Over the past decade we have barely begun to tap into the vast potential of green energy. Each year, scientists come up with innovative ways to make businesses and homes more energy efficient. Not only do these methods help save our planet, some of them also present lucrative business opportunities. Listed below are four of the most exciting green energy breakthroughs.
Everyone knows that spinach helps to build big muscles, but recent research has found that it can also be used as renewable energy. Since plants harness energy from the sunlight, scientists are constantly looking to plants to help make solar power more efficient. Spinach contains a photosynthetic protein that when combined with silicon, results in highly efficient solar cells.
The proteins found in spinach produce almost 1000 times higher returns than the proteins used in traditional metals. Additionally, it also increases the voltage of the solar panels. Researchers estimate that within three years they should be able to create a stable solar conversion technology using the spinach proteins. If this technology works out, there will be new business opportunities for extracting the protein spinach and delivering them to solar power companies.
Several decades ago, Thomas Edison was in a heated debate with other energy experts on how electrical energy could be transferred. Edison supported DC (direct current) while the majority supported AC (alternating current). AC won in the end, which is why you see power stations all over the city to properly distribute electricity.
After years of research, ABB has created the first breaker that supports HVDC (high voltage direct current). This technology can transfer the same amount of power that is produced by a power station within five milliseconds. With this breakthrough, there will not be as big as a need for power stations.
In the future, these grids may be able to interconnect entire countries or even continents. The new breaker also allows the lines to maintain power even if one of the lines is faulty. New business opportunities related to HVDC will most likely start in countries like Germany, which is consider a prime environment for introducing the new technology on a large scale.
Solar Cells in Clothing
In a few years, wearing clothes with solar cells may become the new fashion. Scientists have found a way to weave tiny fiberglass strands through clothing, allowing the clothes to act as photoreceptors and convert electricity. In short, people will become mobile power stations. This technology is still in its very early stages, but there are many supporters who insist that the technology has great promise.
Currently, wearing solar panels is a bit of a joke. Solar shirts, handbags, and backpacks all look tacky and obtrusive. However, with these microscopic fiberglass strands, clothing manufacturers will be able make solar clothing that looks exactly like normal clothes. For a new clothing business, imagine how cool it would be to have a jacket that could charge your cellphone and music player while you are walking. Granted, these clothes definitely won’t be cheap at first, but the end goal would be to mass-produce them in a way that anyone could afford it.
Wind Energy vs. Coal
Wind energy technologies have become so efficient that it now competes with coal in terms of price. In the past, wind power was exclusively used by first world countries like Germany and Spain, but now it is becoming popular around the world. As more countries and cities accept wind power, there is a huge business opportunity for building and exporting wind turbines, along with creating the large metal shafts and propellers since many countries don’t have the technology or experience to do it themselves.
About the Author: William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he describes job growth in green electricity and aims to encourage further study with an online electrical engineering master’s degree.