For many of us, energy is an important issue. Whether it is for saving money or protecting the environment, we are trying to do something in one way or another. Solar energy is an easy but often costly and impractical move. Exploiting the light rays entering your home to lighten your electricity bill is the concept of solar panels. And those who have neither the budget nor the possibility of installing them on the roof of their house will soon be able to call on the SolarGaps’ start-up. Zoom on this new ecological and economical home equipment! Read more
In northern Europe, an artificial island project was proposed by two companies European companies with the objective of providing clean energy to about 80 million people.
Many people find it difficult to recharge their mobile phone especially when they are in a transport; car, plane and bus. XDModo has launched a solar charger. Read more
It is a like a breath of fresh air for the common people who wants to protect the planet. Saule Technologies delivers revolutionary solar panels in the form of low-cost flexible and lightweight foil. Read more
Environmental awareness is permeating football. During a match, an attacker may run between 10 to 11 km while a defender may race between 10 to 12.5 km. Certain countries, such as Brazil and Nigeria, have embraced this fact as an opportunity to use the energy of football players to lighten up football pitches in a completely ecological manner.
The first country to adopt this innovative technology is Brazil. Two years ago, Mineira, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, gifted itself a unique football pitch-one of its kind. Designed with artificial turf by the British startup Pavegen, the football ground can convert energy generated by the movement of players into electricity. Subsequently, the electricity is used to illuminate the football pitch after dark. The inauguration of this revolutionary football ground even earned the presence of the king of football himself- Pele.
Pavegen, that qualifies itself as a pioneer in clean technology, designed the artificial turf with about 200 plates. The latter are made up from 80% of recycled materials, derived mainly from old tires from trucks. The kinetic energy produced by the movements of the players is then transformed into electricity. This energy can subsequently power up to six flood lights placed around the football field.
In 2015, it was in Lagos in Nigeria that the oil group Shell inaugurated the first football ground of Africa whose lightening system is similar to that of the stadium of Rio de Janeiro. Lagos, which is the most populous of Africa, is unfortunately home to many neglected public infrastructures. This project was launched as part of the Shell #makethefuture program to bring about innovative ideas pertaining to energy while taking care to supply communities in need with electricity at the same time. The oil company has partnered with Pavegen for this project.
To convert the football pitch in Lagos, the placement of 90 electric slabs underneath the lawn were required. These slabs can transform the kinetic energy of moving players into electricity that may be used immediately or stored in batteries for future use.
Each step on a single slab generates between 4 to 7 watts of electricity
In Lagos, the system can power six LED floodlights in the stadium. To become even greener, the stadium furthermore installed solar panels to generate electricity that is used for other purposes in the premises.
Pavegen, meanwhile, is already making additional long term plans. Presently, only 25% of the African continent has direct access to electricity. Electricity supply based on piezoelectric energy may eventually provide electricity to remote and forsaken residential areas. Already, several cities have adopted the green energy of Pavegen. One can find them in nightclubs or on the floor at Terminal 3 in the airport of Heathrow.
The London Olympic Games as well as the Paris Marathon held in 2013 have allowed the testing of this ingenious technology. To make it more accessible, Pavegen is deepening its researches in view of lowering costs implications.
This is the road of the future. Photovoltaic and smart, it can capture solar energy and produce electricity directly. This road can furthermore provide information on traffic conditions and on the state of road itself. And it is France which has become the world pioneer by launching the site for the construction of the very first photovoltaic road in Orne in the department of Normandy.
The construction works began on 25 October 2016 and the first section will extend over one kilometer. These works are expected to be completed in December. The sum of €5 million has been earmarked for this purpose. The French government plans to overlay various roads- measuring 1,000 kilometers in total– with solar panels. Once completed, they are estimated to provide electricity to 5 million French or in other words, to 8% of the French population.
The project, totally Made in France, is being accomplished following extensive research carried out for five years by l’Institut national de l’énergie solaire (National Institute of Solar Energy) (INES) and Colas- a subsidiary company of Bouygues. Tests were conducted in Chambéry and Grenoble with a steady stream of one million vehicles to measure the functionality and sustainability of these panels. According Colas, not a single plate was moved or was damaged. At the inauguration ceremony, Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, spoke with great pride and enthusiasm:
It’s utopia becoming reality
The solar road project is based on WattWay technology developed by Colas-one of the world leaders in transport infrastructure. The panels were manufactured in a local company in Orne. This first section of the road that will be 2m wide is expected to generate some 17,963 kWh of energy on a daily basis. This can provide an entire town of 5,000 inhabitants with public lighting. WattWay confirms that panels spreading over an area of 20m2 may supply a complete household with green energy easily.
