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Solar power is fantastic, sure. But while the tech behind solar panels is zooming forward, there are other problems holding it back. Problems like installation and cleaning. Fortunately robots are here to help.
Get excited, Earthlings who like the Earth: IKEA just announced a new program to sell energy-saving solar panels in each of its 17 UK stores. This means that with a little bit more effort than it takes to purchase a set of Billy bookcases, Brits can be doing their part to bring the world a little closer to sustainable energy.
Only a decade ago, sustainable building techniques were fairly rare, a fringe culture on the periphery of mainstream architecture. But with Stephen Colbert interviewing radically green architects, like Mitchell Joachim and Passive House buildings popping up in New York City, that’s all changing very quickly.
With the decreasing popularity of coal and increasing volatility of petroleum prices, natural gas is emerging as a major energy resource. And while we have plenty of reserves, an estimated 84 trillion cubic metres, it’s still a non-renewable resource that must be used sparingly whenever possible — like this new natural gas power plant prototype from the Department of Energy. It produces just as much electricity with 20 per cent less gas every time the sun shines.