In the latest issue of Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, three new energy technologies are discussed which could potentially change the world.
The first is the idea of Marine Renewable Energy (MRE), and is suggested by Howard P. Hanson of the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University.
It involves making use of the vast amount of kinetic energy that exists in the ocean currents and waves. The US Department of Energy has established three national MRE centres to research the energy potential that the oceans offer, and push the advancement of the technologies needed for using MRE.
Hanson suggests that “the hydrokinetic energy of tidal and open-currents, as well as ocean waves, and the thermal potential of the oceanic stratification, can be recovered using ocean thermal conversion technology.”
The second technology can convert waste thermal energy directly into electricity.
Related Article: Ontario Smacked by U.S. Lawsuit on Fracking
Using recent advance in nanotechnology, infrared thermal radiation can be collected and converted into electricity using a ‘rectenna’.
Engineers at the University of South Florida's Clean Energy Resource Center mentioned that “converting waste heat to electrical energy can be a reality by using a rectenna, a combination of high frequency antenna and a tunnel diode.”
The rectenna can use waste heat energy that radiates from inefficient machines, or even take the infrared directly from the sun (over half of all the suns energy that hits the Earth is in the invisible, infrared spectru).
The third technology is not so much a method for generating energy, as it is a technique for growing food more efficiently. Currently farmers tend to grow their crops out in the elements, and must risk crop damage from violent weather. Now though, as a result of advances in nanotechnology, “greenhouse farming and urban agriculture are the most efficient and cost effective ways to grow produce.”
Sarath Witanachchi, Marek Merlak and Prasanna Mahawela, of the USF Department of Physics have developed new nanophosphor-based electroluminescence, which can create light with a wavelength that exactly matches the wavelength required by photosynthesis. This discovery makes it possible to grow crops indoors, away from the elements.
Witanachchi said that “conventional technologies used in today's agriculture are inefficient and lead to natural resource waste and degrade the environment.” The new nanophosphor light is much more efficient, and can therefore lead to a huge reduction in energy costs.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com