A remote corner of the Big island of Hawaii used to be barren. Originally, it was a sandalwood forest but after trees were cut down and cattle roamed free, it essentially became a desert. The sustainability problem here has to do with energy, water and land-use changes. The reforestation solution that would be implemented would make it a rich forest storing more than 200 gigatons of carbon.
Reddit’s previous CEO Yishan Wong, is now the CEO of a Hawaii-based reforestation startup initiative called Terraformation. With his technology mindset to scale and solve issues, he is now trying to overcome scaling milestones in order to achieve the incentive of reforesting the barren land on a 45 acre plot.
The startup built the world’s first off-grid solar-powered desalination system to desalinate about 34,000 gallons of water a day taken from a well on site. Then a drip irrigation system sends waters placed and sources the trees and shrubs promoting the forest to grow. The company wants to use this solution and replicate it all across the world.
Wong says he wants to source this technology to as many people as possible. He wants the technology and techniques to be spread out in order to achieve the magnitude increase of acres reforested per year.
The objective is to scale the solution so that there is enough time for the forest to mature and become a carbon sink of reasonable size to meet every nation’s solution to be net zero by 2040 or 2050.
Organizational stakeholders that will need to use this technology:
Yishan Wong is the founder and CEO, he is also an engineer and climate activist specializing in technology impact. The ability for this technology to be successful will affect his reputation and his company’s reputation to see this through to become a global solution.
The people that will be implementing this technology and need to be involved are: various team technology experts, foresters, land use specialists, carbon scientists, supply chain specialists, soil scientists, seedling restoration technicians, project managers, engineers, and of course a marketing specialist.
Partnerships with the seed banks and infrastructure specialists for greenhouses to grow the plants
GIS specialists need to be consulted in order to understand location, track growth.
The federal government- US Forest service, Bureau of Land Management, and public owners of this forest land across the globe who are the focus groups for this technology, and the indigenous tribes that are affected by this technology will also have to be considered.
First three steps:
First, a plot of land will be identified and a site assessment will have to be conducted in order to figure out if it is viable for this terraformation solution.
Next, seed collection, planting, and monitoring techniques will need to be implemented and tools like solar desalination and geolocation technology will need to be used to help the forest thrive.
Last, the development team will collect this data to understand how to tackle bigger areas of land, or adapt to larger areas that require this solution.
Wastewater: “wastewater treatment as a water use because it is so interconnected with the other uses of water. Much of the water used by homes, industries, and businesses must be treated before it is released back to the environment. “
Technology Solution Agua Nueva
Lower cost and more efficient
Better quality of the water treated
It uses generation of ultra-filtering and microfiltering membranes
Biological treatment of wastewater to be able to use for watering
Wastewater processing companies
Provide to the farmlands throughout the United States
It can help water shortages
Redirect the water previously used for irrigation to areas in need of water supply
Can reduce the water bill for the residence and farmland for the surrounding areas
Globally, 2.6Bn people lack access to safe, dignified sanitation. Government under-investment into infrastructure, increasing urbanization and crisis-related displacement have resulted in large populations lacking access to safe, proper sanitation. Providing non-sewered communities scalable improved sanitation will incur huge economic costs (for piping, collections, treatment) and unsustainable stresses on local water resources. In non-sewered communities, people must resort to unsafe sanitation options like open defecation and shared pit latrines.
Category: Water, Energy, Health.
The innovative solution:
change:WATER Labs has developed a disruptive evaporative toilet to clean up off-grid and non-sewered communities by shrinking daily sewage volumes 85-99% onsite—its portable, low-cost and stand-alone toilets leverage super-water-absorbent polymers to passively vaporize liquid sewage, thus enabling complete sanitary containment, waterless and off-grid operability, and 10x reduced collections logistics.
This technology is highly impactful for underdeveloped societies. 40% of the world lacks access to safe sanitation, and this impacts every aspect of their lives and their future prospects. Poor sanitation traps them in poverty and hopelessness. The lack of a dignified toilet in fact perpetuates poverty and vulnerability.
Main responsibles to implement this technology should be ONGs and private households (if economic resources are available).
70% of frsh water is used to produce food. In the next 30 years, we will have to double our food production. If we don’t make a change, we are going to run out of water. One of the problem comes from the fish farms, that waste water with an excess of nutrients into the rivers, causing severe problems for the ecosystems and the quality of our water resources.
