Are familiar forms of renewable energy like wind and solar becoming dated already? We wouldn’t go that far, but we are excited about some of the new research and development being done. With social, economic and legislative momentum in favor of more sustainable technologies, we are seeing the world’s top minds, corporations and governments devoting resources to the ongoing evolution of energy production and storage. Below are a few of our favorites:
Tidal: Harnessing the power of the ocean today has the potential to produce and store over 100 gigawatts of energy globally. For a sense of scale, 1 gigawatt is estimated to be capable of powering 300,000 average American homes. Tidal energy stations use turbines, similar to wind energy, and as water moves with the rising and falling tides, underwater propellers spin to produce energy that is transferred to a power grid and sent off for consumption.
Similar to wind and solar, the biggest limitation to maximizing the value of tidal energy is the ability to store the energy and deploy it on demand. Investment is being made to solve for the storage challenges, along with other challenges like high capital and maintenance costs and potential habitat destruction. For more information on tidal energy check out the details here from Action Renewables.
Roadway Kinetic: Images of jammed freeways can be cringe worthy for a number of reasons, the biggest of which being the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the non-EVs out there. Overall roadway emissions will continue to drop as the green premium for electric vehicles reduces due to advanced technology, more competition and government support. That is great news, even better news… our drive time could start producing clean energy to feed power grids and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
A real example? To generate electricity from vehicles on the road, scientists in California are proposing using piezoelectric crystals that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. Piezoelectricity (literally “pressing electricity”) was first discovered and used in the 19th century. One of the most common applications of this technology is electric cigarette lighters, which use piezoelectric crystals to create a flame. Learn more by reading about this university study on piezoelectricity.
Hydrogen: In some ways an alternative and in some ways a supplement to other renewable energy sources, Hydrogen is being looked to as a solution for the current renewable energy storage limitations. Green Hydrogen was first widely talked about in the United Statesin the early 2000s and is making a pronounced return to the spotlight this year.
The production of green hydrogen energy actually comes from the energy captured by other renewable sources like wind and solar. Instead of storing that energy in a battery, you process it by splitting the molecules and producing the byproduct of water, instead of carbon dioxide like traditional energy processing. Our favorite deep dive on green hydrogen energy comes from Green Tech Media.
Things are moving in the right direction and your commitment to offsetting your home’s energy and shopping sustainable brands will continue to accelerate the shift to these great alternative energy solutions. Carbon offsets incentivize the adoption of existing renewable technologies and subsidize the development of the next generation. By being a part of ActNeutral, we are all contributing to the progress in the sustainability movement, directly or indirectly.