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Green & Energy

Renewable Energy Advances At A Mile A Minute

Innovators are being encouraged to create and unveil new eco-friendly energy technologies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for energy. Some interesting sources of energy are being considered, particularly those that harness nature’s energy:
Ocean currents
We already use technology to generate electricity from rivers and ocean waves, but these require a relatively fast flow of water to make the turbines efficient enough to produce significant energy. But, in 2008 a device was developed that generates considerable energy using just a one knot per hour (The Telegraph). This means that ocean currents can now be employed to generate power.

The device is composed of a series of cylinders that are placed perpendicularly to the direction of current. Water flowing past this obstruction causes vortices because of the alteration in water speed, and encourages the cylinders to move up and down, creating a mechanical vibration which is converted to electrical energy. They have proven to generate more energy with lower current flow than a turbine or watermill of the same size.
The system also proves far more cost effective than wind turbines and solar power. A network of cylinders built on an area of sea bed the size of an average city block, and the height of a two-storey building could power 20,000 homes, making it far more space-efficient than wave power generation.
Thermal radiation
The infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum can be harnessed directly from the sun and can be captured while being radiated from the surface of the earth. It would be a waste not to harness this energy since it constitutes more than half of the sun’s radiated energy and can be harvested with very high efficiency.
Instead of using the thermal effect of light a new device has been designed that uses the wave nature of light. Advances in nanotechnology have made this a more viable option in recent years.
Wind turbines
Wind turbines have been around for years, but many nations have been slow to use them to generate renewable energy. Paradoxically, although wind turbines are geared towards renewable energy and conservation, many environmentalists are concerned about the effects they have on birds and bats. While many of our feathered friends meet a tragic end at a turbine’s blade, it seems that, overall, they cause a lot less damage to the environment than fossil fuels.
While much research and funding is going into renewable energy, there is concern that it is nearly too little too late, and the transition to a state of complete reliance on natural energy seems a long way off. As long as nations continue to invest in new coal power stations, claiming that solar and wind power are not reliable enough and don’t produce enough energy to meet our energy requirements, we will be fighting a losing battle. In the meantime, we can all do our small part to recycle, drive smaller cars and be conscious of our carbon footprint.

Featured images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

Written by Jason Ruger on behalf of Not Just Apple, which loves gadgets and technology that are … Not Just Apple.

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