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The Climate Reality Project offers a variety of resources for the use of its Climate Leaders. We are pleased to feature this piece on cutting edge clean technology which is slowly opening the door to a low-carbon future.

On The Cutting Edge

Fact: Clean energy technology can be really cool. Check out these three new advancements in renewable energy that are on the cutting edge.

Eggbeater Turbines


Published on Nov 24, 2016
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Instead of going with the traditional three blade design rotating on a horizontal axis, these innovative new turbines look like eggbeaters. Traditional turbines are typically top-heavy, with the blades at the very top. Conversely, vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) can operate closer to the ground, making them easier to maintain.

There is some debate over the advantages of horizontal and vertical axis turbines, but one clear advantage? A wind farm made of VAWTs can be much more efficient than a traditional wind turbine. VAWTs take up less land because they can be positioned closely to one another. Studies also show that “having every turbine turn in the opposite direction of its neighbors… increases their efficiency, perhaps because the opposing spins decrease the drag on each turbine.”

Wind Energy Island


Published on June 10, 2016
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Three European countries — Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands — are planning to build an artificial island in the North Sea that will be a hub for thousands of offshore turbines. The island would also be home to a solar farm, and could provide clean electricity to up to 80 million Europeans in the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Belgium.

The technical director of the project, Torben Glar Nielsen, says, “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective.” The project will not be simple — but it could pay off big in terms of lowering emissions and delivering power to northwest Europe’s grid.

Volcano Clean Energy


Published on Feb 13, 2017
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Did you know that Iceland was formed by vast amounts of hot lava rising to the surface of the ocean over millions of years? Iceland sits on the boundaries of the diverging Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, which is why its landscape is characterized by geysers and volcanoes. Now, the nation is drilling into these volcanoes — for clean energy.

Iceland already gets about a quarter of its electricity from geothermal energy, and nearly all of the rest comes from the country’s vast hydroelectric resources. With this new geothermal project (called Iceland Deep Drilling Project-2 or IDDP-2), engineers are hoping that drilling deep into the Earth’s crust (almost reaching the volcanoes below), will produce ten times as much energy as a typical geothermal well.

Temperatures at the base of the project’s borehole were measured at 427°C (800°F). The well is the deepest in Iceland (4,659 meters), so the combination of immense pressure and high temperature creates supercritical steam that’s neither gas nor liquid. Low and behold, the supercritical steam produces a great deal of energy. IDDP-2 has already provided an astounding amount of data and new best practices; it could be a gamechanger for the geothermal energy industry!

We can now confidently say that the clean energy transition is irrefutable. “It’s decisive and  it’s unstoppable,” says Ken Johnson, co-founder of Below2°C.

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