The Hydro-Micro Grid!

Sustainability issue – energy and renewables

Electricity is the backbone of development. Nevertheless, the current gird is firmly based on fossil fuels. additionally the grid’s design is decades old. If we wish to successfully transition to a cleaner and smarter grid and mitigate climate change we need innovative solutions…

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The solution – hydro-micro grid

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  • LucidEnergy is an American company based in Portland that creates hydro-turbines for municipal water pipes.
  • Many cities receive their water from remote and elevated locations. When gravity “powered” water flows towards a city, strong pressure (i.e., water speed) builds up in the pipes –  LucidEnergy harnesses this power by installing pipes with an intergrated micro-turbine.
  • The system is scalable and can generate between 18kw to 100kw based on the diameter of the pipe system and the flow rate.
  • The power generated can be sold to a 3rd party (e.g., a utility company via a P3). Anticipated return over the investment is 10 years.
  • The solution has been tested successfully in Portland, Oregon and Riverside, California.
  • The company is currently working on the 2nd generation of its LucidPipe turbine design, “which will significantly increase power output, operate across a wider range of pipe sizes and flows and significantly reduce capital cost”.

20130322 LucidPipe - bluehouse 08 EDIT reduced.jpeg

Stakeholders

  • Municipalities
  • Water utilities
  • Electric utilities
  • Army bases, universities and any entity that owns its own water (pipes) infrastructure

Implementation

Step 1 – The company should finish developing LucidPipe 2.0

Step 2 – The company should begin partnering with municipalities and key stakeholders – first as pilots then as contracts.

Step 3 – The company should expand its operations, ideally to countries that are undertaking a lot of infrastructure projects (e.g., China and India) and look into the possibility of opening manufacturing facilities there.

Company Website – Link

 

Link to comment – https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/30/desalination-2-0/comment-page-1/#comment-1519

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Commercial Electric Plane

Capture d_écran 2017-11-24 à 01.07.38

Area : Transportation, energy, carbon emission

Description: If the international aviation sector was a country, its emission would place it amongst the top 10 biggest polluters (Fern Institute).

Due to international treaties and the complexity surrounding airlines carbon emissions, the aviation sector aren’t included during negotiations at the COP and therefore no specific targets were set.

Wright Electric is building a plane that would be powered by a battery. Because their technology is depending on the advances in term of energy storage, their plan is to have a fully autonomous plane in the next 10 years (or a hybrid motor if it can’t be fully battery-powered).

The technology would be used for short-haul trips and could potentially reduce personal emissions by 75%. For airlines, this would also lower drastically their costs since the need for fuel and maintenance would be greatly reduced.

 

Sources:

https://weflywright.com/

Wright Electric unveils its commercial electric plane business

Stakeholders:

-Airlines / International Civil Aviation Organization / Airplane manufacturers

Implementation:

  • Wright needs to map the major players in the energy storage industry
  • Wright needs to work closely with those players in the energy storage (R&D partnerships)
  • Wright needs to work closely with airlines and run tests along the development of its technology

Smart Urban Growth Tackles Mobility and Electricity Distribution Concurrently

Cities can get smart taking control of their electrical grid and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as a means of addressing urban growth.  Boulder, Colorado is making a run at it but few outside Germany have taken a serious move in this direction for it requires a long-term vision.  Seeking this urban planning route is not always initiated for economical reasons.  Boulder, for instance, is driven to engage as a means of increasing renewable energy sources in their electricity generation fuel mix.  Here’s the catch, this approach may not a scalable or sustainable solution for all cities  Mega cities; no way anytime soon.  Rural environments; not likely ever needed.  So, Boulder just happens to sit in the Goldilocks Zone but even with it being “just right” the increasing digitalization of the electric grid and new sources of distributed energy will make this endeavor a tenuous pursuit.

Years ago I was involved in dozens of negotiations with municipalities throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  Many desired to “take control” of and then offer, as a public service, wireless Internet services for their citizens.  The complexities in equipment management and selection, maintenance, and budgeting were often solely regarded in the context of whether to make the WiFi a free or a for a fee amenity to subscribers.  Thing is, that’s not where the root challenge existed.  Even a little bit of education in these matters achieved a stakeholder stalemate for trying to figure out how to convert a privatized service into a public good without causing bias to an ongoing free market was no simple matter.  The concept of a public-private partnership was alien.

