The world faces many environmental problems, including climate change, water shortages, and deforestation. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that there has been an increase in “green” technology development efforts over the last decade. There are countless inventions on the market today for cars, homes, or offices which claim to be environmentally friendly. Still, many of these products often offer only short-term benefits with long-term consequences. So let us explore some of the most exciting new green technologies out there.
These technologies could drastically reduce the number of carbon emissions currently being produced and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Some of these ideas might even seem like science fiction. But rest assured, they are all real.
Electric vehicles (EVs) produce no emissions at the point of use. However, many people see them as limited in their scope as electricity production is still mostly reliant on fossil fuel sources such as coal or natural gas. We have heard how Tesla has been making waves with their electric cars, especially the Model S, which received a five-star safety award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But there are other people out there with even more innovative ideas.
Raymond Loewy was a French-born American industrial designer who is most well-known for contributing to the iconic Coca-Cola bottle design. He also designed an electric car prototype that never actually made it into production—the “slippery, smoothly contoured body” stood out at the time as it lacked sharp corners or edges due to its polypropylene shell.
Fisker Automotive was another company producing very cool-looking electric vehicles that caught our attention. Their Karma model reached an impressive top speed of 125mph and could go over 50 miles on one charge, but unfortunately ran into financial problems in 2013. Since then, the company has been bought over by a Chinese auto parts firm.
Another company looking to make an impact with electric vehicles is Tesla Motors who plan to release their Model 3 car in 2017. The Tesla Model 3 will cost around $35,000, which is half the price of its current model and will be able to travel 215 miles on one charge. The low-cost model aims to increase the number of electric cars on our roads as many people perceive them as incredibly expensive.
Carbon Capture Storage
Carbon capture storage (CCS) technology can potentially reduce CO2 emissions from power plants. It extracts carbon dioxide from large point sources such as coal natural gas power plants and stores it away in an underground geological formation.
The technology has been around for a while now. However, there are still some concerns over its long-term effectiveness and safety. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report in 2014 stating that CCS could play a “significant role” in mitigating climate change; however, the cost and scale of implementation are still a significant hurdle.
Decentralized Energy Systems
Whereas centralized energy systems rely on large, remote power plants to generate electricity distributed to consumers, decentralized energy systems use multiple small-scale power sources located close to where the energy is being used. This could include solar panels, wind turbines, or even micro-hydro systems.
Decentralized energy systems reduce the environmental impact of power generation as they avoid losses that occur during long-distance transmission. They also have the added benefit of being more flexible and resilient than centralized systems and can help to improve the security of supply.
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is the process of converting solar energy into electricity by integrating photovoltaic modules as a building material. The photovoltaic modules can be encapsulated in plastic or glass and then mounted on rooftops or integrated into windows.
BIPVs offer a functionally and aesthetically superior alternative to traditional rooftop solar panels as they seamlessly integrate into the building structure and blend in with their surroundings. This means that solar energy companies can install them on any kind of roof, from slanted to flat and from commercial to residential—making them versatile.
3D printers are machines that can produce three-dimensional objects from a digital file, layer by layer. The technology has been around for some time, but recently, prices have come down significantly, making them more accessible. You can even get one at your local library. As the name suggests, most of these printers work via an additive process where successive layers of material are laid down until your desired shape is formed.
One company with big plans to revolutionize the industry is Modern Meadow, developing cultured leather products using real animal cells. This means they can produce leather without slaughtering animals, which is great news for animal welfare and the environment. The company recently partnered with designer Stella McCartney and is funded by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
As the population grows and our planet’s resources deplete, sustainable technologies are more important than ever. Luckily, many innovations in this field can help us preserve what we have left. From solar power systems to 3D printers that allow you to print objects, these eco-friendly inventions offer new ways for us all to live sustainably and happily.
Meta title: Sustainable Technology: Helpful Innovations
meta desc: The world’s population has been growing faster than the planet’s resources, and the need for sustainable technologies is greater now than ever before.