MicroTERRA is an innovative water solution that develops onsite water treatment systems with microalgae that transforms the wastewater into sustainable animal feed, while cleaning the water:
Lemna is a fast growing aquatic plant (can be harvested every 2nd dat) with high protein content (45% protein). It grows in the surfaces of water high in nutrients (i.e. fish farms). Lemna absorbs the waste of the fish, thus eliminating the need to change water.
Process: The wastewater from aquaculture tanks is fed into bioreactors to cultivate microalgae that feed on the nutrients. After the microalgae grow, they are harvested and used as a protein source for the fish feed. The water that comes out clean can be recycled back to the aquaculture tanks; thus saving water and preventing the disposal of untreated wastewater.
microTERRA’s process relies on the following innovation pillars:
selective biology for microalgae consortium adapted to produce more biomass
bioinformatics and sensors (IOT) to monitor the system remotely, reducing operation costs significantly
onsite and modular systems, meaning we have no transportation costs and easy to scaleup
This is a scalable, affordable and sustainable solution that will cover the growing demand for protein source while cleaning water resources. This system needs to be implemented by fish farms, that will see the benefit from saving costs in water use and additional revenues from selling the lemna as raw material for food producers.
1) Sustainability Problem: Water, waste, emissions, safety and health
An average brewery uses 7 to 10 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of beer1. Water is used as both an ingredient in beer and in its production, and wastewater is produced as a result of operations. Both the water intensity of production and the wastewater associated with it pose sustainability questions and concerns.
Distributed wastewater treatment and resource recovery solutions provider Cambrian is partnering with Florida’s second oldest operational brewery, The Florida Brewery, to deploy Cambrian’s BlueCycle MBR technology. The technology is intended to replace the need for high-strength wastewater disposal systems, and to reduce CO2 output by ~254 metric tons per year. There are also anticipated cost savings associated with the technology.
BlueCycle MBR is an aerobic digester that removes water pollutants from the wastewater and its use facilitates water reuse compliant with Title 22 requirements (water recycling regulations).
Anheuser-Busch, Dr. Pepper, and Anchor Brewing Company are among other companies that are using Cambrian’s water reuse solutions.
The Florida Brewery (operational team)
Other beverage companies (both those that use these technologies and those that do not)
Regulatory bodies (to ensure compliance with Title 22 and other legislation)
4) The First Three Steps in Deploying This Technology
Assess the impact of the technology at The Florida Brewery
Market the cost savings and sustainability benefits the technology provides to other beverage companies
Conduct regulatory research to ensure the product is still compliant with the requisite legislation
This sustainability problem focuses on the Energy and Water sector specifically in the UK. Traditional boilers produce heat from burning gas or oil, increasing costs of maintenance and contributing to CO2 emissions. But the replacement for gas and oil boilers can also be expensive. In addition, UK legislation has begun a phase-out of gas boilers starting with bans on installations in new homes from 2025 progressing into a ban on replacements in 2030, and complete elimination of gas boilers by 2038. The EU and other countries are also in process of doing the same thing. The proposed technology to resolve this problem touches on the category of safety and health for each household because it eliminates the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. However the side effects of this particular technology have not been fully explored (if any).
This leads us to the possible answer, which comes from a company called Heat Wayv.
Heat Wayv is a technology company that announced in March of 2021, the world’s first microwave boilers as zero-emissions alternatives to gas boilers.
Name of technology: Heat Wayv Microwave boilers would eliminate about 54 million tons of CO2 emissions annually that are created by gas boilers in the UK, representing 14% of the UK’s CO2 emissions and 29% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions that come from homes.
The boilers are also capable of being networked into IoT configurations where they can be used as a national battery.
The boilers create an efficient microwave heating system creating energy efficiency over 96% meaning that consumer costs for heating water in their homes will be either the same or less expensive than gas boilers.
Key stakeholders that will be using this technology:
The founders of Wayv Technologies: Paul Atherton and Phil Stevens designed and developed the world’s first portable microwave and are responsible for overseeing this new heating application.
The partnerships with semiconductor companies and contract manufacturers will be crucial in manufacturing and installing these boilers into homes.
In addition, the consumers of the UK are affected because their utility function to adapt to this service will need to be analyzed. Ultimately, the citizens of the UK are the target population that need to have zero-emissions appliances in their homes and will also need to learn how to safely and properly use these appliances.
