Sustainability issue – energy and renewables
Electricity is the backbone of development. Nevertheless, the current gird is firmly based on fossil fuels. additionally the grid’s design is decades old. If we wish to successfully transition to a cleaner and smarter grid and mitigate climate change we need innovative solutions…
The solution – hydro-micro grid
- LucidEnergy is an American company based in Portland that creates hydro-turbines for municipal water pipes.
- Many cities receive their water from remote and elevated locations. When gravity “powered” water flows towards a city, strong pressure (i.e., water speed) builds up in the pipes – LucidEnergy harnesses this power by installing pipes with an intergrated micro-turbine.
- The system is scalable and can generate between 18kw to 100kw based on the diameter of the pipe system and the flow rate.
- The power generated can be sold to a 3rd party (e.g., a utility company via a P3). Anticipated return over the investment is 10 years.
- The solution has been tested successfully in Portland, Oregon and Riverside, California.
- The company is currently working on the 2nd generation of its LucidPipe turbine design, “which will significantly increase power output, operate across a wider range of pipe sizes and flows and significantly reduce capital cost”.
- Water utilities
- Electric utilities
- Army bases, universities and any entity that owns its own water (pipes) infrastructure
Step 1 – The company should finish developing LucidPipe 2.0
Step 2 – The company should begin partnering with municipalities and key stakeholders – first as pilots then as contracts.
Step 3 – The company should expand its operations, ideally to countries that are undertaking a lot of infrastructure projects (e.g., China and India) and look into the possibility of opening manufacturing facilities there.
Company Website – Link
Link to comment – https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/30/desalination-2-0/comment-page-1/#comment-1519
Water security (both quality and quantity)
Water is not only necessary to survive, but it is also a fundamental building block of a decent quality of life. Nevertheless, nearly 800 million people do not have water security (link). Fresh water, which includes safe drinking water, account for less than 4% of all the water of the plant (link). Moreover, these water bodies are localized and accesses to them is limited. In short, there is an urgent need for potable water in many parts of the world. On the other hand, air is very abundant….
The solution – Water from air!
- Water-Gen is a Israeli company that produces a line of Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) and de-humidifing products.
- The units only require electricity to operate. The company’s largest generator can produce up to 6,000 liters per day. Standard operating conditions are 26.7°C and 60% Relative Humidity.
- The company claims its solutions are ideal for cities in developing countries and has identified 12 cities (ranging from Jakarta, Indonesia to Salvador, Brazil) that can greatly benefit from the technology, which can be integrated into existing buildings,
- One of the nice features about the water generators is that their optimal operating period (when humidity peaks) is at night (when electricity demand is low).
- Individuals in developing countries with poor access to water
- Individuals in developed countries who live in areas with contaminated water (e.g., Flint, Michigan)
- Army and Science facilities that are “off the grid”.
Step 1 – Partner with cities, organizations and countries that are in need for humanitarian aid for pilot programs to increase public awareness.
Step 2 – continue to improve the product and make it more “renewable energy friendly”, which will increase its attractiveness for communities with poor access to electricity.
Step 3- Expand operations and open additional factories that will allow the company to reach economies of scale, which will lower the product’s price.
Company website – Link
Comment on A Bay Area Startup Spins Lab-Grown Silk (JANEVAMORFAW):
Thats is a very cool idea with great potential. I hope that the company will be able to cheaply produce enough “silk” and have a global presence so that they will be able to bring about a real change.
Two things stand out to me in this technology: 1) Is the farming of the planets the company extracts sugar from sustainable and are these plants widely available? 2) Can the company bring the technology to a sufficient scale so that it can “move the needle” and meaningfully make the apparel industry more sustainable?
Sustainability issue – waste, food waste.
We generate about 1.3B tons of food waste annually, almost all of which ends up in landfills where it decomposes and release methane. Nonetheless, this “waste” contains a lot of nutrients that can be used as fertilizers and the released methane can be captured and used. Many municipalities are trying to implement composting programs but their reach is currently quite limited and the vast majority of the population still does not have access to an institutionalized compost program… so what can you do??
