Saving energy and being environmentally friendly is all the rage right now. It makes sense, too, because we’re living in a world with limited resources. And we don’t want to use them up too quickly. At home, most of us make a conscious effort to turn off unused lights or to not waste water. But some people take environmental friendliness up a notch. And the projects they create are changing the world as we know it.
One example of this is an apartment building in Hamburg, Germany. Known as the Bio Intelligent Quotient, its power comes from an unlikely source: algae. If you’ve ever owned an aquarium, then you’ve had algae in your home before. It’s that green stuff that builds up in the tank if you forget to clean the aquarium for a few days.
This apartment building has large panels that store algae inside of them. The algae feed on nutrients and carbon dioxide to encourage growth. The panels also have solar energy collectors, which turn sunlight into energy. The light that is not absorbed by the algae is then converted into heat for the building. As they grow, the algae are gathered from time to time and sold to a nearby power plant for conversion into methane gas to generate electricity. The tenants say they save around 1,000 Euros per year on their electricity bill.
An apartment building like that is beneficial to both the tenants and the owner. A couple from Idaho, though, is developing something green to benefit the general public. Scott and Julie Brusaw are hard at work on their Solar Roadway, a road made out of solar panels. The first full trial is almost finished. It is a 12-by-36 foot parking lot in Northern Idaho. The end goal, though, is to build entire roads out of this technology.
The solar panel road could reduce energy consumption overnight. The road could power the cars that drive over it while they are driving. It would also mean less asphalt production, which requires lots of energy. The small parking lot costs a pretty penny though: $750,000 to be exact. The couple are confident, however, that their solar roadway will pay for itself over time.
These are just two examples of technologies helping to create a more sustainable environment. How long do you think it will be until you too are living in an apartment powered by algae? Or driving on a solar roadway? We hope it’s sooner, rather than later.