As 2014 picks up pace, smart device proliferation is growing, 3D printing continues to fascinate the media, and big data is increasingly informing decisions made by organisations, regardless of size or sector.
Of course, green technology continues to be of interest to individuals and businesses wanting to reduce energy bills and boost their environmental credentials. 2013 didn’t disappoint with solutions such as the Energy Recovery PX Pressure Exchanger, winner of the IET innovation award, and Raritan’s EMX Environmental Rack Controller, awarded the Green IT Magazine product of the year.
So, as we look forward to the start of a new year, what are the green tech innovations we should look out for?
More efficient solar panels
Research now regularly provides new approaches to photovoltaics, the most recent being the creation of a heat-resistant thermophotovoltaic thermal emitter. Solar PV cells are famously inefficient, achieving a maximum energy efficiency level of about 34 percent.
The new component is coated in a nanolayer of a ceramic material called hafnium dioxide and boosts performance by converting heat into infrared light that can then be absorbed by solar cells.
Electric car technology to infiltrate businesses
In California there was huge excitement over a recent announcement from SolarCity, a solar power system specialist. The company are setting up a service to install and operate lithium-ion batteries, manufactured by Tesla Motors, alongside solar panels to help companies reduce energy bills. As sales of electric vehicles have risen, the price of these batteries has gone down, making them a viable option for stationary energy storage.
This solution enables organisations to store energy generated during the day to reduce power usage during peak hours. SolarCity claims it can reduce energy expenditure by up to 20 percent by using battery power instead of a business electric supply.
Intelligent energy reduction devices
Rumour has it that 2014 will see the UK launch of the Nest intelligent thermostat, a device that learns the schedules and preferences of its users and makes incremental changes to help save energy. There are competing solutions available from the likes of Allure and Honeywell that will also help business owners to reduce both their carbon footprint and the cost of running an office. Expect more heating solutions to come with this kind of functionality as smart tech is increasingly built in as standard.