As we observe our nation’s Independence Day tomorrow, we would like to mark the occasion with a photo blog that celebrates the growing use of clean energy around the world. After all, the International Energy Association (IEA) reports, “Renewables saw the highest rate of growth of any energy source in 2017,” adding they “now account for 25% of global electricity generation.”
For the first time in history, we have a strong mix of clean energy sources that can work together to bring about greater energy independence and opportunity. The use of abundant natural resources, such as sunlight, wind, and water, is the sensible way to move our society forward. The short stories and pictures below illustrate how people everywhere are harnessing nature’s energy to power progress―from the Arctic to your city center.
Zero-Emission Transportation from Hydrogen
The universe’s most abundant and energetic element is carrying us into the future. Many cities around the world, including Tokyo, Berlin, Barcelona, and Los Angeles, have been using hydrogen to power clean buses for public transportation for several years while hydrogen cars have been making their way into the mainstream since 2015. A report by the Hydrogen Council projects, “By 2030, 1 in 12 cars sold in California, Germany, Japan, and South Korea could be powered by hydrogen, more than 350,000 hydrogen trucks could be transporting goods, and thousands of trains and passenger ships could be transporting people without carbon and local emissions.” Wikipedia further elaborates on the extent to which hydrogen vehicles are serving our everyday transportation needs, “Automobiles, buses, forklifts, trains, PHB bicycles, canal boats, cargo bikes, golf carts, motorcycles, wheelchairs, ships, airplanes, submarines, and rockets can already run on hydrogen, in various forms.”
The University of California at Irvine runs their campus buses on hydrogen fuel, boasting zero emissions while educating students on its many benefits.
Urban Turbines: Harnessing Wind Energy In Style
On windy days, which are prevalent in this desert city, the Bahrain World Trade Center gets its power from three massive wind turbines, each measuring 29 meters in diameter and capable of producing 225kW of wind power capacity. This architectural wonder was the first skyscraper in the world to incorporate wind turbines into its sustainable design to supply 15% of the towers’ total power consumption, or approximately 1.3 GWh annually. An article by Amusing Planet explains, “The sail-shaped buildings on either side are designed to funnel wind through the gap to provide accelerated wind passing through the turbines,” which allows, “the building to take advantage of 70% of Bahrain’s wind energy.”
The Bahrain World Trade Center’s unique sail design harnesses the prevailing sea breeze of the Arabian Gulf.
The Sun Shines Sideways in Greenland
Solar energy is no longer confined to only those places that get plenty of sun. Solar cell technology has advanced to the point where any sunlight can be harvested for electricity. In a place like Qaqortoq, which is the most northerly town in Greenland, the sun travels sideways. You never see the sun straight up. The panels on the house below are affixed to the walls and point in the direction where the sun rays come in, sideways. Solar panels can provide enough clean energy to power this home during the summer months. For four months of the year, however, the solar panels are mere decorations because the sun never rises above the horizon during the winter’s long polar nights.
The sun in Qaqortoq, Greenland, travels sideways in the summer and is gone in the winter.
A Picture that Tells Multiple Stories
The image below can tell more than one story―like the future meeting the past. At Joi Scientific, we prefer to tell the story of how these windmills placed next to an oil well pump jack in rural West Texas is about harvesting energy in a smart way. In our energy-hungry world, there is a place for all kinds of resources to work together. The technological innovations of the past few decades are making renewables cheap and fossil fuels cleaner. These innovations are also enabling different energy sources to work together to facilitate greater energy independence all over the world, from the middle of cities to the middle of nowhere.
Oil-rich Texas is also the place with the most installed wind turbines in the world.
Energy freedom is, indeed, something that should be celebrated. Happy 4th of July!
As the Hydrogen 2.0 ecosystem gains momentum, we’ll be sharing our views and insights on the new Hydrogen 2.0 Economy. We also update our blog every week with insightful and current knowledge in this growing energy field.