Emerging Green Technology
Ball State University
October 20, 2016
The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief description of emerging products in the green sector. Green technology uses non-polluting practices to produce products and materials which are non-toxic. Green technologies are environmentally friendly, rather than harmful. It is important to continue research and growth in the green sector in order to develop new fuel sources, conserve existing resources, and to focus on sustainability.
There are several new initiatives that have been recently developed in this area, which will have a tremendous impact on our environment. These products will help to increase energy efficiency and conservation, as well as provide solutions to various needs. The seven innovations detailed here offer promising technologies and advancements in the green sector. These products will have a noticeable effect on energy production, resource conservative, and the elimination of e-waste.
Nebia Shower System
Nebia is reengineering the shower, aiming to dramatically impact the environment through home water conservation. The science behind Nebia is more closely related to how farmers water their fields than a standard shower. This shower head atomizes water to create millions of water droplets and a surface area 10 times greater than that of a normal shower. Each drop is split up into much smaller droplets, allowing them to form a mist that fills up more of the air. Unlike a traditional shower head, Nebia surrounds the user with a dense mist of miniscule water droplets in place of a stream of water.
There are two settings: a lighter, steamier option, and a more traditional high-pressure option. Nebia claims that its main setting uses 70 percent less water than a normal shower; the harder pressure setting saves a claimed 60-65 percent. A Nebia shower head is said to use 0.75 gallon a minute, which compares with an industry standard of 2.5 gallons a minute (Huston, 2015). This technology could greatly improve our ability to conserve water in various settings: homes, gyms, schools, hospitals, and institutions.
Trinity Portable Wind Turbine
With environmental concerns continuing to grow, an increasing number of companies are trying to find ways to create clean and renewable energy. One such company, Janulus, has developed new portable wind turbines. “We come from a country that is completely run on renewable energy,” said vice president, Agust Agustsson, of his native Iceland. “After spending a few years in the USA we witnessed both the high cost of electricity and the harmful effects of the carbon fuels used to create it….We wanted to design a portable product that gave people easy access to sustainable energy,” (Anderson, 2015).
These wind turbines, called Trinity, are available in four different models: the Trinity 50, the Trinity 400, the Trinity 1000, and the Trinity 2500. Each of the four wind turbines is able to generate power using wind as slow as four miles per hour, however, with much higher wind speeds (25mph), the turbines can fold their blades for more resourceful power accrual.
The Trinity 2500 is impressive in terms of power generation and portability. Weighing 42 lbs, the unit comes with a 2,500-watt generator that charges a 300,000-mAh lithium-ion battery pack. The Trinity 1000 and Trinity 2500, storing 1,000 or 2,500 watts correspondingly, could power your entire home, depending on the size of the home. Folded up in a carrying case, each turbine fits in the trunk of a small car; the Trinity 50 is small enough to fit inside a backpack.
In addition to portability, other notable features of the wind turbines are their ease of use and low cost. Inverter, batteries and controllers are built in to the unit, which plugs into a wall socket and converts the power it generates and stores to provide power to all other outlets. The turbine also switches automatically between charging devices from the battery or directly from the unit, depending on how much electricity is being generated. The Trinity also has a smartphone app, which allows users to monitor the battery level of the turbine as well as turn off the blades and see how much energy is being generated (Anderson, 2015).
Archiblox Carbon Positive Home
An Australian architecture firm, Archiblox, has uncovered the world’s first carbon-positive prefabricated home. The Archi+ Carbon Positive House is so resourceful it can put energy back on the grid. The home is a contemporary sustainable dwelling, and features solar rooftop panels, in-ground cooling tubes, sliding edible garden walls to block the sun’s rays, an external planter bed to take grey wastewater and filter for toilet flushing, and more. The living areas are packed with natural sunlight and permit occupants to grow plants and vegetables.
Over the home’s lifetime, it will produce 1,016 tons of carbon dioxide less than ordinary or typical buildings with the same functionality. Construction from start to finish only takes 12 to 28 weeks, which reduces costs and resources. Archiblox’s buildings are made with sustainable building materials that are formaldehyde and VOC free.
The cost of these carbon-positive buildings start at approximately $185,687USD, for a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom unit measuring around 300 square feet. While it is a fairly limited space, the price tag is well around the median cost of a U.S. home, which is around $188,900. Though there are plenty of green buildings, including Honda’s experimental zero-carbon home on the University of California at Davis campus, the fact is, the average American home uses up to 10,908 kilowatt hours annually (Chow, 2015). In order to reduce energy consumption, it is important to start looking towards these types of structures.
Wooden Computer Chips
E-waste is a concern, as portable electronics are discarded at a disturbing rate in users’ search for the next top electronic device. These devices are typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials. An as attempt to lighten the environmental load, scientists have developed an unexpected resolution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood. A group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin at Madison have publicized that they have successfully built a semiconductor computer chip made almost completely out of wood-based material.
The new chip exchanges the backbone of existing chips (the substrate) with a wood-based nanomaterial. The substrate replacement material is called cellulose nanofibril, a common, wood-based substance used to make paper. After constructing the cellulose substitute, researchers coated it with epoxy, which waterproofs the chip and keeps it from expanding and contracting. Researchers reduced the use of semiconductor material by 99.9 percent (Tani, 2015).
This could eventually make mobile devices more affordable. More significantly, the innovative chips could also reduce the increasing environmental impact of smartphones and mobile devices. Presently, chips in phones, tablets, and computers contain non-biodegradable materials such as gallium arsenide which can have harmful effects, mainly in large quantities.
