Graphene battery storage:

Graphene structure photoGraphenano bike batteries image

Sustainability Problem: 

Currently used batteries such as lithium-ion and lead acid batteries take hours to charge and have short lifespan for charging and discharging. They can also be harmful to the environment.  Lithium-ion batteries are unstable and can explode and cause fire.

Technology:

Graphene battery storage is under production at Graphenano, a Spanish based company that develops diffierent technologies using graphene. Graphene is a monolayer carbon lattice that is harder than diamond. These new battery  offers much higher energy density than Lithium-ion (1000 Wh/kg vs. 200Wh/kg on a Tesla Model S), has no fire or explosion danger unlike Li-ion, and charges in minutes, lasts longer , and 3 to 5 times smaller than Li-ion battery.

These battery can be used for electric bikes, electric motorcycles, and to store solar energy. Grabat company shows advantages of graphene-based battery over other batteries:

Grabat say that their battery chemistry will drastically decrease charge times

Grabat suggest that the current energy density of their battery chemistry is far ahead of the competition

Sources:

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/graphene-battery-too-good-to-be-true

https://transportevolved.com/2016/05/05/tech-insight-are-graphene-batteries-just-around-the-corner-or-just-wishful-thinking/

Stakeholders:

  • Graphenano, Grabat, Chint companies
  • bicyclists, motorcycle drivers
  • residential solar system owners
  • researchers
  • government

Implementation: 

  1. More media exposure to encourage attractiveness  of graphene-based battery to the public.
  2. Full production of the battery will be underway by October.
  3. Continuous research to improve this battery to lower its cost.

Tesla’s CTO Just Backed A Startup That Makes An Ice Battery

Source: http://fortune.com/2016/08/03/tesla-cto-ice-battery/

Sustainability Problem

One of the biggest problem in electricity is the peak load. The grid has to meet all the demand every time and needs to be ready for that. So the difference between peak demand and normal time there are lots of power plants that are resting. Besides If  you shave even a small amount from peak demand and add it other times of the day it would same millions of dollars to government as the highest bidder who is helping to meeting highest demand on a certain time is the one who determines the cost of electricity to all of the power generators. This emphasizes the importance of storage.

Technology Article Summary

 

In this article a startup called Axiom Energy claims to find a solution for Supermarkets for the peak hour. Company sells technology that plugs into super market refrigeration units and uses tanks of frozen salt water as a way to store energy and lower supermarket energy bills.

During peak times this supermarkets shift to use this technology, frozen salt water tanks, to keep cool the refrigerators and at nigh when the demand and electricity prices are low they can freeze the tanks with electricity. They called it as Refrigeration Battery. It is basically using thermal energy.

Stakeholders

First supermarkets later it can be various places like data centers, cold storage units etc.

But on the big picture as it supports shaving on peak demand every tax payer would benefit.

Deployment

 

Right now although this is a new startup they are just getting their first commercial systems installed. (https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Axiom-Exergy-Raises-2.5M-For-Thermal-Energy-Storage). Besides they have got attention of celebrities of tech world thus i think the future is bright for them

 

Organic mega flow battery

Sustainability Problem

Depleting fossil fuels and its consequent  environmental impacts on climate change means alternative sources of energy need to be found, and soon.

Technology

The organic mega flow battery is an economically feasible option for storing  energy. This is particularly useful for renewable technologies such as solar power and wind power which rely on sunlight and wind power. Essentially, the flow battery stores the excess energy generated from these technologies and is available when either sunlight or wind is unavailable. They are much more efficient than the traditional batteries used to store energy from wind and solar power.

Stakeholders

  • Energy companies and consultants
  • Energy consumers
  • Investors
  • Government

Implementation

  1. Conduct a pilot test and use it to complement one of the ongoing solar projects in a region- possibly Africa (Tanzania) which has abundant solar projects.
  2. Collect data analytics and present data in energy conferences to attract investors
  3. Collaborate with city governments and implement with an upcoming Smart City project.

Reference

http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2014/01/organic-mega-flow-battery-promises-breakthrough-for-renewable-energy

Starbons produced from waste biomass outperform conventional solid-state carbon capture materials

1. Sustainability Problem

Energy and climate: in order to mitigate the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels, power plants capture carbon dioxide from flue gases for permanent storage or alternative uses. Amine-based and other liquid absorption methods are complex and have a high parasitic energy load (considerable energy is required to regenerate the material), so there is a need for highly efficient solid absorption materials.

2. Technology Article Summary

Article:
York chemists lead breakthrough in carbon capture

Published 7/04/2016 on University of York News at http://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2016/research/starbons-carbon-capture/

  • Scientists at the University of York have developed a method for producing mesoporous carbon materials from waste biomass.
  • The process involves the carbonization of polysaccharides by heating to high temperatures – creating materials which selectively bind CO2 from a gas stream, and are easily regenerated under vacuum.
  • The properties of the “starbons” produced differ depending on the temperature and time applied to the biomass.
  • Some starbons capture as much as 65% more carbon dioxide than conventional activated carbon.

