This summer the largest Central Asian economy turn into the gravitation point for green energy technologies from all over the world: Kazakhstan is hosting the International Specialized Exhibition EXPO 2017 dedicated to the theme “Future Energy”.
115 countries and 22 international organizations have arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, to demonstrate energy technologies of the future and share their expertise in alternative energy sources.
Energy efficiency seems to be all over the place, to an extent that even Nur Alem, the central pavilion of the exhibition, is generating electricity. The façade of the world’s largest spherically-shaped building has photovoltaic elements that transform solar energy into electricity, with two wind generators sitting at very top of the sphere.
The most promising projects in various areas of green energy are concentrated at the pavilion Energy Best Practices Area (eBPa), showcasing the most promising 24 developments from 13 countries selected by an international jury out of more than 130 projects.
eBPa is divided into six zones: Renewable and Alternative, Storage, Distribution, Traditional, Natural, and Energy Zone, with projects that fall within their respective categories.
Special mention must be made of Greenrail, an Italian cross-tie project, alternative to conventional railway sleepers that turns this simple component of a railway into an active accumulator of energy. With Greenrail sleepers’ photovoltaic elements, railways are transformed into fields that accumulate solar energy. One kilometer of a railway equipped with these ties generates up to 150 kWh.
Thousands of kilometers of railways using these innovative sleepers are capable of generating a huge amount of clean and sustainable energy that could be stored and used at railway stations, on diagnostic equipment and for other purposes.
eBPa also features a tidal power plant developed by ANDRITZ HYDRO from Austria. It is a system of underwater turbines that resemble windmills. They are installed 35-100 m underneath the surface of water to generate electricity from water flows moving at a speed of minimum 1 metre per second.
Of all technologies utilising ocean energy, tide/ebb electric stations look the most promising, with an expected potential of over 150,000 gWh.
Underwater turbines have already been put to use near the shores of South Korea and Scotland. Scotland intends to install 269 ANDRITZ HYDRO turbines (total capacity 398 MW) to ensure predictable and sustainable energy supplies to around 175,000 households.
One of the most ingenious projects, from Glowee, is featured at eBPa’s Renewable and Alternative. Glowee is a French start-up that is developing a technology for producing light from bio sources, by connecting biomimicry with biosynthesis. At EXPO 2017 Glowee shows its lighting systems powered by bioluminescent microorganisms who are able to produce light.
Bioluminescence is a natural chemical reaction in specific deep-water organisms, dependent on a specific gene that helps organisms to issue light. Glowee has introduced that gene in ordinary bacteria. Given that bacteria can grow to infinity, this gives an unlimited amount of raw material that does not require fossil fuel.
eBPa also presents ANGLED BLADES (an innovative Kazakhstani design for wind turbine blades that helps generate more energy with the same wind speed); Bioo (an American company producing electricity from plants) and Pavegen (a flooring system that uses the energy of people’s footsteps).
All these and many other technologies are being demonstrated at EXPO 2017 in Astana which opened on June 10 and will run until September 10. As part of Astana EXPO 2017, global policy documents will be drafted in order to promote energy-efficient lifestyle and the wide use of renewable energy sources.
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