The WattWay innovative technology is simple and requires no heavy work. Existing roads merely need to be covered with the solar panels– which are in fact slabs- without the need for any additional engineering work. These slabs were created so that vehicles, including trucks, can pass along without causing any damage.
The panels are made up of photovoltaic cells carefully wrapped in several layers to make the slabs exceptionally resistant. Thin sheets of polycrystalline silicon, on their side, help to capture solar energy which is then converted into electricity. According to Colas, these slabs can last up to 20 years and are adaptable to any kind of road worldwide.
The photovoltaic road is a clever means to generate clean and renewable energy in the long term. The idea of transforming the existing roads in this way is ingenious because, according to studies, roads are occupied by vehicles for only 10% of time and they are constantly facing the sky and the sun.
In designing the photovoltaic slabs, Colas also judged important not to create a product that requires the destruction of an existing infrastructure. The policy is to rebuild without destroying.
This photovoltaic road is not only green but also intelligent. As soon as it will produce electricity, it will send data about the traffic and the state of the road itself through a massive network of integrated sensors. The company is already considering designing an induction system allowing the photovoltaic roads to recharge electric vehicles.
It is stored underneath our steps. Naturally generated and stored within the Earth itself, geothermal energy is an extremely precious resource. The department of Val de Marnes in the region of Ile de France in France has pioneered by capitalizing on it. Today, geothermal energy is providing heat at a cheaper rate to more than 150,000 homes in the area.
Non-polluting, renewable, reliable and equally sustainable, geothermal energy is proving to be amazingly advantageous. In Ile de France, drawn from the very bowels of Mother Earth, this clean energy is generating 1,373,000 MWh which is being utilized to heat up these homes. It has replaced fuel for heating, which would amount to 130,000 tons for the same task.
If Val de Marnes has gone ahead with this project it is because the Paris Basin which constitutes of the lowlands around Paris and is composed of sedimentary rocks prides itself in ideal geological conditions to support geothermal energy.
It is naturally present in the rocks and fluids underneath the crust of the Earth. Since in itself it is free and available immediately without the need to burn any fossil fuel for its extraction, it is furthermore inexpensive.
Unlike solar or wind energy, it is available 365 days a year…without exception
Even if it is found under our feet, the energy of the Earth is not necessarily exploitable everywhere. Other regions in France equally have the potential for the exploitation of geothermal energy but the geological structures are more complex for easy extraction.
For the region of Ile de France, it is synonymous to a gem- a wondrous asset waiting to be put to use. It is indeed the first renewable energy being taken advantage of in the region.
This energy has been subject to multiple experiments in terms of technical issues before it became an economically attractive heating mode, despite a highly competitive environment, thanks to technical improvements. Ile de France subsequently decided to diversify its resources in terms of energy to provide heat to houses and public buildings. It is extracted from 2,000m from within the Earth.
Today, the department has 36 operational plants with the majority located in Val de Marnes. It amounts to 40% of geothermal energy produced in the whole of France. Its network within the region is expanding like wildfire and it is expected that by 2025, more than 200,000 households will be able to rely on this type of energy.
Geothermal energy is already being utilized in over 20 countries with the United States being the leading producer. The largest cluster of geothermal power plants are located in The Geysers in California. Many American cities have a comprehensive network of pipes under roads and sidewalks with geothermal hot water flowing to melt the snow during winter.
Apart from heating homes and offices, geothermal water from deeper in the Earth are also used for growing plants in greenhouses, like in Auvergne, France. Iceland, for example, uses geothermal heat from underground reservoirs to generate electricity which is not only used to heat buildings but to ensure a cooling system as well.
In a world where coal, nuclear and gas are still considered the main sources of energy, Germany managed to use the sun, wind, and rain to provide 87 percent of the energy needs of the entire country . This benefited the population.
This is an astonishing success which the industry does not expect. With a peak in the production of renewable energy, German households paid negative electricity prices. The electricity prices in Germany fell to -€ 30 megawatt per hour throughout the day. Read more
In Bangkok, Delhi or Cairo the roar of the auto rickshaw is part of the soundscape. Easy to navigate their way through traffic jams and narrow streets, the tuk-tuk is one of the most convenient ways to cross congested cities in several countries. Since existing models are very noisy and polluting, some companies have decided to come forward with a solution: create a zero-emission electric version. (Article from The Guardian, 3 June 2016)
The country’s persistence has been rewarded. After years of promoting the use of clean power, it succeeded on running on renewables during four consecutive days. However, a transition to 100% remains far-fetched, partly due to EU’s lack of ambition.