Renewable energy sources have received much of the focus of decarbonization efforts, but their impact could be magnified by the use of sustainable materials in clean energy solutions.
Energy innovations that make use of sustainable materials include wooden wind turbines. Wood is lighter than steel and can be used to build taller turbines and bigger blades with fewer materials.
Meanwhile, a power plant in Finland hosts a commercial-scale sand battery, with 100 tons of low-grade sand surrounded by insulation. A renewable energy-powered resistance heater warms air inside the battery before it is circulated through heat exchange pipes.
Finally, a “self-generating”’ tire, intended for use on electric vehicles, is connected to a refillable container of a biodegradable tire tread compound in the wheel hub. The compound can be used to replace worn tread or to change the tire in response to different conditions.