This Week in Sustainability— Floating Wind Turbines and Solar Power for Soldiers

| Josh Henretig

windturbines2This week, TreeHugger reported on a group of MIT researchers who developed an offshore wind farm with a twist—floating wind turbines that not only capture wind energy but also store it. When the wind is blowing and there’s not enough demand for electricity on the grid to use the excess power being generated, the power is used to pump seawater into massive concrete spheres under the turbines on the seafloor. When the wind dies down, the seawater can be released from the concrete spheres through a turbine that’s attached to a generator, which is able to generate a form of wind-based energy without a single knot of wind. These types of advancements have the ability to reliably store renewable energy and in doing so tackle one of the biggest technological issues holding back more widespread development of renewable energy. As a result, innovations like this could help make renewable energy investments more viable for the future.

Elsewhere, EarthTechling also discussed how the military can use solar energy as an efficient source of energy for soldiers—and save soldiers in the field the trouble of carrying packs with batteries weighing up to 27 pounds. Rapid Equipping Force (REF), a think tank and tech lab, has been working hard to develop new ways to implement technology to better the lives of the soldiers. Devices used on the frontlines to help save soldier’s lives are often extremely heavy and battery-operated, but by providing soldiers with a 10-watt solar blanket that weighs 3.8 ounces, REF is hoping that soldiers can leave the heavy batteries back at the base—all thanks to advancements in solar cells. While costs remain prohibitive for widespread deployment, the company is hard at work to ensure that innovations in renewable energy will make soldier’s lives better.

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