Bladeless wind turbines trialed

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1. Sustainability Problem

Energy: Global energy demand continues to grow, and renewable energy technologies are often less acceptable than fossil-fuel technologies because of the cost to manufacture and concerns about unintended impacts. Wind turbines, in particular, are often opposed because of noise pollution, shadow flicker and bird strike.

2. Technology Article Summary

Article:
Can bladeless wind turbines mute opposition?

by Dominic Bates
Published 6/1/2015 on theguardian at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jun/01/can-bladeless-wind-turbines-mute-opposition

  • Spanish company Vortex Bladeless has developed a wind turbine that captures close to 40 % of wind energy  without the use of blades.
  • The turbine uses the principle of aeroelastic coupling: wind currents form whirlwinds or vortices in contact with the structure, a single mast mounted on a frictionless magnetic bearing.
  • Vortices cause the mast to oscillate, a movement that increases exponentially as the frequency of the vortex approaches the resonance frequency of the structure. This mechanical energy is easily converted to electricity.
  • The structure is cheaper to produce than a conventional bladed turbine, has no wearing parts, is much quieter and is not expected to harm birds, so is poised to overcome the most significant arguments against wind turbine installation in the UK.
  • The turbine has not yet been produced to scale, but Vortex Bladeless hope to release a 100 W, 3 metre model and a 4 kW, 13 metre model in the next 18 months.

3. Organizational Stakeholders

This technology is initially intended for distributed generation. In this phase it might affect the following stakeholders:

  • Communities living off-grid in Africa and India
  • Homeowners in the UK interested in domestic generation
  • Policymakers considering restrictions on height of domestic turbines
  • Environmental and community groups including RSPB and CPRE

4. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Vortex Bladeless: develop 100 W and 4 kW models for market
  • Policymakers: reconsider the current 11.1 m height restriction on turbines in residential areas
  • Policymakers: exempt bladeless turbines from subsidy withdrawals designed to discourage bladed turbine installations

See also: http://www.greenrhinoenergy.com/renewable/wind/wind_environment.php for a discussion of unintended impacts of bladed wind turbines

 

Liam – Improving the LifeCycle of iPhones

1. Sustainability Problem: Waste

There are billions of technology products and they are constantly being replaced by by new or different technologies, but in a world with limited resources and over-flowing landfills, we can not discard all of our old gadgets to landfills and rely on freshly sourced materials to build the replacements. Improper disposal of technology can be dangerous due to toxic chemicals in the battery, such as cobalt and lithium.

2. Technology: Liam The Robot

Article:
Apple Just Unveiled a Blazing Fast iPhone Recycling Robot

by Lacey Cook, Published 3/21/2016 on inhabitat at http://inhabitat.com/apple-unveils-iphone-recycling-robot-and-launches-major-apple-renew-initiative/apple-liam-iphone-recycling-robot-1/

  • In March, Apple introduced a new member of the Apple Renew program, Liam, a robotic arm
  • Liam is programmed specifically to dismantle iPhones into reusable parts and safely recycle toxic materials found in the battery such as lithium, and cobalt
  • Once dismantled, the parts will be broken down further to be reintroduced into the global supply chain
  • Apple provides pre-paid package labels to customers returning old or unwanted devices, they will also receive a gift card if the returned device has any value

3. Organizational Stakeholders

  • Apple
  • Toxic waste management facilities
  • Landfill facilities
  • First generation resource/material providers for technology
  • Current, potential, and future Apple customers

4. Deployment

  • Increase public awareness of Apple Renew, the company’s reuse and recycling program
  • Incentivize or require users to return old products
  • Share Liam technology and programming with other technology manufacturers or disposal organizations to increase the total impact

See also:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/03/21/apple-teases-liam-iphone-recycling-robot-as-part-of-environmental-initiative

 

Circular Content Management System (CCMS): Track and Trace Tool for Supply Chains

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Technology and Background

Circular Content Management System (CCMS) is a cloud-based platform developed by Improvement IT with Netherlands-based clothing manufacturer Dutch aWEARness. All garments produced by Dutch aWEARness are 100% recyclable and are leased to the consumer who returns it after use so the materials can be reprocessed back into raw materials. Though a relatively small company, Dutch aWEARness aims to promote the circular economy and collaborate with other designers, retailers, manufacturers and others involved in the textile industry. Dutch aWEARness has used a track and trace barcode system for all of its products and materials and is now making the platform, CCMS, available for others in an effort to increase transparency and facilitate the circular economy.

How CCMS works:

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  • Data input  (i.e. suppliers, processes, energy, raw materials, transportation modes, etc.)
  • Batch code is created for every step of the chain and linked together
  • QR code generated for final product
  • Scan shows all materials, partners, environmental impact and a Google map of the product’s route

Sustainability Problem

Textile waste takes up approximately 5% of U.S. landfill space according to EPA estimates and only 15% of textiles are currently recycled in the U.S. By promoting the circular economy, the CCMS enables greater accountability and transparency regarding raw materials and waste in the textile/apparel industries. The tool not only facilities better supply chain practices and facilitates the circular model for manufacturers but enables consumers to have a better understanding of the sourcing and environmental impact of the product. The tool in of itself does not solve the problem but facilitates the transition to a circular model that will reduce waste, encourage re-use and recycling of materials, and lessen the environmental impact of textile production.

 Stakeholders

  • Apparel industry
  • Textile manufacturers
  • Clothing retailers
  • Suppliers
  • Consumers
  • Governments (Dutch aWEARness has partnered with the European Commission’s Eco-Innovation program)
  • NGOs and activists
  • Software developer, Improvement IT

Technology Implementation

The platform is leased using a subscription-based model and training and maintenance is provided. Potential challenges are scaleability and cost. The data tracked is based on input provided by the user so accuracy of data input would be crucial to the tool’s performance.

