Project Loon to Provide Internet!


  1. Sustainability Issue (Civic Engagement):

Despite the advance technology we have today, more than half of the world’s population still does not have access to internet. This makes it incredibly difficult for the underdeveloped or developing countries to advance or compete with the rest of the world that do have access to the powerful tool of internet. Furthermore, these areas are often overlooked by telecommunication companies, who don’t find it worthwhile to build cell towers or other infrastructure in certain areas.

In addition to areas that don’t have the infrastructure for internet, there have also been a lot of natural disasters that have damaged cell towers and affected people’s abilities to recover from the events. Recovering from these events is not only costly but also requires a lot of resources.

  1. Summary of Technology (Project Loon):
  • Project Loon is a balloon that can float over areas and provide internet access and telecommunications to those areas without needing to build cell towers or invest in infrastructure
  • Project Loon is highly energy-efficient and is powered entirely by renewable energy with solar panels powering daytime operations and charging a battery to be used at night
  • Project Loon can also help in areas that already have internet. There are areas that lose signals because of hills or buildings, and instead of building infrastructure in very specific areas to combat that issue, Project Loon can help fill in those dead spots
  • Natural disasters like Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico and damaged its telecommunications can use Project Loon to help with their recovery efforts
  • Loon have a shorter lifespan, which is sometimes advantageous because you can easily update and integrate new technologies into new models



  1. Stakeholders 

Key stakeholders include:

  • Telecommunications companies (e.g., Verizon, AT&T)
  • Mobile internet users
  • Federal Communications Commission
  1. Next Steps
  • Run a number of beta tests in underserved cell areas to create product buzz
  • Continue to improve design to cover a wider area with one balloon
  • Seek to obtain government financing for Loons in one key market as a test market
  1. Comment on article:
    This is a very interesting and cool concept! I wonder if this technology could be applied to above ground traffic as well to further ease traffic and remove any driving errors or driving patterns that cause traffic. Obviously it couldn’t go as fast above ground, but if people are not blocking roads and if there are fewer accidents, that would help immensely.


UNI – LC3291
Fall 2017 – Week 5


How to improve New York’s Subway System? Simplify, simplify.

js5079 – Joshua Strake
Sustainability Topic: Waste (in terms of efficiency), Energy
Link: NYT

I like this article because it gets down to the basic principle of a ‘smart city’ – you use the measurable data of a city to identify where to make improvements, and you go out and make those improvements. You don’t need to improve the ridership of the MTA with some sort of cloud-based ridership benefits app that uses IoT technology to make your blender give you compliments each time you make a smoothie: you can simply fit more people on a subway by making more space. And to make more space you can remove seats. Summary below.


  • E trains had delay troubles, because of overcrowding on their trains. This manifested primarily in longer loading and unloading times at stations.
  • They determined they could ease the issue of overcrowding by removing some seats from certain E train cars.
    • The seats were removed from the door areas, so more people could fit as well as more easily enter and exit.
  • Each modified train has an increased capacity of around 100 riders.
  • Additional changes to the E line such as equipment replacements are also being accelerated to address the efficiency issues with the service.
  • A result of these changes is: the riders experience less delays, and more are served by the train.
    • Since time can be measured in terms of the opportunity cost of productivity, both of these changes should help the economy.
    • Since the train cars are moving more people per trip, they are increasing their energy efficiency.



New Yorkers and visitors who use public transit

Businesses whose employees use public transit

Three Next Steps:

1 – Evaluate the impact of the changes. Is the issue of delays being addressed?

2 – Conduct an analysis of other train lines that have similar issues.

3 – Expand the seat removal pilot to these other lines.

Comment on another blog: “Larvae convert food waste”

A very neat idea – another impact the article discusses is that much of conventional fish feed comes from trawling the ocean, a habit that contributes to overfishing. These larvae would help mitigate that effect as well as the food waste.

Highway of The Future

1: Area of sustainability category: Transportation

Every year, there are about 11,000 tire-related crashes and nearly 200 fatalities. Besides these disasters happened on human beings. Our ecosystem is being damaged because there are around 150 tons of carbon emitted daily just on our corridor, so we needed to transform the transport infrastructure quickly.

2: “5 tech-related inspirations from VERGE 17

  • Wattway developed solar panels that can be put on top of the existing surface of roads and have skid-resistant surface
  • “PV for EV,” a photovoltaic solar array for fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations that send excess energy back to the visitor center
  • WheelRight tire safety station: Cars drive slowly over the black-and-yellow striped pavement, where sensors take measurements. Drivers then stop at a touchscreen kiosk that spits out a printed sheet or sends a text message within 20 seconds showing tire pressure and tread depth.

3: Implementation

  • Communicate with more state governments like Georgia and convince them to apply this new highway.
  • Find smart city project principal and persuade them to use this high-tech road since The Ray can not only be applied in highway infrastructure, it can also be applied to local roads which may help to build a more sustainable and safe community.
  • Find international potential partners by Attending oversea events which aim to build connections between the realms of technology and corporate sustainability.

