Top 5 energy inventions that reduce environmental pollution

February 7, 2022 | Environment
Energy: discover the future of green power | Photo: Vortex Bladeless

Over the years, the world has witnessed the continual rise in environmental pollution, which can come in the form of air, water, and plastic pollution.

All these types of pollution have devastating effects on the environment, and one of the effects that stand out is climate change.

Climate change - also known as global warming - is caused by the heat trapped gases that are produced by energy plants and machinery.

One of the ways to stop this is by making innovative energy inventions that don't produce gasses that are harmful to the environment, and some of these inventions include:

1. Sand Energy Storage

Sand energy storage: it takes in excess energy that is not needed at the moment from solar or wind and stores it in super-hot silica sands for future use | Photo: Creative Commons

One of the major things that produce heat-trapping gases is fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are those fuels that come from raw materials that emit harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, such as coal.

Together with the efforts that are being made to eradicate the use of fossil fuels in the nearest future (the United States is planning to reach net-zero emissions before the year 2050), sand energy storage is being tested to replace the forms of energy storage systems that pollute the environment.

What this type of storage system does is that it takes in excess energy that is not needed at the moment from solar or wind and stores it in super-hot silica sands for future use.

This type of storage is not expensive as sand is found everywhere, and if this invention is adopted globally, it will play a key role in moving the world to net-zero emissions.

There are already many projects going on in different countries to perfect this invention, such as the Energy Storage and High-Efficiency Power Cycle (ENDURING) project and the one carried out by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

2. Gravity Battery

Gravity battery: it has unlimited lifetime, it doesn't need maintenance, the energy is available immediately | Photo: Creative Commons

Gravity battery is very cheap compared to its chemical counterparts, and when energy is being stored into it, it starts to lift a large weight, and when it is discharging the energy, the weight (the weights are lifted using pulleys or gears) starts to go down.

The prototype of this type of storage system came out in the year 2012.

If you want to get a simple description of what a gravity battery looks like, it is made up of weight, a tube, a cord, and a coil.

Gravity batteries have so many advantages that chemical batteries can't give, such as unlimited lifetime, it doesn't need maintenance, the energy is available immediately, and most importantly, it is very safe for the environment.

The tubes that are used in gravity batteries are inserted into the ground, and it is used to store energies such as solar energy and provide the stored energy almost immediately whenever it is needed.

Normally, a simple gravity battery is made up of one tube, but when it is made up of two or more tubes, it allows it to store energy and supply the stored energy at the same time.

3. Rust Battery (Iron-Air Battery)

Instead of using the knowledge we have about chemistry to make inventions that are detrimental to the environment, it is better to make use of the knowledge we have about chemical processes to create something that will aid the accomplishment of the zero net emissions goal.

Rust battery is purely the use of chemical knowledge to our advantage.

The major raw material that is used to produce this battery is iron, and since iron does rust, scientists have found a way to make better use of that rust.

The rust battery has an anode that consists of iron pellets, and on the other side, there is an air-breathing cathode.

When it is time for energy to be stored in this type of battery, the air electrodes on the battery react with hydroxide ions, and this turns the rust in the battery to iron.

When it is time for this battery to discharge the energy that is stored inside it, the iron turns into rust because of the oxygen that reacts with electrolytes.

The benefits of this battery are that it is recyclable and it offers energy security.

4. Liquid Air Battery

Liquid air battery: a type of energy storage system that has almost zero effect on the environment | Photo: Highview Power

A liquid air battery is a type of energy storage system that has almost zero effect on the environment, and it works through the use of liquefied air.

The process through which energy is stored in this battery is simple, electricity is used to cool air, and this continues until the air liquefies.

The air that is in liquid form is then stored in a tank where it is converted to gaseous form (the liquid air is converted to gaseous form by exposing it to ambient air) and used to generate electricity.

The major benefit of this battery is that it does not pollute the air since it even makes use of air to function, and it lasts for a very long time when compared to the lithium-ion battery.

This battery is made up of three processes which include charging the system to draw air from the environment, storing the air on an insulated tank at low pressure, and then converting this liquid air to gas by pumping it to high pressure and making use of it to power turbines to generate electricity.

5. Bladeless Wind Turbines

Bladeless wind turbines: they make use of resonant vibrations to produce power | Photo: Vortex Bladeless

The energy that is gotten from wind is one of the safest forms of energy generation, and it has even been made better with the invention of the bladeless wind turbine.

Unlike the traditional wind turbine that has rotating blades, the bladeless wind turbine doesn't have one and makes use of resonant vibrations to produce power.

This type of technology is more closely related to the solar generation of energy than it is to the traditional wind turbines because it works on low power systems and it operates autonomously.

Unlike the traditional wind turbines that sometimes have environmental impacts, bladeless wind turbines don't have any effect on the environment as it has a very sleek design and also it does not require much maintenance.

This is made up of a fixed base and a mast that serves as a cantilever.

This type of turbine makes use of a linear alternator to change the mechanical energy to that of electricity. 


Words by Michael Chuku | Engineer and Founder of funsided.com

  • Gale warnings are notifications issued by national meteorological agencies that save lives and minimize property damage and loss. Here's how these extreme weather alerts work.
  • Where does the universal smell of Earth come from? Here's everything you need to know about petrichor, the pleasant scent of soil after it rains.