Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web
Search

The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Efficiency, efficiency, & more efficiency!

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, November 4, 2017/Categories: sustainability, art and design, environment, climate change, Archive Pick of the Week

Efficiency is defined as: the ability to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort or competency in performance to accomplish a job with the minimum in expenditure of time and energy

Being efficient is the name of the game for energy conservation, architectural design, and solar cells. Three new technological developments are showing the way.

1. New batteries: researchers at  MIT's material science laboratory  have developed a new approach to producing lithium-ion batteries that cuts their cost in half
. In association with a Cambridge start-up company  24M  the new process improves the performance of these most widely used type of 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, developed the new device that eliminated 80 percent of the non-energy storing materials while increasing the size of the lithium-ion electrode 5X compared to conventional batteries. The new 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. What if these spaces were employed to generate solar power and any excess electricity was sent into the 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 smarter 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. That is a lot of generating capacity!

            
                                         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 cellular 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 herders to recharge batteries directly in the bush. A program established by the non-profit organization  Green Energy Africa  has allowed Masai women in Kenya to carry re-charging devices on their donkeys allowing the women to recharge their phones as they drive livestock to market.

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

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

WHB

Print

Number of views (3720)/Comments (0)

Please login or register to post comments.

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x
When Big is Better Sunday, January 6, 20190

When Big is Better

Think 'big data'.

Restoration Ecology 101: Iceland Friday, January 4, 20190

Restoration Ecology 101: Iceland

Restoring forests lost a 1000 years ago.

Once Extinct, Almost Extinct, Now Back Thursday, January 3, 20190

Once Extinct, Almost Extinct, Now Back

An animated story of de-extension.

New Years Flyby Tuesday, January 1, 20190

New Years Flyby

A robotic explorer beyond the known frontier.

Caving on Mars Monday, December 31, 20180

Caving on Mars

Living underground on Mars.

Krakatoa Awakens, Update 2 Saturday, December 29, 20180

Krakatoa Awakens, Update 2

Krakatau is again active.

12 Steps to Climate Sobriety Friday, December 28, 20180

12 Steps to Climate Sobriety

A "12 Step" program for fossil fuel sobriety.

A Rover's Photo Album Thursday, December 27, 20180

A Rover's Photo Album

Martian geology seen by Curiosity. 

A Frozen Crater Lake Tuesday, December 25, 20180

A Frozen Crater Lake

A lake on Mars.

A Grand Oasis in the Vastness of Space Friday, December 21, 20180

A Grand Oasis in the Vastness of Space

A photograph that changed perceptions.

Surf's Up, Way Up Wednesday, December 19, 20180

Surf's Up, Way Up

Stay well back!

Rare Bird Rediscovered Tuesday, December 18, 20180

Rare Bird Rediscovered

Rediscovered cloud forest species.

Plant Intelligence Monday, December 17, 20180

Plant Intelligence

An understanding of intelligence in plants.

Plant of the Month Saturday, December 15, 20180

Plant of the Month

An occasional series of botanical treats.

Life on Mars, 2020 Thursday, December 13, 20180

Life on Mars, 2020

A new Mars rover will search for past life.

Arctic Report Card Wednesday, December 12, 20180

Arctic Report Card

Arctic changes make records again.

Goodbye Voyager 2 Monday, December 10, 20180

Goodbye Voyager 2

Voyager 2 enters interstellar space

A Volcano & Climate Change Sunday, December 9, 20180

A Volcano & Climate Change

A Canadian volcano re-awakens.