Smog and Los Angeles

  1. In the last two years, the amount of days where ozone levels have exceeded federal standards is increasing. From 113 days in 2015, to 130 in 2016, and 145 in 2017. Los Angeles already claims some of the worst air quality in the United States, and with the threat of a gradually warming planet, the presence of ozone will only increase. One of the most impactful actions in decreasing ozone would be to minimize emissions from diesel engines, in short, taking diesel trucks of the road and replacing with trucks that use natural gas or electricity. While folks like Elon Musk work on making electric trucks a commercial reality, greater efforts need to be made in incentivizing gas engines over diesel.
  2. When it comes to a city like Los Angeles, the activity of the port and commercial transport on diesel trucks are large targets for emissions reductions. This involves local business and trade departments, automakers, distribution companies, and perhaps a Sustainability and/or Mayor’s Office.
  3. The first step would be to halt the future production of diesel trucks. Local governments could also decrease sales tax on trucks using natural gas or alternative energy, and increase sales tax on the sale of diesel trucks. And the same for the sale of diesel versus natural gas at the pump. Like Paris, LA could prevent trucks with diesel engines from entering city limits, or the ports (by a sort of labeling system).

Southern California smog worsens for second straight year despite reduced emissions

L.A., Long Beach ports adopt plan to slash air pollution and go zero-emissions

The death of diesel: has the one-time wonder fuel become the new asbestos?

Raising the Gas Tax Is No Longer Taboo In Many States

New 3D Printed Tire From Biodegradable Materials

 

Capture d’écran 2017-11-25 à 12.59.13.png

Area : Waste, Energy

Description:

75% of tires are made of petroleum (needed for the production of the rubber used). At the end of the products’ life most of them end up in landfills .

Michelin, thanks to a new concept, 3D printed a new kind of tire. The tires are made out of molasse (sugar paste), then turned into ethanol which is used to produce rubber replacing petroleum. Since the tire is only made of natural sources (molasse, bamboo,…), the tire is fully biodegradable.  Although, thanks to the new design of the tires, their useful life should be greatly extended. Indeed, instead of changing tires when a problem arises, the new Vision tire can be modified with a 3D printer.

Sources:

https://www.michelin.com/eng/media-room/press-and-news/michelin-news/Innovation/MICHELIN-Visionary-Concept

https://www.fastcompany.com/40449277/this-new-tire-has-no-air-and-is-3d-printed-from-biodegradable-materials

Stakeholders: Car manufacturers / City officials / Car owners

Implementation:

  • Michelin needs to research markets to find countries/ citis which are early adopters of new technologies;
  • They need to contact the government of this country/city to run some test in the city and have approval of their technology being used
  • They need to find car manufacturers that are also early adopters to pilot their technology

Other article comment: The tiles are also gathering data that can be used for better understanding pedestrians habits and crowd flows . This type of information is useful to commerces but also for cities.

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/09/energy-generating-walkway-no-footstep-wasted/

 

 

Solar Powered Trains

1) Sustainability problem: energy

2)

  • Indian Railways are installing solar panels on 250 local trains to reduce fuel costs and lower emissions. The energy will among other things be used to power lights and fans on the trains. The technology will help advance India’s renewable energy program, especially because the trains mainly will run in areas where there are no electrified tracks.
  • The Indian government has planned that 7000 railway stations will use solar power. By doing this, 25% of the Indian Railways can energy demands can potentially be covered by renewable energy sources by the year 2025.
  • Furthermore, India has stopped the construction of 14 new coal-fired power stations due to the favorable implementation of this technology. As India is such a large market, experts say that this can cause a large shift in the global energy markets.

