The increasing demand for energy is putting pressure on the entire energy system, as it has to keep with the rising levels of consumption. In a climate change context, this task results even more difficult because the increase in energy production has to come with a reduction in carbon emissions.
Up.org has developed a kinetic energy technology called M.O.R.E. which basic idea is to turn movement into energy. In this first stage the technology is currently being commercialized in items like balls or jumping ropes, with which people can play while generating energy that they can use to charge their cellphones among other purposes.
- Energy consumers.
- Energy companies.
- Countries´ governments.
The technology is in an early development stage. So far they have only been able to apply it in a small scale (for balls and ropes). By commercializing these initial products, and probably securing funds from other sources, up.org could improve the technology in order to apply in larger scale projects that could actually serve as some larger power generators.
Rural population in developing nations often lack of access to energy and mores specifically electricity. This lowers their level of life, and pushes them to consume energy with hi emissions, that results in health problems such a wood burning.
Maya pedal is an NGO located in Guatemala las builds and distributes machines based on reused bicycles in order for the people to perform everyday activities with their own energy. Blender, Water Pump, Nut-Sheller, Coffee Depulper, and Metal Sharpener, are just a few examples of the big range of models they have to offer.
- Local population.
- National, state and local governments governments.
The model has to be scaled up in Guatemala and to other countries. The implementation is not that hard because the machines can be created by the population, but they do need technical assistance to read and follow the manuals. For this to happen, a partnership with other local NGO´s could be useful to expand the network.
Pollution is one of the main concerns in the big cities around the world. Countries like the UK, China, and Mexico, among others have struggled with smog through decades, but this problem seems to keep increasing. The problem is that as population grows, and the consumption patterns stay unchanged, it has been virtually impossible to decrease the emissions that cause smog.
Ironically, it was in a country that does not suffer from this problem where the first smog filtering tower was created. This 7-meter tower was installed in Rotterdam, and uses filters in its interior to literally inhale polluted air and exhaling bubbles of clean air.
- Local governments of polluted cities.
- National and state governments where the cities are located.
- Population in general.
As mentioned, this is the first installed tower. The creators are hoping to find NGOs or government allies to scale it up. Resources are needed to improve the functioning of the tower aand decreasing their costs, which seems crucial to reach development countries which are the most vulnerable to this problem.
There is a lot of human made waste going to the ocean every year. One of the most damaging type of waste is the plastic due to its potential impact on flora and fauna, and its little capability of decomposing. The amount of plastic in the ocean increases in around 8 million tons annually.
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit with the mission of cleaning up the ocean from plastic waste. The technology consists con a floating v-shaped array made of a net that goes a few feet into the ocean. The staff of the project states that the device is flexible enough to be able to move through the ocean´s currents without being damaged by the nature´s force.
- Governments of coastal countries.
- Fishing industry.
- Beach tourists.
The pilot is already ongoing. Many oceanographers doubt the technology´s capability to resist the ocean´s forces. In response to this, improvements in the device have to be made. The organization needs to focus on securing more funding (which so far has been coming from non-profits) to further develop the technology and expand the pilot.
Conventional leather production involves a process called tanning in which different chemicals are used to make the leather soft an attractive to the consumers. Evidence has been found that many of these substances are very harmful to the environment and the health of the workers and the communities where tanning operations are held. Chromium VI is one of the most widely used chemicals and it is believed to cause skin rash, kidney and liver damage, respiratory problems, and various types of cancer among others.
Piñatex is a “non-woven textile made from pineapple leaves´ fibers”. This technology is an alternative for conventional leather due to its durability and texture properties. Piñatex is a sub-product of pineapple production that uses the leaves that are left on the field to rotten. This makes the process very sustainable in the sense that no extra land is needed for it.
- Textile industry.
- Tannery workers.
- Health authorities of leather intensive communities.
The product is fully developed, but it is in constant development to achieve a greater potential. So far brands like Puma or Camper have backed it up by using Piñatex in their products. The project is ready to go to the next level for which funding from either the private or the public sector could be useful.
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.
- 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.
Nopalimex is a Mexican enterprise, considered a pioneer in the generation of energy from the biomass of cactuses (nopales in Spanish). Overall, the process consists on mashing the cactuses, and letting them decompose for them to release methane. This gas is then used as fuel to generate electricity.
Although this project is starting at a low scale, it already has the potential to provide with cheaper and carbon neutral energy to the population of Zitacuaro, Michoacán; the municipality where the company operates. In this sense, this technology could help Mexico to comply with a recent law that was passed in 2015 in an effort to fight climate change. It establishes that 35% of the power generation has to come from clean sources by 2024, without putting its energy security at risk.
Even though it is starting at a small scale, there are various agents that can be benefited with it. First, the is the population in Zitacuaro, as they are going too access a portion of the energy they need at a lower cost. Secondly, the government in its three levels can be considered a stakeholder because, as mentioned before, this technology will help the country to achieve its clean energy goals, while ensuring its energy security.
Scaling up this technology is not going to be easy. The main issue regarding its implementation is the availability of the cactus. Feasibility studies are going o be needed to ensure this plants can be produce in a larger scale in a sustainable way. On the other hand, the recent energy reform gives a lot of benefits to renewable energy projects, from which Nopalimex could be benefited.