Just when you thought it couldn’t get better… HomeBioGas 2.0

The Problem

Sustainability issue – waste, food waste.

We generate about 1.3B tons of food waste annually, almost all of which ends up in landfills where it decomposes and release methane. Nonetheless, this “waste” contains a lot of nutrients that can be used as fertilizers and the released methane can be captured and used. Many municipalities are trying to implement composting programs but their reach is currently quite limited and the vast majority of the population still does not have access to an institutionalized compost program… so what can you do??

The solution

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An easy to use home compost system!

  • HomeBioGas is an Israeli company specializes in residential, outdoors, low maintenance, compost systems.
  • HomeBioGas 2.0 is based on two holding tanks, one for the waste digestion, which is filled with water containing bacteria, and one for the gas generated.
  • The system also produces liquid fertilizer as a by product of the process.
  • The system can take up to 6 liters of food waste a day, and (at full capacity) generate enough gas daily to power a traditional stove for up to 3 hours.
  • The system is very heat sensitive and does not function properly when the surrounding temperature falls under 20˚ (68F) for a long period of time.

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Stakeholders

Two key stakeholders are:

  • Families and individuals that use gas powered equipment and live in areas where the climate allows for outdoor, unheated composting.
  • Off-grid Communities in developing countries

Implementation

Step 1 – Successfully fund their Kickstarter campaign.

Step 2 – Continue to develop the technology so that it can work in a wide variety of climates, especially in environments that have cold winter such as New York.

Step 3 – Start a new campaign for HomeBioGas 3.0 (when it will become available) while simultaneously reaching out to relevant communities and stakeholders for pilot studies and contracts.

Links

Company website – Link

HomeBioGas 2.0 kickstarter page – Link

Another home composting solution – Link

 

Comment on  Smart Urban Growth Tackles Mobility and Electricity Distribution Concurrently:

“Intersting post!
I would add a note about Better Place, as someone who lived 10 minutes form their HQ and witnessed their almost-rise and fall: Better Place’s plan was to first set up a charging infrastructure throughout Israel and only once they reached a sufficient quantity and reach of charging stations, then they would begin to really push their family-oriented EV model. They encountered a series of setbacks and constant delays, yet decided to release their EV when there is no adequate infrastructure to support it, which at the end (in my opinion) led to their failure.
Also, I visited their HQ and showroom about a two years before they ceased operations and at the time they were still not on schedule for the deployment (and perhaps even large scale feasibility) of the battery changing stations.”

BIOPLASTICS….Now We Can Have our Cake and Eat it Too!

Sustainability Problem: Unmitigated Growth of Plastic Waste

Plastic waste is the single largest problem the world faces today, and yet there is no stopping the demand for this convenient, durable, and cheap material.  We’ve already produced 8.3 MM metric tons of plastic since 1950s, and that number is projected to increase to 26 MM metric tons by 2050 if we don’t alter our consumption patterns.

It takes over 400 years for plastic to degrade, making it necessary for us to re-use and recycle what we already have.  But the reality is that less than 9% of plastics have actually been recycled, which means that most end in landfills and eventually into our oceans.  There are many drawbacks in using this material, from increased use of fossil fuels, the leaching of toxins in our water and food supply, to increasing health problems for all life forms.

Sustainability Technology: Bioplastics

It’s difficult to alter human behavior and simply forcing people to stop using plastic won’t fix the overarching problem.  There is no other material in the world which can provide all the benefits of plastic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be created.  The Full Cycle Bioplastics company has developed technology that uses organic waste to make their version of bioplastics.

They start by accumulating organic waste which is broken down to act as feed-stock for PHA (polyesters produced in nature).  The organic waste is first put into controlled fermentation tanks, after which they are then moved to environmentally controlled production tanks.  Here, naturally occurring bacteria consumes the waste and eventually converts it into PHA.  Finally, upon completion, the PHA is harvested, dried, and processed into a finished resin that can be molded for customized use (i.e. bags, containers, utensils, water bottles, etc.).  And because there are no GMOs used in the production process nor any need to cultivate crops, production costs drop significantly.  This alone is a fantastic development, since the major drawback to bioplastics is the production related expense.

The company produces true compostable plastic material, which can be made from food waste, dirty paper/cardboard, or agriculture products.  Because the raw materials are all organic, there is no toxicity and is safe to discard.  In fact, if it finds its way to the ocean, it can actually act as fish or bacteria food!

