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1 What is Sustainable Technology? Karel Mulder. 2.

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Presentation on theme: "1 What is Sustainable Technology? Karel Mulder. 2."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 What is Sustainable Technology? Karel Mulder

2 2

3 Why is this important question? SD is a holistic concept: meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs Engineers work at the level of parts of the system engineers design at artefact level where many consequences of SD meet: energy, safety, waste, pollution, equity, etc.

4 Wikipedia answers: 4 Sustainable technologies use less energy, fewer limited resources, do not deplete natural resources, do not directly or indirectly pollute the environment, and can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life. [18] [18]

5 Sustainable car? "The cars body is composed 90% by plate panels which are cut according to the desired finish and the rests are recycled, and completed with thermo-formed pieces. It is easy to produce and adapt, according to the user's needs. The engine works with compressed natural gas (CNG), with the option of evolving into electricity in the future. The car is also very small (2.10 metres long, 1.45 metres wide and 1.78 metres tall/6'8" long, 4'7" wide and 5'8" tall), which can probably help some of the problems related to urban transit in the future. It is estimated that each unit would cost around 4,500 dollars.

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7 7 Air source heat pumps Alkaline fuel cell Alternative technology Alternative fuel Bamboo bicycle Battery electric vehicle Bi-fuel vehicle Bicycle Bioconversion Biofuel Biological hydrogen production Calgary downtown district energy Cogeneration Combined heat and power plant Electric car Green manure Hydrogen vehicle Laddermill Micro combined heat and power Vertical farming Wind farm


9 Refrigerator, 1960s

10 Modern Car

11 Car 1900s

12 Horse & Carriage, 1900s

13 Wind-turbines, Germany 500 m from Dutch border Noise complaints


15 YesNo refrigerator New car Old car Horse-Carriage Wind Turbine

16 Why Refrigerators? Perishable food problem: loss of fish and vegetables, risk of food poisoning Toxic/flammable refrigerants: Ammonia, SO 2, CH 3 Cl, hydrocarbons.. Search for safe refrigerants: non toxic, non flammable and effective

17 Chloro-Fluoro-Carbons 1928 Synthesis by Thomas Midgley Main advantages: -effective -Non-toxic -Non-flammable -Somewhat more expensive

18 Cleveland accident: May 15th, 1929: 128 people died of methyl-chloride poisoning 1930 CFC Refrigerant

19 Other applications CFCs: Solution for dangerous spray cans Airconditioners

20 1970 Lovelock traces CFCs in wind at Western Ireland 1974 F. Sherwood Rowland (UC-Irvine), Mario Molina Joe Farman 1987 Protocol Montreal CFCs as global threat

21 So? 1930: miracle solution: really sustainable 1974: New issue: atmospheric effects, serious doubts 1987: ozone killer

22 Sustainability of a technology depending on place and on time…. 22

23 Now, cars ……………….. Annual World Oil Consumption Gbo Annual Oil Discovery Rates in 1990s 4-8 Gbo Cumulative World Oil Consumption Gbo Conventional Remaining World Oil Reserves (P50)[1] 850 Gbo Remaining World Oil Reserves[2] 1317 Gbo Conventional Remaining World Oil Reserves (mean)[3] 2311 Gbo

24 Were cars around 1900 Sustainable?

25 In 1818, New York City Council: regulation. Manure collection & processing: special "manure-yards" to process: "rotting, overturning and exposure to weathering. Problems: Abt tons of manure daily on the streets: dust, typhoid dead animals (In 1880, New York City removed 15,000 dead horses from its streets) Noise 1908: death?

26 Sustainable? CFC 1930, 1960:yes Horse & carriage, New York, 1900:no Car 1900:yes Car 2009:no

27 2311 * 10^9 barrels of oil still present. Cumulatieve consumption 960 Gbo. Total 3271 Gbo Formed in about 350 * 10^6 year (highest speed Paleozoicum) Simplified: 9345 barrels annually 1 barrel: 51.4 % gasoline ( = * 159 litre/barrel = 81.7 liter gasoline Geological annual production of gasoline: 9345 * 81.7 = litres gasoline 2000 litres per car annually? 380 cars can drive sustainably by gasoline lets say between 100 and 1000

28 And that windturbines? For many years complaints of villagers: noise at night Neglected by authorities and NGOs: NIMBY Villagers were right: University research found a new phenomenon: At night, the windturbines produced far more noise. Cause wind shear under absence of sun Size of windturbines (distance between top and lowest position of blades)

29 Lessons? Various articulations of sustainability Related to paradigms related stakeholders Technology should meet all possible SD articulations? No Sustainable for ever? No

30 Sustainable technology is only a useful concept if it involves hardware and software: use of technologies that is, as far as we know, in harmony with its natural and social environment


32 Implications Involve stakeholders in technological decisions: the engineer cannot decide on their behalf Sustainability is never established forever: A sustainable technology now might be unsustainable in the future

33 Include Jevons Paradox (Rebound effect) :

34 Sustainable Aquaculture What more than saving the marine sea life? 34

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