Being hopeful about the environment in 2021

Rachel Smith, Applied Technology Review | Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Rachel Smith, Applied Technology Review

A number of technologies are coming together this year to achieve low carbon emission. The world really has the potential to change.

Fremont, CA: U.S. President Joe Biden, UK and EU are coming together, and even China, have made a commitment towards climate change mitigation. Talking about the business world, in an unprecedented manner, renewable energy investment has exceeded that of fossil fuels. A green post-COVID recovery plan is set to generate millions of jobs. The COP26 summit in November later this year. 

Innovative green ideas have the potential to reduce emissions, and here are some of these groundbreaking developments which will improve the environment scenarios in 2021.

1.Robots for Wind Power: BladeBUG has been in the news for some time now. It is a rectangular robot that crawls over turbine blades for maintenance works. Giving this responsibility to a person is risky and expensive, and makes up for 40% of the total lifetime cost of the turbine. Drones will carry BladeBUG to the desires locations and blades will detect damage using sensors. It can even fill and polish very small defects. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), offshore wind powerplants could deliver 18 times today’s global demand.

2.Climate-friendly rice: Rothamsted Research, in Hertfordshire, has developed 'Direct Seeded Rice' (DSR) that does not need to be grown in a puddle, hence consumes less water. It is a cross of the existing high-yield variety of rice.

The seeds are still developing and researchers say the farm-ready seeds will be ready in a couple of years. 

3.Wooden Constructions: A sustainable forest in Europe generates enough wood to develop a four-person family house. Carbon is absorbed by the growing trunks, and then trees are replanted. Wooden constructions have a lesser carbon footprint than concrete and steel constructions. The French government has already ruled that all new public constructions must be made from at least 50 per cent timber. 

4.Graze the Arctic: In Siberia, Nikita Zimov runs a Pleistocene park populated by musk-ox, wild horses. Some even call it a friendlier Jurassic park. He wants to protect the frozen ground from thawing and releasing carbon due to rising temperatures. According to him, trees here worsen climate change. Arctic forest covers only arrived when then humans killed the majority of the grazing animals. As the forests are darker in colour, less sunlight is reflected, which heats the ground. Grazing animals trample the snow that allows the chill air to penetrate the ground and allow a thick snow layer to insulate. 

5.Super solar panels: IEA says that solar power is now the cheapest form of energy. But solar panels only convert around 20 per cent of the energy that falls on them. A UK based company called Oxford PV is combining silicon with Perovskite that increases the efficiency of solar panels by 30-40 per cent.  

These technologies have the potential to mitigate the climate crisis and hopefully will attract higher investments. 

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