Gasification – How to energize Trash!

2) Sustainability ProblemSolid Waste and GHG Emissions Reductions

Solid waste contains a lot of potential yet only 2% of it is currently used to generate energy and 17 million metric tonnes of non-recycled garbage are produced every week.  Moreover, the continued use of gasoline is adding CO2 to the atmosphere and exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there are 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and without quick and concrete action, there will be no chance to mitigate the effects of climate change.  In order to address this issue, the adaption of biofuels will be essential for many sectors including automobiles, oil and gas, and agriculture, however, converting to biofuels from fossil fuels will decrease dependence on foreign suppliers, decrease GHG emissions, and reduce overall costs.

2) Sustainable Technology: Gasification of Waste to create Ethanol and Methanol

Enerkem, a company located in Canada, is converting garbage into biofuels through gasificiaton.  This technological process converts unrecoverable (non-recyclable and non-compostable) waste into syngas which is made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Syngas is clean, sustainable, and can be produced at a low-cost.  Syngas can be used to replace fossil fuels, liquid fuel, and liquid crude oil as it can be transformed into green diesel fuel.  Enerkem “transforms the syngas into “cellulosic ethanol” and methanol, which can be used to create a clean-burning fuel. Gasoline with ethanol has more oxygen, which helps it combust more completely, thus reducing emissions.”  Enerkem just opened the first commercial-scale gasification plant in Edmonton, Alberta and they plan to keep increasing production of advanced forms of biofuel which can replace gasoline.


3) Technology Stakeholders

  • Enerkem
  • Public Officials
  • City Agencies
  • Sustainable Investors

4) Implementation

  1. Locate medium-sized city where trash is such a problem that exporting of waste is a necessity.
  2. Using the City of Edmonton model, convince local officials and city agencies that the creation of an Enerkem plant will be beneficial.
  3. Raise Capital to create the plant
  4. Initiate Construction while hiring human capital
  5. On-site Testing and Implementation

5) Comment on Other Blog Post:




Osmotic Power: A new source of clean energy

Sustainability Problem

The impacts of climate change are clearly visible in this day and age. Rising temperatures as a result of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas will only add to this problem.

Sustainable Technology

Researchers have developed a system that generates electricity from osmosis with unparalleled efficiency using seawater, fresh water, and a new type of membrane just 3 atoms thick.  A 1 m² membrane with 30% of its surface covered by nanopores should be able to produce 1MW of electricity. This is enough to power 50,000 standard energy-saving light bulbs.


  • Investors
  • NGO’s
  • Electricity generation companies
  • Government


  1. The effectiveness of this clean energy method has only been implemented on a small scale. The next phase would be to identify potential investors by attending energy efficient conferences.
  2. Identify a electricity generation company that is transition towards the usage of clean energy. Conduct a 6 month trial period during which time staff go the electricity generation company are trained. Provide workshops to further educate the employees in the company.
  3. Once the effectiveness of osmotic power as a means of clean energy is more apparent to the general public, continue to seek out more investors to increase large-scale implementation.


Solar Shingles: Photovoltaics with Curb Appeal


Sustainability Problem

Energy & Pollution: About 67% of electricity generated in the U.S. is from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum.)  Photovoltaic solar panels provide a renewable energy source option in ending our dependence on finite fossil fuels, but traditional panels have a heavy a profile that can dissuade homeowners from installing them.

Technology Summary

Article – Solar Shingles: What are they?

  • Designed to look like ordinary asphalt shingles
  • Protects the roof; as durable and flexible as regular shingles
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Cost effective when compared to traditional panels that rest on the roof
  • Can be installed at start of project or during regular roof replacement/maintenance.


Organizational Stakeholders

Potential Stakeholders include:

  • Architects/Engineers/Contractors
  • Product Companies/Manufacturers
  • Property Owners/Product End-users
  • Utility Companies



The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • Assess drawbacks and fine-tune product for use
  • Forge partnerships with institutions to demonstrate technology to the public.
  • Provide financing and incentives to property owners/builders to integrate product into construction practices and retrofitting of properties.


See also: Electricity Generation by Energy Source

Solar Shingle Cost Considerations Benefits of Building Integrated Photovoltaics Types of Solar Panels

Growing cement

cylinder_samples-960x525_c1. Problem: Energy

The cement industry requires massive amounts of energy and is a major carbon emitter, second only to the fossil fuel industry.


2. Technology: BioMason cement.

  • BioMason cement uses bacteria for hardening, rather than heat, cutting out the most significant energy-using and carbon-producing step in the manufacturing process.
  • The concept mimics the formation of coral reefs, wherein living organisms calcify sand and minerals, forming a very durable cement-like structure.
  • The dry materials can be shipped anywhere. All the recipient needs to do is add water and form into the desired shape. This reduces logistics costs (e.g. cement mixers, shipping).
  • Materials are all sustainably sourced.


3. Stakeholders

Construction firms.

