Floating Garbage Bins

Sustainability Problem

Pollution. Marine life is dying at an alarming rate and the whole oceanic ecosystem is being threatened as a result.

Technology Article

Brilliantly Simple Floating Rubbish Bin Revolutionizes Ocean Cleaning Technology by Kristine Mitchell December 25, 2015.

  • Australian surfers created an automated floating rubbish bin that collects garbage, debris, and even oil from the water, and may revolutionize ocean cleaning technology.
  • The system is designed to run constantly and the group aims to sell and install them in marinas, ports, and boat clubs.
  • The group is raising funding through their Indiegogo campaign so they can produce the systems on a large scale.

Stakeholders

  • Seabin Pty Ltd (creators of system)
  • Donators to their Indiegogo campaign
  • Marinas, ports, harbors, boat clubs, etc. that will purchase and install the systems

Deployment

  • Form partnerships/raise funding to produce on a large scale.
  • Sell Seabins to Marinas, ports, boat clubs etc.
  • Aim to get them in rivers and other bodies of water as well.
  • Figure out a better way to power the pump that operates the Seabin (currently electric that costs $20/month)…solar(?).

Other sources:

Denim Made out of Ocean Plastic

Bionic_Yarn_Pharrell_G_Star_Raw_For_The_Oceans_Denim_Recycle_Plastic_Sustainable_Principles_CFADC_Superego_Clothiers_3_grande

Problem: Plastics in the Oceans

Today, the Earth’s oceans are littered with millions of tons of plastic, wreaking havoc on animal and plant life in the water. This does not only affect the wildlife, but humans who rely on them for food and or business

Technology: “How a Pair of Jeans Could Save our Planet’s Plastic-Choked Oceans” by Issie Lapowsky

New York City-based startup, Bionic Yarn, has created a way to make fabric from recycled ocean plastic and turn it into denim products. The products are woven with some nine tons of ocean plastic inside. One of the company’s yarns is FLX, which is is made completely of recovered plastic. Their patented technology heats and spins together dozens of RPET strands to make new and improved yarn

Stakeholders:

Bionic Yarn tech engineers/designers

Technological partners

Design Collaborators

Fashion designers

Clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

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

Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.  For example, Bionic Yarn has partnered with celebrity/designer, Pharrell Williams, who uses it in his G-Star Raw collections

The company should start a campaign marketing the technology to high-end textile suppliers, proving that this material can be recycled and high quality

Sources:

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/bionic-yarns/

http://www.bionicyarn.com/

https://www.g-star.com/en_us

 

 

 

New technique turns common plastic waste into fuel

Problem: Synthetic plastics are used to produce food containers, because these plastics do not to chemicals in food. This turns out to be an issue when these containers go to landfills and do not degrade. There current methods for recycling plastics are energy intensive. The technique in this article and the research is geared towards reducing plastic pollution and in turn creating usable liquid fuel.

Technology:

  • Utilizes by-products of petrochemical production known as alkanes
  • The chemical process is known as cross-alkane metathesis 
  • Uses about half the amount of energy needed to breakdown plastics

Stakeholders:

  • Government
  • Wast management/recycling entities

Steps for deploying technology:

  1. Find average cost savings this technology will provide to recycling facilities
  2. Find areas where the fuel can be used in the recycling facilities
  3. Estimate cost of deploying this technology at a recycling facility

 

AIRCARBON: PLASTIC FROM THIN AIR

1. Sustainability Problem

  • Humans produce 660 billion pounds of plastic a year, and the manufacturing process creates three times as much carbon dioxide by weight as actual plastic.
  • Plastic is mostly made of crude oil, which is collected mainly by fracking in the US. Fracking is associated with water pollution, earthquakes in non-sismic areas, and methane emissions.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. In 2014, CO2 accounted for about 80.9% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

Issues: Air Pollution, Carbon Dioxide emissions, Petroleum consumption, Fracking

 

2. Technology 

Typically, plastic is made by exposing hydro­carbons from fossil fuels to tremendous pressure and energy. Newlight’s first commercial plant, in California, captures methane generated by a dairy farm’s waste lagoon and transports it to a bioreactor. There, enzymes combine the gas with air to form a polymer. The resulting plastic, called AirCarbon, performs identically to most oil-based plastics but costs less—creating a market-­driven solution to global warming.

AirCarbon is able to meet the performance requirements of a wide range of applications, including applications currently using fossil fuel-based polypropylene, polyethylene, ABS, polystyrene, and TPU. AirCarbon™ can be used in extrusion, blown film, cast film, thermoforming, fiber spinning, and injection molding applications. For more information about specific functional properties, please contact Newlight.

Companies have already signed on to use AirCarbon in their products, including KI desk chairs (pictured), Dell computer packaging, and Sprint smartphone cases.

 

3. Stakeholders

  • Newlight Technologies (owner of the technologies)
  • Companies making plastic-based products
  • Policy-makers to promote the use of AirCarbon
  • Environmental NGOs to require policy-makers to demand sustainable plastic production processes.

 

4. Implementation Process

Founded in 2003, after 10 years of research, Newlight has developed, patented, and commercialized the world’s first commercially-scaled carbon capture technology able to produce high-performance thermoplastics from air and methane emissions that can match the performance of oil-based plastics and out-compete on price.

