Electrolux Newsroom Asia Pacific

Alternative energy sources in designs for the home

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Scientists have been hard at work trying to discover green alternatives to burning fossil fuels for energy.  And the human imagination has delivered. While most of our homes and devices are still powered by traditional power plants today, advances in clean energy means we can look forward to a more sustainable future.

From solar power to batteries powered by kinetic energy or salt and sugar crystals, the possibilities are now open to us.   The next generation of designers taking part in the annual Electrolux Design Lab (EDL) competition are delivering with concepts that not only could change how we live, but do so in a sustainable way.

 

Salt and Sugar crystals

These everyday household condiments may one day do much more than season your food.

Currently, a standard battery used in electric devices is made from lithium-ion.  It stores a lot of energy for its size and weight, but lithium is also a rare Earth element that is only found in a few countries. This is why replacement batteries for devices using this element are expensive.

Scientists have however discovered a way to create batteries that use sodium ions as the cathode (the positive end of the battery) and carbon from sugar as the anode (the negative end). This means that batteries can be created from materials that are not short in supply, unlike lithium. They are also less toxic. 

The SEAbreeze indoor air quality control system is fittingly powered by sodium-ion batteries.

The easy availability of sodium and sucrose also means that sodium-based batteries are cheaper to make, resulting in a win for both the earth and our wallets.

Energy sources from salt and sugar crystals have been popular in EDL designs past and present. Concepts that have utilized them include the winning design from EDL 2011, the Spot Cleaner, a mobile stain remover, and the SEAbreeze, a finalist in the EDL 2013, which helps to control the air quality in the home.

 

Kinetic batteries

Given the amount of activity and energy we put out in our daily activities, putting it to use in powering our appliances is a no-brainer.

The Orbita cleaner is designed to be powered by kinetic batteries, which convert energy from our daily movement into power for the appliance.

A portable kinetic battery that converts energy from motion directly into chemical energy has been developed by researchers, who expect the technology to be commercially implemented in three to five years 

This could make concepts like the EDL 2013’s Orbita, an intelligent home cleaner and Air Drop, a plant-based air filtration system, a reality for consumers in that timeframe.  They are joined by EDL 2011’s second runner up concept, Smoobo, a bouncing blender powered by kinetic energy.

 

Wireless power

As its name states, wireless power is power that can be transmitted to devices without the need for man-made conductors. This renders obsolete the need to manufacture power adaptors, and could bring electricity to places where it might be hazardous to lay and connect power lines.

The Kitchen Hub runs on wireless power to promote smarter eating with less waste.

Wireless power is a popular option among EDL 2013 finalists, with three of them featuring this new technology.   The Kitchen Hub promises smarter eating for families while reducing food waste; the MAB, is an automated home cleaner featuring nanotechnology and the Hand Tree is a wearable personal accessory that cleans and filters the air around us.

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