Stanford District Energy System cuts GHG emissions 68 percent and fossil fuel 65 percent #BT2443


1) Sustainability area(s).

Cities consuming over 70 percent of global energy use and, producing 40 to 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In some cities, heating and cooling can account for up to half of local energy consumption. Any solution for the climate and energy transition must address sustainable urban heating and cooling, as well as electricity. One of the least-cost and most efficient solutions for reducing emissions and primary energy demand is the development of modern (climate-resilient and low-carbon) district energy in cities.

2) Sustainability Technology:

The combined new system – Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) – makes Stanford one of the most energy-efficient research universities in the world.

-SEIS represents a transformation of university energy supply from a 100% fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant to grid-sourced electricity and a more efficient electric heat recovery system.

-High-efficiency new-building standards and improvements to existing buildings, a high-voltage substation, state-of-the-art solar arrays and a new central energy facility (CUP) that incorporates the largest heat-recovery chillers ever installed in the U.S

-SESI uses a combination of heat recovery, low-temperature hot water distribution, and thermal energy storage to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 68% and drinking water use by 15%

-Technology roadmap for building heating and cooling

United Nations Environmental Programm,  “District Energy in Cities,” page-11, 2015

David M Brown, “Energy/Industrial Best Project: Stanford Energy System Innovation” ENR California, November 24, 2015

Stanford Energy System Innovations, youtube, Stanford, April 22, 2015

Technology Roadmap: Energy-Efficient Buildings: Heating and Cooling Equipment

#energy #water #systemsthinking #technology #ghgemission

3) Key Stakeholders

-City stakeholders- Include their plan
-Government agencies-Legislate and help private sectors to participate
-Civic society- Connect and partnership with the stakeholders
-Property owners-Able to join or innovate DES
-Financial Institutions-Finance DES projects

4) Steps Deploying Technology:

Public-Private People’s Partnership is the key to successful deployment of the project.
– Within the city, planing decide to financial aspects
– Build a community and infrastructure and educate public
– Within Public Private People’s Partnership leverage project within significant cities

Although DES is common on university and college campuses and more accessible to regulate, it’s possible to duplicate Stanford model within major cities. Current DES powered by mainly Fossil Fuel for changing that financial institutions and state, city policies will play an enormous role.

Off grid solar powered water device – Zero Mass Water.

1) Sustainability problem: Lack of access to clean drinking water. Area: Water

  • Billions of people around the world still lack access to clean drinking water around them.
  • Many have to travel for tens of kilometers just to access this resource.
  • Many of these areas are located in rural parts of the developing world which are also not connected to the grid (i.e, are un-electrified).

2)  Technology

  •  Arizona start-up called Zero Mass Water, has invented a solar-based system called Source, that absorbs moisture from the air and converts it into drinking water. It does not have to be hooked up to an electric grid or an existing water system.
  • It contains a solar panel that provides energy which drives air through a proprietary water-absorbing material and powers condensation of the extracted moisture into fluid.
  • The systems also contains a small lithium-ion battery to operate the device when the sun is not shining.





3) Stakeholders

  • Populations in areas with lack of access to clean drinking water.
  • Governments and municipalities.
  • Non-profit and international organizations.

4) Deployment 

  • Marketing campaign to increase awareness of products to relevant stakeholders.
  • Partner with local governments and NGOs to secure distribution and supply chain to remote parts of the world affected by this problem.
  • Have enough manufacturing capacity to ensure demand is met.

 UNI – jv2610


Smart Water Sensing Technologies

The World Wildlife Fund states that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages and ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.  In addition, an excess of 6.5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2050, according to recent UN estimates.  The sustainability problem of water scarcity is mounting at a global scale but solutions require highly localized implementation.  We are well beyond mere civil engineering matters at this point and pressures are also growing for cities to get “smart.”  This means that looking to improve water and wastewater management, power generation, and urban demands on rural agricultural production are at the top of the list.  The matter of addressing water scarcity involved many stakeholders – householders, residential and commercial property owners, industrial operations, municipalities, water utilities, regulators, policy makers, lawyers, ecosystems, and farming communities.

This matter of water access is an age old one and has made the big screen more than once (think back to 1974 and the movie Chinatown) but today water is increasingly being managed like a commodity (think the documentary Water & Power: A California Heist) and has become a driver of fear to the point of perception that we’re on the bring of a age of water wars.  To date the value of predictive analytics and maintenance of water based assets has been touted as an area of great hope for these concerns but many of these management approaches and their associated methodologies have sought to conserve water, reduce scheduling of repairs costs, maintenance efforts, and eliminate failures without accounting for many “soft” factors.  Worse, these tactics neglect lower hanging fruit that is readily available.  For example, during a period of about 18 months during the years 2013-2015 the largest provider of water and wastewater services in the United Kingdom, Thames Water, worked with Accenture to try to figure out how to best use sensors, analytics, and real-time data to “help the utility company anticipate equipment failures and respond more quickly to critical situations, such as leaks or adverse weather events.”  A good and necessary start but far from systemic when considering the scale of implementation plans needed for the years 2025 to 2050.

Today water management and smart water sensing technologies exist even for the DIY home owner and this is indeed a great place to start.  It’s low hanging fruit like residential consumers that can lead to increasingly addressing other higher volume end points of water consumption.  Installing Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is nearly a dead ringer for water utilities so they can better mange for otherwise they’re unable to measure and that’s a death spiral nobody can afford these days.  The growing pressures on infrastructure that urbanization will bring with it are well known and so to get a smart city one must prepare for growth in commensurate ways that are also able to process the worldwide urbanization phenomena.  Smart water sensing technologies and in turn the education of water consumers is a logical place to start for at scale impact.


JMB2408 COMMENT TO ANOTHER BLOG POST (Automated Underground Bike Storage):

This concept of storage is pretty amazing in high density environments and of course next to nowhere in the United States will this ever generate enough users to financially justify it but it’s really amazing to think it could be part of a future “smart” city plan. In Boulder, CO there are a lot of bikers and some amazing bike lock options in cage-like structures near the train stations and public transit. A scaled down version of this but one applicable in the United States.


Solar-Powered Toilet That Treats and Recycles Water


Sustainability Problem: Health and water

2.4 billion people do not have access to safe and adequate sanitation. Sanitation related diseases are one of the leading of children under the age of 5. Further, access to clean and safe water is a growing concern: at least two-thirds of the world’s population lives with severe water scarcity for at least a month of every year and half of the world’s population is expected to live with water stress by 2030.

Technology Summary

  • Seva Sustainable Sanitation is a smart electro-chemical toilet that uses power from solar panels to sterilize and clarify wastewater for reuse for flushing or irrigation.
  • Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus can be almost fully eliminated from the wastewater.
  • The toilet can be used off-grid in developing nations.
  • The toilet is outfitted with sensors, a smartphone maintenance guide, and smart grid technology that allows individuals and communities to repair the toilet as needed with only a screwdriver


  • Communities and individuals that lack access to safe and adequate sanitation or in areas with severe water stress
  • Governments of developing nations
  • NGOs

Deployment Steps

  • Develop and test maintenance system
  • Finish field tests of prototypes
  • Work with NGOs, governments, communities to disseminate and install toilets in areas in need


Comment on: Kelp as a fiber

  • Kelp is a zero-waste fiber that could result in saving tons of materials, that do not readily decompose, from entering landfills. AlgiKnit could also reduce environmental pressure and resource degradation caused by the harvesting of raw materials that we currently use to make our clothing.

Tree T-Pee

download (1)

  1. Sustainability Issue (Water):

Declining availability of fresh water, one of the fundamental necessities in life, is becoming an increasing problem everyday. We simply cannot keep up with growing demand for fresh water, and the consequences are evident. Aquifers, which we rely on to supplement freshwater from surface water, are being drained at unsustainable rates. Because “agriculture is the leading use of water in the U.S. and around the world,” the lack of water from aquifers, in addition to the drought that certain areas face, is especially significant to farmers and their crop production. Correspondingly, limiting the amount of water used in agriculture without harming crop yields could have an enormous impact on global fresh water usage.

More information on aquifer depletion:

  1. Summary of Technology (tree T-PEE):


  • Made of 100% recycled plastic, tree T-PEE is a cone shaped, water and nutrient containment system that allows water to be directed to the tree and allows for 90% less water needed
  • Originally made to protect against frost, the cone also raises temperatures 12 degrees by containing the warm well water that typically measures 72 degrees
  • Promotes deep root growth and rapid canopy development because the water is contained around each tree
  • Increase growth rates of up to 30%, causing fruit to grow faster
  • Also provides efficient use of fertilizers (can use 75% less than normal requirements) because it is being concentrated on the tree and not being wasted on weeds and grass
  • Another added bonus is critter control since the cone will prevent animals from eating and killing young trees


  1. Stakeholders 
    • Farmers
    • Water Utilities
    • Sprinkler System Installers
  1. Next Steps
  • Sponsor a comparative water use study whereby (i) a control group of farmers water a certain number of trees as needed and (ii) a test group water the same numbers of trees producing the same fruit using the tree T-PEE, then test at the end of study to compare cumulative water use and fruit quality
  • Identify the top 10-20 water-scare farming regions
  • Seek distribution contracts with farm products distributors in those regions


UNI – LC3291
Fall 2017 – Week 3


Filtering Contaminated Rivers Using Nanotechnology

Area of sustainability: Water


Water contamination is a great issue in many industrialized cities. This is especially clear in many Asian countries where the rivers are polluted from their numerous electronic recycling factories.


  • Perry Alagappan from Texas has designed a filter that will be able to filter 99% of heavy metals from water using graphene nanotubes. After use, the filter can be rinsed with a vinegar mix and the residue will be pure metal that can be used to produce products like cell phones etc.
  • Utilizing this technology in contaminated rivers and lakes in less developed countries could be very beneficial. It would help make the water cleaner, improving the overall health of the population.
  • Furthermore, this will provide a more sustainable way to produce new metal products. This could in turn make products like cell phones more affordable for the population.


  • Government
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Chemical engineers
  • Cell phone manufacturers
  • Wastewater workers
  • Maintenance workers


  1. Provide proper education and detailed information about the product
  2. Convince the government to invest in the product
  3. Create efficient residue subtracting procedures


Main article:

Photo source:

UNI: ms5584

My comment on another article,

“This is an interesting idea in theory. It does raise a couple of questions about the implementation and practicalities, though. How will it harvest and store the energy, and how long will the charge last? Will they be able to make the paint 100% explosion safe? Because whenever hydrogen and oxygen directly interact there will be an explosion unless proper precautions are taken. I could not see anything about these issues in the article.
However, if these things are sorted and made fool-proof, this could be an amazing opportunity for houses to start creating their own fuel source. In turn, this paint could even be used on ships sailing long distances to make the journey more energy efficient, as ships are known to be a massively polluting.”


Graphene Sieve to Solve Water Crisis?

  1. Sustainability problem (Water and Energy):

As climate change continues to affect our environment, sea levels will increase while clean water will become scarcer. According to MIT researchers, “more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and about a billion or more will not have sufficient water resources.” The current desalination methods of distillation through thermal energy or filtration using polymer-based membranes involve large energy expenditures and produces greenhouse gases.

(more information about water stress can be found here:

2. Graphene Sieve can help the problem:

  • Graphene sieve would use less energy than the current methods of desalination
  • Graphene sieve can filter salt out of seawater and provide drinking water to millions of people
  • Water treatment through separating water from other pollutants and ion is proposed as an energy-efficient solution to the freshwater crisis
  • While desalination using membranes is not a new method, it is currently inefficient and expensive whereas grapheme sieve would provide a quicker, cheaper, and easier alternative
  • More tests and experiments need to be done to evaluate the durability of the material



  1. Stakeholders:
    • Local and state governments
    • Water utilities
    • Desalination plants
  1. Next Steps:
    • Research and create a prototype of the graphene sieve to test in seawater and measure its results over time
    • Determine global production capacity of Graphene and cost per unit compared with other alternatives
    • Seek to partner with an environmentally-conscious desalination facility for an initial commercial test (and related publicity)

Columbia UNI: Lc3291