Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:
- Beach house powered by the ocean’s energy and inspired by surfing: South African architect Margot Krasojevics designed a beach house inspired by her surfing clients as well as the ocean they called “their home.” What more, she decided to harness the kinetic energy of the waves to power the house itself. The outer shell of the house will be made of concrete and anchored into the rocky coastline, while the inner shell will be made of aluminum and will float in the waves. Each time a wave breaks, two types of turbines embedded in the house will generate and collect the kinetic energy and transform it into electricity. The architect believes that tide-powered homes could become common along coastlines, and perhaps some even completely floating in the water to better adapt to rising sea levels. The house will also be equipped with solar panels, but adding wave power has unique advantages since tides are far more predictable than solar or wind energy.
- Solar battery powered by light and air: Researchers from the Ohio State University have recently developed a solar battery that operates both as a solar cell and energy storage device and could potentially cut renewable energy costs by 25 percent. As the head researcher and OSU professor Yiying Wu notes: “The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy. We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce the cost.” The key to the device is a dye-sensitized mesh solar panel that allows both light and air in. The battery basically breathes, it takes in air when it discharges and releases it when it charges. Professor Wu further explains: “During charging, light hits the mesh solar panel and creates electrons. Inside the battery, electrons are involved in the chemical decomposition of lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions are stored in the battery as lithium metal after capturing the electrons. When the battery discharges, it chemically consumes oxygen from the air to re-form the lithium peroxide.”