openplanetideas è una interessante iniziativa con cui Sony e WWF stimolano gli utenti a riunirsi in una sorta di “green community” per discutere (e agire) sul tema: in che modo le tecnologie di oggi possono rappresentare una soluzione per i problemi ambientali odierni?
Anche Engage ha offerto un contributo, di progettualità e di originalità, sottoponendo un proprio “green contest” alla visione ed all’esame della community.
Qui di seguito, in lingua inglese, il testo integrale del nostro contest. Si rammenta che tutti i diritti di legge sono riservati, e concessi per un eventuale sviluppo pratico esclusivamente alla community di openplanetideas.
What is the title?
Achieving self-sufficiency in electric energy requirements through the solving of the problem of waste disposal
Please describe the concept
Technologies may give a new, exciting and unexpected impulse in achieving worldwide solutions for two of the biggest problems actually involving environmental care and sustainability: – the problem of waste and rubbish disposal – the problem of electrical energy needs Saving the waste produced by a highly developed urban community against exploitation of criminal organization, and treating it in the best possible way, will allow to produce enough electrical power to cover all the needs of the same community.
Today, we probably own already the necessary answers and tools, thanks to knowledges and technologies. They are also low-cost, so why don’t use them and start to really solve some problem? Well, basically because we still lack of culture and foresight.
Many are the problems that make hard to solve both huge questions of waste disposal and energy need. Around all of them, lots of platitudes and dirty interests give back a wrong point of view about the possible solutions.
Let see all the things we have to know before to go straight to the solution (of course, I’m simplifying everything at the best possible: here I’m just explaining the concept, but it will require a precise and absolutely strict – even if clear enough in my mind – way of development):
- every community would like to treat only the rubbish they produce, without take in charge what other and sometimes distant people make
- every community would like to get benefits when treating and differentiating rubbish they produce, without having to take in charge what may come from other and sometimes distant people
- having circulating waste between different places, or even different countries, adds further pollution for its transport, while rubbish disposal would require a local solution
- recycle the rubbish is the most ecological way to arrange it, but it is expensive and possible just with a fraction (even if consistent) of the waste produced by a community
- recycled materials are not so easy to resell especially under big economical crises involving the biggest part of the world
- recycling in the right way requires a basic culture and an expensive, but possible to act, policy of acculturation directed to all the population
- incinerators have been proved to be the less pollutant way to disposal all the part of rubbish that we can’t treat in a more ecological way
- landfills produce much more pollutants compounds, such as dioxynes, than incinerators
- incinerators may make self-sufficiency an entire urban area about its need of electric power. Significant experiences such as in the Italian city of Piacenza show that local incinerator produces 65 GWh of electricity, enough to cover the necessity of electric energy for the 30.000 families of the city
- mafia and other criminal organizations manage the most high mountain in our planet. This mountain is made of illegal and contraband rubbish, for an turnover esteemed in about 30 billion/US$/year: all these rubbish are treated in the worse possible way, because they are sent on the sea and thrown in water or buried in some desolated land maybe in China or Africa.
Ok, these are just the most important things we have to keep in mind when talking about rubbish. Anyway they are enough to full explain our concept.
Which technology are you repurposing?
Now, we will see which are the steps to build also the solution, that basically consist into a new system to give safe and whole traceability to our rubbish and assure a sort of certification to the whole chain of the waste treatment, from collection to incineration:
- all the trucks who collect the garbage will have the possibility to weigh the containers on the street, and the rubbish given by the citizen, because all them will be provided with weighing devices (really cheap in comparison with the cost of the truck). These information (weight of every container) will be sent to a “operative central” in real time through a GPRS system
- also trucks will have to send their position, the service events they are doing, and the details of the route they are following. The collection of these information also require a GPS system on board, capable to detect exact information and able to diagnose eventual failures (or allowing a remote diagnosis from the central)
- at every treatment plant or incinerating station, a camera will detect the number plate of the truck and automatically will spell it inside an informative system
- the weight detected by the weighing system on the plant / station, will be compared with the total weight detected by the weighing system on board, to recognize substantial differences between the quantity of rubbish collected on the street, and the quantity given to the plant. Also, the informative system will recognize important deviations from the attended route, as well as long and unjustified stops along the road
- some artifacts such as electronic devices, general packaging, bulky items and so on, may be provided of a RFID tag, containing basic information about kind, type and composition of the material; trash containers can be provided with a RFID reader alimented by solar cells rechargeable batteries, so they can open themselves, or they can give a acoustic warning, when citizens trying to insert a wrong kind of material inside the container
- other actual or newest technologies, such as cheaper ways to canalize informative contents inside houses and offices, and getting back users feedbacks and reports (through ebook readers, interactive TVs, cheap personal computers and other low cost communication devices permanently connected to an inexpensive peer-to-peer network) may bring all the right and always up-to-date information about how to correctly collect and set the rubbish before to commit it to the collecting chain
Which part of the world would this concept be best applied in?
What is your concept missing?
All the above infrastructure also will require the presence of an advanced and powerful informative and automated system able to gather, treat and analyze important amounts of data. Someone will have to develope it, and I guess that public and independant communities of developers will give a fundamental contribute on it, also ensuring at the same time the best possible level of redundancy and/or protection (again through peer-to-peer worldwide networks) according with the system of security chosen (in part, by the community?).