3. Organizational Stakeholders

Starbons have already been commercialized for other applications, such as catalysis and chromatographic separations, but are not yet available for carbon capture. Stakeholders in this process will include:

  • Researchers
  • Starbon Technologies
  • Owners and managers of power plants

4. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • UoY researchers and Starbon Technologies: characterize the optimal material, and commercially produce a starbon for carbon capture
  • Power plants with solid-state carbon capture: phase in starbon to replace activated carbon
  • Power plants with liquid-state carbon capture: investigate opportunities to redesign carbon capture systems to incorporate solid capture materials

See also:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201602226/full for the recent research paper.

http://www.starbon-technologies.com/ for information on the company and other applications of starbons.

 

Uber for trucks?

std

Problem: Carbon Emissions

The trucking industry is composed of small, disparate actors who require brokers to organize shipment routes. This inefficient system often leaves trucks returning to their home bases empty, which is a waste of gas and contributes unnecessarily to congestion, accidents and carbon emissions.
The Solution:
  • Several companies have developed Uber-like apps that send pings to a nearby trucker about a shipment.
  • Like Uber, the trucker can either accept or reject the pick-up.
  • Whereas currently a broker is required to make hundreds of calls to arrange a shipment, the app uses algorithms applied on big data to understand and respond to shipping trends.
  • Ensuring trucks are always full decreases the total number of trucks on the road, which reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion and accidents.
Stakeholders:
The 3 main companies developing apps.
Trucking companies.
Major shippers (Amazon, Walmart).
Steps to implementation:
1. Expand mobile platforms to span the entire country.
2. Engage more trucking companies and their customers to use the apps.
3. Analyze impacts of apps on trucking routes, congestion, carbon emissions, cost etc.

Online Body Measurements to Reduce Energy Use

fits-me_4demo

Problem: Textile and Energy Waste due to Improper Body Measurements  

Online retailers use a lot of energy when it comes to shipping and reshipping items that don’t fit their customers properly or due to material quality satisfaction, and or customer’s just not liking what is sent to them. These items are returned or even thrown away by the customer, ending up in landfills- increasing textile waste.

Technology: 10 awesome innovations changing the future of fashion” by Melissa Breyer

A new technology promotes “smart” online shopping, which has the potential to reduce returned items, minimizing shipping energy and limiting waste. The companies, MyShape and Fits Me, have developed a patented technology that matches shopper with items that correspond to their personal measurements and style preferences. The latter even has a virtual fitting room with a shape-shifting robotic mannequin that mimics your personal body shape so that it can find an exact size and fit. This technology has found success at online German retailer, Quelle, which saw returns reduced by up to 28%, saving energy and money.

Stakeholders:

Smart online shopping tech engineers/designers

MyShape and Fits Me designers

Technological partners

Investors

Fashion designers

Online clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced

Fits Me and MyShape both appear to be European companies, and in order for it to have an even bigger impact, it must be introduced to the US market, which has a big influence in the fashion industry

Smart online shopping connects both fashion and technology. In order for this specific kind of engineering to take flight, there should be promotion and marketing geared towards students and designers who would be interested in furthering this field

Sources:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/10-awesome-innovations-changing-future-fashion.html

Home

Fit Origin

CO2 technology could cut cost of biofuel production by more than 50 percent

1-scientistsha

1. Sustainability Problem

Fuel and energy: ethanol produced from biomass continues to be used to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. However, the conventional pretreatment of biomass to break down cellulose is expensive and involves the use of toxic ionic liquids.

2. Technology Article Summary

Article:
Scientists harness CO2 to consolidate biofuel production process

by Sarah Yang
Published 7/21/2016 on Tech Xplore at https://techxplore.com/news/2016-07-scientists-harness-co2-biofuel-production.html

  • Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have developed improved technology for the pretreatment of plant material in biofuel production.
  • The new process involves applying carbon dioxide at up to 145 psi to optimize the pH of the ionic liquid used in pretreatment – allowing the process to produce 83% of the theoretical ethanol yield.
  • The addition of carbon dioxide is reversible, so that the ionic solvent can be easily reused without the need for the separation and regeneration steps that are currently typical. This means that pretreatment can be carried out in a single vessel, rather than the usual three.
  • The “silver shotgun” technology is projected to lower the overall costs of biofuel production by 50-65 % from conventional ionic liquid pretreatment methods.

3. Organizational Stakeholders

This technology is still in research and development, but could eventually impact the following stakeholders:

  • Biofuel producers
  • Owners of gasoline-powered vehicles
  • Department of Energy

4. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • JBEI researchers: adapt the technology to the production of “drop-in” advanced biofuels
  • Biofuel producers: integrate the technology into existing production plants
  • Biofuel producers: phase out expensive ionic liquid pretreatment technologies

See also:

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2016/ee/c6ee00913a#!divAbstract for the research manuscript.