3)

Stakeholders:

  • Railway companies
  • Solar panel companies
  • Energy companies

 

4)

Implementation:

  1. Incentivize railway companies to make this shift in energy policy
  2. Mount solar panels on train cars
  3. Provide proper maintenance of the solar panels so that they are always working optimally

 

Article reference: https://inhabitat.com/indian-railways-to-install-rooftop-solar-panels-on-250-trains/

5)

My comment on another article https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/30/cities-get-smart-by-prioritizing-mobility/comment-page-1/#comment-1348:

“This is a great start to making cities greener. As more and more people establish themselves in the larger cities there needs to be a shift in how people transport themselves from point A to B. Implementing bicycles as a preferred option in the city will also reap huge health benefits for the population as a whole. Health issues are increasing at almost the same pace that large cities are expanding, so this is a solution that can kill two birds with one stone, and help solve both issues at once.

 

UNI: ms5584

The Most Efficient Transportation System in the World: Seoul

171018110323-seoul-urban-planners-traffic-00001704-1024x576Problem:

  • Rapid population increase in Seoul, South Korea, as a result of post-war migration and an economic boom in the 1950’s.
  • There are 50 times more cars on Seoul’s roads now than in the 1970’s.

Solution: Smart Transportation Management

  • In 2004, the city began to overhaul it’s public transportation and road system through the use of data collection and consequently, through monitoring public transport and traffic in real-time.
  • The Seoul Traffic Vision 2030 was presented in 2013, including public transport, roads, side-walks, city railway systems as a systemic recommendation for improvement.

“By 2030, the city of Seoul will have evolved into a city with a highly convenient transport system, where people will not need to rely on their cars.”  – Seoul Traffic Vision 2030

  • Smart ticket systems and cameras monitor subway congestions, road-based sensors monitor traffic flows, and an in-built GPS system monitors taxi movement in the city, which feed into a central system used to post updates on digital roadside billboards and traffic reporting platforms, such as online.
  • Through this, buses, cars and trains can be maneuvered in the most efficient way.
  • The city has also focussed on pedestrianization, getting more people out of cars and onto walkways. An example of this is the Seoullo 7017 walkway, which makes use of an abandoned highway overpass as a new pedestrian route.

Article: How Seoul is using technology to avoid “traffic hell” 

Seoul Traffic Vision 2030: Website

143123783516_20150511.JPG

Seoullo 7017

Stakeholders: 

  • All commuters
  • Municipal government
  • City planners
  • Business owners (large employers of the commuter base population)

Steps to Implementation: 

  1. Sensor installation
  2. Overall system analyses (data collection)
  3. System re-design
  4. Infrastructure improvements
  5. Further sensor installation in new systems
  6. Training of transport officials
  7. Public awareness of alternative routes and optimal travel methods, and availability of platforms to independently track these
  8. Adoption of system commuter recommendations
  9. Measurement and monitoring
  10. Additional installations as technology improves

Comment on Plastic Bottle Concrete: 

Another article on this topic (Link) says that the plastic needs to be irradiated with gamma rays in oder to change the crystalline structure (ie. more cross linkages in the lattice lead to stronger concrete when mixed with plastic). It would be interesting to analyze how much this irradiation process would cost on an industrial scale when incorporated into cement production.

 

 

SMART,CONNECTED ELEVATORS/ESCALATORS CREATE SAFER EXPERIENCE FOR RIDERS

Ch2217 is my uni

 

1)Energy, transportation

 

 

2) https://www.ibm.com/blogs/cloud-computing/2017/03/intelligent-services-elevators-escalators-watson/

 

A smart Internet connected elevator/escalator can alert owners in the event that it needs service before failure, inconvenience or rider injury occurs. It also provides the owner/operator with detailed information on the performance and usage of the equipment.

 

3) The stakeholders are anyone owning or managing a building that utilizes elevators.

 

4) I would market the technology to building management companies and suggest that it might lower insurance rates for the building by reducing the likelihood of rider injury or entrapment.

 

My comment is for the Energy Producing Homes: I wonder if the homes could be manufactured offsite semi-preassembled, further reducing the CO2 footprint of construction.

