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The modern economy depends on oil, gas, and coal to provide the vast quantities of energy required to keep the whole show going. As science and technology progress, however, it is making going green way easier than ever before.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some emerging green technologies that promise to harvest energy and resources all around us, negating the need for massive energy distribution networks and fossil fuels.
Recycling Radio Waves
Wouldn’t it be great if you could put all of the energy in radio waves to good use? After all, they’re all around us and, currently, lose most of their power to the ground, the atmosphere, and outer space.
Harvesting radiowaves is possible, but in the past, collectors focused solely on short-range frequencies. The most practical application, however, is collecting long-range radio waves – the type given off by conventional radio masts.
Georgia Tech University has come up with a radio wave-harvesting device that could sit in your home, collecting power from the radio waves every day. Although the total energy is small, it is enough to power some handheld devices.
Road Materials That Collect Energy From Vehicle Vibrations
Vehicles use fuel because they have to overcome two sources of energy loss: the friction with the atmosphere and the mechanical action on the road. Pavement doesn’t stay still as a car passes over: instead, it moves and vibrates slightly, taking up some of the car’s energy.
Researchers, however, now believe that it will be possible to collect energy from these vibrations using a piezo transducer. The device works by taking mechanical energy and using unique materials that convert it to electric power.
As cars run along the road, they will impart mechanical energy to the surface of the road. This energy will, in turn, activate the transducer, which will then send current to a battery. The battery will then power whatever device road planners want, such as traffic lights
Beta Voltaics is one of the most exciting renewable energy technologies to become popular in recent years. The idea of beta Voltaics first arrived in the 1950s with the advent of the atomic age. They work a little bit like photovoltaics on solar panels, but instead of converting energy from photons into electricity, they take decayed beta particles from radioactive material instead.
Beta Voltaics is now more critical than ever because of radioactive waste. They could generate energy from nuclear powerplant byproducts for generations to come.
Imagine being able to charge your phone on a hot day by using a device that converts the heat energy in the atmosphere into electrical energy. It might sound like science fiction, but researchers have already developed the technology, and it may soon be ready for prime time.
Thermoelectrics are still a niche material, but the people behind it say that they can now make polymers that they can paint onto practically any surface to generate electricity from heat. Currently, the technology is bulky, but with refinements, it could change how we interact with our smartphones.