Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies

Make Oil from Just about Anything

By adding sufficient heat and pressure, any carbon-based waste—from turkey guts to used tires—can be turned into oil through a chemical process similar to how nature makes oil. Supporters claim that a ton of turkey waste can be turned into about 600 pounds of petroleum.

Remove the Salt

According to the United Nations, water supply shortages will affect billions of people by the middle of this century. Desalination is the process of removing the salt and minerals out of seawater. It is one way to provide drinkable water in parts of the world where supplies are limited.

The 'H' Power

Hydrogen fuel cells make water by combining hydrogen and oxygen. In the process, they generate electricity. They may be a pollution-free alternative to fossil fuels. The problem with fuel cells is getting the hydrogen. Some of the processes for extracting hydrogen require using other energy sources, which take away the advantages of this "clean" fuel. Some car companies are promising that soon they will have cars that emit nothing but clean water.

Sunny New Ideas

The sun's energy can be converted into electricity or heat. Solar collectors come in many different forms and are already used successfully by energy companies and individual homeowners. Part of the challenge for using solar power involves willingness from governments to support solar energy.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

The biggest solar collector on Earth is the ocean. OTEC technologies take the energy contained in the oceans and turn it into electricity by using the temperature difference between the water's surface, which is heated, and the cold of the ocean's bottom. This difference in temperature can operate turbines that can drive generators.

Harness Waves and Tides

Waves contain energy that can run turbines, which then turn this mechanical power into electrical energy. Sometimes the waves are too small to generate sufficient power. The trick is to be able to store the energy.

Plant Your Roof

Roof gardens help absorb heat, reduce the carbon dioxide impact by taking up CO2 and giving off oxygen, absorb storm water, and reduce summer air conditioning usage. They could lessen the "heat island" effect that occurs in urban centers. Butterflies and songbirds could also start visiting urban garden roofs.

Let Plants and Microbes Clean Up After Us

Bioremediation uses microbes and plants to clean up contamination. Often, native plant species can be used for site cleanup. This is advantageous because theyusually don't require pesticides or watering. Scientists are trying to genetically modify plants to take up contaminants in their roots and transport it all the way to the leaves for easy harvesting.

Bury The Bad Stuff

Carbon dioxide is the most prominent greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. We must find ways to dispose of the gas. One suggested method is to separate the CO2 is separated from other emission gases and then to bury it in abandoned oil wells, saline reservoirs, and rocks. Scientists are not sure whether the injected gas will stay underground and what the long-term effects are.

Make Paper Obsolete

Electronic paper is a flexible display that looks very much like real paper but can be reused over and over. It contains many tiny microcapsules filled with particles that carry electric charges. Each microcapsule has white and black particles that are associated with either a positive or negative charge. Depending on which charge is applied; the black or white particles surface displaying different patterns.

Source: Top 10 Emerging Environmental Technologies
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