Smart Urban Growth Tackles Mobility and Electricity Distribution Concurrently

Cities can get smart taking control of their electrical grid and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure as a means of addressing urban growth.  Boulder, Colorado is making a run at it but few outside Germany have taken a serious move in this direction for it requires a long-term vision.  Seeking this urban planning route is not always initiated for economical reasons.  Boulder, for instance, is driven to engage as a means of increasing renewable energy sources in their electricity generation fuel mix.  Here’s the catch, this approach may not a scalable or sustainable solution for all cities  Mega cities; no way anytime soon.  Rural environments; not likely ever needed.  So, Boulder just happens to sit in the Goldilocks Zone but even with it being “just right” the increasing digitalization of the electric grid and new sources of distributed energy will make this endeavor a tenuous pursuit.

Years ago I was involved in dozens of negotiations with municipalities throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  Many desired to “take control” of and then offer, as a public service, wireless Internet services for their citizens.  The complexities in equipment management and selection, maintenance, and budgeting were often solely regarded in the context of whether to make the WiFi a free or a for a fee amenity to subscribers.  Thing is, that’s not where the root challenge existed.  Even a little bit of education in these matters achieved a stakeholder stalemate for trying to figure out how to convert a privatized service into a public good without causing bias to an ongoing free market was no simple matter.  The concept of a public-private partnership was alien.

Dealing with increasing urbanization today requires a systemic stakeholder analysis and just the right sitting of pilot efforts in advance of any at-scale execution plans.  To date few cities have taken this approach but Toronto, Canada is on the way.

“...We are designing a district in Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront to tackle the challenges of urban growth…Sidewalk Toronto will combine forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centered neighborhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunities” – Sidewalk Labs

To do as Sidewalk Labs proposes there must be an integration of technologies, policies, and financial mechanisms that allow for private and public implementation plans to surface, ones in service of many stakeholders.

  • SAMPLE TECHNOLOGIES AT PLAY
  • IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES
    • Analyze long-tailpipe electricity generation fuel mixes
    • Promote EVs and pilots ONLY in cities that have clean fuel sources
    • Establish population growth and transport demand metrics
    • Conduct customer interviews to fit future needs
    • Create intelligent city policies to cater to DER and EV microgrids
    • Engage private-sector electric mobility companies
    • Educate citizens on mobility and clean energy options
    • Build neighborhood based pilots
    • Engage citizens via engagement workshops for updates
    • Prepared to pivot for at-scale execution
  • STAKEHOLDERS TO ENGAGE
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public Entities and Administrators
    • Private Technology Providers
    • EV Manufacturers & Infrastructure Providers
    • Load Balancing Software Solution Providers
    • Private and/or Public Electric Utilities
    • Citizens

 

JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Leaf Plates):

This is an excellent solution to consumption and in turn waste. If this was a compostable solution that can be put to use in the local houseplant or compost pile then we’re talking about a dream conversion in consumption to waste. The other thing that would be amazing is to see this scale to shipping boxes or other high consumption transport items. Awesome find, thanks for sharing.

Could Virtual Reality help us reduce traveling needs?

1.- Climate change is the result of a mix of carbon emission produced mainly by humans. CO2 emissions, are primarily generated from the combustion of fossil fuels, unfortunately, these have risen dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution.

Transportation plays a major role in the green-hous-gas (GHG) per sector, in fact, according to the UN the global car fleet is expected to triple by 2050. GHG emissions from transport are growing faster than any other sector. (UN)

cait-global-emissions-sectorSource: Center for climate and energy solutions

When we analyze into further details the purposes of transportation, not so much regarding items but specifically humans, there is a significant amount of travels for meetings and business purposes. There is a considerable amount of emissions generated by transporting people to the workspace as well as to meetings in different cities or countries.

2.- Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality headsets with antler-like sensors attached to the goggles enables the user to join a virtual-reality environment in which they see digital avatars of themselves moving around a simulated environment. (Wall Street Journal)

Although conference calls have had a great impact on the way we communicate, there are still some shortfalls, such as limitation of hand gestures, and human contact. The novelty of having an avatar that represents yourself and others in a shared common space enables a set of different interactions.

