5 Sensational Recent Advances in Alternative Energy
Alternative energy is on just about everyone’s minds these days, and it’s evident in the news stories we’ve been seeing around the web. These are some of the most interesting stories that have caught our attention recently.
In an exciting solar power advance, the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed the first 3D photovoltaic system that collects solar power from underground. Using extremely thin optical fibers, sunlight is captured on a tiny area and produces electricity in a system that is six times more efficient than planar zinc oxide cells with the same surface area. This breakthrough is huge – it could eventually lead to the elimination of large, unsightly solar panels and the installation of photovoltaic systems in new locations.
Have you ever heard of osmotic power? Don’t worry – neither had we. This type of energy generation happens when fresh water is passed through a special membrane into salt water. After over a decade of study and development, Statkraft in Norway recently opened the first osmotic power plant prototype. It won’t wean Norway off of grid electricity just yet, but the technology could evolve to that point in the foreseeable future.
The 2009 Tech Awards in San Jose, California recently crowned From Cows to Kilowatts as a winner in the environmental segment. The idea has slaughterhouse waste – a gigantic environmental burden – being converted into methane gas. The resulting methane can be used in developing countries to generate electricity or as a cooking fuel.
National Geographic says that wind turbines are gaining popularity with families in Denmark. Their short film about a family of seven generating their own electricity with several turbines shows that it is possible to generate not only enough electricity for one family with turbines, but enough to power several homes.
(image via: Pranav)
India’s long-awaited solar power mission was finally officially announced, and it aims to produce 20 gigawatts of solar power by 2022. The plan could reduce greenhouse emissions by an estimated 12-18% and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 434 million tons annually, according to calculations from Greenpeace.