Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
Explain your idea in details:
The solution was inspired by several major flooding events in cities throughout the world. Poor management of water runoff and impermeable concrete urban fabric has resulted in more frequent flooding events, that paralyze economy. A better solution for managing water is desperately needed, but there is limited capital to spend. What if there was a way to effectively manage rainwater, prevent flooding and reduce urban heat island, creating microclimates and habitats for birds and insects? What if there was a way to satisfy everyone on the street from business owners to transportation services with a solution involving only one municipal department that effectively manages rainwater where it falls and provides an array of other benefits? Embrella is such a solution. Embrella is a low-cost, scalable and easy to implement solution that creates on-demand waste water management, green space and energy generation wherever its needed.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The patent-pending solution is composed of several key elements. Sturdy but lightweight metal skeleton holds up a matrix filled with hydropolymer substrate on which evergreen plant blocks are mounted. The hydropolymer substrate and 4-season plants capture, absorb, purify and store rainwater. The solution is inexpensive to implement and can be easily scaled to larger areas to effectively manage water resources in places where its most needed. It also has a unique technology built in that allows for generation of energy from solar and wind sources and efficient storage until that energy is needed. Solar panels built into Embrella provide a source of power, while the efficient wind micro-turbine array mounted at the top allows for the capture of wind energy. The energy gets stored in the battery pack and can be used as a power source for lighting, cell phone charging, water purification and many other applications. We will offer modules which would allow users to extend capabilities of the Embrella, providing additional revenue streams. For example, through simple plug-and-play add-ons, we would be able to provide additional energy storage, water purification and collection, air monitoring, air purification and other services. Meanwhile the core energy generation version of the Embrella would be available for low cost. Embrella comes in 2 versions: 1) City version that can be mounted to poles and buildings in the city, 2) Water version that can be suspended in river, streams and catchment areas.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
We envision a very scalable solution that would provide energy access to the poorest communities while offering them an opportunity to make revenue through our market-based approach. We prioritize sustainability both in the design and our business model. We plan to set up local hubs for assembly of Embrella and because of the modular design we will be able to ship replacement components easily when needed for a small fee. Embrella solution is designed to be cost effective and scalable. Though unique modular design, we can offer the base energy-generating model for a low price, while providing add-on modules (i.e. light source, water purification, air purification) as additional revenue streams. Through unique folding design and portability we can deploy the solution even in the most remote communities. Embrella could be a disruptive force for global change.
Natalia Mykhaylova (age 30) has a background in engineering, chemistry and design. She is a graduate of Etobicoke School of Arts, has a B. Sc. In Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto. Her PhD work involves the development of novel devices and adaptable wireless networks for air pollution monitoring and targets a major unmet need - access to a reliable, low-cost and high time resolution device for measuring the air we breathe. She developed and set up air quality sensor networks during Pan American games. The data generated by this technology would promote more effective evidence-based public policy interventions. Natalia is passionate about environmental sustainability field and has been recognized as Corporate Knights 2017 Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leader. Her research work has been recognised by UofT Magazine, Phys.org, UofT News, Metro News, CTV News. She is a Lieutenant Governor's Visionaries Prize finalist and a recipient of several awards for her research work and leadership (Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, Professor Douglas Reeve Leaders of Tomorrow Award, Eco-Tec Founder's Fellowship Award).