City Council seeks to Go Green with new energy deal – Hi

TWENTYNINE PALMS — The City is seeking more ways to save money and go green with new energy exploration.

The council adopted a memorandum of understanding with Climatec LLC to review its energy systems to save money and become more eco-friendly.

The Council gave the green light on Feb. 13 to begin negotiations for new energy-efficient plan for public facilities. Climatec, an Irvine-based energy services company hired by the city, is investigating the best energy solutions.

The new plans include installing solar panels, light-emitting diode (LED) technology to streetlights, parking lots and street signage, and upgrading heating and cooling equipment.

The company’s business slogan says it well: “With Climatec, it’s easy being green.”

The City approved a memo of understanding 5-0 to move forward with the feasibility study with Climatec, LLC.

Frank Mann, an account executive for Climatec, shared project details with the City Council on Feb. 13 that the project would decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce operational costs for the city and guarantee financial results.

“Our goal is to reduce energy cost,” Mann said. “You’ve already upgraded a lot of your lighting. You’ve done a good job of caring for your city.”

The feasibility study to review the city’s complete energy program will take about 4 to 6 weeks from start to finish. City staff will present a final contract to the City Council in the future.

“I have great confidence with Frank Mann and Climatec,” City Manager Frank Luckino said. “There are no costs today — This is only to analyze it.”

The total energy overhaul will cost in the neighborhood of $1 to 2 million with a savings of at least $1.5 two 2 million, Mann said.

“You do not have to put any capital to fund it,” Mann said. “We’re looking for funding anywhere we can.”

Mann praised the city’s excellent partnerships with Southern California Edison for its many energy upgrades and lighting improvements.

“We’ve got an idea for new lighting at the dog park,” Mann said, adding it would use solar with batteries.

A few of the city’s roofs will need repairs too along with upgrades to the city’s pool covers, Mann said. He also said about 11 of the city’s facilities would benefit from solar projects. There were no questions from the public after Mann’s presentation.

“There will be a competitive process for vendors,” said Mann. “We try to use the local labor when we can.”

Since 1975, Climatec has been in business aiming to help make buildings safer, more comfortable and efficient. The company is now part of the successful Bosch energy family.

“Climatec is the largest privately owned building technology in the nation,” Luckino said.

Luckino added that Climatec is a “partner with League of Cities.”

Climatec, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, promises to deliver a long list of products and services to help create buildings that are “efficient and friendly to both your bottom line and to the environment,” according to the company’s website.

Construction underway for on-farm dairy RNG project

Renewable Dairy Fuels (RDF), a business unit of AMP Americas, announced from the recent 2018 Rethink Methane Symposium that construction is underway on the country’s largest on-farm anaerobic digester-to-vehicle fuel operation.

Located in Fair Oaks, IN, the dairy project will be the company’s second biogas facility producing renewable natural gas from dairy waste for transportation fuel. Amp Americas received the first dairy waste-to-vehicle fuel pathway certified by California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) for its first RNG project at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana.

The new facility will be 50% larger than RDF’s operation at Fair Oaks Farms and will be operational this summer, the company noted. The site is just a few miles from Fair Oaks Farms.

Every day, three digesters located at three dairy farms will convert 950 tons of dairy waste from 16,000 head of milking cows into renewable transportation fuel. The RNG will then be injected into the NIPSCO pipeline. Each of the digesters is a DVO, Inc. designed and built Mixed Plug Flow digester, the company explained.

“Transportation is now the largest source of greenhouse gases in the U.S., and a major source of smog-causing pollution. It is more important than ever to drive further adoption of clean and efficient domestic RNG within the trucking industry,” said Grant Zimmerman, CEO at AMP Americas. “There isn’t enough RNG being produced to meet customer demand. Our new project will help make strong headway toward closing the supply gap.”

SBCC forms sustainability workgroup to advance progress as an …

The garden is one of many sustainable locations that City College has installed. It is located outside the City College West Campus Cafeteria.

With the creation of City College’s first Sustainability Workgroup, the college now has a team dedicated to coordinating the efforts of the numerous sustainability groups on campus.

In September 2014, campus leaders banded together to create the first document in City College’s history to unite sustainability initiatives under common goals, giving life to the City College’s District Sustainability Plan. However, no one group had existed to act as an organizing body to lead the campus’ sustainability efforts until the Sustainability Workgroup was formed, according to Lyndsay Maas, vice president of business services.

Although there is still much work that needs to be done, a substantial portion of the plan’s five overall goals—to substantially reduce waste, increase energy-efficiency, decrease water usage, reduce single-passenger commutes, and provide more vegetarian meals on campus—have been accomplished since the plan’s implementation. 

In regards to campus waste, 100 percent of all food scraps leftover from meal preparation in the cafeteria are now composted. A comprehensive waste audit has also been completed to identify what types of waste are and are not being diverted from landfill.

Unfortunately, the campus only has a single composting bin for consumers, located in the cafeteria. Furthermore, the corporation that collects the college’s compost, Marborg, has a policy of not composting the contents of a compost bin if it is contaminated with 1 percent or more of items other than food, such as plastic.

According to Adam Green, professor of environmental studies, we may not even be including the contents of the bin into the college’s larger food compost bin which is collected by Marborg—it is possible none of it is being composted most of the time because of how contaminated the bin usually is.

“This is one of the most challenging areas of waste diversion for us and everyone else,” Green said.

Student groups such as the Energy Collective Club and the Student Sustainability Coalition have taken the initiative to build a number of renewable energy powered projects, including two phone-charging stations within the last three years. City College also has installed solar panels on West Campus that generate about 10 percent of the total energy the District uses.

One of the largest obstacles yet to be overcome for the college to become more energy efficient lies in the cost of installing energy meters for most buildings on campus. According to Green, each meter will likely cost several thousand dollars— perhaps as much as $10,000.

Although the total energy used by the campus is known (West Campus and East Campus each have a single meter that measures their total energy usage), the college does not know how much energy each specific building is using, so it is difficult to determine how best to proceed with energy-efficiency efforts.

On the transportation front, the college is encouraging a switch from single passenger commutes to commuting more sustainably through a program where college employees can be paid $2 per day (maximum of $40 per month) by the college for not commuting alone by car. Instead, the program asks people to commute using one of its approved methods of transportation, such as bicycling or carpooling. Unfortunately, student workers are not eligible for this particular program—but there are other programs students can join to reward them for commuting more sustainably.

These incentive programs, as well as the opening of a branch of Bici Centro at City College, has helped to increase the number of people who ride their bikes considerably.

“I feel that Bici Centro has really increased the number of bikers on campus because people now have a place to repair their bike on campus and purchase gear,” said Sergio Garcia, who manages Bici Centro’s City College branch during school hours. “Before Bici Centro came, you would not have seen as many bikers on campus as you do now– now they’re everywhere.”

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Partners consider renewable methanol project in Rotterdam …

A consortium of companies comprising Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam has signed a project development agreement covering initial investments in an advanced waste-to-chemistry facility in Rotterdam.

The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe to provide a sustainable alternative solution for non-recyclable wastes, converting waste plastics and other mixed wastes into new raw materials.

The initial investments, which cover detailed engineering, the setup up of a dedicated joint venture and completing the permitting process, will be worth €9 million. The consortium aims to take the final investment decision (FID) for the estimated €200-million project later in 2018 and has appointed Dutch Rabobank as the lead advisor for the financing process.

Realization of the project is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs Climate policy, which have agreed to develop mechanisms and regulation that will help bring this new technology to full scale to support the low-carbon transition of the Dutch economy. The waste-to-chemistry project is also supported by the city of Rotterdam, the Province of Zuid-Holland and InnovationQuarter, the regional development agency.

The facility will convert up to 360,000 tons of waste into 220,000 tons (270 million liters) of “green” methanol. As an equivalent, this represents the total annual waste of more than 700,000 households and represents a CO2 emission savings of about 300,000 metric tons.

“This is an important milestone for the project and a significant step toward implementing a sustainable and circular chemical industry,” says Marco Waas, Director RDI at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, who leads the consortium’s Steering Committee. “The agreement comes at a very appropriate time given the current challenges in plastics recycling in Europe. We can convert non-recyclable waste, into methanol, an essential raw material for many everyday products, including low carbon transportation fuel. Not only can this be used in the existing supply chains and replace fossil sources, but it also avoids CO2 emissions otherwise produced by burning waste.”

The facility will be built within the Botlek area of the Port of Rotterdam using Enerkem’s proprietary technology, and will convert non-recyclable mixed waste, including plastics, into syngas and then into clean methanol for use in the chemical industry and for the transportation sector. Today, methanol is generally produced from natural gas or coal. The plant will have two production lines, or twice the input capacity of Enerkem’s commercial-scale plant in Edmonton, Canada. It will benefit from the state-of-the-art infrastructure available within the Port of Rotterdam, as well as synergies with Air Liquide (large industries) for supplying the required oxygen and together with AkzoNobel, the raw material hydrogen. AkzoNobel also acts as a customer for the methanol.

“This is another exciting and important step getting us closer to launching the construction of our very first advanced biorefinery facility in Europe in 2018,” says Vincent Chornet, president and CEO of Enerkem. “As part of this innovative consortium, Enerkem will be the technology provider, lead contractor as well as an equity partner in the project.”

 

 

Craft Beer vs. Domestic: Which Is More Eco-Friendly?

If you watched the Super Bowl, you saw how much money the international mega brew powerhouse Anheuser-Busch has to throw around. It had hundreds of people dressed in full suits of armor pretending to risk their lives and go into battle for a taste of Bud Light beer. Supposedly this silliness is going to make you want to drink a watered-down version of an already simple-tasting pale yellow brew.

greener beerCraft beer companies don’t have that kind of money. And if they did, they wouldn’t waste it on actors to dress up as knights. Craft brewers are more focused on building their customer base with bold new flavors of beer with catchy names that are fun to say. Craft beers tend to be more local and focused on the community where it is made.

While some enjoy nationwide appeal, most local brews make their beer onsite and distribute it locally. You see few craft beer trucks in your travels. These are all generalizations, of course, and there are many exceptions.

Big beer conglomerates like Anheuser-Busch spend a lot of money on advertising and distribution, and they fight to maintain their market share — upon which craft beer is encroaching. Craft beer makers are generally local enterprises that keep their beer and money in the community. They tend to be more organic and more eco-friendly. Let’s look at some of the ways smaller breweries are attempting to help the environment.

Saving Water During Beer Making

To make beer, you have to use a lot of water. For each gallon of beer produced, a brewery will go through four to five gallons of water. This results in a great deal of wastewater. As the number of breweries increase, so do the demands on the local community’s wastewater treatment plants.

Brewery wastewater has the potential to be converted into biogas, which can be used as a fuel. Some breweries look into this process as a way to cut their water and energy consumption while increasing production.

Lagunitas Brewing Company has used these methods to generate 15 percent of the brewery’s electricity needs and 7% of the required heat in the brewing process. In doing so, it has cut its water use by 40% and reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,600 metric tons.

Reducing Emissions and Energy Consumption From Beer Making

The Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau, Alaska, operates its brewery under a “zero net negative effect” mission. It is committed to reclaiming and reusing whatever waste or remissions it produces.

It used some of the waste byproducts to fuel its packaging process. Spent grains are dried out and shipped to farmers across the country to use as fertilizer or feed.

The New Belgium Brewing Company in Collins, Colorado, has intensified its recycling process in an effort to become a zero waste facility. It has cut its CO2 emissions by 25% and kept over 99% of its waste from going into landfills.

The Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York, operates its brewing production entirely off of wind energy. It employs solar panels in its storage facilities that generate about a third of the necessary power required. It recycles all of its paper, plastic and glass. Its spent grain is used as pig feed.

