Technology is sometimes touted as the savior that will rescue us from our misbegotten methods, redeem us and put us on the track to planet.
Then there are the dystopian views, where the future is filled by technology that either rules over us or saps us so entirely of our humanity that we probably as well be a range of gadgets ourselves.
Whatever your view, there is no denying that technology has both made life greater for billions of hauman beings and produced unfortunate side impact. In his book “The Infinite Resource,” for instance, scientist Ramez Naam argues that the green revolution was potential even though it created issues that still plague us today.
As is often the reality he writes, the solutions to one issue have created new issue. However, had we not boosted yields although the green revolution, we either would have had billions starving or would have been pushed to chop down the world’s remaining forests to feed the planet. Either of those would be a worse result than the side impacts we face now.
There are countless environmental difficulties today — most a byproduct of something else — and it seems as if we are oftentimes searching for the next great thing to solve them. But what if we took a break from finding the following thing and concentrated on doing the last great thing better? Probably we already have what we need to solve our greatest environmental difficulties?
Here is only one sampling of existing technologies that, as scaled up, might be capable of truly address some of our most pressing global problems.
The organic batteries
Energy storage likel to be the one thing getting renewables back. Conventional battery technologies are able, but cost is a large roadblock. Still, with funding from the U.K. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy supporting to come up with such things as an organic flow battery from US researchers, a different game feels more as if it is right around the corner.
Since flow batteries spend external tanks instead of housing all components inside a battery circumstance, they are capable of storing store larger amounts of energy than conventional batteries. The metals spent within them, even though, have been cost prohibitive. The Harvard battery spends organic molecules, drastically declining the expense.
The commercialized carbon
Surely, we can grab carbon and shove it underground, but why not make it into something else — such as baking soda and chairs — and sell it instead? Marc Gunther, researcher of “Suck It Up: How Capturing Carbon From the Air Can Support Solve the Climate Crisis,” points to Carbon Engineering and Global Thermostat as promising carbon capture firms. As captured through these firms’ technologies, carbon can be spent in industrial or commercial production, to operate low-carbon fuels or for other applications.
While, Skyonic Corporation is generating a commercial CO2 capture plant scheduled to start operating this year. As the plant is up and running, the firm expects it to decrease 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year through a combination of direct capture from a cement plant and offsets from the commercial goods it will produce, like baking soda.
And an idea of Princeton and Northwestern University students back in 2015 has, a decade on, turned into a technology that captures carbon and turns it into a material known as Air Carbon that can be spent to make carbon-negative goods such as phone covers and chairs.