Plant currently manufacturing the cement.

Government buildings departments.


4. Next steps to implementation

a) Meet with buildings departments to prevent unforeseen building code compliance issues.

b) Secure financing for plant expansion.

c) Identify firms seeking to reduce construction-related carbon emissions.

Smartflower POP Solar System

Sustainability Problems:

The use of fossil fuel for generating electricity contributes to climate change. Although many people can install solar panels on their rooftops, some cannot do it due to issues with roof structures or shading from nearby buildings. As well, rooftop PV usually have an efficiency of 25% or less.

flower POP

Image Source: smartflower POP

 Technology:  Portable Smatflower POP Solar System Produces 40% More Energy

The smartflower POP system automatically sprouts to open itself as an 18-square meter flower-like array as the sun rises. Every morning it also cleans itself. With a dual-axis tilting system it tracks and faces the sun throughout the day for maximum efficiency.

Being portable, it can be brought by the owners to their next home when they move.  It has batteries that collect excess energy during the day and so power can be available at night. Aside from these features, the owners can monitor their energy accumulation, usage and direct it to whatever use they want, whenever. They can charge their car at night and use it during the day.



  • Homeowners
  • Business-owners
  • Government offices
  • Researchers
  • Policymakers


Propose the first 3 steps in deploying this technology.

1) Although the costs for installing solar panels are plummeting, there is still a need to do more research on how to make this technology available to most people. Dual-axis tracking is expensive so research on how to make this technology less expensive should be done. Cost can also be reduced by using efficient but less expensive batteries. Further research on how to reduce battery cost and tracking system should be accelerated.

2) Research on designing similar portable solar system should also be taken in order to increase competition and reduce the price of this technology.

3) Government and policymakers can help homeowners and business-owners through incentives on the use of clean energy such as sales tax exemptions or rebates.



Clothing that wirelessly charges your phone

1.Sustainability Problem

Energy production through the usage of fossil fuels is an issue which needs to be addressed, especially with its remaining lifespan and consequent impacts on climate change. The clothing acts as a mobile charging station which is more energy efficient in terms of recharging a phone to full battery (takes on average 2 hours for full charge) and does not rely on fossil fuels.

2) The technology

The rechargeable clothing was founded by a startup in Seattle called Baubax. The clothing, which is machine washable, has copper wire built into it and a wireless charging pad that’s stitched inside a pocket. The power source is a battery bank, which is conveniently sized to fit in a wallet. Up to 3 charges can be made before the battery pack is to recharged. Additionally, once the phone has become fully charged, it will automatically stop distributing energy to the phone , ensuring energy efficiency. Additionally it can charge multiple electrical devices at the same time, including smartwatches.

3) Stakeholders

  • Customers
  • Investors
  • NGO’s
  • Businesses interested in energy efficiency

4) Implementation

  • Continue pilot testing of the product for 6-12 months. Garner support from health organisations showing there are no side effects to charging phones via this method.
  • Release data on energy saved annually through this method in relation to the customary plug-in to wall.
  • Partner with a leading clothing line interested in energy conservation. Provide discount incentives for installion of the product in the clothing for the first one year. If demand surpasses expectations, then create a contract whereby both parties benefit.
  • Attend energy conferences to increase awareness of the product and attract new potential investors.

5) Reference

Solar roadways and clean energy


Sustainability Problem: Roadways (city streets, highways, driveways, parking lots, etc.) as we know them today are made of miles of concrete that absorb heat and do not contribute to the grid. Moreover, these roadways are often outdated and not well-maintained, resulting in unsafe and inefficient surfaces for transport and storage of vehicles.

Technology: Solar roadways are intelligent and modular solar panels that can work on any road surface. This technology pays for itself through clean energy generation. The solar roadways are heated to keep roads ice / snow free, pressure sensitivity for safety, and multi-colored with lighting. Every panel has series of LED panels that enables programming of various markings (whether that’s a sports court or a roadway dividing line) and facilitates safety guidance. In the future, the technology will also allow for charging vehicles through mutual induction. Overall, the technology allows increased use of clean energy and re-use of existing non-efficient and outdated infrastructure.

Solar Roadways on Indiegogo

Solar Roadways on Youtube

Stakeholders: Consumers, Governments, Federal Highway Administration, Parking

Implementation: (1) Research and development on scalable technology to support this mission, including identifying high potential use cases. (2) Raise funding to begin manufacturing and testing, particularly for hardware. (3) Begin pilot work with Federal Highway Administration on selected road surface types (highway, parking lot, etc.) and collect data on improvement opportunities with the technology. (4) Launch pilot program and evaluate scaling needs.

class june 23, 2016 – uni mst2135

Planter that Charges Smartphones

Sustainability Problem

The natural resources that are currently used to create the majority of the world’s electricity are scarce and not clean. Renewable energy sources are needed not only because they will not run out but also because they are clean.

Technology Article

Bioo is the world’s first planter that can charge your smartphone  by Cat DiStasio on 4/29/2016.

