It is the need of the hour to foster innovations and creative out-of-the-box ideas and innovations for energy production, consumption, and sustainable ways of dealing with the environment. Let us look at some of the most interesting innovations to tackle climate change.
7 revolutionary innovations to tackle climate change
With climate change at its peak, it’s time to take some revolutionary steps. Let’s look into some of the best innovations by mankind to tackle climate change.
1. Solar canal
Solar canals are canals covered with solar panels which harness the use of solar energy to produce electricity and pump water into a central point.
- it saves land;
- it generates electricity during energy-intensive irrigation periods and during the off-season;
- it prevents the evaporation of water;
- it provides a more environment-friendly alternative to fossil fuels.
- it can be an expensive project;
- there are chances of corrosion due to water and dirt collection;
- the inability to control the direction of the canals also poses an issue since the solar panels must face south to absorb energy.
2. Methane leak detecting satellite
Methane gas leak is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect. Basically, most of these emissions come from oil and gas industries, especially pipelines that release gas.
A way to monitor and detect methane leaks is through satellite systems. Instruments like TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) attached to Copernicus Sentinel-5 Precursor use UV and infrared bands to detect leaks.
- it can detect a wide range of pollutants like sulfur dioxide along with methane;
- it makes it easier to inform pipelines about ways to fix the problem.
- it needs more consistent and higher-resolution monitoring;
- it needs comprehensive studies for a better estimate.
3. Geothermal energy for battery supply
This involves using technology to convert the earth’s natural heat into usable energy. Normally, geothermal energy is usable only when hot water moves out of the earth’s crust in the form of a hot spring.
However, it is now possible to use the Earth’s energy with the help of new technology. In fact, not only is it possible to transfer heat energy from underground water into electricity, but extra energy can also be stored in underground water.
- there is lesser carbon dioxide emission;
- recycling of wastewater takes place;
- it helps in preserving soil minerals;
- it is relatively less costly to use;
- it is a good substitute for lithium.
- the initial cost may be high;
- there may be stability issues.
4. Plastic eating enzyme
Enzymes are those substances that act as catalysts for chemical reactions. In several places, scientists and engineers have created enzymes that eat plastic. These enzymes can break down plastic within hours or days, normally taking centuries!
Plastic is one of the biggest polluters and creates a big environmental challenge – how can we get rid of the tons and tons of plastic waste? The solution is right around the corner by targeting polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a major pollutant.
- it allows industries to deal with large-scale plastic waste;
- it clears up landfills;
- it helps in environmental remediation.
- this enzyme is still not fully developed;
- its potential use is being researched.
5. Direct air capture
The Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology is another useful climate innovation that can extract carbon dioxide from the air. Consequently, the CO2 thus obtained is stored in deep geological formations. There are eighteen small-scale DAC plants in Europe, US, and Canada, and other large-scale plants underway.
- there is high storage permanence due to storage in geological formations;
- it involves less water and land footprint;
- the CO2 obtained can also be utilized for other purposes, such as the production of synthetic fuels;
- atmospheric CO2 is a cleaner way to produce synthetic fuels.
- CO2 in the atmosphere is very much diluted. This is why the extraction process can be expensive and much more energy-intensive.
6. Smart solar pumps
Smart solar pumps convert solar energy into electricity with the help of photovoltaic technology. It helps draw surface or groundwater out for irrigation. They consist of solar panels which are directly connected to the solar pump through an MPPT solar pump controller. Consequently, when the panel comes in contact with sunlight, the pump is turned on, and water is lifted.
- it helps provide water to isolated locations;
- it is useful for land irrigation;
- it can be also used in swimming pool pumps, fountains, etc;
- they are more economical as grid electricity is not needed;
- it generates a lesser carbon footprint.
- it might suffer from technical issues like not working during cloudy and foggy weather and sunshine availability.
7. EV tech to power houses
Energy stored in Electric Cars (EVs) can power the electricity grid and lighthouses! EVs have vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home technology. Many EV batteries hold about 60 kWh of energy which will prove beneficial in cases of emergencies.
- it is a safer non-conventional form of energy to use in emergency times.
- this technology is developing and might take time before we can apply it on a grander scale.
Innovations to tackle climate change, it is time to boost them
All the innovative techniques we have looked at above depend on alternative and more sustainable ways of dealing with our environment.
However, most of them might carry higher initial and maintenance costs. Also, there is a long way to go before we can implement these technologies in full force. Undeniably, these are certainly interesting steps forward that will help humanity to stop climate change.