We tend to think of being eco-friendly along quite narrow lines, from recycling our waste to cutting down on energy usage, developing wind farms and solar energy. But there are others, researchers and innovators, who are continuously trying to push the boundaries to make the world a better place to live in.
Bio Fuels from Clothes and Sofas
In Edmonton, Canada, researchers are having a long and critical look at waste sites, taking our discarded shoes, clothes and furniture and turning them into something useful. Heat and pressure are used to break down materials to be used for electricity production, chemicals for plastic, and ethanol for cars, all produced in a matter of minutes.
Too good to be true? New patented technology from Canadian firm Enerkem says otherwise.
Our rubbish is big business in Sweden too. Environmentally friendly energy from waste is being used to power 800,000 Swedish households – their process is so efficient that they have to import waste from other countries including the UK.
And they are very interested in Enerkem’s new technology which could provide an important boost to getting more energy out of our household waste in less time.
Insulating your Home and Office
More and more waste products are being used to produce insulation for our walls and homes. From that old pair of curtains to the carpet on the floor, they can all be used to keep us warm according to James Robinson Textiles Ltd. The process is still in its developmental phase with experiments being undertaken at Salford and Leeds universities but it could be another way that we use our waste to make the world a more eco-friendly place.
Solar Power Takes to the Air
We may in the future also be seeing planes that are powered by solar power. The Solar Impulse has already flown from the West to East Coast in America, and now the Swiss firm that developed it are hoping to fly around the world.
The photovoltaic cells are placed along the plane’s wings and generate the total power to fly the plane. Pilot and developer Bertrand Piccard says that it may seem a strange thing to do but it shows what renewable energies are really capable of if we start to push the boundaries.
It’s hoped the Solar Impulse 2 will begin its round the world trip in 2015 and is expected to take several months with around 20 flights.
Innovation is Booming
Across the globe the growth in sustainable energy research and innovation seems to be growing rapidly, creating new and exciting solutions to the global warming crisis. We appear to have reached the tipping point where ne’er sayers and doubters have had their day – the green agenda is at last moving forward. And with pace.
Nowhere is this more obvious than with the opening recently of the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre in Scotland which is to act as a hub for firms that have renewable focused agendas such as Energy Project Management which is helping develop tidal energy devices and Samsung Heavy Industries which is working on a wind farm installation for the Korean market.
There is no doubt that innovation combined with investment is not only boosting the jobs market but is also pushing the green agenda to greater, and perhaps more useful, heights.