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Inventions: Sustainable and Pollution-Free Transportation

New and creative ideas are coming out as innovations, as design and manufacturing is growing. One that stands out is a project at UMass Lowell. A group of electrical engineering and computer science students have designed, built, and tested a prototype quadricycle, or “taxi”, that can transport up to four people. This taxi is Electric/Solar power-based, which makes it the first of its kind as it emits no pollution, and runs solely on a solar energy powered battery. This taxi can maintain speeds up to 25 miles per hour, while not consuming a single drop of gasoline.

Energy efficiency is something that the electric cars have been pushing for a while now, yet they need an electrical source. The normal electric car typically uses electrical power from a commercial power grid, which in turn burns fossil fuels. So is it really all that efficient? The typical electric car attains 300 watt-hours per mile, versus a mere 45 watt-hours per mile on the taxi, which means that it uses less than 6x’s the amount of power to charge for the same distance. But if the taxi charges solely based with its 150-watt solar panel, it uses NO secondary electrical power source. Commercialization of the “taxi” may become more popular and gain some backing throughout UMass Lowery’s campus over the next few years.

It’s about progress, and building something new.

Sustainable Energy: 3rd World Countries

Energy has been a fundamental pillar in sustainability and environmental equality. This is particularly vital in alleviating poverty in rural communities. Beyond bringing electricity to limited communities, it promotes general well-being as well as it stimulates health in 3rd world countries. Being that approximately one quarter of the earth’s population (1.6 billion people globally) has no accessibility to electricity, individuals have to rely on kerosene sources to provide heat and light sources indoors; which result in almost 2 million deaths due to bad indoor air quality. With alternative sources in place of kerosene, like the SolarPuff lantern, widespread social, economic, and climate problems would cease to exist. Instead of families spending money on fuel sources, those resources can be spent on investing in quality of life, not just for one’s self but for family, as well as for following generations.

Currently, over two hundred renewable energy programs have been implemented in one hundred different countries to help developing economies. These programs will yield important milestones and will yield benefits for years to come. Unlike built economies, like those in Europe, 3rd world countries don’t have to worry about degradation of old systems in order to enact renewable sources in a slow transition. Those countries that don’t have electricity will be able to transition straight into sustainable sources, as it will be the only structure they know. But these programs are still in the developmental stages of building, and implementing them will take time. Once essential components come together, the world will gain a new era of life.