In this blog, we discuss the latest and hottest developments in eco-friendly technologies. The following topics are covered:
- Solar energy
- Wind energy
- Electric cars
- Biodegradable materials
- Water treatment technology
Using solar panels to generate electricity is becoming increasingly popular and the technology is becoming more efficient. Floating solar parks, portable solar power and transparent solar panels are all promising developments in solar energy.
Floating solar parks
Floating solar parks can generate huge amounts of electricity without using expensive land or real estate. Their installation costs are lower and energy production is higher thanks to the cooling effect of water. This makes them ideal for use on lakes, rivers and other bodies of water where the absence of solid ground is a limiting factor.
Portable solar power
The emergence of portable solar power makes it possible to power small, portable devices with their own electricity. It is even possible to incorporate solar cells into clothing, allowing people to generate their own electricity on the go and be less dependent on the grid.
Transparent solar panels
Transparante solar panels are an interesting development because they let sunlight through while generating energy at the same time. They produce green power without compromising the aesthetics of your building. In addition, they can even be integrated into glass facades of buildings, making them a versatile solution for sustainable energy production in urban environments.
Wind power is one of the most promising forms of renewable energy. Below you can read about floating wind farms and rooftop wind energy.
Floating wind parks
One of the newest and most exciting developments in wind energy is the use of floating wind farms. Although floating wind turbines are not yet commonplace, the world's first floating wind farm was opened over Scotland in October 2017 and some turbines are already floating in Japan (source: TNO.nl).
In the Netherlands, the shallow waters of the North Sea make it difficult to anchor wind turbines, but when offshore wind energy is expanded or all offshore turbines are better afloat around 2030, floating wind farms will become a viable option.
Until then, there are many other ways to improve existing wind farms, such as using two degrees of freedom from existing wind turbines. One is to slightly tilt the turbine relative to the wind through a slight rotation around the shaft to deflect the wake. This is called yaw control.
The second option is to rotate the first turbine slower so that more wind is available for the second turbine to generate power. Intelligent, self-propelled wind turbines are also being developed at TU Delft, which can increase energy generation in wind farms (source: tudelft.nl).
Rooftop wind power
Another exciting development in wind power is rooftop wind power. Aeromine Technologies has filed a patent for a new bladeless wind power unit that aims to compete with rooftop solar power as a local source of clean energy that can be integrated into the built environment (source: pv-magazine.com).
The scalable, "motionless" wind power unit can produce 50% more energy than rooftop solar at the same cost, according to the company. This innovation is a game-changer for those looking to generate clean energy on a small scale and can help make renewable energy more accessible to all.
As technology improves and new innovations are developed, wind power will become an even more important part of the global energy mix.
Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as people become more aware of the environmental impact of petrol and diesel vehicles.
One of the most important components of an electric vehicle is the battery, which stores energy to power the vehicle's electric motor. Battery technology has improved significantly in recent years, with improvements in energy density, charging speed and overall performance. The most common type of battery used in electric vehicles is the lithium-ion battery, which is lightweight and has a high energy density.
In recent years, manufacturers have been working to improve the performance of these batteries, with new materials and designs that increase their efficiency and longevity. Some manufacturers are also exploring new battery chemistries, such as solid-state batteries, which promise even higher energy density and faster charging times.
In addition to advances in battery technology, some electric vehicles are also equipped with solar panels to supplement their power supply. While solar panels on a car cannot generate enough energy to fully power the vehicle, they can significantly increase the vehicle's range, especially for short trips.
In some cases, solar panels can even provide enough energy to power some of the vehicle's auxiliary systems, such as air conditioning or the radio.
Biodegradable materials are materials that can be broken down by micro-organisms after use, thus not having a negative impact on the environment. These materials are becoming increasingly popular in the packaging industry and can help reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
The industry is increasingly investing in the development of plant-based materials, including good options for end-of-life materials, such as reuse and biodegradation. This was highlighted at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research's annual CBPM symposium.
In addition to plant-based materials, there are also biodegradable materials made from biopolymers, such as polylactide (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). These materials are increasingly used in the packaging industry, as they can be broken down by micro-organisms after use and thus recycled into the natural cycle.
Biodegradable materials are a promising solution for the packaging industry and help reduce the impact of waste on the environment.
Water treatment technology
Water treatment technology is used to purify wastewater and polluted water so that it can be safely used again for human consumption. This can help reduce pressure on water resources and improve water quality.
Solar-powered treatment plants
Solar-powered treatment plants are treatment plants powered entirely by solar energy. This technology is especially useful in remote areas without access to electricity. The plants use a combination of membrane filtration and UV disinfection to purify water.
Use of algae and other aquatic plants
Algae and other aquatic plants can be used to remove contaminants from water and purify the water. This is also known as phytoremediation, and it can be a sustainable way to purify water in areas where traditional water purification technologies are unavailable or too expensive.
Electrocoagulation (EC) is an electrochemical process that uses metal electrodes to coagulate and remove contaminants in water. EC is a sustainable process as it uses little energy and chemicals and produces no sludge.
These are just a few examples of the many eco-friendly technologies currently available. By using these technologies, we can reduce our impact on the environment.