Algae and its many uses – The Algae Dome

uni – js5079 (Joshua Strake)

Sustainability Area(s) – Energy, Waste
Specific Issues Addressed – CO2 in the atmosphere, Carbon footprint of food
Links: One, Two, Three

Overview

The Algae Dome represents one way to use algae to address the rising need to curb emissions of CO2, as well as the need to produce food at a low (or in this case zero) carbon cost to the planet. Whether or not the Algae Dome is scalable is another debate that I won’t speculate on, but this Algae Dome does successfully address certain sustainable goals while providing an eco-friendly outdoor space as well.

Summary

  • The Algae Dome is a closed-loop system of hundreds of meters of coiled tubing that contains micro-algae, developed by SPACE10 labs in Copenhagen.
  • Micro-algae grows off of the energy of sunlight, water, and CO2 – the result of this growth is additional micro-algae and Oxygen emitted as a byproduct.
  • Micro-algae itself contains more protein than meat as well as other nutrients, and considering the carbon cost of meat, this makes it an attractive potential substitute in cooking, should it prove to be easy to cook with and manipulate.
  • The micro-algae grows quickly, and due to the closed-loop nature of the system, the Algae Dome could succeed anywhere with sunlight and temperatures above freezing, making it a potentially wide-ranging sustainable option.

Stakeholders

1 – Space10, holders of the IP.

2 – Farmers and Food manufacturers who could adopt micro-algae.

3 – Governments and NGOs looking to use micro-algae to address hunger and CO2-emission reduction needs.

3 Steps for Further Implementation

1 – Discover if the tech is cost efficient and scalable. Is smoke being blown? How much?

2 – Develop contractor relationships to ramp up production

3 – Engage consumers who may be interested in the technology – green farmers, cities, food banks, etc.

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Online Body Measurements to Reduce Energy Use

fits-me_4demo

Problem: Textile and Energy Waste due to Improper Body Measurements  

Online retailers use a lot of energy when it comes to shipping and reshipping items that don’t fit their customers properly or due to material quality satisfaction, and or customer’s just not liking what is sent to them. These items are returned or even thrown away by the customer, ending up in landfills- increasing textile waste.

Technology: 10 awesome innovations changing the future of fashion” by Melissa Breyer

A new technology promotes “smart” online shopping, which has the potential to reduce returned items, minimizing shipping energy and limiting waste. The companies, MyShape and Fits Me, have developed a patented technology that matches shopper with items that correspond to their personal measurements and style preferences. The latter even has a virtual fitting room with a shape-shifting robotic mannequin that mimics your personal body shape so that it can find an exact size and fit. This technology has found success at online German retailer, Quelle, which saw returns reduced by up to 28%, saving energy and money.

Stakeholders:

Smart online shopping tech engineers/designers

MyShape and Fits Me designers

Technological partners

Investors

Fashion designers

Online clothing retailers

Customers

Implementation:

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

Fits Me and MyShape both appear to be European companies, and in order for it to have an even bigger impact, it must be introduced to the US market, which has a big influence in the fashion industry

Smart online shopping connects both fashion and technology. In order for this specific kind of engineering to take flight, there should be promotion and marketing geared towards students and designers who would be interested in furthering this field

Sources:

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

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Fit Origin

Hand Tree: Personal air purifier

The problem

Global greenhouse gas emissions are leading the world to a temperature increase between 2ºC and 4ºC, which could cause an environmental collapse in our planet. Moreover, the air is being polluted by toxic emissions from cities and industries.

The technology

The Hand Tree is a wristband that offsets your carbon footprint. It purifies the air around you, turning CO2 equivalents, other pollutants and even dust into oxygen. In other words, this bracelet works like a plant in your arm.

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The stakeholders

  • User
  • Environmentalists
  • Investors
  • Retailers

Deployment

The Hand Tree was designed by Alexandr Kostin for the Electrolux Design Lab competition, were students were challenged to create a technology to address the issue of global pollution.

Source: http://on.mash.to/29MF5Mz

Turning over a new (Bionic) Leaf

 

1) Energy

Carbon-based fuels produce climate change-inducing greenhouse gases and are in limited supply. Renewables like solar, wind and geothermal energy are more difficult to store for use in the future or in a different location from the collection site. Batteries can be used to store energy, but they are expensive and inefficient.

