Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Solutions
New! Renewables Global Status Report and Clean Energy Trends
- 24/7 Solar Power Plant:
solar power plant that stores energy (often in molten salt) for use when the sun isn't shining.
- Airborne Wind Turbines:
airborne wind turbines float at around 2000 feet (600m) and generate power that can be transferred to the ground via a tether (article).
a form of aquaculture involving the farming of species of algae. Algae may become a great biofuel source. One company who has successfully grown algae for fuel: OriginOil
- Biogas Power Plants:
a system where biogas (produced by the fermentation of organic matter including manure, sewage sludge, municipal solid waste, and biodegradable waste) is used to generate electricity. The gas which is produced via anaerobic digestion is used to drive an electricity generator. By-products of this process are steam and hot water.
any fuel that is derived from biomass — recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts, such as manure from cows or the cellulose of plants.
a gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas is a type of biofuel. There are two types: one produced by anaerobic digestion or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as biomass, manure or sewage, municipal waste, and energy crops, the second is wood gas which is created by gasification of wood or other biomass. Check out the car and homes powered by methane from human sewage and homes powered by gas from human sewage.
biological material which can be used as fuel or for industrial production. (solar plant that also burns biomass)
- Biomimicry and AskNature.org:
Biomimicry is a new science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf. AskNature.org is an online searchable database of nature-based solutions to common everyday problems.
- California Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Programs:
allows a property owner to install improvements without a large up-front cash payment. The financing is repaid over time through a "special tax"on the property tax bill.
- Cap & Trade Alternative: Solid Caps, Strong Laws, Citizen Action, Carbon Fees:
solutions proposed for reducing global warming - instead of using the flawed cap & trade system.
- Carbon Fee and Dividend:
puts a fee on the amount of carbon dioxide in fossil fuels. The fee starts out low and increases annually in a predictable manner until green energy is competitive with fossil fuel. The fee is collected and 100% reimbursed to all citizens, covering thier increased costs. (write a letter to your elected officials) (Wikipedia)
- Carbon Offset: City-Run, Transparent Program:
city run program that collects fees from city agencies for vehicle/air travel (and eventually from the public) and funnels money to pre-approved nonprofits that reduce carbon emissions.
- Carbon War Room:
works on breaking down market barriers for capital to flow to entrepreneurial solutions to climate change, by employing a sector-based approach focusing on the solutions that make economic sense right now.
- City Subsidy for Solar Power:
city program which proposes to provide $3,000 to $5,000 in subsidies to residents and up to $10,000 to businesses who install solar panels. If implemented, this could be the biggest program in the U.S.
- Clean Cookstoves:
efficient cooking stove that is cheap and durable and reduces indoor pollution and climate change emissions.
- Climate Neutral Network:
UNEP intitiative to encourage a proactive response to global warming.
the use of a heat engine or a power station to simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat.
- Cold Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC):
takes advantage of available deep cold seawater instead of energy-intensive refrigeration systems to cool the chilled water in one or more buildings.
- Community Choice Aggregation:
the regionalization of electricity markets. Allows municipalities to aggregate their communities to be served by electric service providers.
Can lead to reduced costs for consumers and increased use of renewable energy sources.
- Concentrating Solar Power Systems:
(or high temperature solar thermal energy) uses lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus sunlight into a high intensity beam capable of producing high temperatures and electricity conversion efficiencies. Article: The World's 13 Biggest Solar Thermal Energy Projects
- Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) Photovoltaic Cells:
high efficiency photovoltaic cells (CIGS cells) made from a new semiconductor material comprising copper, indium, gallium, and selenium. The PV panels are in the form of polycrystalline thin films.
- Cryo-Power: Energy Storage using 'Liquid Air':
involves taking unneeded electricity generated by wind farms and using it to chill air to a cryogenic state. When demand increases, the air can be warmed (ideally using some excess heat from a power station or industrial plant) to drive a turbine. It is believed this 'liquid air' can compete with batteries and hydrogen to store excess energy generated from renewables.
