Translucent Solar Noise Barriers (SONOBS) in the Netherlands

Form meets function.  A Dutch researcher from the Eindhoven University of Technology has designed a new luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) panel which is thinner, cheaper and aesthetically pleasing. On June 18 several test panels were installed along the busy A2 highway as a pilot project for a new product which combines the need for solar energy capture with noise abatement.  Michael Debije, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, designed the panels to reabsorb light as they channel it to the solar arrays at their edges.  The light is then transferred to conventional panels at the sides. This results in enough electricity to power 50 homes from one kilometer (0.62 miles).


The Technology

  • SONOBS – Solar Noise Barriers
  • luminescent solar concentrators (LSC) = translucent sheets bounce light internally to the edges of the panels, where it’s beamed onto regular solar panels in concentrated form
  • solar cells are hidden in the frame of the barrier
  • works under the gray skies of Northern Europe
  • Currently being tested along A2 highway

The Sustainability Problem

  • Suitable for urban areas
  • Shields noise without cutting off view
  • Produces renewable energy
  • Reduces reliability on non-sustainable electricity
  • Future: expansion throughout the Netherlands, international market

The Technology Stakeholders

  • Scientists and academics
  • Businesses (producers of technology and energy consumers)
  • Suppliers of component parts
  • Individual residents/consumers
  • Utilities
  • Local councils and Governments

The Steps to Technology Implementation

  • Continue “living lab” tests in Den Bosch, Netherlands
  • Measure the electrical output and explore business models
  • Identify business cases for the end user(s)


June 2015 – A great month for Passive House! North America’s largest Passive House opens in Oregon

1) Energy – We currently rely on a finite energy source. We are quickly running out of fossil fuels, and they are polluting our earth and harming its inhabitants at the same time.

2) Article: North America’s largest ‘passive house’ opens in Hillsboro, and it’s actually 57 affordable homes

Source: Oregon Live


  • North America’s largest Passive House just opened in Oregon (and construction of the world’s tallest Passive House just started on Roosevelt Island!  Read here)
  • The Oregon housing complex was built for low-income residents and only cost 10% more to build than a similar conventional project.
  • The Oregon housing complex will use 70% less energy than its conventional counterpart
  • Passive House is a German building standard which focuses on airtight, well-insulated buildings

3) Stakeholders: Realtors, Property Owners, Developers, Architects, Engineers, Construction Material Manufacturers, Construction Materials Retailers, General Contractors, Lending Institutions, Renters, Property Management Companies, Utility Companies

4) To deploy:

  • Work with Building Departments to push for more stringent building codes
  • Work with engineers, architects, property developers, and contractors to train them on the Passive House standard
  • Plan and design Passive House buildings

Facebook is building a massive wind-powered data center in Texas

  1. Problem: Energy
    1. Data centers for major organizations (e.g., Facebook, Google, Amazon) require extraordinary amounts of computation power, this results in a high demand for energy.
    2. Technology Solution: Facebook is leveraging sustainable energy to expand their data centers in Foth Worth, Texas.
    3. Article
  2. Summary
    1. Data center will improve global model for desktop and mobile. Initiative will also benefit the philanthropic endeaver to give free internet to people in emerging markets
    2. Data center is going to be three 250,000-square-foot buildings sprawled across the 111-acres
    3. Data center will be 100% powered by 200 megawatts of wind energy
    4. The Forth Worth data center will be Facebook’s fifth data center
    5. Facebook plans on creating at least 40 jobs in Fort Worth to help boost the local economy and maintain the data center
  3. Stakeholders
    1. Facebook
    2. Texas local govenrment
    3. Residents of Fort Worth, Texas
  4. Deployment
    1. Continue production of data center
    2. Incorporate newer technology to ensure future modifications are “easy”
    3. Leverage additional renewable energy resources to assit in the cooling of the machines
    4. Roll out to other data centers as expansion continues

IBM Research Unveils Silicon Photonics Chip


(1) Modern wireless technology, whether it be cellular or Wi-Fi, allows a consumer with a smartphone, tablet or laptop to perform multiple useful tasks remotely: from controlling appliances to home security, climate control and lighting. Scientists at IBM have already began to develop systems that will analyze enormous amounts of data, store information in the cloud, and think more like a brain as opposed to like a standard computer.   The systems are being developed using silicon photonics that include:

  • Photonics- includes generation, emission, transmission, amplification, light detection and many more components
  • Silicon- a chemical element that can act as a semiconductor and in appearance has a crystalline, reflective with bluish-tinged faces
  • An Optical Medium- material through which electromagnetic waves propagate (in other words, a form of transmission)

(2) Many electronic manufacturers are actively researching silicon photonics to provide faster data transfer both between and within microchips by using optical interconnects. However, optical interconnect technology requires using pre-packaged transceivers that are larger and expensive which can limit their large-scale use. IBM and a few other parties instead proposed an integration scheme in which “the silicon photonic chips are treated similarly to ordinary silicon processor chips and are directly attached to the processor package without pre-assembling them into standard transceiver housings. This improves the performance and power efficiency of the optical interconnects while reducing the cost of assembly” according to the OFC report.

Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research said that “just as fiber optics revolutionized the telecommunications industry by speeding up the flow of data — bringing enormous benefits to consumers — we’re excited about the potential of replacing electric signals with pulses of light. This technology is designed to make future computing systems faster and more energy efficient, while enabling customers to capture insights from Big Data in real time.”

(3) Media, Technology and Telecommunication sectors, Entrepreneurs, Consumers

(4) Research has demonstrated what may be an important step toward commercializing this next generation of computing technology. They established a method to integrate silicon photonic chips with the processor in the same package, avoiding the need for transceiver assemblies.

This new technique has been presented at this year’s OFC Conference and Exposition and should lower the cost, increase the performance and size of future data centers, super computers and cloud systems while making them more energy efficient.

Modified Atmosphere Packaging eliminating unnecessary food waste.


1) Most food is lost through poor handling, storage, and spoilage in transportation and this waste can be reduced through improved modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).

2) “Tackling the Food Waste Challenge with Technology” Modified Atmosphere

  • Modified Atmosphere Packaging (Map) – a technology that substitutes the atmosphere inside a package with a protective gas mix, typically a combination of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen – to extend freshness.
  • Map has been applied to over 1,000 small-scale farmers, resulting in reductions in post-harvest food waste from 30-40% to 15-20%.
  • Particularly useful in preserving fresh fruit and vegetables that have high water content that is also conserved for useful human consumption.

3) Stakeholders include small scale farmers with direct access to markets, wholesalers and distributors between commercial farms and processors, distributors between processors and retailers, consumers, and waste management providers.


  1. Identify candidate among stakeholders most interested in purchasing, and able to pay, for MAP products.
  2. Prepare additional informational material for other stakeholders along the vertical product line.
  3. Pursue research to increase MAP efficiency with current food recommendations to enhance freshness longevity.

Blue Carbon Sequestration aided by pH Sensor

  1. Technology: The Transmissive pH Probes from Ocean Optics can be used with a desktop system as well as with the Jaz handheld spectrometer suite. The desktop system uses a module in the SpectraSuite software that allows for simplified calibration, convenient pH readings, customizable data logging and comprehensive exportation of data and calibration information. For field measurements, the handheld Jaz offers an easy and portable solution. Jaz’s SD card runs a script that allows you to use the factory calibration or a complete calibration. It also shows live pH values and gives you the ability to save data directly to the card.
  1. Sustainable issue: “Coastal ecosystems have been recognized as a promising reservoir for carbon storage for the future. Carbon sequestered in coastal ecosystems is commonly referred to as “Blue Carbon”. The living biomass above and below marine ecosystems absorbs atmospheric CO2 through photosynthesis, transforming inorganic carbon into organic matter. The sediments in the soil stores carbon for thousands of years after organic matter is buried. Typical blue carbon repositories include mangroves, seagrass meadows, and salt marshes”. Based on this plans are underway to re-habilitate coastal ecosystem services so that they can store carbon from the atmosphere, aiding in the slowing down of extreme climate change.

Monitoring the pH levels in and around coastal areas can identify priority areas for re-habilitation of coastal ecosystems.

  1. Technology stakeholders:

-Private companies, like Azo Sensors

-NGO and Private companies for funding

-Government agencies for regulation and implementation, i.e. NOAA

-Conservation organizations

  1. Process for implementation:

-Connect private companies like Azo Sensors with appropriate governing and conservation companies, like NOAA and Ocean Conservation, to implement monitoring

-Establish through government regulations carbon permits to include ocean blue carbon sequestration.

-Establish outreach to private companies who have been regulated to address their carbon output.

New Vaccine Delivery Method Eliminates Need for Syringes, Needles

Problem:  The imperative of getting people life-saving vaccines faces daunting practical challenges including distribution, cold chain requirements and need for medical staff to administer the vaccines.  There are the secondary challenges of used medical needles including millions of infections like Hepatitis B and AIDS and the significant environmental waste from billions of syringes and needles.


Main ideas:
1. A company based in the Netherlands, Bioneedle,  has invented a new vaccine delivery system that may ultimately provide a new and safe alternative vaccination system.
2. At its core, the Bioneedle technology is a hollow, polymer needle-shaped mini-implant.  When inserted, the polymer degrades, dissolves  beneath the skin and releases  the vaccine.
3.  It is inserted at  high speeds using a compressed air driven Bioneedle Applicator- pain-free and safely. There is NO waste.
4. The Bioneedle is “therm stable” thereby eliminating the onerous need to maintain vaccines at specific temperatures to keep stable.
5. The environmental benefits are enormous in both waste and energy savings.
6. As opposed to traditional vaccines, bioneedles can be given to more  than thousand people per hour by non-medical staff.
Although in the early stages of development, Bioneedle was the winner of the  2012 Katerva Award.

Organizational Stakeholders:
1.  World Health organizations/foundations. This would be a transformative technology that would extend vaccinations to millions of underserved people.
2. Doctors/clinics.  In addition to reaching more people, the health and environmental aspects of having no needle or syringe waste is a game-changer.
3. General public. Bioneedles is especially needed in third world countries /rural areas where doctors are not available and the “cold chain” to preserve vaccines may be comprised.

1. Prove out the technology through pilots and other mechanisms.
2.  Production of vaccines.
3. Distribution and training.   Scale the model to maximize benefits. and website at (I needed to get information from the website to more fully explore this breakthrough application).

Jean Hamerman