2) The Bionic Leaf 2.0 – 

  • “Bionic Leaf 2.0.” is a highly efficient artificial leaf that turns solar energy into liquid fuel.
  • The leaf performs a more efficient version of photosynthesis, capturing 10 times more solar energy than plants do.
  • Bionic leaves split water into its constituent parts – oxygen and hydrogen. Then microbes digest the hydrogen, which converts carbon dioxide from the air into liquid fuel (see diagram above).

3) Stakeholders

  • Generator manufacturers
  • Car manufacturers
  • Researchers developing and perfecting the bionic leaf

4) Deployment

  1. Prototype models that are integrated into existing systems (car engines, generators)
  2. Perform a greenhouse gas assessment of the prototypes
  3. Identify and address barriers to scaling up the technology

Sorry, leaves — we figured out a way to do photosynthesis better than you

 

New Boiler Technology Helps Reduce Energy and Emissions

“The new boiler that generates electricity for the National Grid” – The Guardian.com

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/17/new-boiler-generates-electricity

  • Combined heat and power boilers that produce their own electricity are being integrated into households. This electricity is a by-product of heating the home or hot water.
  • An agreement is signed between the owner and Flow Energy where, over time, the income of electricity produced is split 50/50 between the two parties.
  • Flow Energy says the new boiler will reduce a household’s carbon emissions by roughly 20%, or 1,000kg of CO2, a year.

Organizational stakeholders that will need to use this technology are: 1) the consumer who will purchase these boilers, pay the monthly fee, and generate electricity for Flow Energy by using their boilers.  2) Insurance company Aviva who is a major shareholder with 20% stake.

The first step in deploying this technology is promoting it to the correct market.  Flow Energy needs to sell to high consuming households in order to penetrate the market because these households will benefit the most from using this technology. The next step would be to rely on economies of scale to reduce the price of these boilers and market to households that earn less. The last step is once a significant number of households are using this technology it could then be marketed to businesses in order to reduce emissions even further.

 

“Sensoring” Bad Drivers

Sustainability Problem

  • Reduce gas usage in vehicles, which reduces CO2 emissions and related costs.

Summary of “The Fuel-Efficient Driver” by Daniel Gross

  • A matchbox-sized device with red, yellow and green lights is installed on the vehicle’s dash near the steering wheel. It objectively monitors 5 driving behaviors: hard breaking, acceleration, lane handling, cornering, and speeding.
  • Driving is a learned behavior. The GreenRoad device monitors the driver’s driving style in real time. When driving less efficiently—which wastes gas—the driver will receive a yellow or red status light. The driver will need to correct behavior for at least 10 minutes to return to the green status.
  • Good driving at consistent speeds (55 mph recommended) reduces fuel consumption between 4-5%. It also increases safety, reduces wear and tear on the vehicles, and reduces the number of accidents.
  • Data is transmitted to a centralized reporting hub. Driver reports are used to reward or correct drivers. In use, most drivers self-correct their behavior over a 3 week period using the status lights.
  • In one noted implementation the device was installed on a fleet of 2,400 busses with the target of reducing fuel consumption by 3%. A bus that drives 150,000 miles per year at 5 mpg uses 30,000 gallons of diesel. A 3% reduction saves $2,700 presuming a fuel price of $3/gallon.
  • The Energy Information Administration estimates that burning a gallon of diesel emits 22.38 pounds of CO2 . This  fuel savings would reduce CO2 emission by 20,145 pounds per year.

Stakeholders:

  • Companies with fleets of vehicles
  • Drivers
  • Mechanics
  • Oil & gas companies, producers and distributors
  • Mammals who breathe air
  • The environment

Deployment

  • The $40 device can be installed on any vehicle.
  • Companies that run fleets of cars, trucks, or busses would see a quick return on investment in reduced aggregate costs, encouraging them to invest in the technology.
  • An online dashboard allows for real time tracking and monitoring reports to allow business owners to immediately begin tracking the behavior of their drivers.

Resources: