Emerging Green Technologies We Should All Stand Behind

by Klaus on June 26, 2012

in Green Tech

No one could possibly question that the world is changing fast – probably faster than at any era before. Whether you view these developments as positive or not probably depends on your perspective. No one can deny, however, that modern life is placing a new and heavy load on the environment that is not sustainable in the long-term.

Here are several groundbreaking technologies that could make our society much greener. Whether or not they are enough to solve our problems is a question you’ll have to decide for yourself.

1. 3D Printing

Manufacturing has made many incremental developments since the dawn of Industrialization, but few complete revolutions. Manufacturing might be ready for a major change with 3D printing. Instead of starting with a block of material and cutting away to the final product, “additive manufacturing” is far more efficient in its use of materials. The materials for the final product are simply loaded in cartridges like laser toners and the printer lays it down where it is needed. 3D printing could also allow manufacturing “on-site,” decreasing one major environmental problem — transportation.

If 3D printing takes off, the most complicated part of manufacturing right in your home might be finding where to buy printer ink. On the largest scale, huge 3D printers are now capable of extruding concrete, making it possible to construct buildings without the huge waste that has been necessary.

2. Solar Cells

Powering our lives with solar energy has been a dream for decades. Progress has been made as prices slowly fall through advancing technology and increased production. Still, solar power has never come close to delivering on its potential or even making a significant difference on the power grid. One company figured out how to spray on metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent material that functions as a solar cell. The material is even transparent, making it possible to turn existing windows into solar cells.

Another company reconfigured solar cells into small, sparkling units. The goal is to turn solar cells from eyesores into a decorative material. If they actually look good, maybe people will consider adding more solar cells to their houses.

3. Geothermal Reconfigured

Ever wondered why you pay to heat your house all winter and then pay to cool the same space a few months later? An innovative campus in Switzerland pumps their heat underground in the summer, only to use the heat again in the winter. The result is an improvement on geothermal, limiting waste during both seasons of the year through wise energy investment.

4. Liquid Metal Batteries

This technology has existed in some form for a long time, but one researcher is now reconfiguring the concept for large scale use in the power grid. Because renewable power generation like solar and wind has large peaks and troughs, liquid batteries could store power for low times, reducing waste and eliminating dirtier power generation like coal. These liquid metal batteries are also very cheap and made from elements that are readily available. If they could be deployed on a large scale, the positive impact on the power grid and on the environment would be immense.

Each of these technologies exists already and they are growing quickly. None have yet reached anything near their full potential, however. This is what makes them exciting for the future, and another reason to keep a close eye on progress as time goes on. As these and other green technologies have an impact, our world could begin to look like a very difference place!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Aasma June 27, 2012 at 12:48

I’m hearing about “Liquid metal batteries” first time here. Certainly our technology has changed a lot and making both positive and negative impression on our society and environment. And by focusing on Green Technologies we can actually reduce the burden on our environment.
Aasma recently posted… Inventory Software Delhi, Noida, India | Rancor Infotech

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Parminder Singh June 27, 2012 at 16:17

The above points u mentioned are really point to be concerned of these days as seeing the pollution and other materialistic things that are polluting our planet and the effect is indirectly getting on our body ..

Great Points .. If people consider them
Parminder Singh recently posted… Nokia Lumia 900 Price In India with Features, Spec & Launch dates

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Joel Mackey July 6, 2012 at 18:01

I completely agree, the new innovations in solar panels are going to completely change the way we look at generating power. I can’t wait until solar panels become something that you don’t even notice because it blends in with your day to day life. I have also been seeing incredible efficiency improvements in solar panels getting them closer to 50% efficiency which will be incredible. I’m very interested in the geothermal energy you referenced as well. Great post on a wake-up call for some that may not know how amazingly fast things are changing.
Joel Mackey recently posted… Solar Panel Sun Maps

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Angelina July 25, 2012 at 13:32

Everybody want healthy environment, i really want to use this products. Specially metal batteries.

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