by Kunaal Venugopal
Electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst claim to have created a device that can generate energy “out of thin air.” This device, which they call an “Air-gen,” works with electrically conductive nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter. Geobacter is useful in bioremediation, “the treatment of pollutants or waste by the use of microorganisms that break down undesirable substances” (Merriam-Webster). The nanowires connect to electrodes in such a way that they are able to generate electrical current from the inherently present water vapor in the atmosphere. The scientists expect to bring their invention to commercial scale in the near future, with an eventual goal of integrating “large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production.”
Lovley and Yao are not unversed in the applications of nanowires. Indeed, it was Lovley who discovered the Geobacter microbe over 30 years ago in the Potomac River, and eventually its capability to produce the electrically conductive wires credited with the creation of the “Air-gen.” Yao had previously used silicon nanowires to engineer electronic devices at Harvard University. The two teamed up to see if they could implement their prior research into creating useful electronic devices, such as their “Air-gen.”
Ultimately, it is uncertain whether or not Yao and Lovley’s invention can truly provide an infinite source of renewable energy. The problem with previous renditions of moisture-based energy-producing technologies was the ephemeral burst of power that could not effectively power many devices, but the “Air-gen” has addressed this issue. It’s unknown whether or not this technology could completely replace fossil fuels’ role in the world, but its potential is especially promising.
by Arun Balaji
The Bangladeshi government, in partnership with World Bank Energy, other developmental agencies and the private sector, are providing clean and reusable energy to rural Bangladesh in lieu of where traditional powerlines cannot reach. The organization aims to provide reusable energy in the form of solar power to the capacity of 4 million households, of which house 20 million Bangladeshi citizens. In a region that is largely developing due to lack of resources, the organization stepped in to provide the greatest resource to help the largely farming and manual labor community– now, the majority of their labor is automated and clean, thanks to the use of irrigation pumps that 6,000 farmers can now claim ownership of.
World Bank Energy is a subsidiary of the World Bank group, whose mission claims that “Access to energy is essential to reduce poverty.” The company achieves their mission by providing clean and sustainable forms of energy to areas that don’t have energy in largely developing countries. What’s significant is that Bangladesh, with the organization’s support, is not only bringing electricity to their people, but they are achieving it sustainably, by means of solar power, giving a positive push towards lowering their carbon footprint.
Bangladesh has long been a developing country that is recently achieving prominence. Classified as a middle-class economy with a population of 128 million, it is surprising to find that 25% of rural Bangladesh do not have access to a sustainable power source. However, their outlook for the next 10 years is very lucrative. By 2030, Bangladesh wants to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, and produce over 30 GW of energy by solar power. They follow in line with several other countries like India and Great Britain in the hunt for a zero-emission country, a prospective outcome to solve the climate change issues that face us today.
by Sudhit Rao
Tesla’s pure domination of the electric car market might soon come to an end with the unveiling of Sony’s new Fisker Ocean, an affordable electric sports utility vehicle. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 featured a countless number of great products but Sony’s Fisker Ocean certainly stole the show as most surprising. The electric car boasts a price of just $29,999 after federal tax incentives, cutting off Tesla’s most popular and affordable car, the Model 3 priced at $35,000.
Headquartered at the heart of technological innovation, California, Fisker Ocean’s mission runs parallel with creating a cleaner and greener future for the world. The car company hopes to “Provide the world’s most sustainable vehicles through an e-mobility service” and envisions “A clean future for all”(Fisker Ocean).
While their purpose is certainly in the hopes of a better, more green future, how does the company hope to accomplish this? Fisker Ocean implements various techniques such as recycling and renewable power to do just that. The car’s exterior body is created from recycled materials such as discarded fishing nets and plastics that would instead be left in the ocean, unused. The interior of the car consists of recycled polyester such as T-Shirts and fibers and recycled plastics. This has enormous benefits to the environment as the polyester manufacturing process primarily requires gasoline. To top that, Fisker Ocean is the first car to implement a solar roof, claiming that it would provide users with an additional 1,000 miles of range for zero cost. The roof would improve fuel performance as well as reduce the overall CO2 emissions. More information about the sustainability of the car can be found here.
Fisker Ocean is a serious contender as a pure electric car due to its affordability, but more importantly, a far more important issue is being tackled by the car company, environmental sustainability. The sustainability of the car can prove extremely beneficial to the environment by reducing carbon emissions and recycling materials that would otherwise go unused but only time will tell if Fisker Ocean is crowned king as the world’s most sustainable car.