The need to innovate in renewable technologies to improve the existing or provide new solutions is essential in order to achieve a better response in the global fight against climate change.
Likewise, improving green energy options is betting on a greener environment, which in turn means improving quality of life in a myriad of social and personal aspects.
- Light and powerful electric aircraft and generators
- Volcanoes and geothermal energy
- Solar foil
- Salt and glass, keys to solar energy
- Taking advantage of photosynthesis
Lightweight and powerful electric aircraft and generators
In order to lower the cost of superconducting materials , those that conduct electrical current without resistance or loss of energy, the new invention from the Eurotapes consortium proposes a novel material that could offer the much-desired cost efficiency and transmission effectiveness.
Years of research have gone into finally proposing an alternative that could “revolutionize renewable energy production.” For now, they have created “600 meters of superconducting tape” at low cost using a copper oxide that conducts one hundred times more electricity than copper, five times the power and allows to create cables to transport electricity without losses.
Its applications in wind power could mark a before and after in the sector, being able to double the power and lightness of the turbines or, for example, it would also be very useful to design lighter electric aircraft.
Volcanoes and geothermal energy
Volcanoes also have great potential to revolutionize the geothermal lowering its cost and environmental impact. Or, at least, this is what a group of geologists from the Iceland Deep Drilling Project who are conducting field work in Iceland are trying to demonstrate.
Its objective is to pierce the heart of an Icelandic volcano up to 5 kilometers deep in order to find an inexhaustible source of energy.
Finding what is known as “supercritical steam” would allow the energy obtained to be multiplied by ten, in relation to the steam performance of traditional geothermal wells . But for this they need that steam rise to the surface. If successful, geothermal energy would multiply its productivity in these environments.
The solar sheet is an interesting alternative to traditional panels that could be added as an alternative to conventional photovoltaic technology, currently the main engine of renewable energy.
In this way, photovoltaic energy would not always be synonymous with solar panels. With new technologies such as the one named Sunflare, solar cells can be installed much more easily on a myriad of surfaces , since they are flexible and lightweight.
The father of this invention is a start-up from Los Angeles, in the United States, whose goal was to make it so thin that it was possible to fix it with a “special double-sided tape”, explains the company’s founder, Lean Gao.
It is made of gallium, copper, indium and selenide, it does not have a glass substrate and is low cost. Its productivity is higher than other panels , but there is still a long way to go in this regard.
Salt and glass, keys to solar energy
Obtaining solar energy from salt and glass is not a utopia. It is basically a more sophisticated formula for obtaining solar energy, which finds practical application in the Crescent Dunes project.
To have before our eyes the mammoth project, a very particular solar thermal plant , we have to go to the Nevada desert, in the United States. The ensemble is made up of ten thousand silver glass panels each measuring around 115 square meters, surrounding a central tower.
Instead of seeing conventional photovoltaic panels, we see mirrors that follow the movement of the king star throughout the day, while heading towards the tower to reflect light on it, where molten salt is used to store electricity.
Now it has an installed power of 110 MW and can supply energy up to 10 hours after nightfall thanks to this storage system, a revolutionary solution to avoid the well-known problem of intermittent energy sources , such as the wind or the sun. .
Taking advantage of photosynthesis
Finally, generating energy through vegetables can be a fruitful path that brings great joys. Specifically, progress is being made in obtaining green energy by taking advantage of the photosynthesis phenomenon.
Overall performance is still very low , a few volts, but it could help power mobile devices until technology advances enough to improve performance. Asked to ask, scientists do not rule out being able to apply this mechanism on a large scale, based on the production of substances such as sugars to generate electrons that are later converted into electricity.
We are currently living in a period of lights and shadows . On the one hand, greenhouse gas emissions are tremendous, although the fight against climate change has acquired a global dimension. On the other hand, we continue to depend on fossil fuels, although the transition to a low-carbon world has started.
Or, of course, it is necessary to point here the denialism of Donald Trump and the risk that this implies when stopping global warming while, on the other hand, scientists are advancing more than ever in their understanding of climate change and find a predicament that was once unimaginable.
In this turbulent landscape, the role of renewable energy is key to tipping the balance on the green side. But to constitute a viable alternative that also helps to combat climate change in time, it is necessary to move quickly towards energy efficiency that allows to face up to traditional options.
Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, is also one of the greatest leaders of public opinion, and in this respect he is clear. In his view, the fact that renewable energy is advancing in an astonishing way does not mean that it is enough. On the contrary, he believes that more innovation in clean energy is needed.
“The planet needs reliable, cheap and clean energy , and achieving this is only possible with profound innovations,” explains the founder of Microsoft. In fact, Gates leads by example, as we remember his promise at the Paris climate summit (COP21), together with a group of investors who are also billionaires, to invest more than a billion dollars in a fund for this purpose.
In addition to these impulses that are still promises, there are endless proposals that go in this direction, many of them still simple inventions, supported by patrons such as these or institutional grants, as well as carried out in university or business laboratories.
Others, because there are also them, are real businesses that are generating wealth and who knows, perhaps some of them will revolutionize the future of renewable energy and, with it, save that of humanity or, at least, help to do so.
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