An easy to use home compost system!
- HomeBioGas is an Israeli company specializes in residential, outdoors, low maintenance, compost systems.
- HomeBioGas 2.0 is based on two holding tanks, one for the waste digestion, which is filled with water containing bacteria, and one for the gas generated.
- The system also produces liquid fertilizer as a by product of the process.
- The system can take up to 6 liters of food waste a day, and (at full capacity) generate enough gas daily to power a traditional stove for up to 3 hours.
- The system is very heat sensitive and does not function properly when the surrounding temperature falls under 20˚ (68F) for a long period of time.
Two key stakeholders are:
- Families and individuals that use gas powered equipment and live in areas where the climate allows for outdoor, unheated composting.
- Off-grid Communities in developing countries
Step 1 – Successfully fund their Kickstarter campaign.
Step 2 – Continue to develop the technology so that it can work in a wide variety of climates, especially in environments that have cold winter such as New York.
Step 3 – Start a new campaign for HomeBioGas 3.0 (when it will become available) while simultaneously reaching out to relevant communities and stakeholders for pilot studies and contracts.
Company website – Link
HomeBioGas 2.0 kickstarter page – Link
Another home composting solution – Link
Comment on Smart Urban Growth Tackles Mobility and Electricity Distribution Concurrently:
I would add a note about Better Place, as someone who lived 10 minutes form their HQ and witnessed their almost-rise and fall: Better Place’s plan was to first set up a charging infrastructure throughout Israel and only once they reached a sufficient quantity and reach of charging stations, then they would begin to really push their family-oriented EV model. They encountered a series of setbacks and constant delays, yet decided to release their EV when there is no adequate infrastructure to support it, which at the end (in my opinion) led to their failure.
Also, I visited their HQ and showroom about a two years before they ceased operations and at the time they were still not on schedule for the deployment (and perhaps even large scale feasibility) of the battery changing stations.”
Fish populations are decreseing in alarming rates due to overfishing. Tuna populations are less than 3% of their orginal size (link), Salmon is an endangered species and the vast majority of popular fish and seafood that is sold in restaurants is on Greenpeace’s Red List (link). With a large percentage of humanity relying on fish as either a source of food or income – overfishing is a serious problem that effects urban and rural residents.
Fish Farming 2.0 – grow fish in “high tech” farms that provide a better environment for the fish, increases yield and generates co-benefits such as fertilizers and clean water.
- Aquamaof Aquaculture is an Israeli company that specializes in building and operating cutting edge land-based Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS).
- The company’s proprietary system allows it to control all relevant parameters to optimize fish growth and safety, including water temperature, dissolved oxygen, chemicals (NH4-N, NO2-N, NO3-N, ALK, P, K), pH, Total Dissolved Solids and more.
- The degree to which the company is able to control the fishs’ habitat allows it to provide the fish with toxic free, better-than-ocean, conditions that lead to naturally greater fish size (mass).
- Prior to the disposal of used water, the company extracts and composts the fishs’ waste, which is later sold as fertilizer, and filters the water to a degree that it is cleaner than the condition in which it was received from the utility.
Any one that either eats fish or relies on fish for their wellbeing, primarily:
- Consumers in developed countries that can buy the product.
- Fishermen and fisherwomen in developing countries, who will benefit from healthier fish populations.
- Ecotourism that will benefit from healthier ecosystems
While every farm-fish consumed is one less fish caught in the wild, the fish-farm industry must grow tremendously in scale in order to be able to mover the needle on overfishing.
Step 1 – AquaMaof should continue to diversify its product line and increase the number of fish species it can grow
Step 2 – Significantly increase its marketing and sales operations as well as look for additional ways to lower its costs (e.g. using renewable energy such as solar in their facilities)
Step 3 – Partner with large costumers such as grocery stores and restaurants that require premium products and become one of their key suppliers.
