Gallery: 6 Inspiring Examples of Groundbreaking Green Technology

 

Green technology isn’t just about wind turbines, solar panels and alternative fuel anymore. A few inspiring individuals out there are breaking new ground with innovative ideas that no one’s ever explored before. From a printer that can spit out whole buildings made of stone to an entire city that flips the discomfort of the summer heat into an energy-saving advantage for the wintertime to a company that decided solar panels don’t have to be ugly, heavy or even rectangular. Read on to check out some of our favorite examples of emerging technology in the field of green!

3-D Printer Creates Entire Buildings From Solid Rock

3D printers are nothing new – but how about a printer that can whip up entire life-size stone buildings?! That’s exactly what designer Enrico Dini‘s prototype D-Shape printer does. Instead of ink, the device uses layers of sand, and Dini reports that the process is four times faster than conventional building, costs about one-third to one-half the price of Portland cement, and creates much less waste.

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Transparent Solar Spray Transforms Windows Into Watts

Photovoltaic panels transform the sun’s rays into energy we can use, but they’re bulky and not the most attractive in terms of design. Well one Norwegian company called EnSol AS has cast aside the notion that PVs need to take up extra space — or even be in a solid state. They’ve developed a remarkable new spray-on solar film consisting of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix that allows you to turn ordinary windows into solar panels. The best part? The spray is clear so you can still see right through your windows!

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POWERleap Harnesses Energy From Foot Steps!

While other green tech companies look to outside sources like the sun and wind when they think about alternative power, POWERleap decided to completely flip the script by tapping the energy inside – of ourselves! Their piezoelectric floor tiling system that converts the energy from human foot traffic into electricity could be applied to train stations, sidewalks or even inside homes to harness the wasted energy from our footsteps into power for the grid.

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‘Solar Ivy’ Photovoltaic Leaves Climb to New Heights

Who says photovoltaic panels have to be an eyesore? After all, if they could somehow be integrated as a decorative element on homes and buildings, more people might be willing to install them on more surface area. Well, that’s exactly the approach that Brooklyn-based SMIT (Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology) took with their “Solar Ivy”, a system of paper-thin, leaf-shaped solar panels that generate energy by sparkling in the sunlight. These pretty PVs consist of layers of thin-film material on top of polyethylene with a piezoelectric generator attached to each one, and are definitely miles away from the big, boxy panels we’re used to seeing.

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Shoe Generator Harvests Power from Walking

Walking is already one of the greenest forms of transportation but one researcher at Louisiana Tech University thought it could be made even more eco-friendly — so he designed a shoe that converts the wearer’s footsteps into electricity. The piezo power shoe contains a small generator in its sole that can charge batteries or power small electronics. Bet your Nikes can’t do that.

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Science City Stores Warm Air from Summer to Heat Buildings in Winter

Isn’t it sad that in many parts of the world people use a ton of energy cooling buildings in the summer and then use almost as much power heating up the same spaces just a few months later? It may sound crazy but what if there was a way to save the summer’s hot air and use it to warm buildings throughout the winter? Well some smart thinkers at Honggerberg Campus in Switzerland are doing just that. Their campus, called Science City is installing systems that will allow it to harness natural heat during the warmer months, pump it underground and store it until the winter when it be pushed back up into buildings and act as a heating system. The system is the first of its kind.

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15 Comments

  1. abdallah tarek October 12, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    batteries in shoe really fascinating !

  2. agarralosoul February 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    This is really facinating the thought of saving energy through out the summer to warm my winter is amazing

  3. neobold September 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Powerleap is nothing new- there is already company in the UK that has already produced and completed trials its technology outdoors in the UK… have a look at http://www.pavegen.com

  4. ecogreenlivingways September 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Why are we not using these yet?

  5. Jayprakash Shukla September 24, 2010 at 11:36 am

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  6. Yuka Yoneda Yuka Yoneda September 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

    How about 4D printing a 3D printer? o_O Okay, I’ll stop now.

  7. Airgead September 22, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Mike Chino – 3d print a 3d printer? You already can (well almost) http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

  8. juliejk September 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Love the Powerleap — I would love it if my dog could run around on something like that when he\’s crazy hyper and power my apartment!

  9. adamschw September 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Powerleap!? So cool. They should replace all the Dance Dance Revolution machines with powerleap and generate tons of nerdy energy!

  10. laurel randy September 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    These are so cool. I want some super powered shoes!

  11. Jill Fehrenbacher September 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Truly inspiring – I love the spray-on solar and the shoe generators! I want shoe-generators for jogging!

    -Jill

  12. Mike Chino September 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    How long until I can 3d print a 3d printer?

  13. Jasmin Malik Chua September 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    This is amazing; there are some very smart people among us!

  14. Rebecca Paul Rebecca Paul September 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I have loved these photovoltaic leaves from the very first time I read about them.

  15. chrismerwin September 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Man, I so want a 3-d printer! These are amazing!

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