Renewable energy is the future. It’s a pretty simple statement and one which, if you’re here reading this, will more than likely agree with. Whether you’re interested in solar panel arrays in shining desserts or rushing water powering our homes, renewables are an extremely exciting concept.
For years, though, they have been seen as some sort of novelty; a token ‘green’ form of energy to bolster the environmental arguments of quarrelling governments worldwide. What politicians fail to realise is that renewable energy is not just an idea they should throw money at periodically in the aims of meeting their climate targets, but rather a necessary and economically reasonable stride their respective nations can take toward bettering our planet.
Let’s have a look at a couple of exciting breakthroughs in renewable energy, shall we?
Hornsea One – World’s Largest Wind Farm
Yes, you read that right. Hornsea One – now the world’s largest wind farm – is now commercially operating, subsequently delivering power to over a million households, possibly even mine! The array is situated east of the Humber River in the North Sea. Living in Yorkshire and the Humber myself, my home could be getting powered by the whopping 1.2-gigawatt output of the farm.
The project’s website (https://hornseaprojectone.co.uk/) says this;
‘Hornsea One spans a huge area of approximately 407 square kilometres, which is over five times the size of the city of Hull. The offshore wind farm uses 7-megawatt (MW) wind turbines, with each one 190 metres tall – larger than the Humber Bridge concrete towers.’
One rotation of these propellers can power a home for 29 hours!
Construction has started on the next project, Hornsea Two. When complete in 2022, this will overtake Hornsea One as the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, powering well over 1.3 million UK homes. There are also plans for Hornsea Three and Four!
Another shocker. The University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol has developed a means in which people can generate electricity by… urinating?
That’s right! “PEE POWER is generated when microbial fuel cells (MFCs) work by employing live microbes which feed on urine (the fuel) for their own growth and maintenance.” The MFC captures some of the energy used for microbial growth, consequently converting it directly into electricity!
The energy produced is enough to power lighting or charge mobile phones – on top of this, it sanitises urine and produces plant fertiliser as a natural by-product. Due to this, PEE POWER has been utilised at urinals at Glastonbury Festival since 2015! Never before have people been able to tell their friend’s they’re nipping off to go and generate electricity. It has even been introduced in some places of learning in other countries like Uganda. Students can go to the bathroom– who, when asked in a survey, stated the toilets were extremely easy to use – and waste can be used to power the lights in toilet cubicles when the sun goes down, leading to students feeling safer at their school.
This is the kind of innovation that absolutely needs to be implemented in the UK! There are multitudes of steps our government can realistically take to ensure schools, colleges and universities nationwide can maintain themselves sustainably, with, funny as it may sound, ‘PEE POWER’ being a prime example.
So, what can we take from these innovations? It’s obvious – renewable energy is hot on the plate and ready. The UK needs to stop waiting before the proverbial food goes cold. Solutions are available; despite this, issues are evolving into catastrophes. What could the next step possibly be?