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.

Taking the Sting out of Beekeeping

Sustainability Problem:

Apiary Inspectors of America survey shows that US beekeepers lost 42 percent of their honeybees from April 2014 to April 2015. The decline of bees threatens our food production. As well, colony losses pose significant economic threats to the livelihood of beekeepers. 

Technology: 

iBuzzHive is a 3-D printed wooden beehive that has sensors and high definition video camera with an app for remote monitoring of bee health and growth of colonies. Urban beekepers can monitor their bee colonies using IoT technology in a non-invasive way.

hive_in_tree.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale

Using wifi, the BuzzCloud App monitors tells surrounding temperature, humidity,  number of bees in colony and other data to show the overall condition of the hive’s health.

buzzcloud-app.jpg.650x0_q70_crop-smart

This technology would be great for the resurgence of interest in urban beekeeping.

Sources:

http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/buzzcloud-urban-beekeeping-ibuzzhive.html

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/us-beekeepers-lost-almost-half-their-honeybees-2014-15.html

Stakeholders:

  • beekeepers especially urban beekeepers
  • interested government organizations such as US Department of Agriculture and Apiary Inspector of America
  • interested non-profit organizations such as Bee Informed Partnership
  • investors and general public who can help with funding
  • agriculturists who depend on pollination for food production

Implementation:

  1. This technology is at its early stage. BuzzCloud project team will turn to crowdfunding to launch the product once the prices and specs have been nailed down
  2. After launching, mass production of iBuzzHive and App would lower the cost and make excellent value for investor .
  3. Next steps include re-assessment of the effectiveness of this technology and its impact to the beekeeping industry.

The World’s First Molecular Air Purifier

Sustainability Problem:

Air pollutants are trapped indoors. Poor air quality can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, congestion and worsen asthma and allergies. Most HEPA filters trap but do not destroy air pollutants such as mold, bacteria, viruses, allergens and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). 

 

MolekulePhoto Credit: Molekule

Technology: 

Molekule device is billed as the  the world’s first molecular air filter. Using Photoelectrochemical Oxidation (PECO), the air purifier breaks down pollutants extremely quickly and said to destroy them up to 1000 times smaller than what a HEPA filter can. According to Molekule, the company that developed this product, PECO is “a type of oxidation process that works by shining light on an electrochemical cell in order to generate a chemical reaction that break down pollutants”.  

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/molekule-air-purifier-breaks-down-air-pollutants-molecular-level.html

Stakeholders:

  • Molekule Company, the developer of Molekule Air Purifier
  • general public especially people with asthma and allergies
  • researchers
  • investors

Implementation: 

  1. Extensive testing of the product by independent labs to verify that Molekule byproducts are completely harmless elements that normally exist in clean air , and that air pollutants aren’t trapped in the filter ensuring that only clean air is released back into the area.
  2. Public launching of the Molekule with an offering of early bird-price of $499 (future retail price is $799). 
  3. Future price may be too high for the general public. Further research on reducing the cost should be done so this product can be more attractive to the general public.  

Smartflower POP Solar System

Sustainability Problems:

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.

flower POP

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.

Websites:

http://inhabitat.com/portable-self-cleaning-smartflower-pop-produces-40-more-solar-energy/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ3NPmHGsg4

Stakeholders:

  • Homeowners
  • Business-owners
  • Government offices
  • Researchers
  • Policymakers

Implementation:

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.

 

 

Dyneema High-tech fiber

 

dyneema

Sustainability Problems:

  1. Heavy airplanes use more fuels and thus emit more carbon dioxide.
  2. Weak cargo nets can break, shift cargo and cause accidents and death.
  3. Weak protection for workers in many industries cause injuries and fatalities.

Technology:

Dyneema is brand cargo nets made of fabric that is made from fibers of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), 15 times stronger than steel, has longer lifecycle but weighs half as much as polyester cargo net. It floats on water. It does not get heavier when wet so it is easy to handle and thus reduces accidents and injury among ramp workers. The use of Dyneema nets cuts the weight of commercial, cargo and military planes, reduces fuel consumption and reduces carbon dioxide emission by 2.5 tons per year per net. Dyneema working gloves are cut-resistant. Dyneema can stop bullets, pull oil tankers and harness the power of wind. Dyneema ropes and slings for fishing, maritime, mining and forestry industries are very strong and lightweight, and help in to work more efficiently and safely.

It is invisible to UV light and thermal imaging devices, can withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures and has high electrical resistance, is fire resistant and self-extinguishing. Dyneema products are costly. Dyneema has longer lifecycle than polyester nets but its cost is four times as more. Dyneema’s high cost hinders it from being used widely in the markets.

