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The latest developments in green energy

The latest developments in green energy

Thursday Sep 10, 2015

Green technology is an exciting field for innovation at the moment, with new discoveries being made all the time, affecting a range of sectors including the automotive, energy and manufacturing industries. We’re going to give you the lowdown on some of the newest developments in eco-friendly technology over the past few months.

Electric car evolution

The reluctance of large sections of the public to abandon their petrol driven cars for electric alternatives is understandable, given the range limitations, length of battery recharging cycles and narrow availability of public charging facilities for current generation electric vehicles. However, electric car technology continues to improve, along with the infrastructure to support it. While the British government has committed itself to installing charging points at twenty mile intervals on motorways, they’re also trialling a technology called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer, which would allow drivers to charge their vehicles wirelessly while on the move, with the use of technology installed on the vehicle itself and equipment built underneath the road surface. This kind of technology could be vital if the government is to meet its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by mid-century.

While electric car technology continues to develop, fossil fuel powered car engines are also becoming more efficient. Around 70% of the energy from fuel is lost as heat. However, according to new research, building engines out of a titanium composite material including wonder material graphene could allow cars to convert some of this wasted heat into electricity to charge the car’s batteries or power other systems like the air conditioning.

Cleaning up wastewater treatment

Engineers in the US have developed a wastewater treatment process which captures CO2, produces energy and could help reduce ocean acidity, which is a major threat to global ecosystems. The technique with the catchy name of Microbial Electrolytic Carbon Capture (MECC) involves an electrochemical reaction which absorbs more CO2 than it creates, while producing hydrogen gas as a by-product: a source of renewable energy. According to the researchers, this energy-positive and carbon-negative method could have huge benefits for a variety of high emission industries.

Traditionally, wastewater treatment is energy-intensive and contributes to CO2 emissions. However, MECC transforms CO2 into mineral carbonates and bicarbonates which can be used as raw materials in the construction industry or to reduce acidity downstream, ultimately helping reduce the acidification of the world’s oceans.

Winds of change

Renewable energy is another major focus when it comes to reducing our carbon emissions. Wind power continues to grow across the EU, currently meeting 8 percent of the Union’s total electricity demand according to a recent report. It is also claimed that wind will meet 12 percent of demand within the next five years, contributing the lion’s share to the EU’s target of meeting 20 percent of demand with renewables by 2020. World energy generation by wind now stands at around 370 Gigawatts, and increased by a record 52.8GW last year. China lead the world by increasing capacity by 23.2GW as the country attempts to shift away from pollution intensive power generation to meet its ever expanding needs, while the EU came second, but still leads in terms of total capacity. In the UK the second largest offshore wind farm in the world, Gwynt y Môr, was recently commissioned off the coast of North Wales. With an excellent geographic position for wind power generation, the future of wind in the UK looks bright.

Lead the charge

Getting involved with environmentally friendly technology and engineering is a rewarding career path. By joining in with efforts to make our infrastructure, industry and daily lives more environmentally friendly, you can make a real and lasting positive impact on the world and all of our futures. TRS Staffing recruit for a range of careers in the renewable energy sector; if you’re interested, take a look at our jobs. For more information about our recruitment services for the renewable energy sector, click here.