Company website – link
Response to Sylwia Zieba:
This is a cool solution! one of the things that I find interesting is that PROTEON is also involved in setting up a research and development institute to promote this field and render the use of Bacteriphage based solutions more mainstream.
we need to transition away from fossil fuels to avoid a climate change catastrophe. Solar is a promising component of this transition, nonetheless it has traditionally been conceptualized as a solution for to horizontal surfaces and roofs, both of which are limited in area within the urban landscape (where most people live) – Not anymore.
Turn windows into a solar energy generating unit.
- SolarWindow is a US company based in Maryland. The technology functions similarly to a PV cell, only on a transparent window.
- The technology has lower efficiency rate, nonetheless scale is where it really shines – the rooftop area of an average skyscraper is very small compared to the approximately 6 acres of windows it has.
- Payback period is less than a year.
While big buildings in dense urban areas will see the highest returns, stakeholders include:
- Home owners
- Municipal buildings
- Real-estate companies
- Utility companies
Step 1 – the company needs to scale its production while continuing to develop the product (increasing efficiency and transparency).
Step 2 – partner with a property owners to conduct pilot studies and familiarize utility companies to with the technology.
Step 3 – work towards Federal recognition of the technology as equivalent to rooftop solar (in terms of subsidies, depreciation and tax credit).
Link to company website – https://solarwindow.com
Energy: electricity from renewable energy is generated only when specific environmental conditions are met (e.g. the sun is out, the wind is blowing etc.). Nonetheless, the renewable energy generation profile does not reflect energy demand and as such there is a great need for energy storage. Current solutions are expansive and not viable at the scale needed to truly transform to a renewable, clean grid.
A novel battery storage solution using ice to store energy.
- Ice energy is a company based in Santa Barbara, California. The company uses off-peak electricity to create a thermal battery (i.e. cool water into ice). The battery connects to a facility’s HVAC system and helps it produce cool air for AC use. By lowering the temperature of input air, the battery reduces the system’s cooling needs – thus saving energy.
- The technology is commercial, tested and reliable. The company has a verity of solutions including products for residential, commercial & industrial as well as for the grid.
- Each unit “saves” (on average) 2,000 lbs of CO2 and reduces peak load by 95%.
Every facility that has an HVAC system, ideally in a warm climate where the need for cooling is large, including:
- Manufacturing facilitates
- Single and multi family homes
Step 1 – Further develop and optimize the product line.
Step 2 – Step up production to the point where economics of scale help reduce unit price substantially.
Step 3 – Open sales offices in multiple cities in the US and evaluate the international market for a second manufacturing facility.
Company website – https://www.ice-energy.com
Comment on “Vertical Farm Acupuncture – made from recycled materials for Indonesia’s migrant farmers”: “This is a pretty cool idea. Another benefit of the vertical farm building, especially when it is implemented at scale, is a reduction in the urban heat island effect, which is in addition to the thermal insolation the vegetation will provide.”
Fossil fuel is the lifeblood of the mobility sector and while the world is transitioning towards electric transportation it will be a long time until lose our dependency on diesel / gas. Until we achieve “clean transportation” need an intermediate solution with lower GHG emissions for the mobility sector – Renewable Diesel
Categories: mobility and pollution
The Technology – A new type of wheel that is more sustainable, resilient and efficient
- Neste is an innovative oil company creating renewable diesel from waste, animal fats and vegetable oil. Neste’s renewable diesel is chemically identical to “regular” diesel.
- Neste’s renewable diesel has 90% lower emissions compared to regular diesel
- By 2030 ~10% of global car fleet will be electric, which means that ~90% will need cleaner gas / diesel fuel to run on. Furthermore, cleaner jet fuel is the only viable way to reduce pollution from the aviation sector.
- The company is also working on developing bioplastics, which they hope will hit the market by 2018.
Individuals using transportation (i.e. practically everyone) – as the company’s solutions target almost every mode of transportation.
Step 1: Expand production capabilities of renewable diesel.
Step 2: Partner with leading companies, cities or institutions to showcase and pilot the product to gain public and regulatory acceptance.
Step 3: Develop new bio-based petroleum products to displace fossil fuels.
