wind power industry
To most people renewable energy will mean nothing more than wind turbines, solar panels and hydro-electric dams. But if you look a little closer at renewables, you will find there is so much more.

Today, renewables is one of the most exciting industries to work in. No longer constricted by the elements, great minds are making energy out of air purifiers, petrol out of plastic and roof tops made out of solar panels.

To highlight these great minds that are pushing the renewable industry forward, we’ve made a list of the top 4 innovators who you need to keep an eye on in 2017.

Sammy Verbruggen – Turning Air into Energy 

What if I said, not only can you purify the air we breathe from the years of burning toxic oil and gas, but that you could also create energy in the same process?

Well, it may sound crazy but one man believes he’s found a system to do just that. Pioneered by Belgian researcher Sammy Verbruggen, the process uses sunlight to purify air by breaking out hydrogen before then capturing and storing the hydrogen gas as energy.

The current prototype being touted by the researcher is still no bigger than an inch and still a long way from market, but Sammy believes that his ingenious device is the one way we can really start to clean up our planet while creating clean energy. Here’s to hoping the device becomes a reality.

You can follow Sammy’s progress on LinkedIn here:

Paul Mitchell – Keeping the Wind Industry aFloat

There are two major issues that face the wind power industry. One is the huge costs of building and then installing the gigantic turbines. The other is finding suitable land that keeps all stakeholders happy.

A man who believes he can keep all parties in the wind industry happy is Paul Mitchell from the Aberdeen Institute of Energy. Pioneering research into floating wind turbines he believes his invention could significantly decrease the costs of producing wind electricity by cutting the cost of installation.

Simply, instead of drilling into the seabed at a huge expense to install the turbines, the structure would sit upon a floating platform that would be held in place by steel holdings. Savings would be made in the costly installation process which sees a series of drilling expeditions go ahead before the turbine is securely put in its place.

Seyed Ali Ghoreishi Madiseh – Mining to Renewable Success 

If someone said mining is the future of renewable technology, you would at first probably laugh wholeheartedly. And who could blame you? Mining is energy generation of the distant past. But what if I said mines are the future of energy generation? Well, that’s the ambitious hope of one group of researchers in Canada.

Led by Seyed Ali Ghoreishi Madiseh, the hope is that the intense heat that can be found at the depths of the mines can be utilised to generate energy in the same process as many other geothermal plants.

Specifically they would like to pump water down into the abandoned mine, allow the water temperature to rise from the naturally hot rock, pump the water back up to the surface, and then extract the heat to create steam and eventually energy.

The concept has generated a lot of interest around the world and particularly in the UK. The UK has a number of abandoned coal mines and data is currently being analysed in a variety of places like Glasgow to see if the concept is affordable and realistic.

Makani’s Project – From a Simple Kite to Energy Kite 

As children we grow up wanting to be all sorts of things. Astronauts, Cowboys, Footballers. One kid grew up with a different vision. He dreamed of changing the energy industry. He dreamed of taking the fossil fuels that are driving climate change forward and replacing them with the renewables that offer us a chance at cleaning up our planet.

As it turns out, it was to be one of those very toys that every kid plays with that may just make Makani’s dream come true. Inspired one day while flying a kite with his little boy, Makani has designed, and is hoping to launch, the world’s first kite born energy generator.

Using the same concept as a wind turbine, the idea is that the gusts of wind are far more powerful at a great height. The idea is to then launch the energy kite at around 400 metres and then use the eight mounted turbines to generate electricity while being driven in a circular motion.

The idea is still very much a prototype, but the hope is that height will remove the unpredictably that is often associated with wind and wind power.

To find out more you can see the prototype for yourself here: