clean the worldThe following are five technologies that provide significant contributions to clean the world:

1. Algae

For some, this may not be seen as a technology per se, but algae is actually classified as a biofuel. Making algae involves growing acres upon acres of crops, but they can help clean our planet in a very important way. They can be used to fuel vehicles such as cars and planes. James Murray of the BusinessGreen website says, “those eco-warriors in the US Air Force have already successfully trialed biofuels containing algae, and wider test flights are imminent.”

2. Nuclear Energy

When Albert Einstein reviewed the technology involved with these carbon chains, they were first intended to be used as weaponry. Therefore, he refused to be involved in the Manhattan Project that led to the production of the atomic bomb. However, this same technology has the potential to clean the environment via depletion of greenhouse gas emissions. According to David Doody, writer for GreenBiz, “Nuclear reactor design company Transatomic Power’s Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor and Bill Gates-backed traveling wave reactors are designed to use byproducts of conventional nuclear power production as fuel.” So, rather than use carbon chains as a weapon or create more greenhouse gases, we would use nuclear energy as fuel.

3. Solar Glass

Normally, the first thing people think about when broaching the subject of eco-efficient technology, they might think of wind farms and solar technology. Solar is, at the moment, the most promising renewable energy source. James Murray of BusinessGreen describes solar glass as lightweight and flexible, and the solar cells can be integrated into clothes and even to car park canopies. Eventually, solar cells could be integrated into almost anything.

4. Chemicals

Awareness is continuously being spread about the downsides of using chemicals to clean water. That being said, it’s also possible to clean water with chemicals. There are is a demonstration plant being built in Pennsylvania that aims to clean the water used in the fracking process. This way, oil is still attainable and the water used to attain it can be cleaned. William Kohl, the head of business development for Advanced Water Recovery, say,s “this firm can desalinate water for 70 percent less than current technologies. Cost is generally the biggest factor, keeping more drought-prone regions from building these plants.” That being said, he’s also planning to move in on projects to make drinking water from seawater.

5. Commercialized Carbon

Nuclear technologies that are carbon-based have already been discussed, but what about pure carbon? It can be put underground, but newer companies can harness carbon with their technology and create products, like baking soda or chairs, that people use in their everyday lives. “Once captured through these companies’ technologies, carbon can be used in industrial or commercial production, to produce low-carbon fuels or for other applications.” Yet another solution that can combat climate change and global warming.

Anna Brailow

Sources: Buzzfeed, Greenbiz, CNN
Photo: LibreShot

According to the World Bank, renewable and efficient energy are key to overcoming global poverty. Researchers have recently found that carbon-based materials can offer some of the most effective sources of renewable solar energy.

The first source is an all-carbon solar cell developed by researchers at Stanford University. As the name suggests, the cell uses carbon to replace traditional silver and indium tin oxide, which are far more expensive.

What proves most beneficial about the cell is the consistency. The prototype is a thin film, and because of this, it can be placed on top of existing equipment to gather energy. This means new windows or panes do not need to be retrofitted to the new design. Instead the film can simply be placed on top and the energy will generate.

The product is still in the developmental stages, thus not yet reaching the levels of silicon solar panels. This is partially because the carbon-based material needs infrared light to function. While this is problematic, researchers are confident that they can adjust the material to make it a potent form of energy that can be used around the world.

Another carbon-based material has also been found as an excellent steam generator. Solar-powered steam is effective for electricity, but there are other uses that make it ideal for areas of the world whose only natural resource is sunlight. These include refrigeration, sterilization, chemical purification and waste treatment.

Despite its many beneficial uses, it will be hard to pass these on at a commercial level. While it might take a while, it seems that the researchers at MIT are confident about solar energy.

The verdict on both of these carbon-based materials seems to be similar: they can be quite effective but are still in nascent stages. However, the research that has happened up to this point has proven to be very promising. Researchers have looked into several different solutions to each of the unique problems posed.  The big incentive backing it should be enough cause to act.

– Andrew Rywak

Sources: The Economist, Scientific American, Gizmag
Photo: Gizmag