The company has already won several sustainability awards, as well as attended many environment and sustainability summits in order to spread the word and raise awareness. The list is too large to appear in this text but can be found here: http://newlight.com/news/

 

5. Sources:

Row-bot: ‘Water Bug’ 3D-Printed Robot Digests Pollution, Converts it to Electricity

151123202802_1_900x600Row-bot with mouth open. Credit: Hemma Philamore, University of Bristol/BRL

 

Sustainability Problem:

Urban areas have the potential to pollute water in many ways. Runoff from streets carries oil, rubber, heavy metals, and other contaminants from automobiles. Groundwater and surface water can be contaminated from many sources such as garbage dumps, toxic waste and chemical storage and use areas, leaking fuel storage tanks, and intentional dumping of hazardous substances. Air pollution can lead to acid rain, nitrate deposition, and ammonium deposition, which can alter the water chemistry of lakes.

 

Areas of Sustainability:

Energy, Water, Pollution, Safety, Health

 

Technology:

  • Inspired by the aquatic water boatman beetle, Researchers at the University of Bristol have created a 3D printed robot that can self-propel, or ‘row’, along the surface of lakes and ponds, consuming microbes as it goes. Since the row-bot is powered by the microbes it eats, it does not require any recharging, and has the potential to be used in environmental monitoring and water clean-up systems.
  • When it is hungry, the Row-bot opens its soft robotic mouth and rows forward to fill its microbial fuel cell (MFC) stomach with nutrient-rich dirty water. It then closes its mouth and slowly digests the nutrients. In the cell, bacteria digest organic waste, and produce carbon dioxide as a by-product, as well as the protons and electrons needed to get the electrical circuit in the cell flowing. When it has recharged its electrical energy stores the Row-bot rows off to a new location, ready for another gulp of dirty water.

 

bio-inspired-3d-printed-row-bot-cleans-water-surface4

 

  • For flotation, the machine has four little stabilizers. To move, there are two paddles in the middle of its body, which have flexible flipper joints to make sure they move efficiently and minimize drag. The row-bot paddles were made as a 3D printed composite structure with a rigid frame that supports an elastic membrane. This membrane can either stretch to increase paddle surface, or, thanks to an integrated hinge, change the angle of the attack on the part of the paddle that remains underwater during the recover story, thereby reducing drag and increasing overall efficiency. The researchers added that the rigid frame was 3D printed with VeroWhite acrylic based photo-polymer, whereas the membrane was 3D printed in TangoBlack.
  • In this design, the row-bot generated more energy than it needed to keep refueling itself. That’s huge, and it means in the future, the answer to waste in the water might be sprinkling robots into the stream, and waiting until they eat all the garbage.

 

Sources:

Bio-inspired 3D printed Row-Bot cleans water surface as it ‘eats’ water bacteria

‘Water Bug’ Robot Digests Pollution, Converts it to Electricity

A row-bot that loves dirty water

Row-bot: An Energetically Autonomous Artificial Water Boatman

Urban Water Pollution

 

Stakeholders:

  • Environmental and electrical engineers and scientists
  • City governments
  • NGOs
  • Investors

 

Deployment:

  1. The results of this research were recently presented in a paper at the 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Hamburg, Germany.
  2. The next steps will be to add monitoring, remote sensing, and control systems that would allow the row-bot to be used in environmental monitoring and clean-up projects. For example, they could be used to monitor lakes for pollutants or deadly pathogens, and if found, either deploy more row-bots or some other system to restore water quality.
  3. Investors should provide initial seed funding for converting the prototype into a production-ready tool.
  4. NGOs should enforce policy and regulation of water pollutant levels in city lakes and other water sources.
  5. City governments should issue public tenders for companies implementing water pollution solutions with focus on sustainable practices. This would allow companies funding projects like this one to have a market opportunity.

Water and Pollution in the Textile Dyeing Industry

parsons-airdye-7

Problem: Water Usage and Pollution Caused by Dyeing Textiles

Textile dyeing is estimated to cause 17-20% of the global industrial water pollution. Until recently, little attention was given to the environmentally harmful effects of the dyeing process, when it comes to chemicals, waste, and water usage.

Technology: 10 Awesome Innovations Changing the Future of Fashion” by Melissa Breyer

  • A new technology, AirDye developed in California by Colorep, works with proprietary dyes to transfer color with heat from paper to fabric in a one-step process.
  • Basically, it has created a software that “computes color recipes that reproduces the specified color reflectance curve on a target substrate”.
  • This process has the potential to save between 7 and 75 gallons of water in the dying of a pound of fabric. It can save energy and produces no harmful chemical by-products.
  • Furthermore, the technology uses 85 percent less energy than traditional dying methods.

Stakeholders:

  • AirDye tech engineers/designers
  • Colorep engineers
  • Technological partners
  • Investors
  • Fashion designers
  • Clothing retailers

Implementation:

  • In order to implement this technology on a large-scale, a number of investors need to be introduced
  • Fashion designers must begin to use the technology to introduce the innovation to the public and encourage its usage down the supply chain i.e. factories and low-end designers/retailers.  For example, AirDye has become a vital component to the designers Costello Tagliapietra and Gretchen Jones and was used for their Fall 2012 collection
  • Governments in countries that manufacture dyed textiles should subsidize this technology to consumers (factories and managers who buy it) so that it can bring down the price, encourage product development, establish familiarity of the product, ensure future customers and therefore be more easily implemented in the thousands of dyeing factories around the world.

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/water-scarcity-fashion-industry

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

http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=20376121