Ever take a look at your morning news feed and feel like everything’s going south? It’s a sensation we’re familiar with, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some really neat green technologies we’ve come across lately that have injected a spark of optimism into our day’s news.
1: Plastic-Eating Bacteria
Plastic buildup in the ocean is no joke, with massive piles of trash like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch only building year after year. However, two very bright young women recently came up with a possible solution.
Beginning in high school, Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao have been developing bacteria that can break polystyrene down into CO2 and water. Now, several years later, Wang and Yao, 22 and 21, have patented their bacteria and started their own company, BioCellection.
They envision travelling clean-up stations that could be filled with hundreds of thousands of liters of polystyrene to break down at a time, and hope to have a commercially viable process laid out within two years. We have our fingers crossed!
2: Project Sunroof–Making the Solar Decision Easy
Google-powered Project Sunroof comes from less humble beginnings, but is nevertheless exciting.
The idea is simple–make it easy for homeowners to know whether solar panels would work well with their home. Using aerial mapping, Project Sunroof can help homeowners scout their home for solar from the comfort of their couch.
Making the leap to solar can be intimidating–there’s a lot to consider, and it’s a big investment. So we’re glad that Project Sunroof is making at least one step along the switch to solar easier.
Project Sunroof coverage recently expanded from a small handful of cities to 42 states, making solar information accessible to some 43 million homes.
3. Ford is Making Plastic out of CO2
Ford is not a company you think of when you think “green tech,” but they’ve been hard at work trying to get green. For the last four years, Ford has been working on technology that captures the streams of CO2 leaving power plants, then turns that CO2 into foam and plastic that can be used in car manufacturing.
They expect that it will take five more years of R&D before they scale up the project and start replacing all of the petroleum based plastic in Ford cars with the CO2-made solution, but we’re still excited. Moving to the new product could reduce petroleum consumption by 600 million pounds per year, and reducing the amount of CO2 being released into the air is a bonus all by itself.
(Of course the real question is: can these new parts be eaten by bacteria?)
4. Wind Turbines of the Future
Wind power has great potential for renewable energy, but the fact is, the wind turbines themselves aren’t very convenient. They interfere with radar signals, the low droning noise of the turbines may be linked to health issues for humans living nearby, they’re expensive, and of course the occasional bird still smacks into them.