  • A startup based in Barcelona has created a planter that harnesses the power of photosynthesis and uses it to charge electronic devices.
  • The planter is able to charge a device up to 2 to 3 times a day and produces electricity during the day and night (5.0v, 1.0A).
  • It looks like a simple, average sized planter pot and has a USB port disguised as a rock.
  • The planter is expensive, it costs $135, but the idea of creating electricity from plants is an interesting one.


  • Arkyne Technologies
  • Consumers of the product
  • Consumers of electricity


  • Make the planters available for commercial use. You can only pre-order now, the products are expected to be ready for use in December 2016.
  • Get the planters in stores so they can be made and sold on a larger scale.
  • Investigate using the technology on a larger scale to create larger amounts of electricity to power items other than USB port device (a Dutch company is currently doing this).

Other sources:

Energy Harvesting Tiles

Founded by Pavegen, it was initially introduced as a singular tile, which converts the energy of a footstep into electricity, and can be stored for later use or used directly by mobile devices and building management systems. However, the company has evolved from its singular tiles of generating electricity to including three multi-functional component parts (floor, data, and energy). This will serve two components in driving data-driven smart cities; (1) Reduce dependancy on depleting natural resources to generate electricity; and (2) The multi-functional component will allow footsteps and movements of crowds to be monitored, providing real-time data and assisting in optimising space and floor management.

Sustainability Issue

In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.  About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels. By 2040,  U.S’s electricity power requirements will grow by 30%. Energy harvesting technologies from road infrastructure and sidewalks  serves as a promising technique to addressing the global energy problem without depleting natural resources.

By 2015, 54% of the world’s population live in cities and it’s expected to reach 66% by 2050.   As the world population becomes increasingly urbanised, city planners must plan accordingly to improve living standards of inhabitants by ensuring city infrastructures such as public transportation do not become saturated. Hence, a data-driven approach will be crucial in developing transportation schedules to accommodate individuals during peak hours. Pavegen’s multi-functional tiles provide real-time data movement analytics of crowd sizes, allowing the city transportation department to plan accordingly.

Issue: Energy, natural resource dependancy

Technology Stakeholders

-Urban Planners, Architects, Engineers

-Local Government

-City dwellers, Residents


-Municipal, city department i.e transportation, electricity

Technology Implementation

-Initially, to create awareness of the product, Pavegen installed the tiles at the finish line of the Paris Marathon. The company must continue to create awareness by initiating a pilot test in a smaller city  to entice investors. If initially investment is lacking to conduct the pilot test, a possible solution would be to create some form of agreement with the local government, possibly price reduction or 1 year free consultation/maintenance. Conduct the pilot survey for a period of 6 months to 1 year, recording data on energy saved and fossil fuel consumption. Finally, publicise findings ( if supporting of course) over media and other social networks to increase awareness and interest investors.

-To fully integrate Pavegen’s multi-functional tiles and create a noticeable large-scale impact ( in terms of energy saved/annum, and fossil fuel consumption), it will require the collaboration various stakeholders including the transportation department, city-planners and private businesses. Hence, building Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) will be crucial in successfully executing this scheme. Creating transparency, especially during the preliminary decision-making phase in the allocation of tiles will be important, to ensure most, if not all, stakeholder interests are considered and satisfied.

-Once the tiles have been installed, provide training to city department workers for addressing maintenance issues. Alternatively, due to its relatively new entrance into the technology market, provide one-year free maintenance and training to city staff.





Water and Pollution in the Textile Dyeing Industry


Problem: Water Usage and Pollution Caused by Dyeing Textiles

Textile dyeing is estimated to cause 17-20% of the global industrial water pollution. Until recently, little attention was given to the environmentally harmful effects of the dyeing process, when it comes to chemicals, waste, and water usage.

Technology: 10 Awesome Innovations Changing the Future of Fashion” by Melissa Breyer

  • A new technology, AirDye developed in California by Colorep, works with proprietary dyes to transfer color with heat from paper to fabric in a one-step process.
  • Basically, it has created a software that “computes color recipes that reproduces the specified color reflectance curve on a target substrate”.
  • This process has the potential to save between 7 and 75 gallons of water in the dying of a pound of fabric. It can save energy and produces no harmful chemical by-products.
  • Furthermore, the technology uses 85 percent less energy than traditional dying methods.


  • AirDye tech engineers/designers
  • Colorep engineers
  • Technological partners
  • Investors
  • Fashion designers
  • Clothing retailers


  • In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced
  • Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.  For example, AirDye has become a vital component to the designers Costello Tagliapietra and Gretchen Jones and was used for their Fall 2012 collection
  • Governments in countries that manufacture dyed textiles should subsidize this technology to consumers (factories and managers who buy it) so that it can bring down the price, encourage product development, establish familiarity of the product, ensure future customers and therefore be more easily implemented in the thousands of dyeing factories around the world.