As social interest increases worldwide on the path towards more environmentally friendly and green options, the next big challenge in the field of engineering is to concoct green alternatives to the fundamentals of daily life. Governments are getting in on the act as well as they push for more environmentally friendly legislation and increase support for development in green engineering. After all, what company can resist the value of a huge government tax break by investing in going green?
Green engineering is about designing, developing and manufacturing products and process that serve our natural resources and reduce our impact on the world around us, whilst also pushing forward with new and more efficient products. This type of engineering embraces the concept of protecting human health and the environment above all else, and rejects the idea that this damages cost-effectiveness or productivity. In recent years, we have seen an increasing interest in this type of development, resulting in numerous impressive advances in green engineering.
Wind Farm Development
Wind energy is considered to be one of the more powerful green energy sources of the future. When it comes to wind farms, to take full advantage of the natural weather, we need numbers and huge ones at that.
The farm itself can generate enough power to support 600,000 homes! It’s located just off the coast of the Hecate Straite, British Columbia, ensuring that its population is not negatively affected as it does not take up any on-shore land. This massive development is the second biggest offshore wind farm in the world.
Thanks in part to Ausenco, and through detailed design and careful deployment, a large part of Canada has managed to remove its complete reliance on non-renewable power sources like fuel, natural gas, and coal.
Flexible Fuel Vehicles
Flexible fuel vehicles aren’t a new example of green engineering. What’s changed in the Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) is the development towards creating an affordable vehicle. It uses a single common fuel tank and is a combination of normal fuel with ethanol or methanol. It’s not a permanent solution to emissions from cars, but it significantly reduces the amount of carbon produced by each vehicle.
It’s hard to believe but this projected started 100 years ago, in the early 1900s when the Ford Model T was adapted to become a system that could support multiple fuel types. After research by companies like Volkswagen in the 90s, and the invention of other emission-reducing technologies, such as Ford’s EcoBoost engine, FFVs are now an affordable alternative to the gas-guzzlers of today.
According to the Open Fuel Standard Act in the US, by 2017 most vehicles will be FFVs and could run on ethanol, methanol, electricity, and hydrogen.
LS9 Inc. developed the fuel Ultra Diesel over the past few years and is now implementing it in countries like Brazil. By managing to develop microbes produced from biomass, the company created a cleaner type of fuel. The fuel completely eliminates benzene, sulphur, and other metals found in petroleum. This enables a drastic reduction in the toxicity of common fuels!
Greenwalls started many centuries ago, with the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Obviously, their gardening was mostly for aesthetic reasons, rather than to reap the environmental benefits. It’s only in the past few years that the world has awoken to the advantages of having Greenwalls in urban environments.
Through careful planning and engineering, companies have developed greenwalls that use specific plants to reduce heating and cooling costs by trapping heat and cold air inside. They also increase air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and generally protect from solar radiation. These walls of plants have been developed in a way that doesn’t require much, if any, maintenance. Water can be automatically routed from regular use water such as from sinks, washing machines and bathing, making this process even more environmentally-friendly.