A sketch of plane being charged with electricity.

Green Tech Briefing: 6th March

Mar 6, 2019 - 3min read

From solar stations in space to giant skyscraper batteries, 2019 is already turning into a year of innovation and green energy initiatives. Want to find out more? Read on for Tonik Energy’s round up of the best green news stories from the past month.

China to harness the sun's energy with orbiting solar station 
The sun is a great source of natural energy, but as solar panels are normally located on Earth they can only gather energy during daytime, and their effectiveness can be limited by bad weather. To solve this problem, China is planning to launch a spacecraft which can collect solar power and then beam it down to earth as a laser or microwave beam. The solar station, which China will test between years 2021 and 2025, is a particularly exciting prospect because it would be able to generate solar energy 24/7 - and because it sounds like something a benevolent James Bond villain would build!

Is it a skyscraper? Is it a battery? Answer: it’s both!
Imagine a spring which is packed full of energy when coiled and then releases its energy when sprung back out. Now imagine that on a much larger scale. Swiss company Energy Vault are planning to harness kinetic energy through a huge, skyscraper-sized battery which will be charged with tonnes of concrete blocks which are ‘dropped’ onto the tower via a six armed crane to charge the device. To convert the energy into electricity, the crane will lower the blocks to the ground. The first Energy Vault system is due to launch in India this year.

Ambassadors pledge to help make 2019 the year of green action
On 26th February, leading environmentalists in the UK committed to becoming ambassadors for the Year of Green Action - a year long initiative aiming to connect more people to their natural environment and encourage easy everyday steps for a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. The new ambassadors include blogger Besma Whayeb, adventurist David de Rothschild and TV presenter Jan Leeming.

Electric commuter plane given the green light
Siemens engineering company is teaming up with Israeli startup Eviation Aircraft to develop an all-electric nine passenger regional commuter plane named Alice. The plane, which will be shown off at the Paris Air Show this summer, will be able to fly nine passengers at 253 miles per hour for up to 650 miles per charge. Eviation Aircraft plans to start pre-selling the plane next year, with commercial deliveries launching in 2022. Green skies ahead!

Electric car manufacturers slash prices
Tesla has lowered the prices of their model X and model S cars to make them more accessible, according to the Daily Express. The biggest drop in price was £48,005 for the Model S Ludicrous Performance. There’s even some good news for current Tesla-owners who might otherwise be miffed about the sudden decrease in value of their beloved electric vehicle; add-on features like Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are going to have their prices cut too. We’re just thrilled that going green is getting more affordable than ever: if you’re thinking of going electric, check out our guide to electric vehicles here, there’s one for everyone!

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