Collage of images including a drone, solar panels and wind turbines.

Green Tech Briefing: 23rd October

Oct 23, 2017 - 2min read

As has become custom each week, Tonik’s managing director, Chris Russell, shares his favourite green tech news stories from the last seven days:

1) Amazon has patented a drone to charge EVs mid-journey

Amazon’s latest foray into unmanned aerial vehicles sees the company win a patent to develop charger drones. The patent outlines the mechanism of action: the driver summons the drone to a specified meet-up location, the vehicle is identified by a marker on its roof, the drone lands on top. These UAVs would allow drivers to recharge their electric cars on the move, as the proposed plans include docking stations on top of the cars to allow the transfer of electricity. 

2) Sustainable architecture: a curved concrete roof that generates solar power

Swiss developers have created a unique prototype for The NEST HiLo, an extremely thin, curved concrete roof capable of generating solar power. The shell consists of several layers which heat and cool the structure, and an exterior layer which contains ultra-thin photovoltaic cells. All of these measures are expected to help the building generate more energy than it consumes. It also happens to look very beautiful too. 

3) An entirely new way to turn landfill gas into energy

As the demand for food rises, and sources become ever more expensive to produce, scientists have developed a way to create protein from methane. These landfill gases could be turned into valuable edible protein by a fermentation process similar to making beer. Turning waste into sustenance has already been achieved for animal feed, and companies like Calysta Inc and String Bio are working on readying the product for human consumption. 

4) The world’s first floating wind farm has just been switched on

In a project that began over 15 years ago, 5 massive turbines off the coast of Aberdeenshire have started generating electricity to power about 20,000 homes. Compared to conventional offshore wind farms, this floating system allows the turbines to be installed in far deeper waters. The pioneering project positions Scotland at the forefront of the global sustainability race, and highlights the country’s enormous potential for wind resource. 

5) You’ve seen floating wind farms but what about floating solar farms?

China and many other countries are gravitating towards the water too, by placing massive solar panels on bodies of water to soak up solar energy. One of the leaders in solar generation, China has recently unveiled the world’s largest floating solar farm – by placing these structures on water, valuable land is freed up for other uses.