Following the success of solar power, developers have been harvesting clean energy from other sources. Now that we can accumulate electricity through passing vehicles and even cow excrement, nothing else seems far-fetched. Wind power may be nothing new, but these floating offshore turbines are the first of their kind.
The 30MW installation… will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters… where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.
The irony behind the nautical wind farm is its contractor — Statoil. The company is a corporate giant notorious for oil drilling. It’s somewhat of a paradox, but I’m a fan. Statoil claims that the wind farm’s offshore location is also beneficial.
The farther out you can place offshore turbines, the steadier and faster the wind is. It also comes with the added benefit of avoiding any community arguments over clean ocean views… [also] unimaginably large rotor components can be delivered by sea rather than by land, where roads have weight limits.
In the end, Statoil is living proof that you can easily give back what you take from nature. While we’d rather leave Mother Nature alone entirely, compensation is better than nothing.
Considering the number of annual deaths caused by pollution, it not only makes sense to cut emissions but to also improve air quality. All over the world, groups are working to make the atmosphere as breathable as possible. Bogota is erecting vertical gardens while China is manufacturing air-purifying bicycles. Not to be outdone, Iceland has set up the world’s first negative emissions power plant.
Climate startup Climeworks refitted a geothermal plant in Iceland to remove carbon dioxide from the air while also generating power for thousands of homes. This carbon dioxide is safely embedded in rock, where it will remain for millions of years.
The storage process, called carbon capture and storage, is keeping temperatures from rising to extreme levels. The facility is projected to remove 50 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. It isn’t much — but it’s something! The procedure is also fairly straightforward.
Climeworks uses… [the] plant’s waste heat to run their own carbon capture tech, pulling carbon dioxide directly out of the air and feeding it into the existing Carbfix infrastructure, which deposits it in underground basalt. There, the carbon dioxide forms crystals within two years, and remains stable underground for millennia.
Limited to information from my high school physics class, I hardly knew trapping CO2 was possible. Either way, we should be over the moon to have chemical engineers.
From powering homes to treating cancer, the simple battery has come a long way. To up the ante of renewable energy sources, MIT has developed an air-breathing battery that stores energy at zero emissions.
“This battery literally inhales and exhales air, but it doesn’t exhale carbon dioxide, like humans — it exhales oxygen,” says Yet-Ming Chiang, the Kyocera Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT.
Cost of production is 1/30th that of regular lithium-ion batteries. Over five years, researchers experimented with various materials such as sulfur and potassium permanganate. While its impact was a priority, pricing was also heavily considered.
“It’s a creative and interesting new concept that could potentially be an ultra-low-cost solution for grid storage,”
In the end, the battery is definitely the first of its kind and is not only unique, but highly efficient.
Carbon calculators, among other methods, are helping individuals reduce harmful footprints on the planet. But due to the Trump administration’s motion to save hazardous coal plants, our own actions are becoming futile. As time goes by, more organized acts from influential players and institutions become necessary to address the apparent regression caused by important global figures such as Trump.
Of most concern are the political issues that have to do with the environment. In retaliation to the retraction of Obama-era environmental campaigns, for instance, Bloomberg has been fighting to retire coal factories since last year.
“The war on coal has never been led by Washington. It has been led by market forces that are providing cleaner and cheaper sources of energy,” Bloomberg told reporters… “The war on coal is saving tens of thousands of lives, and we won’t stop fighting until we save every last one.”
It seems the Clean Power Plan, which has worked towards regulating harmful substances, may be coming to an end. To say environmental groups are infuriated may be an understatement.
“Coal jobs aren’t coming back,” Bloomberg said. “Trying to force taxpayers to subsidize them back into existence will only lead to more death and disease.”
In the hopes of retiring 259 U.S. coal plants, Bloomberg is contributing $64 million to activist group the Sierra Club. In total, the company has provided $100 million to assist the country in finding carbon-free sources. Plus, nowadays, it’s hard not to find inspiration when alternative eco-friendly options like solar power and wind energy are becoming more widespread and accessible.
Cheap labor or breathable air? I think I’ll take the latter.
With Alphabet and Tesla taking over damage control on Puerto Rico, the Caribbean islands are waiting patiently in the wings. Struck by two category 5 hurricanes in the span of a few months, the territory is a war-zone. Stepping in to rebuild a more sustainable paradise is British billionaire Richard Branson.
“Another storm could strike within the coming weeks,” Branson told a meeting of leaders in Washington earlier this month. “The Caribbean must seize the opportunity and take the leap from 20th-century technology to 21st-century innovation.”
The project, dubbed the “Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan” hopes to bring clean energy into the country. So far, it’s best bet is to invest in wind and solar. Comparing the damage to that caused by a nuclear blast, Branson hopes not only to help the islands recover, but transform.
“We want to move the Caribbean countries into clean energy and make them more sustainable, which will make dealing with hurricanes much easier,” he said. “The Caribbean Heads of State agree with one voice that this is a good idea.”