Sources:

http://www.circularchainsystem.com/

http://www.weardonaterecycle.org/

http://www.dutchawearness.nl/

 

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/ict_big_data/hannah_furlong/new_track_trace_tool_enables_transparent_circular_supply?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=innovation&utm_campaign=jun15&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTlRFeVpURmpaR1JoTm1JNSIsInQiOiJVSjlTVEIxcEZpd2VwTndSRHJvbTlvQWV0RUJ4dnRnREpiUmhrQ2U3a3ZHb1wvMXFubmxjbWpraHFhcUNaa1dTOFwvOCs1RDhITVNxdUpLaFJ1Zm91NDljcXpTVnM5b3AxbHU0VXI0ZDZwcXR3PSJ9http://www.circularchainsystem.com/http://www.weardonaterecycle.org/http://www.dutchawearness.nl/

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cheap and Sustainable Way to Keep Temperatures Down

http://inhabitat.com/this-amazing-bangladeshi-air-cooler-is-made-from-plastic-bottles-and-uses-no-electricity/

Problem: Electricity consumption and thermal comfort: The use of air conditioning (AC) units in residential buildings is one of the main drivers of electricity consumption variation in hot places. In a climate change context, it is urgent to find sustainable alternatives to achieve thermal comfort in order to avoid a positive feedback loop between temperature and emissions. There are also financial implications for households, as their energy bills increase by using AC units.

Technology: A homemade recycled “air conditioning” unit was developed in Bangladesh to deal with residential high temperatures. The device consists in a simple board with circular holes cut out in a gridded pattern. Then, plastic bottles with the bottom part cut off are attached to each hole. The board is placed on a window with the bottles faced outside. The wider part of the bottles will catch the wind from the outside and funnel it into the inside. The mechanism has proved to lower indoor temperatures up to 5ºC.

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Stakeholders:

  • Users of Eco Cooler units.
  • Governments on the three levels of countries with hot weather.

Process: Currently, the project is being backed up by the Grey Group and the Grameen Intel Social Business to try to scale it and reach as many people as possible. As the device can be built at home, the implementation process should be focused on information campaigns to educate people on how to build it and install it. A partnership with local governments could be valuable to provide with technical assistance to the households.

SMARTGRIDS

smart grid-1

  • Technology:

Smart Grid is the Next GEN power infrastructure that incorporates major technology components like smart meters, sensors, wireless communications, software etc. to improve efficiency and optimizes consumption. It also enables the integration of sustainable energy solutions like solar, wind etc. by sending energy back into the grid.

  • Problem:

Smart Grids reduces the dependency and use of fossil fuels by enhancing the inefficiencies in energy consumption and leveraging seamless integration and use of sustainable energy solutions like solar and wind. For ex. By using Smart Meters and Sensors, extra energy obtained from solar panels can be sent back to the grid.

  • Stakeholders:
    1. Home, Commercial and Industrial users
    2. Electric Power Companies
    3. Governments
  • Implementation:
    1. Develop simple, cost effective and easy to install kits
    2. Incentivize power companies to offer such green solutions
    3. Government tax deductions similar to electric cars

Sources:

 

  • ar3354

 

 

Permeable dams

building-permeable-dams-2-nanang-sujana

Technology:

Permeable dams used as coastal defenders. This is a cost-effective progressive and natural way to strengthen coastal resilience. This technology has been successfully implemented in countries like Indonesia.

Article: http://discovermagazine.com/2016/may/11-outsmarting-climate-change  and http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/12/permeable-dams-prevent-land-loss-and-save-mangroves-in-suriname/

Sustainability challenge:

Over the past 50 years, mangrove forests and the wetland ecosystems have been disappearing, thus making the coast more vulnerable to disasters. Most governments look at engineering solutions like dykes and seawalls, which are expensive, or they look at mangrove restoration, which is difficult and time-intensive.

Stakeholders:

  • Coastal residents and business owners
  • Governments implementing cost effective coastal resilience measures
  • International NGO’s like Wetland International
  • Local coastal communities
  • Coastal ecosystems

Process of implementation:

The dams are built on site using local material like bamboo and branches, and have permeable, artificial “roots”. These roots dissipate the strong wave energy and reduce the impact of disasters. This also helps young mangrove forests grow and expand. Implementing this technology successfully requires the right education and design, government support, local community support and small monetary investment. This process has been successfully implemented in Java, Indonesia, where it has also supported community development by protecting both the land/coast and the shrimp farms. Similar biomimicry initiatives have been implemented in the Netherlands, India and the United States.

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New Boiler Technology Helps Reduce Energy and Emissions

“The new boiler that generates electricity for the National Grid” – The Guardian.com

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/17/new-boiler-generates-electricity

  • Combined heat and power boilers that produce their own electricity are being integrated into households. This electricity is a by-product of heating the home or hot water.
  • An agreement is signed between the owner and Flow Energy where, over time, the income of electricity produced is split 50/50 between the two parties.
  • Flow Energy says the new boiler will reduce a household’s carbon emissions by roughly 20%, or 1,000kg of CO2, a year.

Organizational stakeholders that will need to use this technology are: 1) the consumer who will purchase these boilers, pay the monthly fee, and generate electricity for Flow Energy by using their boilers.  2) Insurance company Aviva who is a major shareholder with 20% stake.

The first step in deploying this technology is promoting it to the correct market.  Flow Energy needs to sell to high consuming households in order to penetrate the market because these households will benefit the most from using this technology. The next step would be to rely on economies of scale to reduce the price of these boilers and market to households that earn less. The last step is once a significant number of households are using this technology it could then be marketed to businesses in order to reduce emissions even further.