Solar Water Heating
“How can we warm our homes using solar energy?”
Solar panels are famous for providing clean and cheap energy. However, that’s not the only thing they can give. A typical solar panel will convert 14% of the energy it receives from the sun into electricity, while the rest is dissipated as heat. This extra heat can be used to heat incoming air which can then be funneled down a vent into an energy transfer module which not only warms a building’s water supply but also provides nice filtered air to the interior space. This system is known as Solar Water Heating and is one of the most exciting technologies in development.
“How can we use infrastructure to control floods?”
With the advent of climate change, floods are becoming quite more common. But thanks to human ingenuity, this can be prevented through the use of floodgates. Fllodgates are a common form of flood control which can protect towns from nearby flooding by creating adjustable gates that limit water elevation.
PWM Solar Controllers
“What is the current industry standard solar controller?”
On/Off Solar Controllers are great for simple and inexpensive projects. But sometimes we need to have more efficient solar control. One way to accomplish this is to vary the power of the battery depending on how full the battery is. The more empty a battery is, the more power it will receive, and the opposite when it is near full. This setup is known as a PWM Solar Controller and is the Greentech industry standard.
Renewables Provided 98 percent of all New U.S Generating Capacity
“Is it true that 98 percent of all newly generated energy in the U.S now comes from renewables?”
Some astonishing news has just come out. In a recent report by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions (FERC), 98 percent of all new energy generating infrastructure built in the U.S during the first two months of the year came from renewable sources! This is a massive step forward for sustainability and shows current administrations the power of renewable energy.
Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems
“How can we create a central management system for distributed energy resources?”
Without a doubt, distributed energy resources are the way of the future. With their ability to efficiently generated clean and renewable energy in optimal locations, they can make a truly sustainable civilization possible. However, if left unregulated, they can wreak havoc on the grid, and destroy an efficiency associated with them. So how can we use our engineering mindsets to solve this problem? Well, what if we were to create a centralized control system that could monitor and actuate upon these systems? Well, this is the main idea behind Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems, and are a very hot topic for the future of energy research!
Distributed Energy Resources
“How can we have true localized energy generation?”
In the past, most energy was generated through large, expensive and environmentally intensive engineering projects such as nuclear power plants and steam boiler systems. But with the advent of renewable energy, such infrastructure can now be rendered obsolete. Since Renewable energy sources can work with a few separated units and does not cause drastic environmental harm, they can be positioned close to homes and offices. As such we can realize something known as Distributed Energy Resources, which will explode in the coming years!
“How can we measure a car’s fuel efficiency?”
Cars are some of the most ubiquitous machines in the world. However, most of them are also powered by liquid petroleum, and since there is a myriad of different models they all consume this material at a different rate. So how can we create a measure of this efficiency? Well, if we use our engineering mindsets, then we will realize that we can standardize everything by seeing how much fuel is consumed per unit of distance, therefore creating something known as Fuel Economy. Fuel economy is affected by multiple factors, including onboard appliances, environmental conditions, and engine design. The better the fuel economy, the more sustainable the vehicle is.
Energy Storage in Buildings
“Is there a problem with renewable energy and buildings?”
Renewable energy has large implications for building energy use. However, one of the major problems is that it had difficulty being integrated into the grid systems, as all of the energy comes in as an active form. Therefore, we must consider how to integrate energy storage in buildings, whether it be through batteries or other devices.
Building Integrated Photovoltaics
“How can we directly integrate photovoltaics into a building?”
Solar photovoltaic panels have revolutionized energy as we know it. And since buildings are some the highest consumers of energy, it would only be logical that panels be applied to them. But PV systems can be big and clunky and take up a lot of room.
Or do they have to?
Novel breakthroughs have resulted in the creation of a technology known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPs). These systems are directly integrated into the building envelope, allowing for much more flexible use. They can be put directly on rooftops, applied to the sides, or even constructed as transparent windows! However, there are numerous factors to consider when using building integrated photovoltaics. Shading may occur from other edifices, there may be deposition from weather, and a proper tilt angle depending on the geographic location must all be considered. Despite this, BIPs are an excellent foray for humanity into greater sustainability.