Osmotic Power: A new source of clean energy

Sustainability Problem

The impacts of climate change are clearly visible in this day and age. Rising temperatures as a result of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas will only add to this problem.

Sustainable Technology

Researchers have developed a system that generates electricity from osmosis with unparalleled efficiency using seawater, fresh water, and a new type of membrane just 3 atoms thick.  A 1 m² membrane with 30% of its surface covered by nanopores should be able to produce 1MW of electricity. This is enough to power 50,000 standard energy-saving light bulbs.

Stakeholders

  • Investors
  • NGO’s
  • Electricity generation companies
  • Government

Implementation

  1. The effectiveness of this clean energy method has only been implemented on a small scale. The next phase would be to identify potential investors by attending energy efficient conferences.
  2. Identify a electricity generation company that is transition towards the usage of clean energy. Conduct a 6 month trial period during which time staff go the electricity generation company are trained. Provide workshops to further educate the employees in the company.
  3. Once the effectiveness of osmotic power as a means of clean energy is more apparent to the general public, continue to seek out more investors to increase large-scale implementation.

Reference

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160713143004.htm

Home battery for self consumption-sonnenBatterian

1. Sustainability Problem

Dependance on fossil fuel to generate electricity is a global issue that needs to be addressed, considering the high rate of depletion as well as the impact on climate change.

2. Technology

The German battery company Sonnet launched a home battery for self consumption at a 40% reduced cost. The battery is basically an “eco pack” that is designed to maximise on-site solar consumption in markets where net metering is being phased out. The sonnenBatterien can optimise the energy supply and demand to such a degree that an integration of 100% renewable energy within a community is possible – 24/7. This will reduce dependance on fossil fuels and improve air quality.

3. Stakeholders

  • Clean energy providers
  • Residents
  • Businesses
  • NGO
  • Government

4. Deployment

  • Extensive testing of the product in households. Additionally integrate into businesses to see how well it fits into large systems. Report on costs saved and amount of fossil fuel consumption reduction.
  • Once data on this has been publicised, continue increasing awareness of product by attending energy efficiency conferences.
  • Current pricing of installing is quite high, therefore partnering with another company  with similar interests may be in the best interest at the beginning phase of implementation. This will allow you to minimise risks as well as provide a temporary financial cushion when installation prices are reduced.

 

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Sonnen-Launches-a-Home-Battery-for-Self-Consumption-at-a-40-Reduced

 

Electricity generating gyms

The problem

Non-renewable energy is one of the main causes of climate change and is still the main source for electricity production in the world by far. In the U.S., energy consumption in buildings accounts for almost 50% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, while Industry accounts for 24.4% and transportation 28.1%. Thus, low energy efficiency in buildings is one of the biggest sustainability issues around the world and must be addressed in order to reduce the carbon footprint.

The technology

In order to improve its energy efficiency and address the increasing costs of electricity, a fitness center in Bristol, UK, installed an innovative equipment that harness the workout of the clients to produce clean energy. Cadbury House Club became one of the first gyms to convert their user’s energy into electricity and channell it into the facility’s power supply.

The stakeholders

  • Gym shareholders
  • Gym customers
  • Citizens that care about the environment

Deployment

  • Cadbury House Club needed to address the increasing costs of electricity
  • To avoid extra charges to customers, Jason Eaton, general manager, decided to invest in ARTIS Technogym machines, the electricity generating equipment for fitness centers.
  • A normal workout on each machine can generate between 50 and 100 watts, which means 1kWh of energy per day per machine.

Source: https://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/uk-gym-converts-workout-energy-building-power

New Green Roof Technology Provides Electricity

plant energy

Problem: Household Dependence on Non-Renewable Energy

The problem lies in the fact households rely so much on non-renewable energy for their electricity needs. Consequently, non-renewable energy has a number of impacts on both the environment and human health. It is also non-replenishable, which will have economic repercussions.

Technology: “Plant Power: The New Technology Turning Green Roofs into Living Power Plants” by Lucy Ingham

A new technology, created by the company, Plant-e, uses living plants in green roofs, parks and other green spaces, to generate energy. The technology works by converting waste electrons and protons generated by bacteria in the soil into usable electricity. This harnessed electricity can be used to charge phones, power lights and cut down a house’s reliance on external electricity sources.

Stakeholders:

Plant-e tech engineers/designers

Technological partners

Investors

Parks, buildings and green spaces

Consumers of the technology

Implementation:

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

So far, this technology has only been launched in the Netherlands, more marketing and campaigning should be implemented to push its use in the U.S and other countries

Create educational opportunities for the public to learn about the technology and see how they can implement it in their own communities

 Sources:

http://factor-tech.com/connected-world/23293-violin-strung-with-spiders-silk-enables-customisable-acoustics/

http://www.plant-e.com/en/about-plant-e/

 

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/

beta.ray: A Spherical Sun Power Generator

Problem: High energy usage contributes to GHG emissions

Electricity, heat production, and other energy was contributed roughly 35% of global GHG emissions in 2010. (EPA)

Globally, we still heavily depend on oil and coal as a power source for energy, which have high GHG emission factors. If we can switch this power source to solar, however, we could serious reduce the amount of GHGs that our energy consumption emits.

Article:

Andre Broessel, a German architect, designed a solution that can gather solar energy in a highly efficient manner. Apparently, it can even get energy at night or in low-light areas.

The technology rotates with the sun, gathers solar as well as thermal radiation, can gather radiation from the moon at night, and is much smaller than traditional solar panels.

It can be installed on sides of buildings, any inclined surface, and has even been used for electric car charging stations. Finally, it can, but does not need to be connected to the grid.

http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/spherical-sun-power-generator/

Stakeholders:

  • Investors to commercialize the technology
  • Engineers
  • Potential Customers (e.g, Large retailers, large companies, cities, electric car charging stations, residential homeowners)
  • Government (if to provide incentives or include in cities)
  • Utility companies if the technology is connected to the grid

Implementation:

  • Raise money from investments to commercialize the technology
  • Find customers- i.e. develop partnerships with large retailers /restaurants/ companies/ cities who are looking to become more sustainable (Walmart, McDonalds, Chipotle, etc.)
  • Once the larger companies have this installed and there is increased demand, the cost may also decrease and become more affordable for homeowners.

Other Sources:

EPA:https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html

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