When people think of tech innovations, they might think of examples like 5G mobile data transfer speeds or 4K streaming video over the Internet. However, tech innovations exist in many forms that are all intended to make the planet greener.
Some of those eco-friendly ideas are commonplace and can be seen in many places, while others may only be gaining traction in densely-populated nations.
If you're keen to learn more about the technology making planet Earth greener, check out these ten amazing examples:
1. Solar power technology
The most common tech innovation that you'll come across in your daily life is solar power technology. Photovoltaic (PV) cells capture the sun's energy and harness it into usable forms, such as electricity, heating, and lighting.
PV cells can be found on the roofs of houses, buildings, street lights and traffic signs. The increasing demand for solar power technology is helping to drive down installation costs, making it more accessible for homeowners and businesses.
2. Smart grid technology
Utility companies traditionally relied on customers to provide meter readings so they could produce accurate bills. They also had to use archaic methods of data analysis for understanding supply and demand.
Unfortunately, there are many flaws to those methods. Thankfully, smart grid technology helps combat those problems and more. For example, smart meters installed at each customer's premises provide suppliers with real-time usage information.
3. Recycling and waste reduction technologies
There's no denying that recycling helps divert waste from landfill sites. Most people know how to categorize their waste and deposit it in the most appropriate recycling options at their homes and businesses.
Technology is helping to revolutionize recycling even further. For example, more companies are using plastic and cardboard from sustainable (previously-recycled) sources. Additionally, industrial-scale sorting facilities ensure fewer missorted items are sent to landfill sites.
4. Carbon capture and storage
Another exciting way that technology is helping to make the planet greener is through carbon capture and storage. One example is managing coal combustion residuals (CCR) - coal ash - from power stations and landfill sites.
There's a full write-up at https://www.scsengineers.com/services/coal-combustion-residuals/ on the subject. The link describes the various methods and processes that help minimize CCR waste and help companies comply with various environmental regulations.
5. Plant-based bioplastics
It's no secret that plastic isn't generally an eco-friendly material to use as it takes a very long time to break down and significantly contributes to the world's waste problems. Thankfully, it's now possible to use bioplastics - plastics manufactured from plant-based sources.
Plant-based bioplastics come from sustainable sources, such as corn starch, sugarcane, and cellulose from plants, rather than fossil fuels.
6. Hydroelectric power
Believe it or not, some folks aren't aware that the powerful flow of water can be harnessed as a means of generating electricity. Examples of hydroelectric power generators include:
- Three Gorges Dam (China) - located on the Yangtze River, it can generate around 22,500 MW of electricity and is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world
- Robert-Bourassa Dam (Canada) - this Quebec-based hydroelectric power station generates 5,616 MW of electricity
7. Wind turbines
Wind power generation is as popular and commonplace as solar power technology. Wind turbines convert kinetic energy from the wind into electricity and are usually installed in groups of wind farms.
The technology might seem like a recent innovation, but people have been toying with the idea since 10-70 CE (the wind wheel of Hero of Alexandria is the earliest known example - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_wind_power#Antiquity).
8. Energy storage systems
Solar, hydroelectric, and wind power technology requires ways of storing the electricity they produce. Continued innovations in energy storage systems, such as batteries and thermal solutions, make it possible to store this electricity safely and in abundance.
9. Eco-friendly building materials
Construction of new homes, offices, and other commercial and industrial buildings is constantly happening. The construction industry is one of many niches taking advantage of sustainable tech innovations, and it does so through the building materials used in each project.
Examples of eco-friendly building materials include bamboo for flooring and cabinetry, cork for insulation, and rammed earth for walls.
10. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
One final tech innovation to mention relates to transport, and while it's easy to think about electric vehicles or EVs, the spotlight is actually on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles! Here's why they are better than EVs:
- Lower carbon footprint
- Lightweight powertrains
- Higher range
The only downside is that there aren't many hydrogen fueling stations compared with EV charging points (yet).
Indeed, with environmental issues becoming prevalent, more and more tech innovations are being developed to create a more sustainable future. What examples of green technology really fascinated you and you think has the potential of creating a big impact on environmental conservation while promoting economic growth? Share in the comments section.