- Deep Lake Water Cooling Systems:
uses cold water pumped from the bottom of a lake as a heat sink for climate control systems. Because heat pump efficiency improves as the heat sink gets colder, deep lake water cooling can reduce the electrical demands of large cooling systems where it is available.
- District Heating:
an efficient system for distributing heat generated in a centralized location for residential and commercial heating requirements such as space heating and water heating.
- Energy Efficient Light Bulbs:
compact fluorescent and the new, even more efficient and mercury-free, LED bulbs significantly reduce the energy consumption of lights and last several times longer than incandescent light bulb designs.
- Energy Efficient Mortgages (U.S.):
let you borrow extra money to pay for energy efficient upgrades to your current home or a new or old home that you plan to buy. The result is a more environmentally friendly living space and dramatically lower utility costs.
- Energy Conservation:
the practice of decreasing the quantity of energy used while achieving a similar outcome of end use.
- Energy Storage:
exciting developments in the field of energy storage for renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
- Energy Star:
U.S. EPA program to help businesses and individuals reduce energy consumption. Includes promotion of Energy Star labeled energy efficient appliances.
- Floating Solar Panels:
solar panel system that floats on oceans, lakes, or ponds. Benefits: erases need for expensive structures to protect it from inclement weather and high winds -- when rough weather comes along, the lenses just submerge; keeps the solar cells cool, which increases their efficiency and lifespan.
- Floating Wind Turbine: floating offshore wind turbine which can be located many miles offshore, away from areas where they cause disruption. This would benefit military radar operations, the shipping industry, fisheries, bird life and tourism.
- Germany's Goal: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050:
Germany could derive all of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050 and become the world's first major industrial nation to kick the fossil-fuel habit.
- Geothermal Power:
the use of geothermal heat for electricity generation. It is often referred to as a form of renewable energy, but because the heat at any location can eventually be depleted it technically may not be strictly renewable.
- Ground-Source Heat Pump:
electrically powered systems that use the earth's relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.
- Gulf Stream Energy:
a field of underwater turbines moored 1,000 ft below the surface in the center of the Gulf Stream could - by drawing from its 8 billion gallons per minute flow rate - become a good energy source.
- Helix Wind Energy:
an elegant small scale wind power solution for home and small business owners using unique and highly efficient vertical blade design.
- Human-Powered Energy
technologies that use human (or human-derived) movement to generate electricity. Examples: grocery shoppers help to generate electricity by driving into parking lot; hotel offers free meals to guests who generate 10 watt hours of electricity on electricity-generating bicycles; disco pub generates electricty through specially-designed dance floor using piezoelectricity; hand-held device to power personal electrical gadgets (i.e., generate electricity from the wind while bicycling); device that generates electricity from body heat
- Masdar City, United Arab Emirates :
is a planned city in Abu Dhabi which will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology.
- Meters for Homes and Businesses:
new meters find power hogs in the home or business and limit how much they use.
- Micro (Home and Small Business) Combined Heat and Power (Cogeneration):
a heating unit that produces both heat and electricity (which can, in certain areas, be sold back to the power utility company).
- Microbial Fuel Cell:
a way to generate electricity from waste using bacteria.
- Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion:
a way to generate electricity using the temperature difference of seawater at different depths.
- Oil End Game:
strategy for ending oil dependence by Rocky Mountain Institute.
- PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy):
cities set up special clean energy finance districts capable of issuing low-interest bonds. Participating homeowners can opt to use the bond money to pay for renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements, and then pay the loan back through a long-term assessment on their property taxes.
- Passive Solar Design:
technologies that can be employed to convert natural sunlight into usable heat, to cause air-movement for ventilation or cooling, or to store the heat for future use, without the use of electrical or mechanical equipment.
converts energy from footsteps into renewable energy.
- Plastic Bags to Fuel:
machine that converts plastic bags into fuel.
