Climate change is a major issue, but there are plenty of reasons to have hope. Amazing inventors, engineers, and scientists are working on solutions. We’ve all heard about electric cars and solar panels, but there are many lesser-known technologies that could help stop the climate crisis. Here are a few of the most promising innovations.
Carbon capture involves taking carbon dioxide out of the air and storing it underground. Factories that release lots of carbon dioxide can use carbon capture to trap this carbon dioxide and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere, where it would contribute to climate change. The hope is that one day it would be cost-effective enough to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, essentially “undoing” some of the damage that’s been done.
Raising livestock is detrimental to the climate, but many people don’t want to give up meat. Luckily, there’s a solution: lab-grown meat. Cells can be taken from chickens and grown in a special bioreactor, producing meat without any animals having to die in the process. One company’s lab-grown chicken has already been approved as safe in Singapore. And, once production occurs on a large scale, lab-grown chicken will be cheaper than regular chicken, so it’s good for the planet and good for your wallet.
Feeding Cows Seaweed
If you prefer traditional agriculture, there’s another unexpected way to reduce emissions from livestock: feeding cows seaweed. Yes, you read that right. Adding a small amount of red seaweed to the diet of cows caused them to produce 82% less methane. The cows stayed healthy, and their milk tasted the same, so cow food with seaweed additives could be the key to enjoying milk and burgers in an environment-friendly way.
Saving Coral Reefs
Not only are coral reefs beautiful, but they’re also very important for the marine ecosystem and important for the economy. However, warmer ocean temperatures cause bleaching, which can harm or kill coral reefs. A researcher invented a durable pipe that can pump cooler water to coral reefs, and it can be powered using energy from waves. This, along with other inventions, could help save the amazing coral reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef.
One big challenge of renewable energy is inconsistency – solar panels may produce a lot of energy during the sunny summer months, and this excess energy has to be stored somewhere, but batteries are expensive. Power-to-X uses this extra electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen, which can be stored and used later for energy, heat, or carbon-neutral fuel. There are many possible uses for this technology, and although it’s expensive, it’s much less harmful to the environment than oil or natural gas.
A company has created special tiles made of recycled plastic that turn people’s steps into energy. These tiles were put to the test during the Paris Marathon in 2013, where 4.7 kilowatt hours of electricity were generated, which is enough to power a laptop for two days or a lightbulb for 40 days. These tiles could one day be used in city streets, malls, and transportation centers to power things like streetlights.
Climate change is happening, and it can be stressful to think about the damage being done to the environment. However, there are so many examples of amazing technology that could help save the planet, while still allowing us to enjoy life (and burgers).