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.
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.
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.
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.
Businesses interested in energy efficiency
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.
According to the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals, 1 in 10 (663 million people) lack improved drinking water. Approximately half of the world’s population may be at risk of a water crisis by 2025.
Summary of “Highly Efficient Nature-Inspired Membrane Could Potentially Lower Cost of Water Purification by 30%” published in Phys.org
Traditional methods to treat water through high-hydraulic or osmotic process incur huge energy costs. High water pressure is required to force water through filtering membranes. The additional energy generation increases air pollution.
A team led by Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering associate professor, Tong Yen Wah, constructed a new biomimetic membrane that copies the natural process performed by the roots of mangrove trees. Mangrove trees utilize aquaporin to filter between 90 and 95% of the salt at its roots.
The new membrane is embedded with nano-sized aquaporin-vesicles offering a stable and functional ultrafiltration substrate.
The aquaporin-incorporated biomimetic membrane enables the water to pass through more efficiently at lower pressures, which decreases the amount of energy required to purify (30% reduction). The membrane also decreases salt leakage.
Water service providers
Water reclamation site developers
Humanity, particularly the urban poor
The material can be used in industrial application for wastewater treatment and desalination and a full-scale pilot will be developed in partnership with a US-based company by 2018.