As with any disaster, finding an efficient way to recuperate takes priority. But future prevention is by far the closest second.
With climate change ascending into an all-time high, communities are making the most out of the searing heat. In fact, 800,000 homes in the U.K. are running entirely on the sun’s rays. However, Diu in India recently beat them to the punch, becoming the first Union territory to run completely solar-powered.
“The population of Diu is only 56,000. For water and electricity, the Union territory was solely dependent on the Gujarat government. To overcome this limitation, the administration of the Union territory decided to set up solar power plants in Diu.” [said executive engineer Milind Ingle.]
The city generates 13 megawatts a day, covering 42 square kilometers. Even so, manufacturers have installed plants over some 50 acres. Bill charges have since dropped by 12%, a great relief to locals.
“Diu’s peak-time demand for electricity goes up to 7 MW and we generate about 10.5 MW of electricity from solar energy daily. This is way more than the consumption demand requirement.”
Now that I think about it, an Indian summer may be worth your while.
Wind energy is nothing new, but it’s definitely improving. In fact, it’s powering homes in Australia and Denmark at pleasantly surprising rates. Now that other nations are catching onto its sheer efficiency, they’re brewing up other ways to utilize it. For Moya Power in London, it’s all about being creative. The pilot project will collect energy from tunnel drafts caused by speeding trains using simple plastic sheets.
“If we all live in cities that need electricity, we need to look for new, creative ways to generate it,” says [mastermind Charlotte] Slingsby… “I wanted to create something that works in different situations and that can be flexibly adapted, whether you live in an urban hut or a high-rise.”
Considering the constant movement of countryside families into cities, urban landscapes are demanding greater volumes of energy. As the war against fossil fuels continues to be precarious, alternative energy is very much welcome anywhere.
The yield is low compared to traditional wind power plants and is not able to power whole cities, but Slingsby sees Moya Power as just a single element in a mixture of urban energy sources.
Realizing that subway tunnels might be the windiest parts of an otherwise gloomy city now makes a lot of sense. Who knew?
Much is on the horizon for the up-and-coming solar industry. For e-vehicles in particular, perks such as recharging solar highways and free energy are on the market. But as technology continues to remodel itself, owning an electric SUV isn’t easy as pie. Hoping to relieve the hassle of scant charging ports, startup Platio is building solar-powered sidewalks.
“It is important for us to find key partners who support innovative technologies and can give us a chance to try new fields of applications,” Miklós Illyés, co-founder of Platio. “With the help of Prologis, we managed to install our first solution for EV charging stations, which is a significant milestone for us and our mission to contribute to e-mobility.”
The 50 square foot structure can generate up to a peak of 720 watts. When not in use, it conveniently powers adjacent office buildings. Despite other pressing development issues regarding mass production, passersby seem most concerned about slipping.
Aluminum oxide provides plenty of friction in both hot and cold areas. Clear hydrophobic polymer can also be used to prevent water from forming between the person’s shoe and the surface of the sidewalk.
And there you have it, folks. A simple, non-slip solution to an everyday, clean commute.
In a salad, algae may not seem too appetizing, but it sure is a fashion statement. Clarks recently released a shoe made from biomass algae, which seems to have tipped off a trend. Designers now want in on the action, specifically Julian Melchiorri, who built a green chandelier that purifies air.
The green lighting piece is composed of 70 glass leaves filled with green algae, which absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The transparent liquid filters through light, giving off a warm glow.
The display, called Exhale, is functional indoors and outdoors. It can also take on various forms depending on necessity. How, then, does the algae work its magic? Simple — photosynthesis. Melchiorri is all about function and the environment, and it’s not going unnoticed.
For his efforts, Melchiorri was awarded the Emerging Talent Award during London Design Week, which is given out to individuals who have made an impact within five years of graduation.
It may still be a prototype, but Exhale has surely left its mark on the design industry. With more people like Melchiorri, we may be able to restore the environment — one leaf at a time.
Renewable wind energy has long ago proven its worth, powering 70% of Australian homes just last year. With its maximum potential still undiscovered, Danish company Ørsted is building a 174-fleet wind farm in the UK. The sustainable solution will power a plentiful million homes.
“After years of planning it is fantastic to see the initial stages of offshore construction begin… These wind farms will not only greatly contribute to the UK’s goal of decarbonising our energy system, they are also bringing jobs and investment to Grimsby and the North East.” [said program director Duncan Clark.]
The 800-ton turbines will make their official debut in 2020, with allowance for transport limitations. On the whole, Ørsted is determined to transition as much of society as it can into green energy users. Still, the group is managing its expectations.
“The government has to change the trajectory or we are going to fail. We need to learn our lessons from where things have gone wrong so far,”
With great ambition comes extreme patience — but I do hope I’m around to see our planet change for the better.