Innovation to Combat Climate Change
Climate change is a major driver of global energy innovation which has not just become an environmental concern, but also an economic imperative globally. Efforts are spent beyond standard solar panels and battery-powered cars, creative solutions to climate change are being cooked up and put into daily usage.
Wave energy works in wondrous ways. U.S. based Northwest Energy Innovations developed an underwater hull attached to a float that seizes both vertical and horizontal wave movements. The savvy contraption captures the motion of the ocean, and then converts it to energy that’s transferred via a cable to land. A test device, named Azura, was installed in 2016 at the U.S. Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Government officials in Scotland have approved the world’s largest floating wind farm. The floating wind turbines, interconnected with cables and anchored to the ocean floor, will be the first in UK waters. Combined, they are expected to generate enough energy to power 20,000 homes. (Or 40,000 tiny homes.) According to The Guardian, there are another two similar projects at early stages of development in Scotland, with more on the way in Norway, Portugal, the U.S., and Japan.
Another innovation invented — geothermal energy, which is harnessing the earth’s natural heat – the 5,500°C at the earth’s core – for our own needs. The outer 3 meters of the earth’s surface stay at a nearly constant 10-16°C throughout the year, and that heat can be harnessed to warm buildings, water, and more. We can even convert it into electricity using geothermal power plants, using the earth’s heat to create steam, which turns a turbine that drives a generator to produce electricity.
Solar roadways are built from tempered glass, with the strength to hold a fleet of brimming Scoop Trucks, panels house LED lights for road lines and signage. They’re equipped with heating elements that melt snow. And they have microprocessors to communicate—which makes them way smarter than your average side street.
Industrial waste such as carbon dioxide and acid gases are captured and removed from power plant flues (those giant smoke-billowing chimneys) and transforming them into harmless baking soda. Baking soda can be used for everything from toothpastes and detergents to combating funky smelling refrigerators. While it’s not a total solution to the larger problems with coal, so far it’s proving to be a welcome trade off for mercury, acid rain gasses and climate crippling CO2.
In future, we are looking forward to many more resilient, renewable technological advances that are less vulnerable to the menace of climate change.