Although it may not be the most visible or glamorous aspect of the 21st century, the technology industry is a key driver of innovation in many fields and has made huge contributions to society overall. From curing diseases to building smart cities, the technology industry is helping us to understand and manage our planet in unprecedented ways. From better healthcare to more sustainable cities, technology is a key player in making the world a better place. All told, this year’s list of T.E.A. Tech Innovations for 2021 highlights the significant strides we can still expect to see in the coming years.
In the future, people will look back on our current technology and laugh—when we were living in the stone age, we would be living in a stream of energy. We will be living in the future.
At the beginning of the 21st century At the beginning of the 20th century, the alarming increase in pollution caused man to seek new ways of preserving nature. These resources include everything related to all areas of human interaction with nature. Environmental innovations are primarily designed to replace environmentally harmful practices in various industries. Eco-innovations are implemented in the form of modern products and processes that ensure minimum use of natural resources and a significant reduction in harmful emissions. The main innovations in the field of ecology concern the development of technologies in general, methods for waste treatment and technologies for reducing pollution. These solutions are in demand in the fields of construction, energy, transport and logistics, water management, etc. We have compiled the top five eco-innovations in technology to provide concrete examples of how the power of modern technology can be harnessed to benefit the environment.
The concept of smart farming means that farms are managed very carefully with a view to sustainability. To this end, farmers use various technologies during cultivation, such as AI, IoT, drones, robotics and satellite data. This approach increases the quantity and quality of products and optimizes all agricultural processes, resulting in lower production costs. These are the most common technologies that modern farmers can use:
- Ground sensors. These devices can detect soil moisture, temperature, light, humidity and much more.
- Software. Online tools developed specifically for farmers use different algorithms to analyze field data collected by satellites, ground sensors or drones in one place.
- Robotics. The market offers a wide range of autonomous devices and vehicles for farmers: Tractors, processing plants and others.
These tools allow farmers to remotely monitor their crops throughout the season without having to be in the field. Moreover, with all the relevant and up-to-date data and its accuracy, farmers can make decisions faster and with more confidence.
The sun gives our planet a thousand times more energy than mankind consumes per year. And the use of solar energy is nothing new in our time. The main advantages of solar energy are its general availability and inexhaustibility, as well as the environmental safety of solar power plants (regardless of the environmental damage caused by their production). Solar energy has long been dependent on government subsidies and grants. But the falling cost of solar panels and the influx of investment into the sector in recent years has made solar power much more affordable and therefore accessible. In some countries it can already compete with coal-fired power, and in India it has become the cheapest available source of electricity, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Long-term energy storage
Wind and solar power are the fastest growing sources of electricity in the world, but they only produce energy at certain times. Thanks to energy storage systems, this energy can be used when needed. Today, the largest source of energy storage is hydroelectric power, where energy is used to pump water into an upper reservoir and release the water when needed to generate electricity. But these large construction projects are too expensive and difficult to implement. This is why lithium-ion batteries have gained absolute dominance in the field of energy storage in recent years. But they can rarely run at full power for more than four hours. And while they technically last longer, they tend to be more expensive given the current market dynamics. Fortunately, new technologies for long-term storage already exist. One such technology is the storage of renewable energy in molten salt. Another solution is the development of low-cost thermal batteries to store energy in the grid.
Scientists at the University of Vermont have created Xenobots, living robots that can move and repair themselves. Xenobots are named after the African frog Xenopus laevis, from which scientists derived the material for their development. This project was developed using the Deep Green supercomputer, which was able to determine the properties of the cells and the programmed requirements for the robots, such as B. considered the ability to move. The computer then selected the shapes that were most appropriate for the robot’s tasks. Scientists took stem cells from frog embryos and used them to build organisms based on models advised by a supercomputer. Xenobots are not conventional robots because they have no artificial mechanisms or robotic arms. Instead, they look more like moving balls of meat. Unlike traditional robots that wear out and break down over time, harming the environment and human health, Xenobots are more environmentally friendly and safer for humans. Xenobots can be used for a range of tasks, including cleaning up radioactive waste and collecting plastic from the oceans.
PhotoSynthetics is an algae-based cladding system developed by EcoLogic Studio that allows buildings to breathe. That’s what it means. The technology involves attaching large panels to the building. These panels draw in unfiltered, polluted air from the street and exhale photosynthesized oxygen into the street. This is due to the ability of algae to capture carbon dioxide and other pollutants. The designers of PhotoSynthetics panels claim that two square meters of this type of cladding can absorb the amount of CO2 equivalent to that of a mature tree.
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