Feb 19, 2018 - 2min read
Our MD Chris Russell picks his favourite green tech stories from the past few weeks. Read on for delivery drones, houses powered by whirlpools and the power of molten salt.
The new delivery bots: driverless, low emission drones
The transport industry is one of the biggest contributors to global pollution. Scientists in New York are aiming to combat this by designing more sustainable methods of delivery. After investigating the greenhouse gas emissions of the thousands of delivery trucks uniting customers with their Amazon purchases everyday, they highlighted the need for a sustainable alternative. A large majority of Amazon deliveries weigh less than 2.5kg – just light enough for a drone to drop off on a customer’s doorstep. Your new postie could be a robot!
Crossrail to generate electricity from wind created by trains
Charlotte Slingsby grew up in Cape Town and now resides in London. Frequent blackouts in her home town provided her with the inspiration to innovate clean energy solutions in the capital. Her pilot project is installing grids of lamellae-covered plastic sheets in London Crossrail’s tunnels where the draft from speeding trains is generated into electricity. You could say that Slingsby suffers from tunnel vision when it comes to spying sustainable solutions…
Self-flying electric air taxi takes to the skies
Airbus’ passenger drone has completed its first test flight, after plans for it were first revealed in January 2017. The prototype of the self-piloted air taxi, called Vahana, reached a height of 5 metres (16 feet) for a minute. Airbus originally envisioned people sharing the personal aircraft using an app – just like jumping in an Uber pool, apart from it's flying and there’s no driver (welcome to the future). Now, they envision diverse uses including cargo delivery, an ambulance, search and rescue missions or even visiting disaster sites.
Solar power, wind power…are you ready for salt power?
SolarReserve is one of several companies convinced that salt is the next big sustainable resource. Unlike solar and wind power that depend on weather conditions to generate electricity, molten salt can be accessed whenever it is needed. This form of power is generated by sunshine (concentrated onto a tower by mirrors) heating molten salt within to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit creating steam and powering a turbine.
Hydropower gets turbo-charged
Belgian company Turbulent has us in a spin with their whirlpool turbine, designed to power dozens of homes using hydropower. By installing a basin and lowering in a generator next to a flowing river or canal, water flows into the turbine creating a whirlpool and generating enough energy to power dozens of homes. This provides limitless free, clean, energy as long as the water flows.