Americans want clean energy, that’s been confirmed by many polls conducted to ascertain whether people support green, renewable energy.
And though the economy has to some extent slowed progress in the world of renewable energy, there are still many amazing green energy innovations popping up across the globe as both artists and engineers play with how to create energy sustainably. Here are a few examples.
1. Cross-wind Bridge
By far one of the most interesting bridges you’ll ever see, the cross-wind bridge developed by designers Tiago Barros + Jorge Pereira and their team harnesses wind energy from passing cars.
As drivers pass under the bridge, they help to increase the wind velocity within the bridge, which in turn helps to rotate the 2,188 lightweight panels that generate energy and send it through an electromagnetic band. The energy is then used to light up the bridge at night, providing illumination in the local community.
Located in Lisbon, the bridge also houses a pedestrian and cycling bridge that connects people to the nearby residential park. To add to the green credibility of this design, the structure is made of punctured cladding that is sourced from recycled steel from the auto industry.
Source: Design Boom
2. Invisible Streetlight
Modeled after tree branches and leaves, the Invisible Streetlight, which was presented at the International Design Excellence Awards, brings solar-powered illumination and beauty together. Collecting solar energy throughout the day, these lights then provide soft, elegant light throughout the night.
Intertwined with branches of existing trees, these lights also minimize the resources needed to construct them (although one has to ask about the risk of theft). They not only enhance the scenic beauty of a local park or sidewalk, they make it safer without contributing to climate change.
3. Solar Curtain Walls and Blights
Konarka, one of the leading manufacturers of printable solar cells, has recently announced a pilot project to test the viability of solar curtain walls. Although perhaps less dramatic than the other two renewable energy systems on offer here, when applied to surfaces as ubiquitous as windows and walls, the potential to create energy on virtually any building goes through the roof.
Their Power Plastic is extremely flexible and versatile, making it possible to apply solar energy generators to a wide variety of surfaces—everything from sun shades to bags to vehicle surfaces. The technology could also make renewable energy much more affordable for the average consumer and transferable to developing nations, too.
The Power Plastic technology is not unlike that used on these highly practical Blights (think blind + light). Providing both protection from solar heat gain (important for areas that face higher air conditioning bills due to hot weather) and surfaces through which to generate renewable energy, the Blights are another example of bringing the extraordinary into real life. For other forms of protection, this site has plenty to browse over.
They can be adjusted throughout the day to obtain maximum solar collection and shielding from solar glare. Applicable for really any window—in homes, offices, and industrial facilities alike—they provide convenient solar energy.
Putting a new spin on sustainable travel, Solar Impulse is working on a solar airplane that could potentially be used for taxiing people and other transport purposes. They’re attempting to go around the world in the Solar Impulse.
The world’s first Solar Highway project is opened in Oregon to rave reviews. Providing 104 kilowatts of energy through a ground-mounted solar array, the energy generated will power lighting for the site.
An interesting twist on solar energy, these three-legged I-SWARM bots are solar-powered gadgets that could one day form the foundation for other larger-scale renewably-powered computer systems. Measuring about 4 mm square, they can do ant-sized jobs totally powered by the sun.