Renewable energy technologies have been around for many years. More and more countries are launching green energy projects using these technologies to increase their energy efficiency levels. Hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear power are being used everywhere, and there are also new and promising technologies on the rise. Below are five inventions that can help accelerate the shift to renewable energy.
Water- and wind only generate power when they are in motion, but gravity is always active. GravityLight Foundation developed a light that is powered solely by using the gravitational force of the Earth. A generator is powered by attaching a heavy object to a string that hangs from the device.
It was introduced to replace the expensive kerosene-powered lights in people living off-grid in Kenya, Africa. This is just the most basic form of gravity as a renewable energy source. Scaled up versions could be promising for larger projects.
There are several technologies that involve storing water to generate power. Although they use energy to energy to pump water, it generates more energy from that same water later. It is not as efficient as conventional hydropower technologies such as dams but can still generate more energy than it uses.
Examples for water storage are wind turbines with water basins. A wind turbine is placed on top of a large water tank. When the wind is generating enough power, the turbine pumps water to a higher reservoir. When this water is released back into the main tank, it generates electricity. The same principle is used by concrete domes and compressed air-bags in the ocean, which, if emptied, can fill themselves with water to generate energy.
Wave Catching Turbines
A Japanese professor reinvented the way we use water to generate energy. The oceans crash into the shore the whole day, which is why he invented a turbine that turns this crashing of waves into electricity. It has a dual purpose, as it not only creates energy but also protects the shoreline of incoming waves.
Professor Shintake claims that if they use 1% of Japan’s shoreline, the turbines can produce 10 Gigawatts of energy. That amount is equivalent to the energy that is produced by 10 nuclear plants. The earth has approximately 620,000 kilometers of coastline, which makes this a technology with very high potential.
Smart Street / Dance Floor
Kinetic energy is everywhere, whether it is a rock falling or a human walking. Pavegen, a UK based clean tech firm, created smart floor panels that capture the energy people create with their footsteps. Recently, they have applied this technology to a busy London shopping street, which is now able to power its own street lighting.
The technology is not limited to just pathways or shopping streets but could as easily be used on dance floors in clubs and bars, where people are constantly moving around. It might even be possible to combine the technology with solar power at some point.
One of the major problems the earth faces is that great water resources are drying out. What if we told you, there is a way to counter at least some of the problem, and generate energy while we do it? Green energy from evaporation of water might be possible in the near future.
A floating device is placed on the water’s surface. When the sun heats water, it evaporates into the air. This is where the device captures it, uses it to activate pistons attached to a generator to create energy. Water is then condensed and returned back to the original source.