4: Stakeholder

  • State agencies who take charge of the highway infrastructure
  • Auto manufacturers which invest on autonomous driving and acknowledge the importance of better highway condition
  • Private companies which want to implement their related technologies on this innovative high-tech highway.


Comment on ” CO2 Inhaling Plants

This technology can also collect CO2 from the air and supply it to a nearby greenhouse to grow the plant, make low-carbon fuels, and be sequestered in the ocean or underground.

CO2 Inhaling Plants

Area of sustainability: Pollution and health

Sustainability issue:

Pollution from cars, trucks, ships et.c. is an ever-increasing problem, and heavily localized pollution is a health hazard for the population.


  • A number of startup companies has designed a solution that will help with this issue. It is based on building plants that will suck in the polluted air, and convert the CO2 to usable products, such as diesel fuel. This way, the pollution will be recycled and reused instead of being released into the atmosphere where it can harm the environment.
  • This will also be beneficial in big cities like Shanghai where air pollution is a huge health hazard, and people are advised to stay indoors when it is at peak levels. This should not be necessary, and this technology can help aid this.
  • This technology will reduce the effect of CO2 emissions from cars, ships, plants, farm equipment et.c. and in turn roll back the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by directly capturing CO2 from the air.


  • Government
  • Plant facility management
  • Construction companies
  • Engineers
  • Maintenance companies



  1. Find the areas in a city where a plant like this would have the greatest effect
  2. Get permission from the government to build one of these plants near the city
  3. Make sure all procedures in the plant are well thought out, and that the processes will go safely


Main article:

Other sources:

UNI: ms5584

My comment on another article:

“This will enable testing the air quality in areas that are not usually easily accessible. It is also a cost efficient way to analyze the air quality, so that more of the available funds can be spent on the research and development of solutions which will help improve the air and thus also the health of the population.”

Blockchain Peer Peer Energy Microgrid

Infrastructure Problem: Renewable Energy From microgrid can be wasted due to inefficient data and demand

Solar panel owners get a small return for feeding excess power from their roof back into the grid, which power companies then on-sell at a much higher price.  Peer-to-peer trading overhauls the system by opening up the market to allow households to buy and sell solar energy without a power company, trading their energy for more than the feed-in tariff while still undercutting power providers for buyers.

Infrastructure Technology:

Power Ledger has developed software which reads the outputs of electricity meters and can therefore measure the amount of energy that is consumed or generated. Power Ledger is a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading platform enabling consumers and businesses to sell their surplus solar power to their neighbours without a middleman.

Those two pieces of information are then recorded on the Blockchain and used to move energy from one person to another via a unit called ‘Sparkz’, which is a digital representation of energy. The buyer receives the energy and the seller banks payment for the electricity almost simultaneously

The Power Ledger system tracks the generation and consumption of all trading participants and settles energy trades on pre-determined terms and conditions in near real time. A user simply receives a registration email from their Application Host, they click on a link which takes them to the Power Ledger platform where they create a userid and password. That’s it, once logged in they can see their electricity usage and all their P2P trading transaction details.



  • Investors (start-up investors / VC / employees / etc.. )
  • Employees
  • Tech Mahindra (partner testing microgrid)
  • Technology partners
  • Energy companies
  • Governments / rural municipalities

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

  • start-up coming
  • testing software as part of a microgrid-as-a-service

Transit Signal Priority (TSP)

Sustainability Issues

A well-functioning transit system is a essential component of any major city. However, in cities with narrow streets and high level of traffic volume like NYC, buses or other transit vehicles often trapped in busy intersections, resulting in traffic congestion and excessive air pollution emitted by standstill vehicles. According to a mobility report issued by NYC government, in n central business districts like Midtown Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and Jamaica Queens average travel speed for buses are often 4 mph or less. Prioritizing traffic signal at busy intersection for buses could lead to higher travel speed of buses and therefore improve overall efficiency and service quality of the transit system.

Technology: Transit Signal Priority 

  • Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is a set of operational improvements for traffic lights that use technology to reduce dwell time at traffic signals for transit vehicles
  • Such a technology includes a detection system and a priority request generator aboard transit vehicles (or in centralized location)
  • As TSP equipped transit vehicles approach corridors, a signal will be sent by the priority request generator wirelessly to the traffic light control system
  • As the system receives the priority signal from transit vehicles, a set of pre-set strategies will be utilized to either hold green lights longer or shorten red lights until the transit vehicle pass the intersection
  • The same system could also be utilized to prioritize traffic signal for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks


  • Department of Transportation
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Municipal government
  • Traffic signal providers


  • Identify intersections and corridors with highest traffic volume
  • Launched a pilot program to upgrade traffic signal system and install priority request generator in some transit vehicles (especially BRTs)
  • Evaluate effectiveness of the system and improve shortcomings
  • Employ the system in all transit vehicles and corridors to improve transit efficiency



UNI: MH3730