Air pollutants are trapped indoors. Poor air quality can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, congestion and worsen asthma and allergies. Most HEPA filters trap but do not destroy air pollutants such as mold, bacteria, viruses, allergens and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Photo Credit: Molekule
Molekule device is billed as the the world’s first molecular air filter. Using Photoelectrochemical Oxidation (PECO), the air purifier breaks down pollutants extremely quickly and said to destroy them up to 1000 times smaller than what a HEPA filter can. According to Molekule, the company that developed this product, PECO is “a type of oxidation process that works by shining light on an electrochemical cell in order to generate a chemical reaction that break down pollutants”.
Molekule Company, the developer of Molekule Air Purifier
general public especially people with asthma and allergies
Extensive testing of the product by independent labs to verify that Molekule byproducts are completely harmless elements that normally exist in clean air , and that air pollutants aren’t trapped in the filter ensuring that only clean air is released back into the area.
Public launching of the Molekule with an offering of early bird-price of $499 (future retail price is $799).
Future price may be too high for the general public. Further research on reducing the cost should be done so this product can be more attractive to the general public.
Fog collection is an ancient practice, but recent advances in materials science can make fog collection more efficient for use in densely populated areas.
San Francisco is surrounded by seawater, but does not have much fresh water. However, it experiences fog clouds that derive from evaporated seawater that blows inland from the Pacific Ocean.
Unlike existing desalination methods, no energy is required to collect fog, as it takes advantage of the sun’s energy to desalinate the water. Fog collection methods are affordable and require little maintenance. They are easy to install on both small and large scales.
Innovators at M.I.T. have optimized the material characteristics and mesh-size of fog-catching nets to produce more water in a smaller space, and reduce evaporation off the nets back into the air. These new methods can extract up to 10% of the water in fog and triple the collection capabilities of existing methods.
City Water Authority
Property owners and developers
Steps to deploy the technology:
Step 1: Identify areas that receive the most fog and relevant building codes.
Step 2: Identify pilot partners to install roof top fog collectors and MIT researchers and patent holders willing to pilot their designs and integrate them into a water system. Partnerships may be made with those who have or are looking to build green roofs, as water can be collected and distributed on the roof without creating new piping systems.
Step 3: Launch pilot with willing partners and optimal locations identified in Steps 1 and 2.
Sustainability Problem: Increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere causes global warming
Areas of Sustainability: Energy, Water, Waste, Safety, Health
Artist’s conception of the Columbia researchers’ artificial trees. Photo credit: Stonehaven Productions Inc.
Technology: Artificial Trees
In Yale Climate Connections article “Artificial Trees as a Carbon Capture Alternative to Geoengineering,” Richard Schiffman explains the “carbon capture” project of Columbia University Earth Institute scientists Klaus Lackner and Allen Wright. The technology aims to to absorb carbon dioxide using sodium carbonate in the streamers of artificial trees that look like shag rugs and scrub brushes. The researchers would like to make carbon capturing “forests” using artificial trees.
Each “tree”, approximately as big and with roughly the same production cost as a car, can absorb carbon produced by 36 cars in a day. It will take 10 million of these “trees” to capture 12 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions per year. A gentle flow of water can release carbon dioxide from the artificial trees. Carbon dioxide can then be buried underground or can be used for industrial purposes.
This technology is not geoengineering. “It does not actively interferes with the dynamics of a system you don’t understand” according to Lackner.
Artificial tree proved to be one of the first technologies to be able to “remove vehicular carbon emissions from the air”.