The technology once refined can be scalable and serve as a secondary revenue stream for cities.  Residents and food establishments routinely throw away organic waste.  But if they are incentivized to collect and sell this it instead, then we not only have a solution to the plastic problem, but also a viable solution to the food waste problem…black is certainly the new gold in this case!  With a little bit of ingenuity and a rock-solid framework, this technology can very likely be the world’s saving grace.

In the next 30 years, we’ll make four times more plastic waste than we ever have” Science, Giorgia Guglielmi, 7/19/2017,  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/07/next-30-years-we-ll-make-four-times-more-plastic-waste-we-ever-have
FULL CYCLE BIOPLASTICS – Company website, http://fullcyclebioplastics.com/menu/
“Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic” Inhabitat, Lacy Cooke, 10/27/2017, https://inhabitat.com/twin-brothers-convert-organic-waste-into-truly-biodegradable-plastic/

Stakeholders:

  • Farmers & Food Processors to sell their organic waste
  • Waste Haulers & Compost Facilities to accumulate organic waste
  • Biorefineries for scaling PHA production
  • Cities looking to reduce their ecological footprint
  • Consumers wanting a better alternative for plastic without comprising use

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

Engage with food & beverage manufacturing companies by showcasing the quality of PHA.  Conduct presentations and hold on-site visits to allow company official to familiarize themselves with the product.  Upon successful pilot tests, reach out to larger companies with results in hand.

Work with food processing companies and restaurants to encourage organic waste collection.  The company can acquire the needed raw material for a reasonable cost, while the businesses are offered a secondary revenue stream AND save on waste removal costs.

Speak to city officials to showcase the potential for this innovation on both an environmental and financial scale.  Seek their support to push out this technology in a decentralized fashion, encouraging a closed loop cycle between organic waste and PHA production.

Ensure that the company can meet implementation demands in a seamless fashion and keep up communication with clients.  Feedback communication is imperative especially when solidifying quality control measures.

By: Bhoomi Shah, UNI: brs2147

 

Comment on “ENERGY, WATER AND INTERNET – ALL IN ONE” by GABRIELGUGGISBERG

This is great solution to extremely pressing problems in 3rd world countries.  This system captures solar energy through photovoltaic panels that converted into electricity through an internal 140 kwh battery.  It treats water through a graphene-based filtering process and can deliver 5,000 liters of safe drinking water daily.  It also serves as a charging station for devices and offers internet service for an 800 mile radius.  Talk about a WIN-WIN-WIN!  Tests have already been completed in Ghana and the company is looking at Nigeria and Sudan as their second test country.

What’s the Buzz About Saving Honey Bees with the Internet of Things?

Researchers at University of Minnesota in partnership with a company called Eltopia, have developed a new technology which sterilizes varroa mites without harming bees in the process.  By swapping out one frame of the bee hive with a compostable circuit board, the MiteNot technology gathers environmental data and targets prime conditions for mite reproduction.  The Internet of Things makes this possible by sending data up to the cloud via mobile app for storage and analysis.  The systems interact with no human intervention and literally turn up the heat just enough to sterilize male mites before the female’s eggs are fertilized.  Eltopia hopes to make the devices available before the end of the year.

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The Technology

  • MiteNot device uses circuit board, sensors gather environmental data: temp, humidity, etc.
  • Monitors prime conditions for mite reproduction
  • Detects when female mites have laid eggs, send info to Eltopia’s cloud based application
  • BeeSafe app sends signal to warm up hive enough to sterilize male mites before eggs are fertilized
  • Being tested; still in research and development stage

MiteNot Panel

The Sustainability Problem

  • High rate of loss of bees due to pesticides, climate change (less rain), mite infestation
  • Device target: destructive parasites destroying colonies and decimating bee population
  • Loss of bees is a threat to pollination which in turn impacts food supply
  • MiteNot is a green solution without pesticides
  • Circuit board is created from renewable resources, it is also compostable
  • Internet of Things (IoT) allows for the efficient collection of huge amounts of data required

Beekeeper

The Stakeholders

  • Academics: University of Minnesota and others agricultural and engineering institutions
  • Commercial Beekeepers
  • Growers of flowers and fruits which require cross-pollination
  • Major food manufacturers: General Mills, Kellog’s, Kraft, PepsiCo, etc.
  • Consumers

The Process of Technology Implementation

  • Continue research and development
  • Determine economic efficiency/profitability; cost of tech vs ROI
  • Expand pilot project to other professional beekeepers and academic labs
  • Share new technology and best practices

You’ll find more on Eltopia’s innovative MiteNot technonogy here.