Dealing with increasing urbanization today requires a systemic stakeholder analysis and just the right sitting of pilot efforts in advance of any at-scale execution plans.  To date few cities have taken this approach but Toronto, Canada is on the way.

“...We are designing a district in Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront to tackle the challenges of urban growth…Sidewalk Toronto will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centered neighborhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunities” – Sidewalk Labs

To do as Sidewalk Labs proposes there must be an integration of technologies, policies, and financial mechanisms that allow for private and public implementation plans to surface, ones in service of many stakeholders.

  • SAMPLE TECHNOLOGIES AT PLAY
  • IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES
    • Analyze long-tailpipe electricity generation fuel mixes
    • Promote EVs and pilots ONLY in cities that have clean fuel sources
    • Establish population growth and transport demand metrics
    • Conduct customer interviews to fit future needs
    • Create intelligent city policies to cater to DER and EV microgrids
    • Engage private-sector electric mobility companies
    • Educate citizens on mobility and clean energy options
    • Build neighborhood based pilots
    • Engage citizens via engagement workshops for updates
    • Prepared to pivot for at-scale execution
  • STAKEHOLDERS TO ENGAGE
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public Entities and Administrators
    • Private Technology Providers
    • EV Manufacturers & Infrastructure Providers
    • Load Balancing Software Solution Providers
    • Private and/or Public Electric Utilities
    • Citizens

 

JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Leaf Plates):

This is an excellent solution to consumption and in turn waste. If this was a compostable solution that can be put to use in the local houseplant or compost pile then we’re talking about a dream conversion in consumption to waste. The other thing that would be amazing is to see this scale to shipping boxes or other high consumption transport items. Awesome find, thanks for sharing.

TIDAL ENERGY

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

Technology

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.

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  • 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.

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Stakeholder:

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

Deployment/Implementation

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

http://www.rnp.org/node/wave-tidal-energy-technology

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.

Instantly Rechargeable Batteries…a Game-changer for Electric Vehicles!

Sustainability Problem: Fossil Fuels & Dirty Energy

While green energy is on the forefront of the sustainable movement, the reality is that fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas, coal – make up the bulk of our energy consumption in the U.S. (~81.5% in 2015).  A fifth of which alone comes from the powering of our vehicles – cars & trucks.

It’s estimated by the EIA that total fossil fuel use will only drop by an additional 5% by 2040.  If this trend holds true, our carbon emissions will continue to heat up the planet and further escalate climate change, having detrimental impacts on human life and biodiversity.

Sustainability Technology: Instant Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles are a great alternative to the gas-guzzling cars of today.  But, there is one major hurdle that prevents many individuals from entering this type of car market…charging infrastructure.  That also includes the amount of time it would normally take for a car to be fully charged for use.

Luckily, Purdue University has come to the rescue with its instantly rechargeable batteries, IFBattery.  According to researchers at Purdue, these batteries can be “recharged in roughly the same amount of time it would take to fill a car tank with gas”.

Researchers opted to use a flow battery system, in which the membranes of a battery are removed to increase its life/recharge cycles while reducing costs.  Furthermore, the removal of battery membranes decreases the chances of fires related to membrane fouling which helps increase vehicle safety measures.

The process of recharging is very simple and extremely cost effective as current fossil fuel infrastructure can be leveraged.  The key is fluid electrolytes which have the capability to re-energize spent battery fluids.  Drivers can drop off their spent battery fluids which can be collected in bulk and then taken away to be re-charged at any green energy plants (solar, hydroelectric, and wind).  Essentially, today’s petroleum refiners will become tomorrow’s electrolyte refiners.  This innovative technology turns the entire process of transportation energy in a closed loop/sustainable system.

Plus, the beauty of this technology is that, no additional infrastructures need to be developed!  The gas fueling stations we have today can be re-fitted to dispense a water and ethanol/methanol solution instead of petroleum.  Purdue’s researchers believe that their innovation “could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.”

Because this whole vehicle re-powering process is simply a derivative to the one we are used to today, the whole electric vehicle market is less likely face high entry barriers.  And its adoption helps us become more earth friendly, without drastically alternating our lifestyles.

