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5 – Solar energy innovations to look out for

by Dr Prem Community Writer
Solar-powered aircraft

It’s no secret that renewable energy is the future, because to put it quite simply, it has to be.

Which is exactly why thousands of innovative people around the globe are embracing the ability to use energy harnessed from the sun to power just about anything. Forward thinking individuals and companies see that solar and renewables are the future, and as such have come up with some pretty exciting projects.

5 Innovative ways solar energy is being used around the world:

1. Solar paint

Solar paint

Let’s be honest solar paint does sound a lot like something you might read about in a futuristic novel. But the technology is already here! And even though you can’t yet pop along to your local hardware store and pick up a pot of solar paint, you might want to look out for it in the near future.

Researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, have developed a paint that generates clean energy by combining titanium dioxide (a chemical already used in wall paint) with synthetic molybdenum-sulphide. This new compound not only helps the paint to absorb both solar energy and moisture from the air, it also acts as a semiconductor, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Once split, the paint can generate hydrogen fuel. So as long as there is moisture in the air, this new type of paint could generate clean energy.

2. Smart binssmart bins US company Bigbelly

Image Source : cdn.thumbr.io

Of course paint isn’t the only everyday thing you might be looking at differently in the near future, because as it turns out solar-powered bins are a thing. You might even spot one in your area in the next few years.

Yup, smart technology isn’t just restricted to phones, watches or even vehicles; smart bins created by US company Bigbelly Solar use solar energy to power a smart waste compactor in smart bins. Sensors detect when the smart bin is filling up and begin to compact the rubbish inside, allowing the bin to hold up to 5 times more waste. This means that the bin can be emptied much less, lowering costs and carbon emissions.

These not-so-rubbish but actually pretty smart bins, are currently used as public waste bins in over 50 countries around the world, so chances are your local council might just invest in one in the near future.

3. Solar windows

Solar windowsThat’s right, the very window you use to look out upon the world might just become an actual window to the future.

At the moment solar panels are treated as an add-on piece of technology, usually placed on the top of a roof. But as we speak, technologies are being developed to create a material that acts as both a window and a piece of technology that captures heat from the sun and converts it into electricity that can be used.

These transparent solar panel windows might even be more efficient than current solar panels and reduce carbon emissions in cities dramatically. A number of companies around the world are currently working on releasing this new technology for commercial sale in the next few years, so you might want to keep your eyes peeled for some fancy looking windows in the near future.

4. Solar-powered aircraft

Solar-powered aircraft

In the near future there may even be solar-powered aircraft flying over your smart bins and solar windows. Between 2015 and 2016, Swiss, solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse 2, circumnavigated the globe without using any fuel. Granted there were stops along the way, and a few teething problems, but this technology is still being worked on, meaning solar powered commercial flights may just become a thing in the future.

In fact in August 2018, Airbus announced the successful landing of the Zephyr S HAPS. The solar powered aircraft took 25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes to reach its destination, a pretty long time compared to current fuel-powered flights. However, as the technology develops more and more, these solar-powered planes may just be used for commercial flights, meaning your summer holiday might not have to cost the earth in carbon emissions in the future.

5. Emergency medicine relief

solar backupImage Source : cdn.shopify.com

Finally, solar power is even being used to provide power for medical aid workers in remote locations. This includes solar-powered suitcases that can help run not only communication devices such as laptops and phones but also medical equipment.

Transportable medical clinics made from shipping containers are also being fitted with solar panels. These are shipped to disaster zones and used to treat people in need of urgent medical attention. The tiny, solar-powered clinics are made in the US and were first used in Haiti to treat survivors of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. As temperatures rise and more and more extreme weather is felt all around the world, solar-powered medical aids may just prove real life savers.

Of course right now, the best way to get involved in renewable energy is to invest in solar panels for your home or business. You might even want to do more research on the ins and outs of what solar energy entails. With the need to lower dependency on finite resources and reduce carbon emissions by 2025, the importance of investing in solar energy has never been more vital. If developed further, these innovative uses of solar power may just pave the way for a brighter future.

Article Submitted By Community Writer