A great deal of research has gone into developing useful alternative energy sources. Here’s a look at some of the incredible innovations in the industry.
Beta.Ray: The Magic Sphere
Rawlemon, headed by the German architect Andre Broessel has created a spherical generator called the “beta.ray.” It generates energy twice as effectively as standard solar panels, despite having a smaller surface area.
This spherical solar generator is cost-effective, compact and can be placed on inclined surfaces. Moreover, it is fully functional during the night and in low light areas as it stores energy and can generate power from the moon.
Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS)
Posing as the fountainhead of hope for future generations, Space Solar Power Systems is working on wireless transmission of energy, eliminating the use of conventional cables. The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has successfully demonstrated a trial via a microwave unit and hopes to fully implement this orbiting solar panel technology by 2030.
Tree-Shaped Wind Turbines
The French company New Wind has developed a 26-foot-high, tree-shaped wind turbine that can generate energy from winds moving as slowly as 4.5 mph. The tiny blades inside the “leaves” generate electricity using the smallest of wind currents and more efficiently than conventional wind turbines.
3D-Printed Solar Energy Trees
Recently, 3D printing has moved into the alternative energy field with flexible energy harvesting trees. Made using organic solar cells, the printed trees pick up kinetic energy from wind and heat energy from their surroundings.
They are functional both indoors and outdoors, effectively powering electrical appliances like small air conditioners.
Daniel Nocera and Pamela Silver, professors at MIT, developed the Solar Leaf. The system makes liquid fuel from carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water. The name is derived from the way the system mimics real-life photosynthesis in leaves.
Makani Energy Kite
The Makani Energy Kite is capable of generating 50% more energy while using 90% less material than standard wind turbines. This lightweight gadget, operated by smart software, works in areas where conventional turbines are not suitable.
The kite rises to an altitude of 800 feet with the help of rotors on its wings and utilizes high-energy winds to generate electricity by moving in a circular pattern.
The ground-breaking Hydrobee invention acts as a USB power source from nature. It is the size of a 250-ml can and uses solar, kinetic and thermal energy to spin its turbine and generate electricity. It can be effectively used to power electrical appliances in off-grid areas using water, wind, sun or exercise as a power source.
PowerMod is a 20-by-20-foot portable electricity generator specifically designed for use in areas suffering from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods. Portable and easily assembled in 15 minutes, PowerMod is made of thin fabric coated with a film of solar cells that can produce 4.5 kilowatts per day. It is extremely economical.
Kymogen Wave Generator
The Kymogen Wave Generator generates electricity from tidal movements rather than rushing water. It uses the movement of the waves in lakes, rivers, and seas to drive the flywheel inside its floating platform and generate electricity.
It can generate up to 100 kilowatts per day, which can effectively serve a small village.
Printable Solar Panels
Silicon-based, conventional solar panels are bulky and rigid. Paper-thin printable “solar ink” panels are printed onto plastic rolls up to A3 size and only require an industrial printer.
Various inexpensive methods can be employed to apply the ink, including screen printing and spray coating. Low-cost, lightweight and flexible, solar ink is usable on a wide range of devices and materials, from computers and smartphones to windows and consumer packaging.
Global perceptions on renewable and alternative energy have changed as technologies become more innovative, adaptive and increasingly advanced. These breakthroughs are making renewable energy more accessible, effective and powerful.
The above alternative energy sources contribute to the most efficient use of the Earth’s natural, renewable resources.