Pursuing Alternative Energy

So what about Anheuser-Busch? What is the beer conglomerate doing to help out the environment?

According to an article published this month, Anheuser-Busch InBev is committed to getting energy from green renewable resources. Anheuser-Busch strives to be 100% reliant on renewable energy by 2025.

It wants to reduce fossil fuel use to zero in that time as it will be good for the environment and good for business. Its goal is to create onsite power grids and reduce its carbon footprint by 35%.

So the big-league guys aren’t all bad. Every big business must address sustainability and the effects its production has on the environment. Still, there are other reasons to enjoy craft beer instead of a macrobrew, too, such as:

  • Abundant Flavors: Try something different. Admittedly “peach pumpkin ale” sounds disgusting, but can you knock it if you haven’t tried it? Plus, they aren’t all like that. Many craft beers are just wholesome, good beers with bold flavors. They don’t need chocolate or cranberries in them. Give a few a try. You can always go back to Bud Light.
  • Supporting Local Businesses: When you spend money to buy a growler of craft beer, you keep your money in the local economy. It isn’t wired across the country to a big beer conglomerate. Supporting local breweries helps the economy and keeps the good beer brewing.
  • Helping the Environment: When you buy craft beer from a local brewery, you also save on packaging and delivery costs. Your beer comes right from where it was produced. It isn’t shipped hundreds or thousands of miles on a stinky diesel truck polluting its way across the country.

So keep an open mind and a full glass. Craft beer is popular for many reasons, and its market share is growing. It’s good beer. It comes in many varieties and flavors that appeal to a larger consumer base. And the makers care about the environment. They spend their money on making good beer, not dressing people in suits of armor and yelling “dilly-dilly” until we are crazy enough to buy their beer. 

 

Buckingham Palace talks eco-friendly initiative | Well+Good

Despite Cape Town‘s water crisis, global warming worsening, and pollution smothering the environment, efforts have been made to slow the rate at which the world is imploding. Some celebrities have been vocal in urging humans to be better to nature. There’s Leonardo DiCaprio, who encouraged us to eat Beyond Meat, Emma Watson, who sported eco-friendly fashion, and now Queen Elizabeth, who is royally banning plastic from Buckingham Palace as part of a larger green initiative.

According to The Telegraph, as a piece of a decade-long $512 million renovation of the palace to make it more sustainable and environmentally friendly, the Queen has decided to phase out plastic materials. This affects areas including the public cafés, staff dining rooms, and catered events (which will use china or biodegradable cutlery). A palace spokesperson told The Telegraph that “across the organization, the Royal Household is committed to reducing its environmental impact.”

To improve energy consumption and efficiency by 40 percent, the palace plans to install solar panels and an anaerobic digestion unit, which generates fuel from food and organic waste. The total efforts would reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 554 tons a year.

To improve energy consumption and efficiency by 40 percent, the palace reports it also plans to install solar panels and an anaerobic digestion unit, which generates fuel from food and organic waste. Ground source heat pumps and electrical heating, among other measures, are also being considered. In total, the efforts would reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 554 tons a year, according to the palace.

And the Queen is really putting her money where her mouth is by no longer giving royal warrants (basically a royal seal of approval) to companies that are complicit in pollution. Companies applying for royal warrants must now prove they are not polluting the planet, The Telegraph reports.

Next maybe the royal family will publicly switch to five-free nail polishes?

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, Buckingham Palace might also be full of facial massages and Pilates classes

Renewable energy group launches Mich. ballot campaign

Lansing — Michigan electric providers would be required to produce at least 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030 under a potential ballot proposal organizers hope to put before voters this fall.

A group called Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan is preparing to launch a petition drive this week for a statutory initiative designed to increase development of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.

Clean energy and environmental advocates lost a similar fight in 2012, when utilities opposed and voters soundly rejected a proposed constitutional amendment for a 25 percent renewable requirement by 2025.

In an exclusive interview with The Detroit News ahead of the new campaign’s launch, organizer John Freeman said he believes there is now a stronger base of support.

“Our country and our state has taken significant steps towards embracing renewable energy,” said Freeman, a former state legislator and executive director of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.

The committee intends to use a combination of paid and volunteer circulators to collect at least valid 252,523 within a 180-day window to make the November ballot. They’ll use initial funding from billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer’s NextGen America nonprofit, Freeman said.

A 2016 Michigan law signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder requires that renewables must account for 15 percent of an electric provider’s portfolio by 2022. The state first adopted a 10 percent by 2015 standard under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.

“The renewable portfolio standard has been an incredibly successful public policy tool,” Freeman said, arguing the requirements have helped create jobs, reduce costs, curb pollution and benefit public health in Michigan.

The 2012 ballot campaign was an expensive loss for clean energy advocates, who spent more than $14 million on the effort but were outspent by opponents, including the state’s two largest utilities, according to data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

DTE Energy of Detroit and Consumers Energy of Jackson contributed a combined $24.1 million to a $25.3 million opposition campaign that warned against writing an “artificial government mandate” into the state constitution and argued it would increase electric bills.

Nearly two out of three voters opposed the measure, which was defeated 62 to 38 percent. Voters rejected five other proposed constitutional amendments that year and overturned the state’s emergency manager law that legislators quickly replaced.

The new proposal would write the renewable requirement into law rather than the constitution.

Freeman said organizers have had “cordial” conversations with DTE and Consumers but acknowledged “they don’t necessarily agree with us that the renewable portfolio standard is the way to go.”

But he argued that increasing required renewable generation would provide “market certainty” for utilities while continuing to drive down costs of renewable technology for customers.

The renewable energy requirement would increase to 18 percent by 2022, 21 percent by 2024, 24 percent by 2026, 27 percent by 2028 and 30 percent by 2030.

Like the 2012 version, the new proposal would cap resulting rate increases by electric providers. Utilities could not charge residential customers more than an average of $2 per month to implement the renewable standard.

Electric providers could use municipal solid waste or landfill gas to reach the renewable requirement, but energy derived from pet coke, scrap tires, coal waste or other hazardous waste would not qualify.

The Board of State Canvassers is set to consider the petition Tuesday. If approved as to form, organizers plan to begin collecting signatures immediately.

joosting@detroitnews.com

Greenfield worker-owned PV Squared solar firm earns national kudos

“Solar (energy) is worth looking into for everyone,” Josh Hilsdon says with certainty.

He is the commercial design and sales consultant for Pioneer Valley PhotoVoltaics Cooperative Inc., also known as PV Squared, an employee-owned and certified B corporation solar installation company headquartered in Greenfield.

Benefits of both home and business solar energy solutions include direct ownership of equipment, long-term cost savings, spending in the local economy and eco-friendly power. “It’s a strategic investment that pays for itself and is a more attractive alternative than continuing to pay utilities with no end in sight,” Hilsdon says.

“And more and more people are realizing this,” adds Adam Thurrell, president of the board and operations team leader.

PV Squared received company accreditation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, an accreditation awarded to companies that meet a rigorous set of standards regarding installation, employee training and qualification, safe work practices and customer accountability. The company joins seven other accredited companies and is the first located in New England.

PV Squared is regarded as a socially responsible leader in the field of solar design, installation and maintenance. It has provided renewable energy solutions to a range of clients, including business owners, commercial property owners, farmers, academic institutions and homeowners since 2002.

The business employs 44 people, 24 of whom are co-owners.

In 2016, PV Squared completed 188 projects in the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas, installing 2.5 megawatts of solar power.

According to Stacy A. Metzger, general manager, PV Squared expects to install 3.5 megawatts in 2018.

“The beauty of solar is you don’t have to pay for sunlight,” Hilsdon says. “Once you pay off the equipment, energy is free (under the direct ownership model).”

To qualify for a solar array, a customer must own the property, have sufficient sunlight and use electricity.

“Renewable energy is the fastest-growing source of new energy generation in the country,” says Andrew S. Toomajian, a design and sales team member.

