Between climate change, deforestation, and decreasing levels of potable water, our planet is in a state of crisis. Luckily, scientists and civil engineers alike are working on new green technologies that pose solutions to these problems. Here are some of the best emerging green technologies with the potential to change our world.
Toxin Eating Trees
Using plants to absorb industrial waste and other pollutants isn’t a new technique, but it hasn’t proven effective until recently. Researchers recently identified a bacteria in poplar tree roots that produces an enzyme that cleans up the residue from RDX, a chemical found in military and industrial waste.
Nuclear Waste Neutralizer
Though nuclear power has gotten safer, a problem remains: how should we dispose of radioactive waste that remains volatile for hundreds of thousand years? Government scientists are working on a neutralizing technology called Urex+ that will allow four times more waste to be deposited into nuclear burial grounds, where it won’t pose a threat to the environment.
Some believe that this type of technology could help a resurgence in the nuclear power industry, while others still worry about the potential effects of any nuclear waste, even if it’s stored more efficiently. Either way, this type of technology could help limit the impact radius of current nuclear waste.
Sonic Water Purifiers
Recently, scientists have come up with a solution for the lack of clean water that sounds more like a sci-fi premise than real life: beaming ultrasound waves into polluted waters. This breaks up the carbon bonds and cellular walls of contaminants, leaving behind drinkable water. This idea has already been used to decontaminate sewage. Scientists are trying to develop sound wave instruments that work on a larger scale, a technology with the potential to benefit not only developing countries, but also polluted urban and industrial centers.
Home Hydrogen Fueling Stations
Many scientists say hydrogen-powered cars are the solution to our fossil fuel dependence. These cars can be powered by a solar-powered hydrogen fueling station in your own garage. Australian scientists have already developed a filing-cabinet-sized prototype of the device. It produces enough hydrogen to give roughly 100 miles of drive-time without emitting any greenhouse gases. Commercial trials are expected to begin within two years.
Changing Our World
There’s no doubt our world faces many problems, but scientists and civil engineers are reengineering the world and the future (click here for more information on how civil engineering can be a great green degree.) It’s possible for you to do the same—if you have a passion for protecting our delicate ecosystems, you can join the effort through earning a degree in civil engineering, technology, or science, as well as by entering a career in a green-collar industry.
Author: Anica Oaks