The researchers believe that their chip has the potential to dramatically reduce environmental pollution. “Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade it,” Ma said. “They become as safe as fertilizer.” (Tani, 2015). Though confident about the outcome, Ma said that the chips are still far away from the production line.
Nice Architects Ecocapsule
Nice Architects engineered a fully portable living space powered by solar and wind energy, called an Ecocapsule. The capsule measures 14.6 feet long by 7.9 feet wide by 8.2 feet tall. In that space the inventors have included a folding bed, a table and two chairs, a small kitchen and a toilet and shower. There are also a few storage spaces and working windows. The roof of the Ecocapsule is covered with solar cells, and there is a retractable pole to which a 750W wind turbine is attached. Both power sources charge an on-board 9,744 watt-hour battery, so regardless of calm or cloudy weather there is power. It can also capture and filter rainwater and dew. Nice Architects says the energy system should be able to support someone living off the grid for almost a year. To have an Ecocapsule sent to New York will cost about $2,426USD. However, it is apparently easily transported after arrival; the designers say, “It can be shipped, airlifted, towed or even pulled by a pack animal,” (Franco, 2015).
Two Australian surfers, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, have come up with an innovative solution to fight the millions of tons of trash in our oceans. Their Seabin invention is a simple and effective ocean-cleaning device. The water filtration system is much like what is found in a fish tank, but it has the potential to clean up an entire ocean: The Seabin can be installed at any floating dock and is intended to suck up any trash or oil floating nearby in harbors. The concept is simple: A bucket connects to a water pump, sucking in any floating trash inside a removable mesh bag. There is also an optional oil-water separator system inside the pump. It can remove oil and detergents from the seawater before spitting it back into the ocean through the other side of the pump. (Herreria, 2015).
The Seabin can run 24/7, and aims to improve on the traditional, and sometimes expensive, harbor-cleaning methods of having a person physically remove trash from the water or sending boats equipped with nets to collect it. The Seabin Project is using plastic collected from the ocean by New York-based environmental group Parley for the Oceans to construct the device, and the goal is to utilize plastics collected from the Seabins to construct new bins (Gartry, 2016). This device could have a huge positive impact on ocean clean-up efforts.
Lifesaver Wave Energy
The Lifesaver, a ring-shaped wave energy conversion (WEC) buoy, is being tested to gain operational data on ocean renewable energy conversion technology. The buoy converts energy generated by passing waves into electrical energy. Earlier tested off the south coast of England for 19 months, the WETS Lifesaver test and demonstration project will use an enhanced buoy whose key components were remodeled to improve reliability. This effort is being managed by NAVFAC EXWC, with Sound & Sea Technology Inc. as the assembly and installation contractor, and Fred. Olsen Ltd., a Norwegian company, as the technology developer providing WEC performance data to the Hawaiian Natural Energy Institute for analysis.
NAVFAC EXWC established and manages the WETS infrastructure, which consists of three offshore berths to house WEC devices undergoing test and demonstration for the Navy. The site has two deep-water berths and one shallow-water berth where Northwest Energy Innovations’ Azura WEC device is currently operating. Additional WEC devices will be deployed with Navy and Department of Energy funding support over the next few years. These tests, monitored by NAVFAC EXWC, will serve to accelerate the development and deployment of future renewable wave energy technologies by making them more competitive with traditional energy solutions (Ard, 2016). Harnessing this type of energy could dramatically reduce dependence on other types of energy sources.
There are many options when it comes to creating environmentally friendly technologies. These innovative products provide just a few examples as to the ways in which technology can positively impact the world. As the innovations detailed here have shown, there are various ways to create and conserve energy, eliminate waste, and create ecological living structures. Presently, this Earth is the only planet capable of sustaining human life; it is important that we utilize new technologies and strive to advance in the green sector so that resources are available for current inhabitants, and future generations to come.
Ard, M. (2016, Apr 4). NAVFAC EXWC Oversees Deployment of Wave Energy Conversion Device. Americas Navy. Retrieved from: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=93975
Anderson, J. (2015, Sep 23). Trinity portable wind turbines switch between vertical and horizontal blade settings. New Atlas. Retrieved from: http://newatlas.com/trinity-portable-wind-turbines/39522/
Chow, L. (2015, Feb 24). World’s first carbon-positive prefab home hits the market. EcoWatch. Retrieved from: http://www.ecowatch.com/worlds-first-carbon-positive-prefab-home-hits-the-market-1882012908.html
Franco, M. (2015, May 22). Live almost anywhere on earth in futuristic ecocapsule. Cnet. Retrieved from: https://www.cnet.com/news/live-pretty-much-anywhere-on-earth-in-futuristic-ecocapsule/
Gartry, L. (2016, Jul 27) Seabin Project: Dream nears reality for WA surfers fighting to cut ocean pollution. ABCnews. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-28/seabin-project-nears-reality-for-wa-surfers-with-2017-sales-plan/7665270
Herreria, C. (2015, Dec 29). This genius bucket sucks trash and oil right out of the sea. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/seabin-ocean-bucket_us_5681d22fe4b06fa68880fc60
Huston, C. (2015, Aug 14). Water-saving Nebia shower attracts $1.3 million in kickstarter funding. MarketWatch. Retrieved from: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/water-efficient-shower-nebia-raises-more-than-13-million-on-kickstarter-2015-08-13
Tani, M. (2015, May 28). Scientists just created a biodegradable computer chip out of wood that could make cell phones cheaper. Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-create-biodegradable-computer-chip-out-of-wood-2015-5