2011 is almost over, and that means it’s time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, both personally and as a society, so that we can make our resolutions for a better new year.
Although the fight for a cleaner, more sustainable world suffered repeated setbacks in the political realm (at least in America) there were still plenty of promising developments in the clean technology industry. While politicians continue to stymie government investment in clean energy, transportation, and agricultural advancements that could slow society’s contribution to climate change, entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists haven’t slowed their work.
The clean tech industry saw more funding in 2011 than ever before, providing hope that while the clean tech revolution is woefully behind schedule, it’s still on its way.
On the following pages you’ll find six of the most promising clean tech innovations of 2011. Think we missed one? Share it in a comment!
1. Clean Rivers Project: Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C.’s Clean Rivers Project will all but eliminate the 2.5 billion gallons of wastewater overflow into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers. The tunnels come as the area’s largest infrastructure project since the Metro was built and will clean up area rivers as well as the Chesapeake Bay.
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Image Credit: dc_water
2. Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles
Employing the same technology used to charge electric toothbrushes, HaloIPT says its wireless charging system could drive the take-up of electric cars and overcome fears that drivers will forget to recharge them.
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3. Indow Windows
Indow Windows are thermal window inserts that simply press into the inside of your window frames to give you money-saving, double-pane window performance, but at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, they reduce the noise that comes through your windows by 50% and may dramatically reduce fog and condensation on your windows. Indow Windows were a finalist in the 2011 Cleantech Open National Business Competition.
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4. Driverless Pod Cars: London’s Heathrow Airport
At Britain’s largest airport, 22 all-electric automated pod cars have replaced a duo of diesel buses that formerly drove in a loop from the car parks to the terminal, pausing at various stations no matter how many people were present. The electric-power pods, which can accommodate up to four travelers and their bags, travel up to 25 mph along 2.4 miles of paved guideways, which can be customized to fit any path. They don’t require a special railway or magnetic field — just lines that can be used for optical navigation.
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5. WholeTrees Architecture and Structures
Whole Trees, based near in Stoddard, Wisc., designs green building systems from abundant forest waste, providing a competitive alternative to steel and concrete. The company manufactures structural building systems made from round timber, the waste product of sustainably managed forests.
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6. GridMobility Renewable Demand Response
GridMobility has developed technology with the ability to report elecricity generation sources in real-time empowering electricity consumers to actively manage their power consumption. This patent-pending technology goes beyond price-based signals to provide consumers with real-time information about electricity sources thereby for the first time enabling consumers to make informed decisions resulting in consumption shifts from on-peak to off-peak, from carbon-based to renewable resources.
Do you know of a clean tech innovation that belongs on this list? Share it in a comment!
Image Credit: Flickr - opensourceway