There were records last week of the highest temperature ever registered in the Antarctic, the most recent indication of the climate change, caused mainly by human activity. This is clearly a problem, but also an opportunity for engineers to create new solutions and develop the current solutions to be more environmentally friendly. Some companies have taken a chance on this opportunity and today we want to present 3 sustainability projects that will be with us very soon.
Khalili Engineers and the solar-powered pipe
Khalili Engineers from Canada presented a project last year about an incredible solar-powered pipe that can generate 10,000 MWh per year while turning 4.5 billion liters of salt water into drinking water. The solar-powered plant deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for cities and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the ocean.
This new technique of desalination consumes less energy and is dramatically simpler than conventional techniques, like the reverse osmosis. Ninety-seven percent of seawater is pure water and only three percent is dissolved solids. All dissolved solids in water become ionized and can therefore be controlled through electromagnetic energy.
Electromagnetic filtration uses an isolated electromagnetic field on pipes circulating seawater, separating the salts and impurities. The process evades the problems confronting current desalination methods by eliminating the need for a membrane and by separating salt from water at a microscale. As you can see, this device wants to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all, one of the Sustainable Development Goals launched by the United Nations.
MIT and the Shock Electrodialysis
In November of 2015, the MIT came up with another way for desalination. In this new process, called shock electrodialysis, water flows through a porous material —in this case, made of tiny glass particles, called a frit — with membranes or electrodes sandwiching the porous material on each side. When an electric current flows through the system, the salty water divides into regions where the salt concentration is either depleted or enriched.
When that current is increased to a certain point, it generates a shockwave between these two zones, sharply dividing the streams and allowing the fresh and salty regions to be separated by a simple physical barrier at the center of the flow. This system not only removes salt, but also a wide variety of other contaminants. The next step is to design a scaled-up system that could go through practical testing.
These solutions are under development but, hopefully, they will be ready for implementation very soon.
On the other hand, we want to present you with an invention that is close to its launch and it is also related to the care of the environment.
Tesla: Photovoltaic Panels for Houses
Tesla has developed a new concept of photovoltaic panels for our homes that will be available on the market. They want us to forget about big photovoltaic panels and they want to include a photovoltaic cell in the roof tile itself, making the installation of this green technology more attractive.
The tile is composed of a high efficiency solar cell that is not visible to the naked eye from the street but from above is completely exposed to the sun. Then, the solar cell is covered with a colored louver film that minimizes the solar efficiency loss and they offer it in different styles. Finally, it has a tempered glass that act as a protective layer. Tesla asserts that this roof has a lower cost than a traditional roof when combined with projected utility bill savings.
You can also help to make the world more sustainable. Ennomotive has now a project that look for the conditioning and energy optimization of a warehouse in Mercamadrid.