Recent Developments in Green Engineering
Published: 16 Jul 2013
So-called ‘green’ engineering remains a key focus for energy engineers. Those working within this sector are often engaged in projects which seek to reduce the environmental impact of energy consumption and, over recent years, they have made significant progress.
Engineering green alternatives has become a priority, with governments around the world calling for further innovation within this field. Engineering solutions which make use of renewable resources are becoming increasingly impressive – here’s an overview of some of the most recent developments in green energy engineering.
Greenwalls may not be a particularly new concept, but they are one which is currently being reengineered to offer a number of additional environmental advantages. Rather than having purely aesthetic benefits, Greenwalls which have been carefully designed to consist of specific plant types can actually help to reduce energy costs by trapping heat, as well as cool air. In addition, they can be used to increase the quality of the air by absorbing carbon dioxide. In order to further reduce any environmental impact, engineers have designed a method by which water used in our everyday routines, for activities such as bathing and washing clothes, can be automatically routed to the Greenwalls to avoid waste.
Harnessing the power of wind energy has become a priority for many engineers over recent years. Large wind farms allow us to make use of natural weather resources and many governments around the world have placed wind farm initiatives at the top of the energy agenda. One of the most impressive examples of this type of green engineering is perhaps the huge, five-phase 1,750 MW NaiKun Wind Farm, located just off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. This wind farm alone is able to generate enough energy to power 600,000 homes and, as the second biggest offshore wind farm in the world, the convenient location has meant that there has not been a negative impact on the local population.
Flexible Fuel Vehicles
Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are cars which have been engineered to use a single common fuel tank with a combination of normal fuel and ethanol or methanol, which can significantly reduce the carbon emissions caused by driving. Like Greenwalls, the concept of FFVs has been around for some time, but it is only recently that engineers have designed an affordable version, ensuring that this green alternative is accessible to a much wider market. According to the Open Fuel Standard Act in the US, most future vehicles are expected to be FFVs, with the majority of cars running on ethanol, methanol, electricity, and hydrogen by 2017.
Ultra Diesel is a much cleaner alternative to regular petrol, as it eliminates the benzene, sulphur, and other metals found in more common fuels. The energy engineers behind this process have found a way to develop microbes produced from biomass, resulting in a greener form of fuel which is far less toxic than other types of diesel. As Ultra Diesel is rolled out around the world, this is expected to significantly reduce the negative impact of fuel emissions on the environment.
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