Technology is the mainspring of the proliferation of green thinking and practices. Despite some setbacks, we are undoubtedly moving forward in this field. The way we live, consume content, and do business is changing rapidly, and many would say that there is no stopping the roaring advance of sustainable technology. In this article, we will cover some amazing novelties and inspect the refined tech workings behind the surge in sustainability. We will analyze both the present capacities and take a peek at what is around the corner.
Everything under the sun
Solar panels are already old news, and now photovoltaic cells are integrated into other surfaces like glass. The company SolarWindow is ahead of the pack: Their flexible, super-thin glass generates energy and can be applied to skyscrapers, cars, and planes. In a nutshell, layers of Liquid Electricity Generating Coating are applied to Corning Willow Glass, and the amalgam is then laminated, which simulates the same process used in the regular glass manufacturing process. The end result is a product called veneer, a glass as thin as a business card, yet capable of harnessing sunlight.
A green mile
Similar technologies are expected to change the face of our concrete jungles, and turn skyscrapers into “vertical power generators”. Likewise, our streets may soon become paths towards a greener future. Patio’s modular paving system that is assembled much like LEGO bricks promises to facilitate this change. Made out of recycled plastic, it harvests renewable energy via mono-crystalline silicon cells that are embedded in a tempered glass. A plastic backing mitigates the damage from walking, while compact modules come together in such as seamless fashion that extra wiring is not needed.
This craze about solar technologies does not mean we will ditch the electric energy. On the contrary, electric vehicles are on the rise, hitting the roads across the globe. Now, one of the main concerns about EVs is charging. Well, Elon Musk has promised that hours-long battery recharge is the thing of the past.
Tesla’s next-gen Supercharger will be able to do this in a matter of minutes, and induce “flash charging”. It will provide at least 350 kW, meaning it will be the fastest-charging unit on the face of the earth and make other stations look like children’s toys.
Let there be light
Home energy consumption is one of the main fronts on which a battle for sustainability is fought. Among other products, LED lighting has contributed to this cause, since it requires four times less energy than incandescent bulbs and lasts ten times longer.
There are many innovators like Industralight that have made these fittings available to the average user, but this is only the beginning. LED lighting already contains advanced sensors and is operable via smartphone apps. Finally, organizations in the league of Sphelar Power have launched portable products that employ onboard solar cells and passively capture energy.
Delivery from above
Drones have become a common sight in many cities, but now we have a chance to witness a new, revolutionary patent by Amazon: The “airborne fulfillment center” with unmanned airborne vehicles. Yes, it is pretty much a giant, mobile flying warehouse. It may sound crazy and is still in a concept stage, but it is actually completely plausible: The facility would be mounted aboard a giant airship, floating at an altitude of around 45,000 feet. Apart from Amazon, institutions like hospitals have been figuring out ways to use drones for providing lightning-fast first aid in the field.
At last, we have to rethink the use of batteries that use toxic and flammable materials, especially in the light of Aquion Energy AHI tech, a solution for clean and cheap energy storage. Namely, Aqueous Hybrid Ion batteries take advantage of salt water-based electrolyte to transmit the charge. Apart from being non-toxic, this solution is also modular, long-lasting, and cannot overheat.
Also, seawater, which is an amazing catholyte, could revolutionize the way we charge our smartphones. Sodium-oxygen batteries are not yet ready for commercial distribution, but they pose a simple and highly effective solution.
The future is now
The strong winds of change are blowing and the man-made ecosystem is impacted by a plethora of sustainable innovations. We are starting to tap into renewable energy and dismantle the grid-connected world. The urban landscape is shifting together with our homes and habits we exhibit. As we have seen, not even the sky is the limit to human ingenuity and engineering prowess. We possess the means, knowledge, and infrastructure to make it happen and solve even the toughest of environmental problems.