The alternative energy industry continues to surge in the global marketplace, and technological advancements promise rewards for both consumers and investors.
These innovations are normally brought about through improved renewable energy system efficiency and increased popularity for these systems in high growth, regional markets.
Here are some of the top renewable energy innovations that will be in the spotlight throughout 2015.
Marine Energy Technology
On the heels of hydroelectric renewable energy comes an effective new form of water power known by some as offshore marine energy. Since ancient times, sailors have maintained a love/hate relationship with the sea. The same body of water upon which they made their livelihood was the same foe that could kill them mercilessly when they came into contact with powerful, storm-induced waves.
Today, technological advancements can harness energy bound within the movement of ocean waves. Although the idea of producing energy from ocean currents is not original to offshore oil companies, these isolated oil rig crew members were some of the first to lend their voices for praise of the new technology.
It was a company called Minesto, however, that spent several years researching and developing ways to convert low velocity ocean current into usable electric current efficiently. The company is scheduled to go into full production in 2015.
While many are adopting a plant-based diet for health reasons, energy producers are spying out plants as a new source of renewable, clean energy.
Although there are mixed reviews on the ethical implications of producing energy with plants that could be used to feed the world’s growing population, there are more winning arguments for the use of these clean energy sources than there are for the opposition.
Renewable energy companies are currently conducting research and development on plants like marine algae for their renewable energy projects because cultivating and harvesting these aquatic plants do not require the use of scarce land resources.
Bio-Waste Energy Products
Some biofuel energy companies are attempting to kill two birds with one stone by using waste products for energy production. The waste products can include anything from unused plant-based food to sewage.
This form of alternative energy is attractive because it reduces waste products in landfills and it comes from an abundant renewable source.
When the new gas is used by vehicles, its emissions are significantly less than vehicles that use diesel fuels. An example of a recent success story is the bio-bus developed by GENeco that runs from Bristol to Bath in the United Kingdom on gas made only from treated human waste and food waste.
Landfill Gas to Energy
Clearing landfills seems to be the secondary mission of many renewable energy projects. The lure of taking a mass of unwanted material and turning it into usable energy is just too strong.
The organic matter in landfills decompose to produce methane gas that environmentalists claim contribute to global warming and poor air quality. United States-based renewable energy companies like LFG Technologies seek to turn the methane gas produced in landfills into usable energy, thereby reducing the amount of the gas that escapes into the atmosphere.
2015 promises to be the year that these companies press on with more landfill gas projects across the nation.
Offshore Wind Energy
Marine energy is not the only source of power that energy companies seek to capture on the high seas.
The unobstructed wind that characteristically blows over open water is now a candidate to be the energy source for the latest renewable wind energy projects of many alternative energy companies. While solar energy has been the alternative energy of choice for some time, innovation in wind turbine technology enables an increased capacity for wind energy systems.
When these higher capacity wind turbines are set afloat on offshore rigs, the opportunities for collecting substantial amounts of energy for use on land, on marine vessels or on offshore oil rigs are promising.
These types of renewable energy systems are not the only energy trend that will be evident in 2015. The popularity of traditional (as well as innovative alternative) energy systems is spreading—even to developing nations that have opportunities to build infrastructure from scratch to accommodate these efficient, cost effective renewable energy systems.