As our dependence on foreign oil and the concern over global warming increases, the need for better environmental technologies becomes greater. There is a considerable amount of demand for environmental studies that yield usable technologies and will impact the future of this planet. The growing market also demands larger numbers when it comes to individuals getting a University of Florida bachelor of science in environmental management or similar education. All of these elements are necessary to direct the progress being made towards solving some of the earth’s greatest environmental concerns. Currently, there are some stunning technologies emerging from universities and research departments that must be given more support as the future unfolds.
Freeing Up Oil
The ability to create oil from a variety of sources other than fossil fuels is of huge importance at this point in time. Researchers and students are hard at work developing the most efficient techniques for turning virtually any carbon-based product into useable oil. These products include tires, conventional waste, and even animal parts. Using heat and pressure in a process known as thermo-depolymerization, researchers now have the ability to turn a ton of turkey waste into 600 pounds of petroleum in a very short period of time.
The Value of Water
Scientists are also highly concerned about the dwindling supply of fresh water combined with rising populations. There is an abundance of water on the planet. However, most of it still contains salt. Advancing desalination processes is at the forefront of environmental technologies. Currently, the expensive process of removing salt is advancing through experimentation with a variety of filtration processes. Inexpensive fuels are being used to heat water before forcing it through microscopic filters, dramatically increasing the efficiency of the process.
Better Fuel Cells
The battle against pollution from the vehicles we drive, could be won with the standardization of hydrogen-based fuel cells. Cars that run on hydrogen-based fuels emit no pollutants. The only side product from these kinds of fuel cells is clean water. While these types of batteries have been developed for small devices such as laptops, it may still be some time before we see them in cars. The main obstacle is the acquisition of hydrogen for the cells themselves. Molecules from water and alcohol can be processed to provide the hydrogen. However, the conversion process still requires some other source of energy.
Harnessing Tidal Energy
Because 70 percent of the earth is covered in moving water that stores potential energy, the payoffs for harnessing the tides of the oceans could be huge. Still, a large majority of the movement is small when it comes to the total energy that can be gathered. The challenge for scientists is to be able to harness the energy and store it for use at a later date or in different locations on the planet. Students and scientists are currently working on sophisticated buoys whose aim is to convert this movement to electricity, adding to turbines and the lineup of technology that relies on the movement of water.
The future can be a very bright and sustainable place when the right technologies are put in place. Humans can rise to the challenge of rising energy demands when the right funding is provided and collaborative efforts are used in order to solve pressing environmental issues.
Brooke Chaplan, the author of this post, is a freelance blogger.
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