Street lighting comprises 15-40% of an average city’s energy consumption1. Street lighting therefore contributes to a city’s emissions. In the UK specifically, 60% of the CO2 emissions from the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) lighting assets are from street lights2. As such, technology that improves the sustainability of street lighting could be impactful in improving energy consumption, efficiency, and its associated emissions.
Urban Control, a smart cities technology company, is partnering with DW Windsor to upgrade Surrey County Council’s street lights. The effort will replace or retrofit 89,000 street lamps. Urban Control will also roll out an upgrade to the existing central management system (CMS).
The streetlights will use energy efficient LEDs, which are expected to provide energy savings of ~60%.
The updated CMS will provide the Council with data on the county’s lighting, energy use, and maintenance.
Skanska, the Council’s street light contractor, and Urban Control are also coordinating the roll out of the new program with the decommissioning of the former CMS such that there are no gaps in coverage.
It is anticipated that this technology will save ~7.7k tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
Surrey County Council
Surrey residents and businesses
LED lighting companies
4) The First Three Steps in Deploying This Technology
Raise awareness of the changes being implemented amongst the residents and businesses
Ensure stakeholders are coordinated for the replacement and retrofitting process
Monitor the performance of the new system and the data that it collects
Given solar energy is ubiquitous, it would be nice to turn all artificial surfaces exposed to sunlight into solar panels. This may not meet a major portion of the energy needs, but certainly this should help reduce CO2 emission.
This is where SolarWindow comes in.1 Their main product, branded as LiquidElectricity, was flexible see-through window coatings that harvest sunlight and artificial light to generate electricity, essentially turning windows into solar panels. Founded in 1998, their technology has gone through significant evolution. Recently they have announced that their windows can achieve 14.7% efficiency in turning solar energy into electricity.2 This is pretty good considering today’s state of the art solar panels in the market have an efficiency in the mid to upper 20s range.
Their products should benefit both businesses and consumers, especially businesses with tall and modern buildings that can be retrofitted with this solar capability. They estimate that a residential house fitted with their product could generate 11% of the electricity needs, while large business buildings up to 30%. The net result is reduced utility energy use leading to CO2 reduction.
SolarWindow is the leader in this technology segment and they have good products, but it has been tough going. The company is still not profitable. To ensure their success, they need to improve efficiency and reduce cost to be competitive with utility electricity, and at the same time improve transparency of their window products.
Vertical transportation is a crucial element of city dwelling. More than 7 billion elevator rides occur every day in tall buildings around the world, and this number will only grow as the number of people living in cities increases. In the United States, elevators often operate with outdated technology and infrastructure and are not energy-efficient. Elevators account for 2-10% of a building’s energy use. Creating more energy-efficient methods of vertical transportation is a critical sustainability challenge. (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/elevators-are-going-green-180968907/)
Indoor sensors can detect physical criteria in buildings such as temperature, humidity, motion, and light. Vertical transportation systems can implement this sensor technology to make elevators more energy-efficient. Sensors can detect elevator users before they push the call button and this information is sent to the elevator control system. This more rapid transmission of information helps the system control moving time and direction more efficiently. By reducing the distance of unnecessary travel, energy is saved.
The elevator control system named ESG (“Elevator control for Smart Green buildings”), presented by researchers from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, makes use of this concept. Three types of sensor devices including RFID (radio-frequency identification), video, and floor sensors collect information about elevator users before they arrive at the stop and push the call button. A reservation call is generated for the user, and the moving time and moving direction of the elevators are controlled based on the compilation of all the reservation calls.
The ESG system has been shown to reduce energy consumption by 28-31%. It was also shown to reduce average waiting time by 15-30%, as minimizing wait time is another objective of elevator control systems.
3) Organizational Stakeholders:
Stakeholders involved in implementation of this technology could include:
Sustainability consultants looking for opportunities to earn points for a building’s LEED accreditation by making elevators more energy-efficient
Facilities management professionals looking to address complaints on long wait times
Facilities management professionals looking to heighten security in buildings that require it (banks, government buildings, private corporations, etc.) that could use the information collected from the RFID, video, and floor sensors for other reasons
4) Implementation Process
While the ESG system has been shown to produce measurable results in several experimental settings, its effectiveness must be ascertained in the target building. To make sure the system would be a good match, the target building should first conduct an evaluation of its current elevator usage. Customer surveys should be conducted to assess complaints (are long wait times a concern, like they are in most other settings?), energy usage by elevators should be calculated (what level of energy efficiency are the elevators currently at), etc.
