Our first selection of inspirations and oddities from the world of energy and sustainability went down well, so here are five more green inventions that may (or may not) be hitting the mainstream soon.
1. Eco-friendly Bacteria
Solar panels packed with bacteria could be part of our energy future if researchers from Binghamton University get their way. The team has produced its highest levels of energy yet via the metabolism of cyanobacteria, so it’s on the right track, but efficiencies and scale still fall short of the panels currently seen on roofs.
(Image via the engineer, credit to Seokheun "Sean" Choi)
2. Come rain or shine…
On the subject of solar, here's an invention that seems tailor-made for Britain – solar panels that also generate energy from rainfall. The panels' surface layer reacts with ions in rain as well as doing a more traditional job with sunlight, making it a genuine all-weather option. This is an early prototype though, so once again, it won't challenge the dominance of existing solar PV systems just yet.
(Image via The Telegraph)
3. Rock on
Harnessing the power of motion is an area we can expect to see a lot of action in over the next few years. It would be a shame to see the tech-savvy elderly missing out – and they won't if some clever folk at UC Berkeley have their way. They came up with a concept energy-generating rocking chair, that can charge an electronic device nearly to the standard of a wall plug, using just a pendulum, gears and a motor attached to batteries.
(Image via TrendHunter ECO)
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4. Live free in your own power pod
The self-sufficiency dream is being offered up by the inventors of the Ecocapsule – a fully off-grid micro home for 1-2 people. The idea is you could more or less lay down roots where you like, with solar and wind power and fully-integrated water recycling systems. Just 50 pods are available for early adopters, though the inventors seem confident it will catch on, offering the option to sign up for one when the price goes down. It's a far cry from the rickety caravan.
(Image via Ecocapsule)
5. Special delivery
Sustainability in food and over-packaging are major global issues. A pizzeria in New York has come up with a radical – albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek – solution within its own area of interest. It has reinvented the pizza box – so it too is made out of pizza. At $40, the entirely edible package does not come cheap, but like all green inventions, perhaps economies of scale will kick in in the future.
(Image via Instagram)