Nature-inspired water collection system


  1. Sustainability Problem: In the next few decades, approximately 9 billion people will live in this planet, concentrating in urban areas. The current growth rate of food production won’t be enough to feed the mouths of everyone. Hence, a sustainable local food production solution will be in demand. Mimicking the way nature works, NexLoop created a water collection system to support urban sustainable agriculture.
  2. The AquaWeb can help urban local food producers collect, filter, store and distribute atmospheric moisture with a modular, all-in-one water sourcing and management system. Other features are as follows:
    • Harnesses freely available rain and fog
    • Distribute water using passive strategies to urban farms
    • Resilient to disturbances
    • Design and inspiration from cribellate orb weaver spider, drought-tolerant plants, and Jersey cow mushroom


Nature-inspired water collection system wins $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize® – Biomimicry Institute

NexLoop | Home

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Citizens around the world
    • Urban farms
    • Agriculture industry
    • Building contractors and architects
    • Groceries and supermarkets
  2. Next steps:
    • Do a feasibility study and engage with stakeholders to improve relations
    • Reach an agreement on costs and economic outlook
    • Initiate pilot-scale project through government funding


By: Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618


Comment on The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies:

“A very interesting technology! However, I am curious on what will be done after the methane is captured. There will still be the liquid waste water right? Will it be used for other applications?”

Solving the Environmental Impact of Meat

Clean Meat


1) Sustainability Problem: Animal agriculture accounts for 30% of all land use on the planet and one-third of the world’s fresh water, contributing to approximately 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

2) In order to address this problem there are two new trends using technology to address this problem, meatless alternatives and Clean Meat. This article highlights 7 meat-free startups that are creating plant-based meat that mimic the taste, texture, and experience of meat, and dairy products, without the ecological footprint associated with traditional animal agriculture.

  • The Beyond Burger contains more more iron and protein than a beef burger with less saturated fat and none of the cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics.  Beyond Meat already has products in Whole Foods and Safeway stores around the country.
  • The Impossible Burger is unique because of a protein called heme, which gives the patty the color and flavor of meat, enabling the burger to “bleed” like meat.  The burger is made from wheat and potato proteins and copies the mouthfeel of beef fat with coconut oil.
  • Clean Meat, or cultured meat, is created by taking a small sample of the desired animal cells and replicating them in a culture outside of the animal. This creates a clean meat, meat without the antibiotics and waste contamination. Clean Meat allows consumers to still eat meat without the environmental degradation typically associated with animal agriculture. It is a safer, cleaner, more environmentally friendly way to enjoy meat.

3) Stakeholders:

  • Animal agriculture farms
  • Produce farms that support animal agriculture by supplying feedstock
  • FDA/regulators
  • Restaurants, grocery stores, meat buyers
  • NGOs
  • Consumers

4) Implementation/Deployment 

  • Raise public awareness and acceptance of these alternative meats to increase adoption of the products into everyday consumption. This can be done through advertisements of the products and its many benefits (environmental, human and animal health), but widespread adoption will only be possible if consumers try and like the products so scaling up product options and availability is key.
  • Companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are already selling their products so the next step will be scaling up, and in the case of Clean Meat, reducing prices. Prices have already been dropping for Memphis Meats, one of the companies selling clean meat. Ir order to scale up these alternative meat companies will need to engage stakeholders (meat buyers – restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) in order to get their products into stores and restaurants.
  • Obtain FDA approval for necessary products so that the public has faith in the safety of what they are eating. The Impossible Burger is currently attempting this process.


UNI: etg2132

Algae Scampi

NWF+shrimpProblem: Carbon emissions
People love to eat shrimp, but some estimates place their carbon impact as higher than even beef, mostly due to the destruction of natural habitats near shrimp farms.

Technology: Algae Shrimp

  • New Wave Foods has developed a highly realistic synthetic shrimp that is made out of algae, which is ubiquitous and solidly occupies a bottom rung on the food chain.
  • Algae needs only sunlight, water and CO2 to grow. In contrast shrimp are fed wild-caught fish. Producing 1 pound of shrimp is estimated to use up three pounds of fish.
  • Algae uses CO2 to perform photosynthesis, serving to convert carbon into useable, sequestered energy (food calories).
  • Scientists analyzed and mimicked the molecular structure of shrimp flesh in order to create a realistic substitute out of red algae.
  • The shrimp industry globally utilizes a lot of slave labor, particularly for removing the shells and appendages. Algae shrimp does not require anything preening, which could eliminate the worst labor practices.

Early adopters including Google’s cafeteria
New Wave Foods

Steps to implementation:
1) Run pilot at Google cafeteria.
2) Perform sustainability analysis of algae farms and production plants.
3) Develop campaign to fight misconceptions of algae as food.

Google’s Famous Kitchens May Serve Fake Shrimp Made of Algae

Impossible Foods: Plant-based burgers with taste and texture of the real thing

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 2.52.07 PM

Sustainability Problem:

Animal agriculture contributes to nearly ⅕ of all GHG emissions worldwide and beef production is considered the worst offender when it comes to its environmental impact. A 2014 study found that compared to pork or chicken, beef production requires 28x more land use, 11x more water use and produces 5x more GHG emissions. Cutting back or eliminating beef consumption would have a positive environmental impact. However, many people enjoy the taste of beef and aren’t interested in pursuing a completely meat-free or plant-based lifestyle. The current plant-based meat substitutes in the marketplace, do not replace the void of a “real” burger when it comes to taste and texture.


Impossible Foods aimed to create plant-based meat and dairy products that have the taste and texture of real animal-based products that are healthier for the consumer and are less harmful to the planet using less energy, water and other resources compared to animal products. Over three years of research into what makes the process of cooking and eating meat so unique led to the discovery of the molecule heme which gives meat its distinct taste and smell. This molecule is also found in plants and therefore Impossible Foods set out to develop the right combination of plant-based ingredients on a molecular level to mimic the taste and texture of a real beef burger. Operated as a tech firm and not a typical food company, Impossible Foods is based in Redwood City, CA was founded by Stanford biochemist Pat Brown whose premise is that food production is reliant on technology. Impossible Foods has raised $182 million and received a $300 million buyout offer from Google, which they passed on.

Technology Stakeholders:

  • Chefs, restaurateurs, food retailers
  • Consumers of beef burgers
  • Scientists
  • Engineers
  • Farmers
  • Investors

Technology Implementation:

Impossible Foods plans to officially launch their first product the Impossible Burger in July 2016 in select restaurants in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and NYC. They are currently partnering with select chefs to gain awareness and interest in the food space and have held tastings at tech conferences such as Code Conference. Future expansion plans include plant-based dairy products. To better address the sustainability problem of beef consumption, Impossible Foods should scale production to have products in retail markets with a wider U.S. or even worldwide distribution.

Update August 10, 2016: The Impossible Burger is now available in NYC at Momofuku Nishi.

I tried it today and was impressed. As a former burger-lover who went plant-based earlier this year, it did fill a void. It did taste like a beef burger and I would probably try it again.