Technology is what they say would be our only weapon against the global climate crisis. Climate change has been among the major challenges that we are facing which has had drastic impacts on our lifestyles. The catastrophic influences of climate change like regular droughts, thunderstorms, irregular weather patterns etc. are already banging our doors. Technology has been one of the causes for it, and it would be technology only that’ll play a strategic role in battling this calamity. Scientists and researchers have already warned us about it, simultaneously, innovators and thought leaders have been working on technologies and developing new ways to tackle the climate crisis before it gets out of hand. Here are 5 major technologies and trends emerging to look out for in the sphere of climate technology.
- Floating Wind Farms: The development of offshore wind farms is recent but yet based on the concept of wind energy only. Conventionally built on fixed structures, wind turbines built in floating wind farms are erected on floating structures that are anchored to the seabed to maintain the overall integrity through flexible anchors and steel cables exploiting the potential of wind energy in the oceans which is far greater than that seen on the land. In the United Kingdom, startups and associated companies in this domain are intending to raise £24 million' as annual funding to develop these structures by the end of this decade. With the Dogger Bank Wind Farm already on cards in the UK, the region is all set to power millions of households with this green energy. A similar approach towards these farms is being adopted by countries with a large coastline.
- Hydrogen as a Fuel: Hydrogen has been in the news for quite a while as being one of the promising alternatives for fossil fuels mostly due to the fact that its residue is majorly water vapour as it involves a chemical reaction involving hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical energy along with water as a byproduct and thus leaving minimal carbon footprint. This is true for a form of hydrogen industrially known as Green Hydrogen as it involves production via renewable energy resources with other forms like blue and grey hydrogen categorised on the basis of how they are produced and the amount of carbon output in the same. Although currently the process to produce green hydrogen is quite cost centric but with new technological leaps, the process is expected to be as affordable as fossil fuels in the near future.
- Self-Sufficient Crops: Nitrogen fixation is concept well versed in the botanical world which is a capacity of some specific plant types to develop a symbiotic association with microbes to capture Nitrogen from the soil and convert it into ammonia which is a very good fertiliser. These plants are commonly called Legumes and common examples are peas, beans, peanuts etc. Other forms of common crop don’t have this ability and hence are artificially fertilised harming soil quality over regular usage and resulting in calamities like soil erosion and pollution. Scientists are keenly working on developing genetically engineered Nitrogen fixing microbes that are compatible with different forms of crops hence being self-sufficient in terms of nutrients required for requisite growth. This modification is highly promising as it’ll reduce use of fossil fuel based fertilisers helping contribute to a greener future.
- Data Science: This emerging science has numerous applications and it spreads its branches across multiple new technologies. Data is revolutionising industries as it is powerful and contributing multidimensionally. Data has helped scientists since ages to predict and estimate climate changes and help us be proactive but with every passing day and the immense rise in data points, it's becoming more and more complicated to handle data with conventional approaches. That’s where data science is bringing in breakthroughs as it involves transforming a large set of data points to meaningful and sensible information for easier interpretation and together with technologies like Artificial Intelligence and IoT, it’s assisting to deal with the climate crisis by generating feasible solutions to limit it.
- Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS): It is a combination of various technologies involved in entrapping industrial CO2 emissions followed by transportation and injecting them into underground reservoirs. The technicalities of this process are critical as it requires a specialised infrastructure right from the step of capturing CO2 as it involves its segregation from other emissions. It's not a simple filtration process and a lot of RnD is being involved to make the process more and more effective. Post the gases are captured, it is followed by transportation via customised steel pipes or automobiles since the gas has to be maintained at specific temperature and pressures. Subsequently, the storage units for these emissions need to have certain technical specifications like being at least 800m underground along with being a leak proof facility and having all safety measures in place. The technology is novel yet very promising to limit industrial Carbon Dioxide emissions to 85% if utilised efficiently.
Innovations have always been a way forward and our defence against the emerging global threats like climate crisis and looking at the times we are in, technology integrated with our collective efforts along with the latest technologies discussed seem to be our only way out.