VR meetings will allow for nuanced nonverbal communication—proper eye contact, subtle cues such as interpersonal distance, and eventually virtual touch and smell (when desired),” Prof. Bailenson– founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab

Virtual-reality systems could replace video conferencing as a common tool for business meetings, that could represent not only time savings but also GHG emission reductions, since traveling for meetings within a city, a country or in the world for meetings won’t be necessary.

3.- The next step to deploy this technology is to improve the internet infrastructure. VR, as well as conference calls, rely on a good internet connection, in many cases is not good enough. Furthermore, enabling VR experiences, through movies and short films can be a compelling start into deploying this technology, by gaining public curiosity and acceptance.

4.- Finally, I see this technology being primarily deployed in the private sector by companies. This could have also a great beneficial impact in terms of cost savings since work travels are expensive, therefore there is a clear incentive for companies to adopt it, and put some effort in the public acceptance. An example of a company working on VR meetings is tvTime.

Cities Get Smart by Prioritizing Mobility

By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 50 percent today.  Planners and designers swiftly get transportation logistics, congestion, and air pollution, but when pushed to make urban life better for their citizens they often fail to deliver.  Some urban areas already rank above average and offer integrated multi-model mobility options but these complex offerings to deploy.  Mobility technologies exist (see below) that ease the pain when prioritizing mobility but this is not merely a “tech fix” situation for it requires collaborative stakeholder engagement and implementation planning as well.

Copenhagen has for a long time now housed parking lots full of bikes, their transport lanes throughout the city prefer pedal pushers, and when I was recently there nearly everyone told me they bike more than they use an automobile.  London is building “cycle superhighways” and New York expects to have 1,800 miles of bike lanes by 2030.  Thus, the challenge of bringing smart mobility solutions to urban dwellers doesn’t require fancy new technologies but instead lies in the requirement to establish collaborative planning processes that educate, iterate, and ultimately are built with flexibility in mind.  When driven by the urban subculture it’s apparent.  I just returned from Boulder, Colorado and when there I saw municipal bicycle storage options integrated with public transportation lines; a natural extension of the daily commuters lifestyle.  Don’t think this is something we’re going to see in Atlanta, Georgia anytime soon!

Don’t get me wrong, municipalities are working hard to solve these mobility issues, this isn’t just about meeting citizen’s demands pushed at planners and designers.  Heterogeneous trends in urban mobility have been slowly coming online and one of the most touted “technology” solutions is the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.  The start of smart planning to better manage congestion but then that was taken the next step through innovative laws in states like California that now allow HOV access for electric or hydrogen vehicles too.  Right on the heels of HOV lanes came congestion parking in major metros like New York City and the concept of peak demand parking sits at the bleeding edge of urban mobility, despite nobody having worked out the math just yet.  In fact, new business models are continually trying to deal with the needs for increased data collection and logistical management analysis.  This is clearly the direction smart cities are going but in my research this isn’t as far as it will go in the coming decades.  What comes next will seem extreme but population growth and the demands of urbanization on cities will require ultra efficiency.

For a hint into the future just look at Singapore.  Albeit they’re an island, but because of this they’ve been pushed to their mobility limits ahead of other major metros.  They’ve opted to set aside cars all together and this isn’t solely because they can’t build more suburbs for their commuters and cars.  They’re aware of the laden energy in costs in vehicle manufacturing and the significant potential to reduce CO2 by switching from gas powered automobiles to walking, biking, and electrified forms of mass transit.  In fact, as the Singaporean government lowers their transport and mobility energy profile, they’re guaranteeing the citizens will be able to live healthier lifestyles.  This effort paves the way for systemic shifts and opens the door for a sustainable mobility future; one inclusive of drone package delivery drops, self-service mail centers, automated vehicles (passenger, bus, tram, freight, and corporate fleet solutions), and allows for mobility as a service to flourish as well.

