1) Sustainability problem: Battery storage capacity. Area: Energy
Existing electrical grids struggle with renewable energy, a vexing problem that’s driving demand for new storage methods.
Solar panels and wind farms churn out energy around midday and at night when demand lulls.
This forces utilities to discard it in favor of more predictable oil and coal plants and more controllable natural gas “peaker” plants.
Alphabet Inc.’s project named Malta, is working on a molten salt storage system. The system consists of two tanks that are filled with salt, and two are filled with antifreeze or a hydrocarbon liquid. The system takes in energy in the form of electricity and turns it into separate streams of hot and cold air.
The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze. By the flip of a switch the process can be reversed and hot and cold air rush toward each other, creating powerful gusts that spin a turbine and spit out electricity when the grid needs it.
Salt maintains its temperature well, so the system can store energy for many hours, and even days, depending on how insulated the tanks are.
Sustainability Problem: Rising energy demand and the need for incorporating more renewable energy in the electric grid is increasing the need for higher performing and safer energy storage devices. Category: Energy, Safety and Health
A group of researchers from Drexel University have created new fabric-like material electrode, intended to help energy storage devices such as cell phone batteries have better performance and reduce their inherent health and safety risks associated with the toxic and flammable electrolyte fluid they contain.
To get rid of this dangerous liquid, the team designed an energy storage device that consists of a thick ion-rich gel electrolyte absorbed in a fabric-like material made of carbon nanofibers, thus eliminating the risk of the device exploding or catching fire (as was recently demonstrated in Samsung Galaxy Note devices).
The technology also allows for lighter, more durable, and better performing energy storage devices, due to the lack of binding agents needed and ability to operate safely at extremely high temperatures (up to 300 degrees Celsius).
If the energy storage device created by the scientist team from Drexel University can be proven effective on a larger scale, not just in mobile device batteries, it can potentially help solve the fire safety issues of battery storage in buildings and support proliferation of renewable energy in the built environment.
Stakeholders: Renewable energy companies, local government bodies regulating energy and buildings (i.e. NYSERDA, NYC DOT, FDNY), Building owners.
Research applicability of large-scale of liquid-free energy storage technology and develop energy storage devices using the technology.
Update building and fire codes to allow for the deployment of these devices in the built environment.
Provide subsidies for large scale liquid-free batteries to building owners and builders.
Comment on post by js5079 – How Internet-of-Things technology can assist with Urban Rainfall and Stormwater Management Systems:
The sensors can also trace chemicals present in stormwater, and help determine how well the existing green infrastructure is performing. For example, if rainwater is prevented from entering the sewer system, or which green infrastructure designs are more appropriate for which types of precipitation (heavy vs. light rain, etc.).
Sustainability Problem: The energy mix is a significant problem that needs a quick resolution. The negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel have been scorned for the past decade. Many experts agree that the complete shift to renewable energy needs to be completed soon.
HySiLabs has developed a technology that maintains the advantages of a liquid fuel, without generating emissions. It consists of a hydrogen-based liquid fuel system that releases hydrogen on-demand and consumes it directly for a wide range of applications. Due to its stable liquid and non-explosive nature, the HySiLabs fuel is easily transported and stored at standard conditions while employing well-known liquid-handling logistics and already-existing infrastructure. H2 fuel is a better liquid fuel alternative by adding the following aspects:
Zero emissions: the only non-emissions-generating liquid hydrogen source that requires no energy input to produce hydrogen.
Safety: avoiding the need to store explosive gas by producing it on demand and as needed
Transportable: similar to the liquid transportation and storing logistic
Easy to use: liquids can be stored at room temperature and atmospheric pressure
1. Sustainability Problem: Access to Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is a key piece of the puzzle to creating a low-carbon future. However, most people can’t personally support renewable energy for various reasons, including not being a homeowner or owning a home in a location that’s not suitable for renewable energy.
2. Technology Summary
Technology company Arcadia Power has created an online platform that allows anyone living in the 50 states of the U.S. to support renewable energy projects when paying their utility bills (regardless of whether they buy or rent, where they live, their utility provides green energy options, etc.)
Customers pay their utility bills through Arcadia, who in turn pays the customer’s local utility for the energy the customer consumed. Meanwhile, Arcadia offsets (buys and retires) all of the consumed energy with certified RECs.
Navigating buying and retiring RECs is not something that individuals could easily do before this platform and participating in community solar projects is not available to anyone living anywhere in the U.S., as the projects tend to look for “local” subscribers.
Arcadia makes putting your weight behind renewable energy easy (you don’t have to switch your utility) at a reasonable cost (switching to 50% renewable energy is free, switching to 100% renewable energy costs 1.5c/kWh)
The customer also benefits from a streamlined analytics tool that shows how much energy the customer is using, environmental impact, and what projects the RECs are coming from.
3. Organizational Stakeholders That Will Need to Use the Technology
The company currently is targeting individuals (renters and homeowners). I could see this tool also being attractive to small- and medium-sized companies that can’t or don’t want to invest in solar panels on their roofs for similar reasons as individuals. Depending on the structure of the company, stakeholders to use the tool could be the facilities and/or finance departments.
4. Steps in Deploying This Technology
Find project owners and developers to partner with to acquire their RECs
Negotiate REC purchasing agreements with these partners
Educate individuals and companies on renewable energy, RECs, and the platform to get them to try the free option first
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.
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.
Electricity generation companies
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clean energy providers
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.
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.
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.
Citizens that care about the environment
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.