Recent decades’ tech innovations have allowed us to stretch our perspective of the world. No longer are we limited to observing only as far as our eyes see, and as our vision reaches across the globe, we are increasingly forced into uncomfortable eye contact with the waste products of our modern lifestyle.
While the byproducts of our technological strides have taken a toll on the environment we rely on, new tech advancements are granting us an essential opportunity: the ability to clean up. From generating clean energy to removing toxicity from the manufacturing process, the future of green technology looks to move us ever closer to achieving harmony with our environment; therefore, it’s worth looking into a few developments we can expect from sustainable tech in coming years.
Enhanced Geothermal Fields
Under the earth’s surface flows a massive amount of energy, waiting to be tapped. Enhanced Geothermal Fields (EGS) channels underground heat into a usable resource. A network of deep holes are drilled, and water is pumped through them, absorbing sub-crust heat before passing through steam turbines to generate electricity.
EGS endeavors such as Australia’s Cooper Basin, have already proven successful and cost-effective. Classified as a base-load resource, EGS can harvest energy nonstop, 24 hours a day, and establishing an EGS setup costs less than building a brand new clean-burning coal plant.
It might be past bizarre to consider that a block of concrete or glass pane could “heal” its cuts, breaks, and scratches as if it were organic. However, thanks to advances in biomimicry, self-healing material is not only possible but plausible. Metals that sense damage, auto-fixing plastics, and paints which independently recoat nicks and scratches are only a few potential applications of biomimicry. If self-healing products manage to breach the affordability barrier, they could forever alter our approach to recycling and disposal.
As the population grows, news structures rise up, consuming resources in construction and siphoning our energy supply; as the need for energy rises, so too does the necessity of conservation efforts. Enter green architecture, a method of structural design which emphasizes natural alternatives to lighting and insulation, and refurbishes discarded waste material to use in construction, at once reducing both energy consumption and total waste product. Future advances in green architecture promise to create “passive” buildings which don’t increase overall emissions by much, if at all.