Cities wanting to establish integrated mobility plans and capture the full range of transportation and mobility solutions must take assessment of technology options, perform collaborative stakeholder analysis, and comprehensively implementation plans with a citizen centric approach.  Here are a few places to start:

  • SAMPLES OF URBAN MOBILITY “TECHNOLOGIES”
    • Congestion Pricing – HOV driving lanes, street, & parking
    • Urban Redesign – mobility optimization, curb, & intersection plans
    • Coordinated Actions – private & public sector collaboration
    • “Cycle Superhighways” – extra wide lanes dedicated to bicycles
  • ABBREVIATED IMPLEMENTATION STEPS
    • Establish population growth and transport demand metrics
    • Conduct customer interviews to fit future needs
    • Define the city and citizen archetypes
    • Create intelligent city policies
    • Engage private-sector mobility companies
    • Educate citizens on multi-mode mobility values
    • Leverage academic and startup incubators or accelerators
    • Build neighborhood partnership test pilots
    • Schedule citizen updates via engagement workshops
    • Act boldly and prepared for agile adjustments
  • KEY STAKEHOLDERS
    • City Planners & Urban Designers
    • Public Entities and Administrators
    • Academic Institutions
    • Accelerators and Incubators
    • Technology Mobility Solution Providers
    • Citizens

JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Fast-Charging Busses):

This is conceptually really “smart” but I wonder about what they claim to be able to do vs. what can actually be done. It’s logical to see this sort of quick charging take hold on the public transport lines and it really improves the efficiency of energy use but it’s not a straight forward fossil-fuel free solution until the energy comes from that source. Perhaps in France, with all the nuclear, it makes this ring true but if you put this in Wisconsin it won’t for all you’re doing is displacing the fossil-fuel from the source point at the vehicle to the power generation location. In my analysis there are many instances where the electrification of the transport sector makes things worse for CO2 emissions. Then again, local air quality will always go up so it depends on the objective of the smart city – local solution, regional, or global.

Thanks for sharing, cool tech and more to come I’m sure.

Instantly Rechargeable Batteries…a Game-changer for Electric Vehicles!

Sustainability Problem: Fossil Fuels & Dirty Energy

While green energy is on the forefront of the sustainable movement, the reality is that fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas, coal – make up the bulk of our energy consumption in the U.S. (~81.5% in 2015).  A fifth of which alone comes from the powering of our vehicles – cars & trucks.

It’s estimated by the EIA that total fossil fuel use will only drop by an additional 5% by 2040.  If this trend holds true, our carbon emissions will continue to heat up the planet and further escalate climate change, having detrimental impacts on human life and biodiversity.

Sustainability Technology: Instant Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles are a great alternative to the gas-guzzling cars of today.  But, there is one major hurdle that prevents many individuals from entering this type of car market…charging infrastructure.  That also includes the amount of time it would normally take for a car to be fully charged for use.

Luckily, Purdue University has come to the rescue with its instantly rechargeable batteries, IFBattery.  According to researchers at Purdue, these batteries can be “recharged in roughly the same amount of time it would take to fill a car tank with gas”.

Researchers opted to use a flow battery system, in which the membranes of a battery are removed to increase its life/recharge cycles while reducing costs.  Furthermore, the removal of battery membranes decreases the chances of fires related to membrane fouling which helps increase vehicle safety measures.

The process of recharging is very simple and extremely cost effective as current fossil fuel infrastructure can be leveraged.  The key is fluid electrolytes which have the capability to re-energize spent battery fluids.  Drivers can drop off their spent battery fluids which can be collected in bulk and then taken away to be re-charged at any green energy plants (solar, hydroelectric, and wind).  Essentially, today’s petroleum refiners will become tomorrow’s electrolyte refiners.  This innovative technology turns the entire process of transportation energy in a closed loop/sustainable system.