Sources:

The Economist, http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21584437-high-tech-fabrics-advances-seemingly-mundane-textile-technologies-promise

How Dyneema Works,  http://science.howstuffworks.com/dyneema.htm

Dyneema, http://www.dsm.com/products/dyneema/en_GB/home.html

 Stakeholders:

Airline companies , police and military workers, Industry workers, forestry, mining, marine industries, policymakers

Implementation:

–  Lobbyist and policymakers should try to lower the cost of this material so that more people can have a grip to this technology.  Although it is used by some industries, most people who would buy other much cheaper but weaker brands thus accidents due to breakage of weak ropes and nets could still occur.

– Governments  in developing countries should work with private investors so that poor people in developing countries can avail of the products thereby solving more energy and safety problems that this technology can address. Dyneema should partner with stakeholder industries and try ways to lower the cost of their products.

–  Further research on this product’s design and increased competition should be addressed to lessen the cost of Dyneema products.

Airplane Flies With No Fuel

wing-and-photonTechnology: 

  • Solar Impulse is the first solar-powered airplane that can fly day and night, powered entirely by the sun. 
  • Thousands of solar cells power its four electric motors with clean renewable energy.  
  • Solar energy is stored in batteries during the day and power the airplane at night. Ten hours of continuous bright sunlight is needed per day in order to charge the batteries and power the plane through the night. 

Sustainability problem:

Airplanes use conventional fuels and emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, thus contributing to global warming. Most airplanes today fly using conventional fuels. 

Stakeholders:

  • Small  Airline companies
  • Air Force Engineers and Pilots
  • Solar companies
  • Investors

Implementation: 

  1.  Test flights were done in order to see the potential of the solar-powered experimental aircraft in flying both days and nights. Solar Impulse is a one-pilot plane and started with day flights before its first night flight in 2010. Inter-continental flights followed in 2012. Solar Impulse made its first cross-country flight in 2013. It started from NASA Ames Research Center in California, and made stops in five states before finally landing at New York’s JFK Airport. The flights took a total of 105 hours and 41 minutes.
  2. On June 20, 2016, the longest day of the year, Solar Impulse 2, a slightly bigger plane with 5,000 more solar panels than SI, make its trans-Atlantic flight to Europe. The flight from New York to Madrid is a continuous ninety-hour trip. 
  3. As of now, Solar Impulse is a one-pilot plane which has proved to fly with clean energy for very long hours. More experiments and further research should be done in order to improve this very exciting technology on a larger scale: as a two-pilot plane, an Air Force plane, a cargo plane, or as a small passenger-carrier plane. It will take many years for it to be on a commercial scale so accelerated research is needed to be done in order to reduce carbon emissions from aircraft. 

Sources:

http://inhabitat.com/solar-impulse-airplane-to-complete-cross-country-flight-in-new-york-tonight/

http://inhabitat.com/solar-impulse-2-begins-4-day-nonstop-flight-across-the-atlantic-on-longest-day-of-the-year/

http://inhabitat.com/meet-the-solar-impulse-2-the-first-plane-to-attempt-a-round-the-world-solar-powered-flight/

CETO: Clean Power Plus Freshwater

Technology:

  • CETO, named after a Greek goddess, is a wave energy technology project in Western Australia that produces clean power for the grid on land as well as desalinate ocean water.
  • The CETO 5 project is composed of three submerged 240KW buoys system that is tethered on the seabed with hydraulic pumps. The system bobs up and down with waves, pushing pressurized water through power turbines while feeding a desalination plant at the same time.

http://inhabitat.com/perths-carnegie-wave-energy-project-produces-clean-power-and-potable-water-from-the-motion-of-the-ocean/

http://carnegiewave.com/projects/perth-project-2/

Sustainability Problem CETO solves:

CETO helps produce clean energy thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be produced if conventional sources are used for the grid.

Freshwater is produced at the same time so coastal regions with less source of freshwater  benefit from this technology.

Stakeholders:

  • Carnegie Wave Limited, the inventor, developer and owner of the patented CETO wave technology
  • HMAS Stirling, the naval base that buys clean power and freshwater from CETO
  • Researchers on wave technologies who may use this technology as a model for further  R & D
  • Investors on clean energy and water desalination projects

Implementation:

  1. Carnegie used a combination of rapid prototyping, computational simulation, wave tank testing and, in-ocean testing in developing CETO.
  2. Two sites: a “nursery site” at its at its research facility, and an open ocean site at its Perth Wave Energy Project site for CETO 5.  The latter has been in operation for 14,000 hours and have supplied both clean power and freshwater to Australia’s largest naval base, HMAS Stirling Naval Base.
  3. After ten years of continuous development, millions of dollars, and tens of thousands of in-ocean operational hours of testing is now nearing the end of its commercialization phase with the development and delivery of its CETO 6 product generation.
  4. Further testing sites should be be developed where this technology can be implemented not only in Australia but also in other parts of the globe.