From solar glass, to plant plastic, through graphene, sustainable batteries and environmental sensors: these are some of the technologies selected by the ZDNet technological information site that in the near future will help safeguard the environment and take care of the Planet.
Solar glass is a suitably transparent window material capable of capturing the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity. A technology to be implemented that today presents significant efficiency problems due to the need to maintain the transparency of the glass. A team from the University of Michigan is developing a solar glass product that offers 15% efficiency by letting 50% of the light pass through.
Graphene is an innovative material that can have applications in different fields, from sustainable asphalt to long-lasting mobile phone batteries. It is an ultra-thin layer of graphite first discovered in 2004 at the University of Manchester. Graphene is often composed of a single atom, flexible, transparent and highly conductive, making it suitable for a wide range of applications such as water filtration, energy transfer over large distances with minimal losses and photovoltaic uses. By significantly increasing efficiency compared to current materials, graphene can prove to be a milestone for an increasingly greener world.
The vegetable plastic that biodegrades is an interesting solution that in theory could replace many of the plastic products already in circulation. However, not all bioplastics biodegrade and the merit of some production techniques is discussed. In the next decade, a responsible consumer will have to know the life cycle of the products he chooses to buy.
Sustainable batteries. Power is a factor that limits the development of many ecological technologies, equipped with batteries that reduce their efficiency. A company called Form Energy is developing what are known as aqueous sulfur-flow batteries that cost between $ 1 and $ 10 per kilowatt hour, compared to $ 200 per kilowatt hour of lithium batteries. Storage times should also increase, perhaps for months. Testing Form in California, if successful, could provide a roadmap for the rest of the world.
Environmental sensors – To cure the Planet, it is necessary to measure it. Environmental sensors are one of the little known technologies that allow this to happen, and the diffusion of sensors on the network will be one of the fundamental technologies to favor any effort related to sustainability. The networked pollution sensors currently in use help to prevent and reduce environmental problems. Compared to the past, today sensors as small as a penny monitor the quality of air and water, identifying pollutants and acquiring real-time data on phenomena that are crucial for our social and economic well-being. Wearable sensors are being developed to analyze air quality and localized sensor networks that monitor the use of energy and water in buildings to reduce waste. The further proliferation of these sensors will have a positive impact on the way we live.