And business grows as customers become more familiar with renewable energy through systems their friends, family or neighbors install. “When you have solar on your home, you are more resilient to electric grid price changes, volatilities,” Metzger adds.

PV Squared solar energy systems range in price from less than $20,000 to more than $40,000, and the company offers financing options.

PV Squared operates from Worcester to the New York state border and from the Connecticut state line into Vermont. It offers solar design, installation, service, maintenance and repair for residential, commercial, agricultural, institutional and custom projects. To learn more about the company, visit its website, pvsquared.coop.

EPA’s Scott Pruitt touts renewable energy in New England

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt gave hydroelectric power plants the Trump administration’s seal of approval, as he continued his tour of New England Wednesday.

“EPA will continue to work with our partners in the states to make responsible use of our country’s tremendous natural resources,” Pruitt said after touring FirstLight Energy’s Northfield Mountain Generating Station in Massachusetts with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Neil Chatterjee.

The tour followed Pruitt’s visit Tuesday to New Hampshire, where he said his agency is working with the Energy Department and others to help the state use timber waste, referred to as biomass, as a renewable energy resource. Wednesday marked the second day Pruitt played up a renewable energy resource that has administration support.

The EPA said the Trump administration is “committed to meeting U.S. energy needs by utilizing hydroelectric power.” The hydroelectric facility uses the Connecticut River to power more than one million houses in the region.

Pruitt said he and Chatterjee “saw firsthand the way this facility uses innovative technology to power the region.”

The company that owns the Northfield facility was called upon during last month’s winter storm by the FERC-overseen New England grid operator to provide power to the grid amid soaring demand for electricity for heating. As the Connecticut power plant ramped up, the water level at its dam fell below required levels.

However, FERC, which licenses hydropower dams, said in a letter that it would not take punitive action against the company since the power was requested by the Independent System Operator and the company consulted with necessary agencies.

The letter underscored a key facet of President Trump’s infrastructure plan, which calls for streamlining environmental rules and giving one agency the final authority in issuing a permit or license for a project. The FirstLight facility at Candlewood Lake was required to file with FERC, Interior Department wildlife regulators and state offices to ensure it did not violate the parameters of its FERC license during the emergency weather event.

Trump’s “one agency, one permit” concept would designate “a lead federal agency” to meet a two-year deadline of issuing one final decision for a major project.

The issue of grid reliability also was raised during Wednesday’s visit, according to John Shue, a senior vice president at FirstLight.

Pruitt also visited EPA’s Region 1 office that covers New England to discuss toxic cleanup at Superfund sites in the region and its efforts to work with state and local emergency responders on protecting communities from dangerous chemical accidents.

6 Innovations That Are Shaping the Future of Solar Energy

People around the globe are bearing the brunt of global warming and depletion of non-renewable resources, making it crucial for us to come up with sustainable solutions that minimize our carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions. Harnessing renewable sources of energy, namely sunlight, water, and wind can significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, producing clean energy that is free of harmful emissions.

With 173 thousand terawatts of solar energy striking our planet each year, solar energy is the largest source of renewable and clean energy for mankind. This energy source offers ten-thousand times the energy required by people worldwide. Because of its real potential for replacing fossil fuels and fostering a green future, solar energy is making it into the mainstream.

Technology is empowering people to salvage the sun’s energy in a low-maintenance and cost-effective manner. Over the past decade, the solar power industry has seen several technological innovations, making a serious impact on the world’s energy systems.

If you desire to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, here are six intriguing solar innovations that you need to understand.

1) Solar Windows

Solar windows are made of solar panels that harvest the energy from the sun, converting it into electricity. These panels retrofit all types of windows, helping building owners achieve partial independence from the power grid.

Over 54 percent of the electricity consumed globally comes from burning fossil fuels, contributing to 99 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The installation of solar windows can significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, ensuring a sustainable future for all.

