Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways is a company that was started in 2006 by Julie Brusaw. They are creating what they call solar roadways, these are modular systems of specifically engineered solar panels that can be walked and driven upon. They include LED lights in them to create lines without painting the roads. The solar roadways are made with a special type of glass that are specifically formulated tempered glass. This specifically formulated tempered glass can support the weight of semi-trucks. It also has a tractioned surface equivalent to that of asphalt.

Solar Roadways is still an up and coming project that is still in the early phases of development. They want to get solar roads onto the highways eventually,  but first they will be incorporating it in driveways and parking lots. Their goal is to improve the infrastructure of roads and also create renewable clean energy for homes and businesses.

I believe that solar roadways are a brilliant idea. As they will create clean and renewable energy for people, while also having a practical use in being roads. With this technology the world can become a more sustainable place. The one problem I see is removing the current roads made out of asphalt and putting in the solar roadways as this will be time consuming, costly, and will affect the traffic greatly.  Overall though it is a good idea that still needs some work done to make it as beneficial as possible.

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Seabin Project

The Seabin project was started by two Australian surfers who want to help clean the ocean. They want to start using the seabin in controlled environments like marines, ports, and yacht clubs. As there aren’t usually any huge storms in these areas and they can be relatively easy to control. Also the seabins are less likely to be damaged in these areas.

The Seabin is situated at the surface of the water and is plumbed into a shore based water pump. The water gets sucked into the bucket pulling floating trash and floating liquids into the bucket. The trash stays in the bucket while the water and other liquids get pumped into an oil/water separator. Allowing clean water to flow back through a pipe into the ocean. The seabin can work at all hours of the day and can easily be maintained by one marina worker. It is a cost effective way to help the overall health of the oceans. This may be the future of cleaning our oceans.

Wildlife Trafficking

Wildlife trafficking is a huge issue throughout the world today. It involves the illegal gathering and transportation of animals or any part of them. This can be down throughout a country or throughout the world. The estimated value of wildlife trafficking is in the billions making it a very profitable venture. Products that are involved in wildlife trafficking include exotic pets, and anything that can be made from an animals tusks, fur, fins, skulls, and horns.

Wildlife trafficking is a huge problem that can cause the endangerment of animals. One animal that has become near extinction because of wildlife trafficking is the Northern White Rhino. There are only three left in the world, all of which are in zoos and have trouble mating. Some other animals that are trafficked include Tigers, geckos, bearded dragons, and elephants.I feel like wildlife trafficking is one of the worst things someone can do. As it promotes poaching and can put animals in danger. Trafficking is one thing that you probably can’t get completely rid of but you can definitely reduce the amount of it. You can reduce it by making the punishments for catching the traffickers more severe. For instance life sentences in jail. I hope one day wildlife trafficking will be something that is not as big as a problem and doesn’t draw as much interest.

Northern White Rhino

One of the only surviving Northern White Rhinos died on November 22. Her name was Nola she lived in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and lived to the age of 41. There are now only three surviving Northern White Rhinos in the world. All of which are in captivity as they are extinct in the wild. The last wild Northern White Rhino’s in the wild were seen in 2006. They haven’t been seen since then and were classified as extinct in the wild in 2011. They became extinct due to extensive poaching for their very expensive horns. The surviving Northern  White Rhinos live on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, and they are all elderly, with the last two females incapable of natural reproduction and with the last male having a very low sperm count. This means that the species is becoming ever closer to extinction. Scientist’s were trying to get the some of the rhinos to mate some years back but all attempts at that failed. They even tried to artificially inseminate some of the female rhino’s in attempts to get one pregnant but that also failed. Sadly during our lifetime we are very likely to see the extinction of these amazing animals. That will be a day I dread as we as humans are the main reason these animals are becoming extinct.

Volkswagen Scandal

On September 18, 2015 the United State Environmental Protection Agency issued a breach in the clean air act by the car group from Germany Volkswagen. This was after they discovered that the automaker intentionally programmed the TDI (turbocharged direct injection) diesel engine to reduce its emission output while undergoing emission testing in a laboratory. It’s emission of Nitrous oxide in the real world was around forty times higher than allowed. While in the laboratory it was under the limit. An estimated eleven million cars worldwide and around 500,000 cars in the US were affected by this programming. This was a horrible occurrence that showed how much some of these car companies don’t care about their environmental impact. Nitrous Oxides help create smog and are one contributor to the decrease in pH of acid rain making it more acidic, which is bad for life on Earth. Acid rain causes the acidification of lakes and streams it also contributes to the damage of trees and plants. All in all it’s not a good thing to increase the acidity of rain. This was a horrible incidence of betraying the trust of the buyers of those cars who thought they were efficient and environmentally friendly. After this was found out all of the cars with this kind of diesel engine were recalled causing huge losses for Volkswagen as they lost money in the investments of the cars and their stock took a drastic hit. So all in all it was a horrible idea as it hurt the environment and eventually themselves.

Vortex Blades

Vortex Blades may be the turbines of the future. Right now they are just a prototype and still being tested, so there may be some time until actual instillation and use. What’s special about the vortex blades is that they have no turbine blades. It uses a whole different mechanism to generate electricity for the surrounding country. This turbine stands forty feet tall and is hollow. They vibrate like a guitar string when air passes by them. It was created by Spanish engineers in 2010, they said they were inspired by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster.
The vortex blades are fifty percent less expensive than traditional turbines. While they are thirty percent less efficient as the turbines you are able to install double the amount of them down in a wind farm due to them being bladeless and taking less place. Vortex blades being less expensive helps contribute to you being able to install double the amount of them. This increases the net energy gain by a significant amount even with them being less efficient. Vortex blades are also way more silent than wind turbines so that’s a plus. There is also less maintenance that’s goes into them as they don’t have all the gears and moving parts that wind turbines have. Due to the vortex blades having no turbine blades this is also way safer for birds as they can be killed by running into wind turbine blades.
The vortex blades don’t capture energy via the circular motion of a propeller. Vortex blades take advantage of something called vorticity. Vorticity is an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. A vortex, plural vortices, is a mass of whirling air, an example is a whirlwind. Vorticity has for a long time been an enemy to architects who try to build around it. That is because with enough wind the vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion, which can cause the eventual collapse of the building like in the Tacoma Narrows Bridge incident.
To generate energy the vortex blades have two magnets at the base of the cone structure. This acts as a nonelectrical motor. When the cone oscillates to one side, due to the vorticity, the repelling magnets pull it in the opposite direction, like a slight nudge to boost the masts movement regardless of wind speed. This kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy due to the alternator that multiplies the frequency of the oscillations and improves the energy gathering efficiency.