, they could have employees dedicated to delivering, installing and maintaining the equipment. A percentage of the rent/lease fee can go into funding this.

Heat to keep things cold and fresh? Solar powered micro-chillers for produce

Sustainability problem– Food wastage and losses due to high temperatures

Sustainability technology– Solar powered portable cost storage that can preserve produce and food for longer

An FAO study indicates that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. This inevitably also means that huge amounts of the resources used in food production are used in vain, and that the greenhouse gas emissions caused by production of food that gets lost or wasted are also emissions in vain.

Local farmers residing in hot climates face a daunting problem: their produce is susceptible to spoilage due to high temperatures which puts them at a disadvantage in markets. For cities in hot climatic regions (Equatorial countries, South East Asia etc.), the transition to sustainable and smart ways of operation require a special focus on mitigating the losses due to food and produce wastage. With growing public expectations over sustainable and local sourcing, farmers in these parts of the world need a reliable way to get their produce to market without spoilage.

Why not use the heat to their advantage? Companies such as Ecozen in India have developed micro-cold storages that run completely on solar power, and allow farmers to preserve their produce. The technology is coupled with sensors that feed data to an app on the farmer’s smartphone, allowing him/her to continuously monitor the health of produce. They are also able to compare average prices of produce in the market and ensure they get the best price possible.

Another unique aspect of this technology is the ability to mount it on trucks, which are often used to transport produce from rural farms to city centers.

Key stakeholders and their role in implementation

  • Farmers- to invest in the micro-cold storage and use it to store their produce
  • Banks and MFIs- create innovative financial products that allow poor farmers to finance this investment
  • Ecozen- create innovative asset sharing platforms, where farmers who may not want to buy the technology can rent it out as they need (so that we don’t produce more of them and instead, transition to a sharing model for the technology).


Comment on “Energy from evaporating water could rival wind or solar”.

Assuming this technology takes off in the near or mid-term future, two key points will need to be kept in mind:

  1. How will the electrical energy be transmitted? Will it feed into the grid or will this technology work better in Distributed Energy Generation models?
  2. Can battery storage be used in tandem to solve the above problem?


It would appear that such a technology will be a great starting point for distributed generation, on farms and other places where water is heavily used/evaporation rates are high. It may not be feasible to feed this type of energy directly into the grid. Thoughts?


By Aksheya Chandar (ac4154)

Upcycling Food Waste

1) Sustainability Problem: Industrial Food Waste

Most industrial processes, including those for the food and beverage industry, create waste that currently ends up in landfills. This wastes food that could be used to feed people and contributes to global warming by adding more materials to landfills.

2) Technology:

  • RISE Products, a food tech startup in Brooklyn is attempting to address this problem by upcycling the waste from beer production into a valuable ingredient, flour.
  • The primary ingredient in beer making is malted barley. Hot water is added to the grains converting into a mash. Sugar is released from the grains. It sits for some time and later this sugary water is extracted. With further processing, this will become beer. What remains (the mash) is now spent grain.
  • RISE upcycles this “spent” grain into an organic, sustainable, high-protein, low-carb and low-cholesterol flour.Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 1.11.34 PM


  • RISE partners with local microbreweries to source the “spent” grain.

3) Stakeholders:

  • Microbreweries
  • Commercial Breweries
  • Bakeries
  • Home Bakers
  • Regulatory – FDA

4) Deployment/Implementation

  • Secure patent for their technology (currently pending)
  • Increase capacity of their facilities to process “spent” grain so they can partner with larger, commercial breweries to have a larger impact in reducing this waste byproduct.
  • Expand model to include other waste byproducts to transfer industrial food waste processing . The company’s vision includes processing pomace from the wine industry, okara from soy-milk production, and fruit pulp from juicing.



Comment on DNA barcodes for sustainable seafood consumption

  • Who will be responsible for testing the catch and how will testing be enforced? If testing is done at the docs as proposed in your post, will those retailers have the equipment, capacity, time, etc. to realistically test the catch coming in in a timely matter?