The green trend is picking up as more people become conscious of the environment and a need for sustainable energy sources. Although still in the developmental stages, there have been some interesting technological advances this year that could provide green solutions to the planet’s environmental challenges.
Artificial Photosynthesis mimics plant photosynthesis, where the raw materials of water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide are converted into fuel. There is nothing new about this, but recently a team of researchers in the US have developed a way to convert carbon emissions (which many claim are responsible for warming the earth’s atmosphere) into a variety of eco friendly commercial products such as biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs, and even liquid fuels.
This revolutionary new method of farming allows crops to be grown under artificial conditions without soil or sunlight. Crops can be grown in much larger quantities with less space, and, unlike their traditional counterparts, are not susceptible to disease or destruction. Some argue that this could become mainstream by 2050.
Inspired by the moving walkway in airports, a French company called “Rollkers” has invented special footwear that it claims will increase a person’s walking speed up to 7 mph. Although resembling skates, they are actually more like shoes and should ultimately reduce the need to drive or commute, thus contributing to energy conservation. They will be made available in 2015.
Shrimp Solar Cells
Using chemicals found in the shells of shrimp, scientists at Queen Mary University of London have successfully created solar cells that could provide electricity for common devices such as tablets and phones.
Marine Energy Technology
This technology has allowed energy bound within ocean currents to be converted into electricity. Technology that harnesses the power of ocean currents is already in existence. However, what is unique about this form of alternative energy is that it does not depend on strong ocean currents; it can produce just as much energy even in low tides.
Some companies are beginning to experiment with using bio-waste as raw material to be converted into fuel. An example of this is the new “bio-bus” in the UK, which is a bus that operates entirely on gas derived from food and human waste.
Landfill Gas to Energy
Similar to the concept of artificial photosynthesis, alternative energy companies are seeking to convert methane, a gas that is produced by degrading organic waste in landfills, into usable energy. Some claim that this will reduce the level of global warming and improve the quality of air.