“Fossil fuels still dominate U.S. energy consumption despite recent market share decline”, EIA – Today in Energy, 7/1/2016, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26912
 “Car Emissions and Global Warming” Union of Concerned Scientists,        http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/car-emissions-and-global-warming#.We4u2ltSzcs
 “Instantly rechargeable battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars”, Inhabitat, 6/7/2017, https://inhabitat.com/instantly-rechargeable-battery-spells-bad-news-for-gas-guzzling-cars/

Stakeholders:

  • Electric Vehicle companies looking to increase market share
  • Green energy plant owners
  • Gas station owners who don’t want to be left behind when clean energy consumption becomes the norm
  • Consumers who want to buy electric vehicles and are environmentally conscious of their transportation energy consumption

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

Encourage electric car companies to implement this kind of battery into their vehicles.  Educate them on the cost-benefit of embracing this piece of technology.

Work with gas station owners to understand their current supply chain and showcase how the new supply chain for the instant rechargeable battery can be seamlessly overlaid without a massive infrastructure overhaul.

Engage one company in each sector (vehicle manufacturing, clean energy production, and energy distributors) to complete a pilot program to test out the rechargeable battery capabilities from start to finish.  After successful implementation, put together a case study to further educate the stakeholders on the benefits of this technology.

By: Bhoomi Shah, UNI: brs2147

Comment on “Circular Mushroom based products” by MK3883

This is a novel solution to a very serious plastic waste problem.  It provides companies with the much desired and preferred lightweight packaging option, but does so at a lower cost (hopefully) and helps decrease a company’s environmental footprint (including upstream & downstream operations).  Plus since the company uses crop waste, no additional land will be needed to acquire the raw materials needed.

Smart Cities Can Weather a Storm

Hurricane Harvey drenched Texas in August, Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and Florida during September, and in October the United States also had major fire storms that burned in Northern California.  As usual, the media fills their audience with scenes of flooded streets, shelters crowded with people, and shows devastation to people, places, and things.  Where is this all going?  “We need to recognize it will be a new normal, a new and different normal for this entire region,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbot, when asked what the future of storms for cities looks like it will be in years to come.

Smart cities and the keys are held not by positions of politics, as they used to be in the past, in the years to come those will be held by those with the ability to advance plan for and swiftly recover.  On a practical level this often has ties to restoring electricity for those who’ve lost it are the citizens of the smart cities.  Without power efforts to return to normal are slow and often fail to deliver.  Electricity loss makes it impossible for those hit by a storm to normalize and in turn their economic occupations are also put at risk so this is an essential element of resiliency planning and ensuring sustainable futures for those residing in cities.

The primary sustainability problem is how to best plan for a disaster.  Often the focus is on recovery only and in the best of circumstances there are resources allocated to solve challenges caused by disasters, figuring how to best shelter people, fix power outages, etc..  These are reactive in nature and for some time now the trend has been to be proactive.  This is what a smart cities needs to do and in regards to electricity this means establishing grid resiliency is the place to start.  Creating infrastructure and deploying technology solutions in advance of pending storms or disasters assures optimal functioning of critical infrastructure and enables the city to recover quickly.

TECHNOLOGY ELEMENTS IN GRID RESILIENCY MASTER PLANS:

  • Self-Healing Grids
    • Identifies failing sections of the electric network, isolates, and reroutes power
  • Sensors and “Smart Switches”
    • Monitors the grid system and redirects power where needs are optimal
  • Microgrids
    • Smaller power systems that integrate with the grid or work independently

Technologies such as these involve many stakeholders – municipal planners, electricity utilities, technology providers, manufacturers of smart grid equipment, and of course the consumers or users of the electricity (just to name a few).  Large “top down” and master planned systems and their distribution approach the challenges in a way that causes different players to be involved coming from one direction while microgrids work from the opposite direction – consumers to utility as opposed to utility to consumers.  This is a fundamental issue in advance that a smart city needs to accommodate for and that stakeholder process and engagement in itself demonstrates the core value of the smart city.  The technology and the outcomes are secondary, albeit critical.

In establishing a smart city that is prepared to weather a storm in a sustainable way the first thing that needs to be done is develop a feasibility plan, especially when opting to incorporate microgrid technologies.  The next most important thing to do is establish areas of highest priority for power need (hospitals, fire departments, shelters, etc).  This is not simple nor trivial in importance.  For example, when Hurricane Sandy impacted New York City one community that was lucky and to not become devastated was the Hunts Point Market area, in the Bronx.  This area is home to one of the largest food distribution centers in the world and yet there is no microgrid and integrated planning in place to ensure it remains without fault.

