What will the flat of the future look like?
Fancy a wind turbine on your roof? Well, in a few years? time, according to Aldous Hicks from Recircle Recycling, you could be seeing them everywhere on the skyline. Climate change is making an impact on the way we live and in future we will be installing a whole range of eco-friendly devices in our homes to help reduce our carbon footprint and ramp up our ability to reduce, re-use and recycle products that we now just throw away. Here are some of Recircle?s favourites.
New storage batteries currently in development promise to unlock a range of in-home energy production methods. Batteries will then be able to store power at a local level and perhaps even distribute power across a community. But what will we use to generate power?
That could be solar tiles ? which are a step up from the bulky panels we?re all familiar with because they are smaller and more flexible. They can be retrofitted onto any property with a roof, although the drawback is the low energy production they offer in less sunny countries. So in the UK, we may be stuck with solar panels for a bit longer.
Back to those wind turbines. Imagine fitting an attractive and super-efficient wind turbine on your roof that?s a piece of art as well as generating almost all the power needed. Take the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine from Dutch tech firm, The Archimedes, shown above. The spiral design resembles a big rotating flower. At 80% efficiency, it is a forerunner of the high-efficiency turbines of the future.
Something really exciting is the bio-fuel synthesiser. Scientists are now working with microorganisms that can break down organic material and CO2, passing the energy straight into a battery. Food waste and human excrement will feed the machine, providing energy-free sewage treatment and no need for composting. Bio-fuel synthesisers will be fitted to our toilets and waste disposal pipes, turning our organic waste into clean energy.
But what about other kinds of waste? A closed-loop economy means processing products and packaging back into their original form, or equivalent. At the moment, we can?t do this because of the high cost and low-reliability of separating out different materials for recycling.
So ReCircle is working on a home and business appliance to do this. It will use a sensor to ensure different materials are never put together. This means the inherent material value is not lost due to being mixed with other different materials ? the major problem with the current recycling system.
The near-pure used-materials are washed, ground or compacted to contaminant-free sized-reduced pure products ready for storage. The pure close-loop recyclable products will then be collected on-demand from buildings when the storage containers are full.
It may even be possible to combine technologies like a recycling appliance and a 3D printer, ensuring that everything you print can be reprocessed into future ?ink? to make more products. Individual homes and other buildings could instantly become closed-loop in themselves.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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