Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Energy Harvesting: Self Sufficient Technologies

When we talk of going green, using solar, wind and other 'green' technologies, mostly we are unknowingly talking about energy harvesting. Harvesting energy from ambiance might be a solution that has been staring at us since a long time. We can totally eliminate the need for powering our electronics with external sources; batteries or fuel. There are a multitude of methods well within our capabilities.

Pakistan can take a great boost by starting with the small but numerous devices. The multitude of dry batteries that we import would not even be needed. A TV remote control can be powered by the same energy that we apply to press the 'button' if we use a piezoelectric material which converts the movement into enough voltage to send the signal. Powering handy devices with body heat, solar cells, piezoelectrics, or even use the excessive background noise that we have in form of radio waves and wifi signals on hundreds of channels to power devices.

On a macro-scale, The vast deserts are a good source of solar, wind and other forms of energy harvesting. Also, humans had always been having good living conditions prior to advent of electricity. Passive solar building design can take down the carbon foot print of a building to near zero.

It's time Pakistan takes steps towards such technologies. It might seem that highly developed nations develop such technologies and then it is transferred to us, but the truth is, most innovative and energy efficient technologies come from developing countries because they have to make do with the least possible resources. There is a huge range of technologies which were either developed for or by developing nations and later introduced to the developed ones.

As I explained in the last post about programmable materials, the processing of information is being decentralized to make it more viable... the power overload may not be any different from the information overload. The fact is, we do not need to reduce our energy consumption, we just need to reduce the wastage. Recycling and harvesting the wasted energy and making most devices self sufficient in regards to power is the obvious solution.

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