- Plastic Solar Cells:
lightweight and inexpensive photovoltaic nanochips that can be bonded to almost any surface and harvest energy from visible light. If this technology were combined with technology that can harvest energy from infrared light, it could match the efficiency of traditional solar panels.
- Reducing Standby Power:
a surprisingly large number of electrical products cannot be switched off completely without being unplugged. These products draw power - called "standby power" - 24 hours a day. Efforts are underway to reduce standby power consumption in electrical products.
- Renewable Energy Certificates:
also known as renewable energy credits, green certificates, green tags, or tradable renewable certificates. Allow customers to purchase the equivalent of renewable energy without having to switch electricity suppliers.
- Self-Learning Thermostats:
example of an innovative building thermostat that learns from your behaviors, allows remote control, and offers potentially the application of hydroelectric power on a commercial scale serving a small community or medium sized industry.
- Small Scale Hydroelectric Power:
the application of hydroelectric power on a commercial scale serving a small community or medium sized industry.
- Solar Cookers:
a way of harnessing the sun's power to cook. A metal box forms the simplest solar cooker.
- Solar Hot Water, Space or Radiant Home Heating Systems:
heat water through solar energy. Generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to its point of usage, and a reservoir to stock the heat for subsequent use. Learn more at Heat Your Water with the Sun.
- Solar Pool Heating System:
pool water circulates through a large heat exchange surface, usually located on your roof, and absorbs the sun's energy.
- Solar Power:
the technology of obtaining usable energy from the light of the sun.
- Solar Cell Efficiency Improvements:
Solar cells have, at least in labs, exceeded 40% efficiency. Reaching 50% efficiency could revolutionize the industry.
- Solar Power from Photovoltaic (Utility-Scale)
a California utility company is building utility-scale photovoltaic solar power plants - the first time such large scale photovoltaic plants are being built in the U.S.. Rates are said to now be competitive with other renewables.
- Solar Power Storage :
inexpensive, revolutionary discovery for storing solar power - discovered at MIT.
- Solar Thermal Collector:
generally used in solar power plants where solar heat is used to generate electricity by heating water to produce steam and driving a turbine connected to the electrical generator. Some examples includes solar parabolic, solar trough and solar towers.
- Solar Updraft Tower:
a proposed type of renewable-energy power plant where air is heated in a very large circular greenhouse-like structure, and the resulting convection causes the air to rise and escape through a tall tower. The moving air drives turbines, which produce electricity.
- Subsidies for Renewable Heating in UK:
subsidies for renewable heating systems in England, Scotland and Wales offered by the UK government to help the UK achieve its EU targets for renewable energy (20% EU average, 15% for the UK). More carbon emissions come from heating for homes and industry than from generating electricity.
- Thermal Energy Storage:
a number of technologies that store energy in a thermal reservoir for later reuse. They can be employed to balance energy demand between day time and night time.
- Thin-Film Solar:
thin-film solar modules are cheaper than crystalline modules and produce more energy per unit of installed capacity
- Tidal Power:
a means of electricity generation achieved by capturing the energy contained in moving water mass due to tides. The largest tidal power plant is in La Rance, France.
- Venture Capitalists Investing in Clean Energy:
increasingly venture capitalists are looking to make money from investing in new renewable energy technology that has a strong chance of grabbing market share in the six trillion dollar energy market.
- V2G - Electric Vehicle to Grid Power:
electric-drive vehicles, whether powered by batteries, fuel cells, or gasoline hybrids, have within them the energy source and power electronics capable of producing the 60 Hz AC electricity that powers our homes and offices. When connections are added to allow this electricity to flow from cars to power lines, it is called "vehicle to grid" power, or V2G.
- Waste Heat Recovery
recycling the heat that is emitted from industrial smokestacks and turning it into energy.
- Wave Power:
refers to the energy of ocean surface waves and the capture of that energy to do generate electricity.
- Wind Power:
the conversion of wind energy into electricity using wind turbines. Costs can be lowered through using sustainably harvested wood for the wind turbine masts.