Sustainable Silicon Valley’s Navigating Bay Area Water event featured multiple presentations and panel discussions which highlighted cutting-edge technological innovation in the private sector for onsite water efficient systems. Participating organizations ranged from small start-ups like DripCycle, to tech giants like Facebook and Intel. The following is a brief review of a few of the companies and technologies represented.
Intel’s IOT Technology for Agriculture Study
Water and Carbon Footprint Program Manager of Intel, Fawn Bergen explained how the company is conducting a pilot project to study the use of IOT, or Internet of Things technology, in the context of more efficient agricultural irrigation systems. Intel is partnering with Vanasche Farm, which produces hazelnuts, to conduct the study. IOT technology, which allows different components of a system to gather data with sensors and exchange that data between components, has great potential to improve the efficiency of agricultural enterprises. For example, in the Vanasche Farm IOT Pilot, sensors collect data regarding soil moisture levels, and local weather at various parts of the farmer’s field. This information empowers the farmer to improve irrigation efficiency, by watering only when necessary, and also helps the farmer determine the optimal time to plant crops. This pilot project is a part of Intel’s larger interest in water efficient technologies which includes the company’s own buildings: “We continue to invest in water conservation, but last year, in the fall, we announced a new goal to restore all of the water we use by 2025.” (Fawn Bergen). To learn more about Intel’s water conservation efforts, click here. To view Fawn Bergen’s presentation at SSV’s event, click here.
DripCycle’s AC Condensate Capture System
The founder of the startup DripCycle, Chad Martin, discussed his company’s innovative “DripCycle System,” and how it captures, treats, and stores water that is often overlooked as a potential source: AC Condensate. Quoting Chad Martin: “If all existing commercial buildings in Santa Clara County captured condensate, we would save 923 million gallons of water per year” The DripCycle system, which also captures and treats rainwater, has a short return on investment period, as the ownership of the commercial building systematically saves on water bills. For DripCycle’s website, click here.
PTG Water & Energy’s Cogeneration Technology
PTG Water & Energy’s Greg Ryan explained how by linking on-site energy generation with water efficiency technologies, PTG has created water energy platforms that reduce waste, cut costs, and deliver significant returns on investment. Greg Ryan addressed the water-energy nexus and the prevailing custom of addressing water issues in isolation: “We look at water in silos and a lot of times the folks in these silos aren’t in conversation with each other. We’ve found we need to look at it together.” PTG has utilized cogeneration technology, whereby heat resulting from electricity generation is used to heat water rather than being allowed to leave the system as a waste product. In this way, the system is essentially able to heat water at no cost. The resulting hot water can then be made available for other on-site uses. Click here to visit PTG Water & Energy’s website, and here for Greg Ryan’s presentation at Navigating Bay Area Water
Sustainable Silicon Valley would like to thank all of our presenters and participants for making Navigating Bay Area Water a highly productive event.