The last few years haven’t been great for clean technology. Implementing cleaner ways of doing things has been going fast but than needed, and even several United Nations global warming summit have failed to come up with ways for industries to limit carbon emissions. While governments haven’t tackled global warming to an ideal or even adequate degree yet, there’s been a ton of innovation from countless businesses. Let’s look at some of the ideas that will shape the future of clean energy.
Lithium-ion Batteries (aka Li-ion Batteries)
Sure, we can just create more electricity, but why not simply save energy instead? The first electric cars were equipped with nickel-ion batteries, but carmakers quickly discovered that they were unable to power the vehicles for long. Hence, the lithium-ion battery was born. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, pack more punch, and are far more efficient. The only drawback is that they are still a bit pricy, but that will change in time.
Smart Grid & Smart Meters
Clean technology depends on our ability to improve the grids we plug our devices into. More advanced wires are needed to transport wind-driven electricity to where it needs to be in an efficient manner. Smart meters also help us by telling us exactly what we need to know. Whether it’s how much more energy we are using each day or why there was a blackout.
As Americans, we love our gadgets and gizmos. It seems like something new is being designed and released every day. Unfortunately, the components that make up these devices are often highly hazardous when not disposed of adequately. These items can get into the landfills and cause damage to air and water supplies. People in the area would then be exposed to such dangerous chemicals as mercury, lead, cadmium, and many more. Search your local area for drop-off locations for outdated and non-working electronics.
Solar energy technology has improved a ton in recent years. While solar PV is still the most prominent and cheapest, and costs have dropped considerably in recent years, we are also now using mirrors to focus sunlight on solar power towers that efficiently capture the heat and can use it to heat water, creating steam that can power a turbine and create electricity. This will only enhance our ability to create solar power at a greater rate and in more places.
Algae Bio Fuels
What’s more prevalent in the United States — solar energy, wind energy, or corn ethanol? If you answered corn ethanol, you are right, but studies show that our current level of usage isn’t sustainable. Enter algae biofuel, which requires zero farmland to produce. It grows more rapidly and doesn’t require freshwater.
This is just a handful of a ton of new clean technologies transforming our world. Stay tuned for discussions of more such technologies.
Image credit: Peroty (CC BY-SA-NC 2.0 license — some rights reserved)