As the world population continues to increase, and natural resources are being depleted in the near future, humanity may face problems related to energy production, food and clean water. But advances in science and new technologies, on the one hand, simple, on the other, stunning, provide new opportunities and sources of resources.
10. The catchment tower Warka
Of all the African countries, Ethiopia is particularly affected by water scarcity. Women with children of the villages are forced to travel long distances to get drinking water, which in most cases is very muddy and contaminated waste livelihoods of livestock and other animals. Installing Warka – innovative solution developed by two Italian engineers, based on the simple principle of collecting water from the air as a result of condensation. The design height of 9 meters and a weight of 60 kg consists of a stand made of bamboo and special polymer materials, and collects water droplets on. Installation can assemble and install 4 people for a couple of hours. The design of the day is able to collect up to 100 liters of water without effort. With the Ethiopian language “warka” means wild fig tree, which grows in the country and is a symbol of fertility and generosity. In 2015, the plan to establish similar catchment towers in several villages across the country. Surprisingly, simple, cheap and elegant design is able to solve a serious problem.
9. Energy Tower
At the heart of the “Energy Tower” is the principle the opposite operation Solar updraft tower. Instead of heating the air near the ground surface and to raise it up, the air is cooled at the top and falls down. To achieve this result, the scientists sprayed water, creating the effect of rain. The air is cooled by evaporation of water. Since cold air is heavier than warm, it quickly goes down, the turbine starts at the base of the tower, which produce electricity. Strategically, this tower should be up to 1000 m in height, which is higher than Empire State Building is 3 times and 20% higher the tallest structures in the world. But it is relatively cheap, despite the size and will work effectively in a hot climate outside water source. In addition to generating electricity, the tower will be able to save 50% of the cost of desalination of sewerage systems of cities that are near the tower. In pools with sea water, which are next to the tower, can be diluted up to 160 000 tons of fish, and cold and moist air will partially affect the climate of the region, which will be favorable for the development of agriculture. However, over time the salt and other sedimentary materials will obstruct the turbines.
The energy consumption of traditional domestic refrigerators, even the most economical models, make up 8% of the electricity bill. Since the idea of the creation of a refrigerator in 1748 and the emergence of the first prototypes in the 1920s, its technology has not changed much in recent years. Outwardly, they are radically different, but are still working on the chemicals that are harmful to health. However, in 2010 the competition Electrolux Desin Lab Russian engineer Yuri Dmitriev presented the idea of the future of the refrigerator. Instead of the usual body products are stored in a special biopolymer gel that absorbs heat from the products and produces light. The refrigerator motor have 90% of the volume is fully utilized for food storage. Refrigerator is available in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as doors and shelves are absent. Will be able to put a fridge even on the ceiling if you wish. So far, the idea has not been implemented, as there is still no technology that can provide the work of the refrigerator, but it shows what could be refrigerators in 2050.
7. The spherical cap Mine Kafon
More than 50 million landmines remain in the ground in countries such as Angola, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Mozambique – the epicenter of military conflicts. People still lose their arms and legs due to latent danger. To defuse a mine must spend up to 1200 dollars, as well as in Angola, they number some 20 million, that it is necessary to spend $ 24 billion on demining. Massoud Hassani, an Afghan engineer and a refugee in the past, has designed low-budget device. Structural weight is 70 kg. This is a rather heavy device to activate a land mine, but light enough to move in the wind. Exterior design, made of bamboo and biodegradable plastic, reminiscent of a dandelion, and moves like a tumbleweed. For one travel device can defuse mines 3-4, to complete self-destruction. The cost of construction – $ 40. The design of Mine Kafon has a built GPS, which can detect the device and its route that is needed to create a map of the liberated territories min. Nevertheless, the project is still under development and has some disadvantages, among which, for example, the inability to neutralize each mine, along the way; The surface should be relatively flat – without depressions, elevations and vegetation. Hassani aware of these shortcomings and said that future generations of devices will be equipped with an electric motor and a metal detector, so as not to miss a single mine.
Aerogels – a solid material obtained from siliceous gel by removal of all liquid, but the molecular structure remained intact. It consists of 99.98% of the air, which makes it extremely easy, but fragile. The material is able to withstand the weight of a 4000 times greater than its own, but can easily break under slight flexion. Today it is used in space engineering and research, to collect comet dust and as an insulating material. Scientists are trying to achieve greater strength of the airgel and resistance to different kinds of external influence to expand its practical application. Aerogel, also called “frozen smoke”, can help you save the cost of heat. Since the material is almost entirely composed of air, and this is the best insulator, it will help save the heat indoors.
5. Drink “Soylent”
To cook a good meal, you need to spend a lot of time, and traditional food contains a lot of fat and empty calories and is not really useful. A group of American enthusiasts to tackle the problem of replacing solid food with a mixture of minerals and nutrients needed by the body. The resulting product was called, came from science fiction “Soylent” is the equivalent of a balanced diet. Hundreds of people in the course of the experiment a few months to live, to use it, and felt better than usual. The product is very cheap to make, easy to store and is particularly suitable for busy people. In 2014, a portion of the drink cost $ 3. Such a product can solve the problem of hunger in the world.
4. Biological glow
Scientists are now working hard to give the plants the genes of fireflies and jellyfish, which will give them the opportunity to shine in the darkness. The purpose of the experiment, despite its strangeness and romance – to replace street lights in cities and thus save energy resources. Researchers at the State University of New York trying to splice genes bioluminescent bacteria and plants, to the last cell can collect sunlight. The experiment proved successful, and scientists have a house plant that glows in the dark. According to this principle can be grown trees that will illuminate the streets instead of lamps.
3. Wave Reactor
Nuclear energy – this is the most effective solution to the energy problems of mankind and problems of the greenhouse effect. Despite the catastrophe (Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011), it is the safest and most environmentally friendly technology. But as long as this technology uses fossil resources, namely, uranium-235, there is a problem with their exhaustion. Depleted uranium-238 – a byproduct of nuclear fission and is considered a waste that accumulates or is used in the military industry. The company has developed a new kind of TerraPower nuclear reactor that runs on depleted uranium is 99% of all waste activities of traditional reactors. Today the United States is 825,000 tons of fuel. This is enough to provide electricity for America for 700 years. Despite some open questions that are related to the wave reactor and its development, the project is already interested in Bill Gates.
2. Solar Cooker
Solar cooker – it is cheap and ecological device that can concentrate the sun’s rays using a mirror or metal surface. In comparison with conventional plates during cooking solar only 10-15% longer, but without the cost of fuel. In developing countries, where people are unable to get all the comforts of civilization, such boards are invaluable. They relieve the problem of providing timber, especially in areas with poor forest resources, especially in the desert. Weight solar cooker is very small, it may even raise a child.
1. The vibrating platform
The main problem with the new sources of energy, such as wind turbines and solar panels is that their installation requires a large area. In addition, such installations spoil landscapes. A couple of wind turbines in a field on a background of snow-capped peaks look cute, but hundreds or thousands of turbines together – it’s not exactly a pleasant sight. A way out could be the installation, floating on the surface of the water away from the shore. In 2014, the competition Land Art Generation Initiative (LAGI) artist Felix Chong presented vibrating platform, which are placed on the surface of the sea and store wind energy via special sails. In addition, they are able to accumulate the energy of the tides with underwater part of the structure.