Company’s website – Link
More than 300 million tires are scrapped every year (link) and more often than not tires end up in landfills. When tires decompose they release chemicals, many of which are toxic, and end up polluting the environment.
The Technology – A new type of wheel that is more sustainable, resilient and efficient
- Michelin is a 128-year-old French tire manufacturer and an established player in the tire industry with nearly 14% of the global market share for tires (link). The company recently unveiled a radically different connect wheel called Vision.
- The wheel is made from a wide variety of materials from recycled (traditional) tire chips and natural rubber to hay and electronic and plastic waste.
- Michelin’s plans to embed sensors in the tire, thus making it a “smart tire” that will automatically adopt to the road conditions ahead and interact with the car’s computer. There are many potential applications that can rise from a modern and dynamic “connection” between a car’s “brain” and its wheels (for example: link)
- The wheel is still at its concept phase and is not ready for mass production. moreover, the company does not have an estimate date for the wheel’s commercial availability.
Every car owner can benefit from developments in tire technology. Nonetheless it is likely that consumers and companies that strongly relay on automobile transportation (e.g. cabs (or ride share operators), delivery companies (UPS, FedEx and alike) and municipal agencies) will greatly benefit from this technology, which is likely to also improve the vehicle’s MPG.
Step 1: Michelin needs to finalize the development of the product and secure the materials stream required for the mass production of the wheel.
Step 2: Invest in 3D production facilities or secure production contracts for mass production of the wheel. The company should simultaneously develop a support and maintenance infrastructure for the new wheel
Step 3: Introduce the wheel to the market in phases, first as a component of new cars and only later as a potential retrofit for older cars.
Company’s website – Link
The main driver of Climate change is the increase in atmospheric Greenhouse Gas concentrations and the single most influential GHG is Carbon Dioxide (CO2). High concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are the propelling force behind climate change. If we wish to not only stop climate change from getting worse, but actually revert climate change and return the plant to a healthy state we must remove the majority of CO2 humanity has dumped into the atmosphere in the last ~200 years.
Category: This issue is at the foundations of climate change and its overarching implications affect multiple categories from health and safety to pollution.
The Technology – Capturing CO2 from Ambient Air
- Carbon Engineering is a Canadian company that is currently developing a system that will capture Carbon from ambient air and then transform the captured CO2 into fuel.
- The proposed system is based on an array of fans that push ambient air through a large surface-area mesh coated with a proprietary solution onto which the CO2 bind. The air leaving the system has ~80% less CO2 than the air entering the system.
- The company extracts carbon from its proprietary solution, once extracted the carbon is purified until it equals the purity of “pipeline carbon”. With the carbon removed the proprietary solution is clean and re-introduced to the system.
- Carbon Engineering has been testing and improving its prototype system since 2011 through a multi-stage pilot project.
- The company hopes to reach commercial scale by 2020*.
Many organizations and companies could benefit from installing Carbon Engineering’s product; nonetheless, I believe the following stakeholders would benefit the most from implementing the product:
- High density cities and cities with severe air pollution
- Industrial and manufacturing facilities
- Fossil fuel based power generation facilities
Step 1: Carbon Engineering must reach commercial scale while optimizing their solution (Smaller size, increased efficiency, low O&M cost etc.).
Step 2: Partner with large cities and create urban pilot projects to demonstrate the product’s benefits and reliability. the company should also work with architects and urban planners to integrate the system into buildings and the cityscape.
Step 3: Continue to expand while Developing a market for ambient-air based fuels and develop a business model that either also Carbon Engineering or the system owner to generate revenue from or use the captured carbon.
- Geoffrey Holmes, Kevin Nold, Tylor Walsh, Kenton Heidel, Matthew A. Henderson, Jane Ritchie, Paul Klavins, Arvinder Singh, David W. Keith, Outdoor Prototype Results for Direct Atmospheric Capture of Carbon Dioxide, In Energy Procedia, Volume 37, 2013, Pages 6079-6095, ISSN 1876-6102, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2013.06.537.
Company’s website – Link