Renewable energy answers key global and national energy issues by providing sustainable electricity generation without the pollution that normally accompanies conventional fuel burning dependant systems. The benefits of having a reliable source of energy that does not require importing or depleting of natural ecosystem capitol can be a way to stabilize the economy and provide growth opportunities. The standard of living for the populace can be increased through social programs that incorporate jobs and manufactured goods for export if the technology can be developed nationally.
By developing efficient alternative sources of energy, nations can improve the health of the citizenry and help reduce the global climate impact of population growth.
One issue that concerns many nations is the threat of terrorist attacks on the power distribution and production infrastructure. In response to that threat the U.S. Navy has been considering a renewable form of energy production using wave motion to power its underwater surveillance equipment used to guard our coasts. The idea is to construct underwater plates that move with the waves to convert that energy to electricity and transmit the power beneath the surface to military installations. According to a technical article by Susan Kraemer “the US Navy just awarded Lockheed Martin and Ocean Power Technologies a $15 million 4 year contract to provide wave power for terrorism prevention around the coasts” (Kraemer, S., 2009).
The company’s vision is to deploy farms of tidal turbines under the world’s oceans – silently and invisibly generating electricity at no cost to the environment.
If new technology that can harness the kinetic energy of pedestrian traffic becomes feasible, we may see entire cities powered by the everyday foot traffic of its citizens. Testing is already underway in Tokyo of floors that generate electricity. Floor materials that can transfer the weight shifts of people walking on it to light up signs and displays are located in malls and busy street corners that urge people to step on the test pads (Tokyo testing electricity generating floors, n.d.).
With high costs and the problem of global climate factors being associated with conventional electricity generation, many new forms of renewable energy are being proposed, tested, and implemented today. Some of them are very doable, while others are patented for future speculation.
Recycling photons in the home is a project suggested by Brazilian designer Helena Bueno (solar powered lamp). Solar powered lamps that have a photovoltaic collector attached to the top can be placed near or aimed at a window providing direct sunlight. The collector would also have cells on the underside to gather the light usually wasted after using it to see with. All those photons not being used by our eyes can be returned into the storage battery mounted in the base of the lamp. It would provide an off the grid solution to home lighting.
According to a Swedish company called Minesto, deep green technology research has gone in the direction of underwater kites to harness tidal flow power. Their website states that each megawatt-worth of kite(s) would weigh 14 tons, so it would seem that each 7 ton kite is a 500 KW unit. “According to CEO Anders Jansson’s estimate, these could probably produce power for somewhere between $0.09 cents and $0.20 cents per kwh.” (Kraemer, S., 2009).
Posted in wave energy
Other projects for harnessing renewable sources include mining hydrothermal vents for renewable electricity, drinking water, and valuable minerals as reported by Susan Kraemer published on September 4th, 2009 posted in Climate Change, alternative energy, fossil fuels, wind energy under the heading The Marshall Hydrothermal Recovery System http://cleantechnica.com/2009/09/04/mining-hydrothermal-vents-for-renewable-electricity-drinking-water-valuable-minerals/
Ppatents are already pending with information found at http://www.marshallsystem.com/index.htm
AW-Energy’s WaveRoller uses the roiling currents under the sea to make energy from the repetitive surge motion at the sea floor in what Koivusaari calls the surge zone. The kinetic energy produced is collected by a piston pump. This energy can be converted to electricity by a closed hydraulic system in combination with a hydraulic motor/generator system.
Chauhan, N. (2009, October 1). NEWAY: Solar-powered lamp harnesses its own energy [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.thedesignblog.org/entry/neway-solar-powered-lamp-harnesses-its-own-energy/
Greenfield, D. (2009, November 9). Is the smart grid a dumb idea? eWeek, 26(19), 18-19.
Kraemer, S. (2009, October 23). Underwater Kite Harnesses Ocean Energy. Retrieved from http://cleantechnica.com/2009/10/23/underwater-kite-harnesses-ocean-energy/
Kraemer, S. (2009, October 18). Reliable wave power insures secure terrorism protection. Retrieved from http://cleantechnica.com/2009/10/18/reliable-wave-power-ensures-secure-terrorism-protection/
Tokyo testing electricity generating floors [Press release]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.newlaunches.com/archives/tokyo_testing_electricity_generating_floors.php
Welcome to Marshall Hydrothermal. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.marshallsystem.com/index.htm