2015 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

ECHY: Solar Lighting with Fiber Optics Stephanie Le Beuze ECHY Ile-de-France, France For many, artificial light has completely replaced natural light. Lighting can account for up to 50% of building electricity consumption, and up to 56% of energy bills in offices. Artificial light is not only costly for us and for the environment, but prevents us from using a natural and abundant resource: sunlight.

Posted in: Articles


Habitat Water Wall for Water, Solids, and Atmosphere Recycle and Reuse

This technology can be used in wastewater treatment plants. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California A method was developed that allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solid residuals treatment and recycle to be removed from the usable habitat volume and placed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. This design also provides a mechanism to recover and reuse water treatment (solid) residuals to strengthen the habitat shell.

Posted in: Briefs, Recycling Technologies


Autonomous Robots Keep Warehouse Running Green

YLOG, a startup company in Austria, uses an intelligent and very environmentally friendly logistics system that is winning an increasing number of customers. The technology makes use of individual, freely moving Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AiVs) that detect each other, observe right-of-way rules, recognize one-way routes, and complete their tasks fully autonomously without intervention from or coordination by a central computer.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Motors & Drives, Machinery & Automation, Robotics


High-Performance Photocatalytic Oxidation Reactor System

Airborne volatile organic chemicals are oxidized using blue LEDs, fiber optics, and visible light-activated catalysts for space and terrestrial air purification. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama As crewed space missions extend beyond low Earth orbit, the need to reliably recover potable water is critical. Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the water is recycled from cabin humidity condensate, urine distillate, and hygiene wash wastes. In spacecraft cabin air environments, off-gassing from equipment, human metabolism, and human personal care products contributes to significant airborne concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These polar and water-soluble compounds ultimately dissolve into the humidity condensate and stress the process load, logistics costs, and lifecycle requirements of the water processing systems. The aim of this effort was to develop the High Performance Photocatalytic Oxidation Reactor System (HPPORS) technology for the destruction of airborne VOCs prior to reaching the water processing systems. This innovation will reduce the logistics costs and lifecycle requirements of water processing systems, and help extend NASA missions to include long-duration space habitation and lunar and Mars colonization missions.

Posted in: Briefs, Recycling Technologies, Remediation Technologies, LEDs, Fiber Optics, Photonics


Emily Wilson, Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Emily Wilson developed a miniaturized laser heterodyne radiometer (mini-LHR) to measure the emissions of carbon dioxide and methane from melting permafrost. Wilson’s technology will be one of several NASA instruments sent to Alaska in June to analyze trace gases in the region’s atmosphere.

Posted in: Who's Who, Environmental Monitoring, Greenhouse Gases, Lasers & Laser Systems, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring


A Large-Eddy Simulation Model of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer

The model includes the interaction of various physical processes, including turbulence, clouds, precipitation, and radiation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The atmospheric boundary layer is the lowermost layer of the atmosphere and is host to a plethora of physical processes that significantly affect weather, climate, and air quality. In many applications, detailed information about the boundary layer is required at high temporal and spatial resolution. The main purpose of the current model is to provide accurate and finely resolved inspace and time predictions of the atmospheric boundary layer. High-resolution predictions of the boundary layer are typically pertinent in the development and evaluation of weather and climate models, in fundamental studies of atmospheric dynamics including clouds and precipitation, the dispersion of pollutants, and the development of remote sensing instruments.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Simulation Software


Hydrogen Peroxide for Microbial Growth Control in Space Potable Water Systems

This on-demand generator can provide the needed hydrogen peroxide levels for microbial growth control in potable water holding tanks and waterlines. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama NASA uses a biocide to prevent contamination of astronaut drinking water with harmful microorganisms. Concerns have arisen over existing biocides — that they’re inadequately effective, and may have toxic side effects when consumed. New microbial control methods are a priority. This need is addressed by using an electrochemical reactor for on-demand generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solutions. The device uses onboard resources only. The method eliminates the need for resupply items (reducing launch costs), and reduces toxicity risk.

Posted in: Briefs