Mankind has been given a free ride by planet Earth since the dawn of civilization. Well, the ride’s about to end. We are running out of natural resources that we have depended upon for over a century. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s time for a new game plan. If we want to survive as a species we have to find alternative means of energy. And that energy needs to be clean, because our ozone layer can’t take a beating from fossil fuels anymore. Solar energy happens to be our best bet. Here are a few solar innovations that will guarantee a bright future for humanity and planet Earth.
If you’re a fan of photosynthesis, then you’ll love the artificial leaf. It’s a revolutionary way of storing energy that is soon going to dethrone photovoltaic cells. In a process akin to photosynthesis, the artificial leaf splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The resultant gas from this process is stored. The artificial leaf is still in its early stages of development. However, many people believe it to be the miracle Mankind has been waiting for. Let’s hope for our sake they’re right, because we can use a miracle just about now.
Tindo is the first of its kind, a bus that runs completely on solar energy. It is used in Adelaide Australia as part of a free public transport system. The bus itself is devoid of any solar panels and is charged at the central bus station using a photovoltaic system. Taking into account the pollution contributed by public transport, this is a boon. If we can apply this technology to other parts of the world, we may have a chance. The future depends on clean energy and transforming public transport is the first step.
Now that we’ve dealt with buses, let’s take on trains. Waffles aren’t the only thing that’s famous in Belgium anymore. The solar tunnel is soon going to be the attraction that lures tourists to Belgium. The tunnel runs for 538,000 square feet and is powered by 16,000 solar panels. 4,000 trains can be powered in a year by the solar tunnel. I guess $22.9 million is a small price to pay for that, especially when the trains are running on clean and renewable energy. It’s easy for me to say that, I’m not the one paying the bills.
The company SolarCity is an innovation in itself. Elon Musk came up with the idea while attending the Burning Man festival. It provides solar energy solutions to homes and businesses. What sets it apart from the competition is its leasing plan. A home owner has the option of leasing the solar panels and cells, instead of purchasing it for a substantial amount. It’s still cheaper than your traditional utility bill, so you won’t have to sell your curtains to pay for it. SolarCity has made solar energy affordable to the masses. It’s time for a switch if you value your place in this Earth.
Icarus flew too close to the sun which ended in his demise. Too bad he wasn’t flying the Solar Impulse, because if he had the sun wouldn’t have been a problem. The Impulse is a solar powered aircraft that is poised to transform the aviation industry. The first time it went up in the air it remained airborne for 26 hours. 9 hours of that flight took place when the sun wasn’t up, meaning it was night time. A new follow up version to the older model is meant to go around the world in 2015. All eyes will be watching the sky when that happens.
These solar innovations are going to be instrumental in shaping the future. And it’s going to be a bright one at that. Once they are successfully implemented humanity can breathe a sigh of relief. There will be no more conflict over oil, because the problem of energy crisis will be solved. For a change, it’ll also be good for the environment. After everything planet Earth has done for us, this is the least we can do. Once we’ve tackled this problem we can concentrate our attention on other things, perhaps poverty or illiteracy. If we can solve the world’s energy crisis, then we can do anything.
Feature writer, Nancy Baker, is an interior designing consultant at Tiptop Blinds, a company manufacturing an extensive range of window blinds. . In her free time, she indulges in baking and she makes mouthwatering chocolate chip cookies.
Pictures appear courtesy of Common Creative