This commercial channel is for ecological products, which lighten the burden of the earth.
In this section we will present some interesting new designs and developments in the area of renewable energy and energy storage. Some of them have the potential to be disruptive game-changers, if they manage to make it past the prototype phase and scale up. Many of them are also biomimetic. Imitating nature is the most reasonable approach in every field of technology and should be regarded as the default guideline.
The WhalePower turbine invented by professor Frank Fish definitely belongs to the top of our list. Whale biomimicry - how could we resist? The blade design imitates the pectoral fin of the humpback whale. The blade's angle of attack can be much steeper than a conventional wind turbine blade, as much as 31 degrees. This means it starts to generate power at lower wind speeds. A side effect of the bumpy design is that it generates less noise.
Vortex-Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy, or VIVACE for short, is the brainchild of professor Michael Bernitsas. VIVACE is another example of a design utilizing biomimicry. To quote Mr. Bernitsas: "VIVACE copies aspects of fish technology. Fish curve their bodies to glide between the vortices shed by the bodies of the fish in front of them. Their muscle power alone could not propel them through the water at the speed they go, so they ride in each other's wake."
Vortex-induced vibrations in wind and water have been known to damage or destroy bridges and buildings. Here they are harnessed to produce electricity. It should be emphasized this technology is safe for marine life. Real-world tests will tell in time, if the maintenance costs can be kept at a sane level.
This bloody huge vertical axis wind innovation comes from the UK. Wind Power Ltd. has big plans for its baby: to provide 1GW of energy with 10MW offshore units by 2020. The rotor, inspired by the sycamore seed, is slow moving and should thus be safe for birds. The offshore projects will face the challenge of wear and tear at the base (those pesky vortex-induced vibrations again).
Canadian Morgan Solar brings us a different kind of solar concentrator, called Light-guide Solar Optic. The design is lean and mean, taking up less space than any currently available installations, including the systems that don't use concentrators. It is low cost and uses non-toxic materials. A roof-top mounted version is in the works and all the systems use sunlight tracking. In 2012, Taiwanese institute ITRI released a video claiming their SideLighter technology is superior to Sun Simba.
Treasure-hunter Rauno Koivusaari was out on one of his diving trips when he almost got knocked out by a door swung by the water flow on a wrecked boat. Something clicked in his brain and the results are visible today as WaveRoller, the flapping sea monster currently being tested in Portugal. We are fairly certain the flaps won't knock out any dolphins so we should mark this as safe for marine fauna.
This Austrian invention is nice in that in addition to generating power it also makes the water healthier with the aid of the vortex. Should be safe for fishes and eco-friendly. One inspiration for this seems to have been the life work of Viktor Schauberger.
With its variable input generator, Exro Technologies aims to increase the energy output and reduce the need for maintenance in wind power systems. It is a direct-drive permanent magnet machine, which replaces the old generator and also the gearbox. The Canadian device is suitable not only for wind, but hydro solutions and any systems harnessing a variable kinetic energy source.
This is basically an Australian WaveRoller (see above). In time we will see who builds the most successful flapper. Their BioStream device looks even more biomimetic with its fish tail design.
This biomimetic hydrogen production method got a lot of press due to Sun Catalytixannouncing all sorts of exciting things, although now the company says it wont be scaling up their prototype for field tests. Still, the dream of an artificial leaf is being pursued by other groups, including one in the University of Jaume and one in the University of Cambridge