Green energy solutions are those which lower environmental impact because they don’t emit greenhouse gasses like traditional fuel sources. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 10% of energy used in 2015 was considered renewable. As technology advances, there are more processes for obtaining this environmentally friendly energy being created. Below, we will highlight 3 major sources of renewable energy and the technology that will create and sustain its growth.
Solar: Solar energy is the most clean and accessible renewable resource available today. The three types of solar systems are photovoltaics, which produces electricity from light, concentrating solar power, which utilizes heat, and heating and cooling systems which take advantage of thermal energy. One exciting advancement in this industry is the development of printable solar cells. Conventional solar cells require a high energy process to create, involving temperatures of almost 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The new process requires substantially less heat which means it can bond with more materials. This could lead to many more capabilities of solar technology and more affordable products for consumers.
Wind: Wind turbines use the power of wind to create an electric current. There are three different classes of wind including utility-scale, distributed, and offshore wind. These solutions are popular because they are environmentally friendly and can have positive effects on their environment’s pollutants. Today’s technology is advancing the development of wind energy by reducing the time and expense related to its construction. Older wind energy technology was hard to manage as each piece is large and required hand crafting and a complicated shipping process. With the new 3D technology, printers can be brought on location to print the carbon fiber units without the hassle of transportation. With the increased ease of creating these units, more turbines will be able to be produced at a smaller budget.
Geothermal: Geothermal energy utilizes heat from below the earth’s surface in order to generate electricity. This is a popular green energy source because the earth is always producing heat, so there are no environmental threats. However, the heat must be extracted from specific areas which have high temperatures. Currently, the United States accesses this heat through existing steam and water reservoirs. Today’s technology is advancing this science through the development of Carbon Dioxide Plume Geothermal plants. This process involves the capture of carbon dioxide produced from fossil fuel plants. Once it is captured, it is cooled and pumped underground where it will meet its hot counterpart. When low and high pressure CO2 is mixed, there will be a higher energy yield. This will reduce the need of energy used for extraction and increase the energy produced. By reducing the amount of environmental harm caused by traditional energy extraction, this technology has made a big impact on the entire industry.