Solar Window

Organizations have used organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology to develop electricity-generating see-through windows, turning commercial buildings, towers, and skyscrapers into vertical power generators. Scientists working on this project claim that installing solar windows on a 50-story tower can reduce carbon emissions equivalent to that emitted by 2.2 million vehicles per year.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is working on introducing switchable solar windows with glasses that change from clear to colored in the presence of sunlight. Though this project has a long way to go before it enters the commercialization phase, it is expected to drastically improve our dependence on renewable energy resources.

The solar window can convert every window into a source of electricity, paving the way for a zero-emission and sustainable future.

2) Solar Transportation

Solar transportation has come a long way since 2013, when Australia introduced the first solar-powered bus that generates zero emissions.

Moreover, the airline industry is undergoing a revolutionary change with new prototypes, like the Solar Impulse 2; it was the first solar-powered airplane and it made a historic trip around the globe. The aircraft carries more than 17 thousand photovoltaic cells that charge the solar batteries, enabling the jet to stay aloft for days on end.

Solar Airline

Several countries are likely to harness the power of solar energy by introducing numerous solar airline projects, solar-powered bus stops, solar boats, and other vehicles, ensuring a clean and fossil fuel-free future in transportation.

3) Solar Fashion

The concept of solar-reliant attire has been in development for over a decade, with prominent fashion labels longing to lure shoppers with innovative apparel and fashion accessories that can charge mobile phones and wearable devices.

With the world moving towards a sustainable future, researchers are working on embedding flexible solar panels into the fabric, enabling every person to harness renewable solar energy. Pauline van Dongen, a well-known Dutch fashion designer, has created an entire collection of shirts, parkas, and high-end fashion wear that can produce up to one watt of electricity – enough to charge phones, MP3 players, and other hand-held gadgets for a few hours.

Several other firms are introducing solar-powered sunglasses, jewelry, watches, and backpacks to revolutionize the fashion industry while moving towards a renewable future.

4) Solar Power Harvesting Trees

Solar power harvesting trees are tapping the infinite energy of the sun, offering an innovative way to generate clean energy. Scientists at the VTT Technical Center of Finland have developed prototype plants that harvest solar energy and store it to power devices – namely mobile phones, laptops, LED street lights, and electric vehicles.

Solar Tree

With sustainability being the focus of upcoming Expo 2020 to be hosted in Dubai, solar trees will be a crucial architectural component of the exhibition pavilion. These powerhouses can be placed in deserts, office car parks, golf courses, business parks, and malls; adding aesthetic value to the area whilst harnessing renewable energy.

5) Solar Desalination

Desalination, a technique of extracting salt and minerals from saline water, has been in use for generations. In fact, an estimated 300 million people get their freshwater supply from nearly 19 thousand desalination plants around the globe.

With solar energy touching every aspect of human life, solar-powered machines can now help solve the looming water crisis. Scientists have come up with a revolutionary solution to make freshwater available in drought-plagued areas. The solar desalination system uses a combination of membrane distillation technology and sunlight-harvesting nanophotonic cells to convert salty or brackish water into fresh drinking water.

With the planet running perilously low on accessible freshwater supplies, this novel technology is all set to solve the water shortage in parched and arid regions.

6) Photobiological Cells

Though a lot of research and investment is being done on widening the applications of photovoltaic cells, BioSolar Cells, an extensive research project involving ten knowledge institutions and 45 private industries, is exploring the role of photobiological cells in producing green energy.

The BioSolar Cells project aims fore a sustainable production of energy, biomass, and food using photosynthesis. These cells improve the efficiency of the process by which plants, algae, and bacteria capture energy from the sun.

Furthermore, researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed novel fuel cells, namely biological photovoltaics (BPV) that use a photosynthetic material in algae to capture solar energy, directly converting it into electricity. Once these ‘living solar panels’ are ready for use, they will emerge as an environmentally-friendly and low-cost approach to harness solar power and generate green energy.

Several winning innovations are helping people and organizations harness the unlimited power of the sun. The above-mentioned innovations will help you appreciate the technological advancements that are shaping the future of solar power.


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