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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Efficiency, Efficiency, & Efficiency!

Efficiency, Efficiency, & Efficiency!

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, April 21, 2019/Categories: sustainability, art and design, environment, climate change, Archive Pick of the Week

    Energy Efficient Light Bulb (credit: file photo)

Energy conservation is the "driver" for electric energy generation, architectural design, and PV solar cells. Three technological developments are showing how:

1. New batteries: researchers at MIT's material science laboratory have developed a novel approach to producing lithium-ion batteries that cuts their production cost by 50%. In association with a Cambridge company, 24M the new process ups the performance of the most widely used rechargeable battery while making them easier to recycle. Lithium batteries power everything from cell phones, to electric cars, to energy storage devices. Yet-ming Chiang, MIT's Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, has developed a new device that eliminated 80% of the non-energy storing materials while increasing the size of the lithium-ion electrode 5 times when compared to conventional batteries. The MIT batteries could revolutionize energy storage.

                                          Improved Lithium-ion Battery  (credit: MIT and 24M )

2. Energy producing buildings: cities have heaps of roof-top and vertical landscape space sitting to be utilized. What if these spaces were employed to generate solar power with excess power sent into a city's power grid? That's the idea behind Mapdwell. Using big-data inspired maps, the company provides decision-making tools enabling communities to transform information into a driver for sustainable practices, energy efficiency, and smart infrastructure development. Mapdwell has created a series of maps showing a city's solar energy potential including this one of the roof-top solar capacity for New Your City. There is a lot of generating capacity in these buildings.

                                         NYC Roof-top Solar Potential in gold  (credit: Mapdwell)

3. Market efficiency: in marketplaces anywhere, producers require good pricing information to effectively market their products. This is especially true in developing nations that previously lacked access to information due to limited or non-existent communication tools. The cell phone changed this but powering the devices, especially in remote areas far from a power grid, was a challenge until efficient solar cells became available. Not only did small solar panels help light darkened homes, they also allowed rural livestock herders to recharge batteries directly in the bush. A novel program set-by the non-profit organization Green Energy Africa allows Masai women in Kenya to carry recharge their devices on donkeys allowing them to use their phones as they move animals to market.

                   Masai Women and their Solar Donkey "chargers", Kenya  (credit: Green Energy Africa)

Efficiency can be applied on both macro or micro scales. It is only limited by the imagination and a willingness to think creatively 'outside the box'. Start thinking!



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