A technology evaluation should be conducted for the different types of sensor devices. While the ESG system is meant to use RFID, video, and floor sensors, a very wide range of these devices are commercially available. The effectiveness and cost of the different options needs to be evaluated to determine which are best for the target building.
Complimenting the point made above, the budget for whoever is managing the target building upgrades needs to be assessed. Perhaps more complaints are being made about other aspects of the building and more money needs to be spent elsewhere, leaving less funding for elevator upgrades. Perhaps there is an opportunity to partner with some manufacturers of sensor technology by providing those manufacturers the opportunity to pilot their devices, lowering overall costs.
Globally, 2.6Bn people lack access to safe, dignified sanitation. Government under-investment into infrastructure, increasing urbanization and crisis-related displacement have resulted in large populations lacking access to safe, proper sanitation. Providing non-sewered communities scalable improved sanitation will incur huge economic costs (for piping, collections, treatment) and unsustainable stresses on local water resources. In non-sewered communities, people must resort to unsafe sanitation options like open defecation and shared pit latrines.
Category: Water, Energy, Health.
The innovative solution:
change:WATER Labs has developed a disruptive evaporative toilet to clean up off-grid and non-sewered communities by shrinking daily sewage volumes 85-99% onsite—its portable, low-cost and stand-alone toilets leverage super-water-absorbent polymers to passively vaporize liquid sewage, thus enabling complete sanitary containment, waterless and off-grid operability, and 10x reduced collections logistics.
This technology is highly impactful for underdeveloped societies. 40% of the world lacks access to safe sanitation, and this impacts every aspect of their lives and their future prospects. Poor sanitation traps them in poverty and hopelessness. The lack of a dignified toilet in fact perpetuates poverty and vulnerability.
Main responsibles to implement this technology should be ONGs and private households (if economic resources are available).
For most commercial buildings, lighting constitutes as the highest electricity user compared to other single uses. Additionally, many office buildings do not take advantage of daylighting, either because it is infeasible in some buildings or they don’t have the right design tools. Only employees sitting by the window receive natural sunlight. Studies show that daylight improves an occupant’s health and well being as well as productivity. An average person in the US spends over 90% indoors, without natural light.
Technology Solution: Solar Lighting
Parans has developed a daylight system that uses fiber-optic cables that deliver natural light captured by solar roof collectors (pictured above). The sunlight collectors are designed track the sun’s movement and therefore capture maximum sunlight. The free and renewable resource that is sunlight, would therefore also lower a building’s total energy usage from lighting.
This technology can provide natural light to the interior of the building as well as the basement – the two areas that typically lack access natural light. This light can be distributed as Point Light, Ceiling Light and/or Wall Light.
Originally a Swedish company, the technology is being integrated in many parts of the world. Lumenomics has partnered with Parans and is now the US distributor of their daylight systems.
This system is being used in healthcare facilities like NICU at Denver’s Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, at University of Arizona’s Innovative Health Sciences Building, and even in Rijnands Tunnel in Netherlands, where lighting is crucial to avoid accidents.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Depleting fossil fuels and its consequent environmental impacts on climate change means alternative sources of energy need to be found, and soon.
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.
Energy companies and consultants
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.
Collect data analytics and present data in energy conferences to attract investors
Collaborate with city governments and implement with an upcoming Smart City project.
“‘SlingShot’: Segway Inventor Says End of Clean Water Is Near—So He Built a Solution”
1)Sustainability Problem – Clean drinking water is becoming more and more scarce on Earth.
2) – More than 3.5 million people die every year from water-related diseases, and almost 900 million don’t have access to a safe water supply.
– The Slingshot is a “vapor compression distiller” that uses solar energy to boil, distill and vaporize the bad gunk and turn it into clear and clean drinking water. It was created by inventor Dean Kamen and his inventing company, DEKA Research and Development
– Each Slingshot can purify 1000 liters of water per day, which can essentially support the water needs of 100 people. Plus it only uses a small amount of electricity.
– Slingshot is expensive to produce so Kamen he realized he must partner with companies that can distribute Slingshots globally.
3)Organizational Stakeholders – DEKA Research and Development, Consumers, Private companies used for public-private partnership
– Continue research to drive costs down. Third world countries will not be able to afford Slingshots at current cost.
– Find key areas that are in most need of clean water without access to it. Target these places and determine whether Slingshot would be a viable solution for them.
– Create public-private partnerships in these areas in order to set up Slingshots for the people to use.
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.
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.
The 3 main companies developing apps.
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.