The first three steps: The very first step would be to market this new technology to consumers because it would need to be successfully adapted into each home. Safety and training modules would need to be offered in order to see the safety and ease of installing and using these appliances, and making sure they abide by the low-cost promise and fall in line with legislative requirements. Then, the focus would need to be on working with the engineering teams and semiconductor companies to start installation targeting specifically new build homes and housing associations, for a pilot period of 4 years. A total of 170,000 homes will first be built with plans to include this technology, and then expansion would target the social housing sector in the UK which manages 2.5 million households.
The featured picture in this post is just a prototype, and Heat Wayv is building these prototypes to trial in homes by the end of 2022.
(1) Sustainability Problem: Water Per the UN, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remains one of the world’s most water-scare regions, with 17 countries considered below the water poverty line. Around 1.1M people lack reliable access to water and 2.7M live in regions where water scarcity exists for at least one month of the year.
(2) Water scarcity is an issue – analysts predict that water scarcity may contribute to future conflict in the region.
Agriculture comprises of 80% of the water usage in the MENA region; often the cultivation of crops, specifically citrus fruit in rural Morocco, has depleted the natural groundwater reserves and aquifers at a rate faster than replenishment
Seawater desalination and dams are the current tools used to address water scarcity in the region, however they come with several negative externalities
In Morocco specifically, the NGO Dar Si Hmad has partnered with German WaterFoundation to utilized their CloudFisher fog-harvesters, which use no energy, to collect up to 600L+ of drinking water per day per net*
The CloudFisher technology can withstand win speeds up to 120kph while catching water droplets in the air that (often) comply with WHO drinking water standards*
(3) Stakeholders: Stakeholders include NGOs that provide local solutions to rural farmers and villages in the MENA region. An example of this in Morocco is Dar Si Hmad for Development (NGO) connecting the CloudFisher fog-harvesters (local solution) to 16 villages in rural Morocco. Additionally, Governments and Ministers are stakeholders as “water is the lifeblood of civilizations that shape economies, as said by Reem Al-Hasimy, UAW minister of state.
(4) Deployment/Adoption/Implementation: Given that the focus of this is to drive end-user (customer) adoption, the below does not contain steps to fix the broader water scarcity problem across MENA; additionally, influencing government will delay broader adoption but is needed to create a robust market.
Educate communities and farmers about the importance of water, specifically the importance of protecting water supplies, to help introduce good conservation habits and available technologies
Pilot the CloudFisher technology in communities, collecting data around environmental conditions (weather, air temp, etc.), water collected, time spent by community to harvest, etc.; attempt to create a business case as to what the technology actually achieves (is it time saved, money saved, lives saved, etc.)
Explore conversations with government to discuss the importance of water scarcity in the MENA region, the success of the pilot program, the impact of international trade on water scarcity; propose a potential export tax through policy that could be used to provide solutions such as CloudFisher to farmer villages, in an effort to provide drinking water
1. This sustainability problem is prevalent in both the energy and water sector. Traditional hydropower plants by use of steep dams or reservoirs or mountains use a lot of energy to use water to spin turbines and create electricity. It leads to high costs, and hard to scale ideas.
2. Name of technology: UK hills are being used as energy “batteries.”
Engineers are now developing a way to use hydropower to store electricity from slopes of small hills in replacement of dam walls and mountains. This has led to an underground hydropower system which uses a mineral-rich fluid that has 2.5x the density of water to create the same amount of electricity from smaller slopes.
The company that is rolling out this technology is called RheEnergise which said the project would pump fluid up a hill when there is low electricity demand.
Then it would be held in a storage tank until it is required to flow back down the hill, generating turbines, and returning the electricity used by pumps back to the grid.
The engineering deployment team and ESIA (Environmental & Social Impact Assessment) specialists who need to ensure success of this project
The wildlife trusts, environmental agencies, government, and other regulatory bodies that have stakes in the hills across the UK
Local community interest in using this technology to restore grasslands
Potential industries that hope to partner with RheEnergise
Other countries and other energy sectors could adapt and save costs from the success of this project
4. First three steps:
First the chief executive of RheEnergise requires quicker and higher levels of investment to build this hydropower plant with consideration to engineering limitations and abiding by regulatory legislation.
Next, the company will need to start targeting various hillsides to locate where the projects could be most successful in order to market the idea and test it.
Last, this plant would have to be monitored and tested over an acceptable timeframe (60 years) to prove to local experts and local communities that this is the best alternative plan to harvest hydropower energy. Cost savings would have to be measured and compared to traditional methods.