The world has made a dramatic statement about carbon emissions and eco-friendly living. The EU has stated that by 2020, they want to reduce greenhouse gases by 20% and increase the usage of renewable energy by 20%.
This is a mammoth task that they have set out to accomplish. Especially since most countries in Europe are still largely dependent on tradition energy sources – fossil fuels. The only conceivable way that this task can be completed is by creating new green resources. Here is a look at some of the green technologies that they EU are currently developing, in a hope that they might reach their greenhouse gases and renewable energy targets:
Nuclear fusion power: Nuclear fusion power is a clean and safe technology which can provide much larger volumes of energy that any other type of energy source – traditional or renewable. Nuclear power is possible the best long-term option that is being looked at for renewable energy.
Enhanced geothermal systems: The objective of this system is to harness the heat naturally generated by the Earth and use it to produce electricity. In order to do this, wells are drilled into high temperature basement rock which is naturally fractured. Once fractured, cold water is pumped into the well, absorbing the head of the rock as it passes through. As the heat then surfaces in the wells, the heat is captures and converted into electricity via steam turbines.
Smart grids: According to the International Energy Agency, between 2003 and 2030 more than 16 trillion dollars will have been spent on designing, developing and installing smart grids. This primary goal of smart grids is to overcome the problems that current electricity grids face. Smart grids will make distribution and consumption of electricity more efficient and cost-effective. These systems will also help energy companies identify peak and lag periods of consumption, limiting power outages and enabling even distribution of electricity.
Orbiting solar arrays: One major renewable energy resource yet to be properly utilised is orbiting solar arrays. In theory solar panels will be constructed outside the Earth’s atmosphere and placed into orbit. These panels will then beam back the solar power to the receptor where it can be converted into usable electricity. The main attraction of this is that this is an unimaginably massive energy resource and could potentially provide enough electricity to power the entire planet.
Nanosolar: Solar energy has always been one of the best renewable energy resources, as it does not release any carbon monoxide into the atmosphere and requires little maintenance. However, the manufacturing and capturing costs have always been exceptionally high. However, this is all set to change as Nanosolar leads the way having created the most cost efficient solar energy source to date. This cost of producing a one watt is only 30 cents, and US-based Nanosolar plants are capable of producing 430 megawatts a year.
Renewable energy is the way forward. These systems can power anything from small houses to large control room solution systems in major banks and government agencies. If we are to really achieve our renewable energy goals by 2020, we need to start using these systems.