Plus, the beauty of this technology is that, no additional infrastructures need to be developed!  The gas fueling stations we have today can be re-fitted to dispense a water and ethanol/methanol solution instead of petroleum.  Purdue’s researchers believe that their innovation “could be nearly ‘drop-in’ ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries.”

Because this whole vehicle re-powering process is simply a derivative to the one we are used to today, the whole electric vehicle market is less likely face high entry barriers.  And its adoption helps us become more earth friendly, without drastically alternating our lifestyles.

“Fossil fuels still dominate U.S. energy consumption despite recent market share decline”, EIA – Today in Energy, 7/1/2016, https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26912
 “Car Emissions and Global Warming” Union of Concerned Scientists,        http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/car-emissions-and-global-warming#.We4u2ltSzcs
 “Instantly rechargeable battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars”, Inhabitat, 6/7/2017, https://inhabitat.com/instantly-rechargeable-battery-spells-bad-news-for-gas-guzzling-cars/

Stakeholders:

  • Electric Vehicle companies looking to increase market share
  • Green energy plant owners
  • Gas station owners who don’t want to be left behind when clean energy consumption becomes the norm
  • Consumers who want to buy electric vehicles and are environmentally conscious of their transportation energy consumption

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

Encourage electric car companies to implement this kind of battery into their vehicles.  Educate them on the cost-benefit of embracing this piece of technology.

Work with gas station owners to understand their current supply chain and showcase how the new supply chain for the instant rechargeable battery can be seamlessly overlaid without a massive infrastructure overhaul.

Engage one company in each sector (vehicle manufacturing, clean energy production, and energy distributors) to complete a pilot program to test out the rechargeable battery capabilities from start to finish.  After successful implementation, put together a case study to further educate the stakeholders on the benefits of this technology.

By: Bhoomi Shah, UNI: brs2147

Comment on “Circular Mushroom based products” by MK3883

This is a novel solution to a very serious plastic waste problem.  It provides companies with the much desired and preferred lightweight packaging option, but does so at a lower cost (hopefully) and helps decrease a company’s environmental footprint (including upstream & downstream operations).  Plus since the company uses crop waste, no additional land will be needed to acquire the raw materials needed.

Solar Powered Aircraft

1) Energy & Waste: The aircraft industry contributes to 9% of the total CO2 emissions among the transportation sector in the United States. These emissions are expected to triple by 2050 without the establishment of policy regulations. Ultimately, alternative sources energy and a transition away from harmful pollutants into the atmosphere need to be developed to align environmental concerns with transportation demands. As such, Solar Impulse has developed to fully solar power aircraft to tackle the issue.

2) Technology:

  • The project took 12 years of research and development to come to fruition, resulting in a 2.3 ton aircraft with over 17,000 solar cells (23% energy efficient) that were each tested 3 times
  • The PV cells are protected from UV radiation with a polymer film and many of the components are made with carbon fiber and alveolate foam in a honey comb structure
  • It consists of multiple lightweight characteristics such as led lights and structural components, solar cells, energy dense batteries, energy efficient electric motors (97% efficient), and thermal insulation
  • The aircraft has the capacity for only one pilot at a time and is composed of an unheated and unpressurized cockpit measuring 3.8 cubic meters

3) Organizational Stakeholders:

  • Engineers and designers at Solar Impulse
  • Aircraft carriers
  • Customers for transportation needs (potentially)

4) Deployment:

  • Conduct further test runs of the technology to boost accuracy and make improvements
  • Invest in more R&D and materials evaluations for increase the size/capacity of individual aircrafts
  • Incorporate innovations in battery storage and solar energy conversion to drive efficiency and product reliability

5) Student Comment: 

https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/10/06/affordable-and-mobile-alpod-house-bt2443/comment-page-1/#comment-1225

Sources: 

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/products_design/caitlin_kauffman/world%E2%80%99s_first_solar-powered_plane_making_its_way_aro

http://www.solarimpulse.com/

https://www.c2es.org/federal/executive/epa/reducing-aircraft-carbon-emissions

 

Dominic Bell (dlb2189)