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Environmental By Monica Gray -

Energy Breakthroughs No One Is Talking About
Carbi Crete

Carbon-Negative Concrete

Even though builders use concrete in everything, from roads to buildings, it doesn’t mean it’s good for the environment. It releases tons of carbon dioxide into the air that’s harmful and accounts for eight percent of carbon emissions. However, researchers are staying on top of this with energy breakthroughs called carbon-negative concrete. The name says it all. It’s the eco-friendly sibling of concrete, and it soaks by swapping out some of the concrete’s materials for greener alternatives.

According to Spectrum, “They made the carbon-negative concrete by replacing a third of the cement in it with biochar, a kind of charcoal made from agricultural and forestry waste.” This will cut down all those harmful emissions during production. Not only that, but the material will suck up carbon dioxide from the air. Moreover, some other companies are tackling the concrete issue by adding biological materials like algae, blood enzymes, and bacteria to help lessen emissions and pull harmful gases from the air (Spectrum).

Energy Breakthroughs No One Is Talking About
Metropolis Mag

Next-Generation Solar Technologies

We usually see traditional silicon-based solar panels, which have become more efficient and cost-effective. But there are emerging technologies that’ll exceed traditional solar technology, be more cost-effective, and provide more energy. This includes perovskite solar cells and organic photovoltaics, which show potential for even higher efficiency and lower production costs. We might be looking at a revolutionized future of solar energy.

According to Metropolis, we’re already well on our way to sustainable energy. They write, “Designers are already adapting roofs, siding, and even windows for energy generation. San Jose, California’s GAF Energy has developed a solar roofing system that is installed like regular asphalt shingles, while Ubiquitous Energy, based in nearby Redwood City, has developed a transparent panel that harvests light from the invisible spectrum and can be used on windows and other surfaces.” Tons of different solar energy inventions are coming about (Metropolis Mag).

Energy Breakthroughs No One Is Talking About
News Center

Fungi Bioenergy

There’s a fungus among us! You might have heard about all the potential power that fungi have, and that it might be the next biggest thing in the world of energy. Some types of fungi are more efficient than others and can break down wood and organic material efficiently. Recently, scientists switched from oil and gas, which they used for decades, to fungi, which have the potential to produce biofuels.

Professor Neil Bruce said, “We believe this discovery is important as there is much interest in using lignocellulose as a renewable and sustainable resource for the production of liquid fuels and chemicals.” This is way friendlier to the planet, and they do this by chewing on organic material and spitting it back out. And the best part? It’s more efficient than our current methods and incredibly healthy for the environment. Besides, this could help us lessen our dependence on fossil fuels (York).

Energy Breakthroughs No One Is Talking About
Heindl Energy

Gravity Storage

Extra energy is never a bad thing. Imagine using all that supercharged energy left over from sunny and windy days. We can use that surplus of energy and transform it into kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion. This comes in the form of solid-state batteries, supercapacitors, and flow batteries. In turn, this converts back to electricity, which can then power our homes, charge our gadgets, and keep our lives moving forward. This is a breakthrough in technology that can make energy, stored for up to 14 hours, useful again.

It’s described as, “Using electrical pumps, as already used today in pumped storage power plants, water is pumped beneath a movable rock piston, thereby lifting the rock mass. During insufficient renewable power generation, the water under high pressure from the rock mass is routed to a turbine, as in conventional hydroelectric plants, and generates electricity using a generator.” Furthermore, it doesn’t require an elevation difference, uses minimal raw material, and has low operational costs (Heindl Energy).

Energy Breakthroughs No One Is Talking About

Molten Salt Reactors

Molten salt reactors represent a significant leap forward in nuclear energy technology. These advanced reactors employ liquid fuel, a departure from the solid fuel used in conventional nuclear reactors. The use of liquid fuel enhances safety and efficiency, addressing some of the concerns associated with traditional reactor designs. One of the most notable advantages of molten salt reactors is their potential to provide a reliable and sustainable source of energy. These reactors utilize thorium, a naturally occurring and more abundant element than uranium, making them an appealing choice for long-term energy production. Furthermore, molten salt reactors do not experience neutron losses within their structure, optimizing their overall efficiency.

Another promising aspect is their minimal fuel fabrication requirements, which reduces operational costs and simplifies the fuel cycle. Moreover, these reactors have the potential to operate at extremely high temperatures, making them suitable for a wide range of industrial applications. Additionally, the safety profile of molten salt reactors is impressive, as they do not exhibit chemical reactivity with the surrounding air or water, minimizing the risk of accidents and environmental impact. These features collectively position molten salt reactors as a promising avenue for the future of nuclear energy. (What is Nuclear).