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Five green innovations that caught our eye

From time to time, we like to take a look at some of the green technological breakthroughs being touted for possible roles in our sustainable future. 

Here are five of our recent favourites. 

The road to faster EV charging? 

Credit: Tour Group/Rice University)
Image: Rice University

The ability to charge electric vehicles (EVs) with increasing speed is one of the key factors in the market’s continued growth. So what’s the solution? Asphalt, suggest scientists at Rice University. The use of the material, more often seen on roads and walkways, for anodes, has seen large amounts of energy stored with charge times of just five minutes. This could well promise a lot more than a few references in scientific journals. 

‘Wood’ cars could improve performance

Wood car
Image: Green Optimistic

Another crucial element in longer EV ranges is what material vehicles are made out of. There will be a move towards increasingly lightweight construction – but durability and safety remain, of course, crucial. The latest development in this area is to explore materials of wood origin; cellulose nanofibres which can be combined with plastic to make a material which researchers at Kyoto University claim is five times stronger than steel. 


5 eye-catching green innovations

Five of the latest green energy innovations that have caught our eye

Five green innovations we are excited about

‘Pods’ to harness water power 

A uniquely-shaped ‘pod’ turbine could well offer an option for tapping the kinetic energy of rivers and streams. Sitting on the surface of the water, the vertical-axis turbine is being trialled with a South Carolina utility company in early 2018. The engineers behind the concept say it’s a less environmentally-intrusive hydro power option than stationary dams. Hydro power potential is huge, so this is an interesting story to follow. 

Walk your way to a re-charge

SolePower SmartBoots
Image: @SolePower on Instagram

A different sort of kinetic energy – that of the human step – can be tapped with the new electric footwear called SmartBoots. It’s being offered as a power solution for everyone from industrial workers to people looking to charge their phones and gadgets in developing countries with poor grid access. Perhaps the boots will even become a future fashion statement?

Wearable generation gets more durable

Thermoelectric ink
Image: UNIST

For those interested in a futuristic society where even our clothes generate electricity, a new solar thermoelectric generator may be of interest, which uses temperature differences to produce power. These can be attached to fabric, windows and walls. Such devices have been around for a while, but the difference here is that the latest breakthrough, led by Professor Kyoung Jin Choi, means that electricity can be generated from larger temperature differences than previously possible. 

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Gary Hartley's picture
Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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