Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN) by The WENN Protocol
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Additional comments from the Judges:
The proposal exhibits a certain degree of novelty. Concerning its feasibility, it is positive that the proposal brings a lot of information in the form of possible means to fund it. However, the ability to persuade/convince potential donors is key to the success in financing the proposal. Nothing in the proposal seems to be specific to a developing country. There seems to be a concern to integrate the different dimensions of the project/proposal. But this may not suffice to prove it effective. At first I did not perceive the proposal as clear, because several pieces were brought together and sometimes without a proper integration. Even though the proposal's presentation could be improved in the mentioned lines, it has merits in my view.
The concept is attractive as it revolves around the vast scale use of three existing technologies (chemosynthetic metabolism found in algae, perpetual salt fountain and carbon sequestration in bioreactors) to address the water/energy/nutrient nexus (WENN). As stated by the author, the proposed WENN protocol does however require a revolution, and the proposal does not spell out clearly how this revolution will be achieved. The concept requires a complete transformation of the way we produce (and use) energy, water and food. In particular, the energy system needs to be transitioned to the use of bio-energy and, to a lesser extent, other zero carbon technologies. However, the proposal does not describe how this transition gets implemented and what policies are needed (actually the assumption made in the impact analysis is that there is no climate policy). Achieving the required transformation of the economies will take time, but the presented timeline assumes that large scale WENN deployment can be achieved in a very short time span. There is a statement that the WENN proposal will reduce oil consumption and lower the energy intensity, but this requires further elaboration. The author states that the WENN protocol if implemented would lead to stabilisation of CO2 emissions at today’s level by 2020. However there is no explanation how this is achieved. 2020 is tomorrow, so that does not leave much time to achieve the required transformation of energy sectors and productive systems. The energy efficiency assumptions are not substantiated. The CO2 and GHG graphs are inconsistent. The barriers and challenges need further elaboration, and the analysis of costs and benefits needs to be expanded. The author claims the format did not provide the space required to extend the description and elaborate on those important aspects. However a lot of space was used to cut and paste material on Green Bonds, whereas a simple reference or link would have been sufficient, or to incorporate graphs which are not directly linked to the proposal ( at least there is no explanation of the link).
Additional comments from the Fellows:
The author attempted to bring together an array of technologies suitable for combining Water, Energy, Nutrient Nexus (WENN) in a way to support a net negative global emissions of CO2 as well as support the critical needs of water and nutrient management. Although the idea behind this proposal is technically feasible (reduction of 22 gigaton of CO2 as stated by the impact assessment is quite substantial), but the author has not been able to convincingly push the idea through to his audience. It is very difficult to see how the author has been able to integrate sub-proposals. More importantly, it is not clear how this proposal fits into the context of this contest. For instance, it is not clear how it is applicable to any particular developing country. Although the author mentioned that the real world deployment of the WENN technology suite has been achieved, reviewed and accepted by the many potential funding actors, it will be nice to see where this technology has been deployed and to see if it is actually something that can be implemented in the developing countries.
Considering the fact that the implementation of this technology is expensive as clearly stated by the author, then its feasibility is called into question when looking at the fact that the majority of the developing countries are poor. Although, the author suggested several ways of funding the project, experience has shown that it is usually difficult to get internal donors to come to the same table to fund a particular project without a clear motivation to do so.
Aug 25, 2015
Judge: Silvia Pariente-David The proposal is interesting and innovative but needs some work. The concept is not well articulated, and it is not clear what is funded by whom. The benefits are not fully specified, with only a vague and generic description. There is no cost assessment. The author should be more specific regarding the implementation plan: who develops the technology? Who pays? Who funds what? what is the impact on GHG reduction? what are the other benefits? While there are many graphical illustrations, their links to the rest of the argument, and how they support the WENN concept is not crystal clear. Finally the proposal should explain better how the different proposals fit together. Judge: Pedzi Makumbe Novelty: the proposal is fairly novel, and well done to the team Feasibility: feasibility is highly questionable. Perhaps doing/proposing a pilot might be helpful. Its such a massive system that there is need to discuss how the politics/societal inertia could be brought along. Impact: If implemented, this would have tremendous impact on the society. Presentation - the team needs one or two sentences which explain what this is. Its really not clear at the first cut what is being proposed, and what is new. The “summary” in the report can be a follow on to the couple of sentences which say what this is. Fellows' feedbacks Fellow: Maruf Sanni The proposal is novel and has potentials for both mitigation and adaptation strategies. It is feasible and can be scaled up but needs a lot of clarifications.. The proposal is well presented with lots of graphical illustrations. However, the proposal should be made to be more specific to the situations in the developing countries. This way, it will benefit from good review from the judges of this contest. For instance, the funding structure should be well spelt out. The author should also be specific with regard to the implementation structure. For example, who will develop the technology? Who pays for it? What are roles of the public sector? The significance of the impact of the project will also be clearer if the author could work with the impact assessment team of the Climate CoLab to calculate the amount of carbon that would be captured or sequestered. Fellow: Leslie Labruto The proposal is innovative, but needs some work. While the graphics are helpful, there needs to be a better synthesis of ideas and explanations to how the images link to the WENN system. It looks some time to draw the connection each image as they followed one another. That said, using unused space, which can be scarce, to create high volume of WENN substances is unique. My questions for the author are: (1) how do you procure the land expected to use for this undertaking and (2) why are all of the funding sources grants? If this is a strong idea which a post-growth aftermarket sale, shouldn’t the investors in a project like this that has potentially lucrative returns be looking at private sector funding rather than the GCF or Bill and Melinda Gates? Thinking through the longer term economics of your proposal.
Sep 12, 2015
There has been further refinement of the Water, Energy, Nutrient Nexus (WENN) Protocol in the area of authorship and organization.
The link to that work is:
However, there still is the need to address each nation's/region's ability to use the WENN Protocol per the competition(s) mandate.I'm working my way through the information found in the World Resource Institute database: http://cait.wri.org/ and hope to be able to make clear linkage between the national pledges and the WENN Protocol within the revision time frame allowed within the Finals stage of the competition.
Your continued patients with the development of the WENN Protocol proposal and further support would be greatly appreciated.