In fact, to further this concern, Hunts Point is the gateway to nearly 60% of New York City’s food.  Had electricity been cut off, tons of food would have spoiled, distribution would have been crippled, and millions could have gone hungry.  Establishing feasibility is critical and defining, agreeing, and engaging in priorities with public involvement and the stakeholders is needed well in advance.  Also, even if a smart city can decide on priorities for power requirements it doesn’t mean it can address the issues of financing.  Public-private operations in themselves are significantly complex to negotiate and there is a massive difference in solutions solely run through the utility or a private enterprise endeavor.  In fact, more critical to this is the policy and regulation matters that drive these concerns for even those vary greatly throughout the United States and the pricing models established for ratepayers are far from uniform.  Everywhere it makes sense for a city to ponder these matters and aspire to smart but when considering the use of modern technologies to weather the storms that assuredly to come it means there is no better time than the present to get plans in order.

 

JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Instantly Rechargeable Batteries…a Game-changer for Electric Vehicles!):

You’ve hit most of the big bit bullet points in terms of the inhibitors that stop people from getting into an electric vehicle and buying. There is no doubt the charging infrastructure is an issue and has been used as an excuse for a long time now. If this technology can deliver, then it would be a game changer BUT it won’t address the other big problem – range anxiety – unless it really is nearly as fast as a fill up.

A lot of the “smart city” solutions are hitting the VW settlement funds to roll out chargers (think EVgo – https://www.evgo.com) and that can only work for so long. It’s exciting to see a push for technologies like this but it points to the bigger problem, who pays? If a gas station business model then this works fine as it’s just another pump, but if it’s a whole new set of infrastructure this is an issue that no city is prepared to manage well, especially one as large as New York City.

Thanks for sharing, cool work here!

Dirty Clothes and No Grid Access? No Problem!

Sustainability Technology: Yirego Corporation has developed a quick way to do laundry without using electricity.  With a holding capacity of up to 2kg (4.4 pounds), the Drumi, can do a load of lightly soiled clothes within about 5 minutes.  Pedal operated, the Drumi can handle 5L of water for each load.

Sustainability Issue: An estimated 1.2 billion people or 16% of the global population do not have access to electricity and most of them live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia meaning without a significant change in infrastructure, they are unlikely to get grid access any time soon.  Doing laundry in the developing world is very time consuming and takes a lot of physical energy as well.  The laundress (or launder) has to find a water source, soak then scrub the clothes, wring them dry, and carry the clothes back to be dried out in the sun.  On top of all this, the harsh scrubbing process can compromise the structural integrity of the clothes being washed.  The Drumi drastically cut down on the time and physical activity.  The water can be collected separately, which is probably already a daily task, and the cleaning can be done at home.  With just a 5 minute cycle, approximately 5-6 loads (including hanging) can be done in one hour. Admittedly, the Drumi, at $140 is probably too expensive for some households, and financing would most likely be necessary, but a cost benefit analysis would likely show that it is a useful investment.

Sustainability Stakeholders: 

  • Families with limited or No Access to the Grid
  • Launders/Laundresses in Developing countries
  • Developmental Organizations
  • Rural Communities
  • Avid Campers
  • Mobile Home Residents
  • Urban Residents without Washer/Dryer

Implementation Steps:

  • Research a community in sub-Saharan Africa with a need for a better laundry system.
  • Find funding through a development grant using the research as a basis for need.
  • Establish a public/private partnership with Yirego
  • Work with local community and establish a working partner in region who can train, maintain, and distribute Drumi systems to families in the region.
  • Offer a financing package through the grant and private partnership
  • If successful, create the same model with other developing communities.

Sources:
http://laundry.reviewed.com/features/drumi-tiny-washing-machine-needs-no-electricity
http://www.yirego.com/drumi
http://opensourceecology.org/w/images/d/dd/Laundry.pdf

Comment on Other Blog Post:
https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/12/all-electric-mining-truck-produces-more-energy-than-it-consumes-via-regenerative-breaking/comment-page-1/#comment-1190