Green innovations may have finally hit the mainstream. No longer the pet project of left-wing politicians, scientists and starry-eyed optimists, environmentally friendly technologies are now being proposed by organizations around the globe. Many of these concepts are truly revolutionary, and give insight into how society will evolve beyond the age of fossil fuels.
The Bahrain World Trade Center
Completed in 2008, this massive building is a perfect example of green innovation. Its twin towers are sail shaped, and they face the north, toward the incoming wind stream. The towers funnel the wind directly into their three turbines, thus accelerating the wind. This acceleration helps to counter friction that would otherwise result in a lower energy yield.
The turbines themselves rest on a sky bridge. They produce 225 kW of electricity each, for a total output of 675 kW. The massive turbines measure 95 feet in diameter. This inspiring example of green design powers itself, and is a contributor to the local power grid.
The Maglev Wind Turbine
The Maglev Wind Turbine is perhaps the most advanced of large-scale green technology proposals. This power plant would be situated near urban centers, although it would only require 100 acres. This makes it comparable to other green facilities such as Waste Management of San Diego Recycling and Roscoe Wind Farm.
The turbine will work by using a powerful magnetic field to levitate the fan blades. In this way, the fan realizes a significant reduction in friction, and it needn’t produce as much work to generate an equivalent amount of energy. Because of the Maglev Wind Turbine’s sturdy space-age construction, it could last for decades between repairs, and centuries in total. Perhaps most astounding, a single unit could power over 750,000 homes.
It’s a given that this turbine will cost millions of dollars to produce, but its long life, coupled with the reduction in fossil fuels use it will cause may make this a fair price to pay. The potential payoff doesn’t stop with these concrete factors, however. Proof of concept could lead to its deployment around the world, which could have a huge impact on our dependence on fossil fuels.
The Solar Tower
The solar tower is a concept that could revolutionize the way that power companies produce their product. A few prototypes have been built in Europe, most notably by Spain. A solar tower works by directing the day’s sunlight on a single focal point. As the sun rises, the tower focuses the steadily intensifying beam on a pool of water. As the water heats, the steam produced powers turbines, thereby generating electricity.
The tower’s solar panels last for decades, and it is completely power-independent save for a small amount that goes into running the water pumps. Needless to say, the towers only produce power during the day, although with their small footprint, it is reasonable to imagine several towers at work on the same site at once.
With this many green innovations coming down the pike, it’s easy to get carried away with excitement. Keep in mind, however, that some of these designs are still in development, and it may be several years before they go into action.