9 Crazy Ideas That Just Might Be the Future of Green Energy

Image of what a solar roadway might look like in the future. 

Putting solar panels on a rooftop used to be a novel idea. Some even called it crazy as solar was such an expensive form of generating electricity. A lot has changed in just a few short years, as solar power is starting to go mainstream.

The same can be said for wind energy. What was once no more than an interesting idea is now a major source of growth for many utilities.

Just as solar and wind once represented the future of green energy, today, new technologies are beginning to emerge that represent the next stage of green energy. Like solar and wind a few years ago, these ideas might sound crazy now, but that doesn't mean they won't go mainstream, too.

Companies like Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) , for example, are working to pioneer ocean thermal energy in China. Meanwhile, other industrial giants are looking at new forms of clean energy, including General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , which is hoping to acquire Alstom, a company developing a technology to generate power from ocean tides. On top of that, General Electric is developing a solution that could turn 96% of America's nuclear waste into electricity.

Overall, in my research, I found nine crazy ideas that just might be the future of green energy. I've organized them in the slideshow below. While none of these ideas appear ready for the mainstream just yet, their day in the sun could come sooner than we realize. 

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  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2014, at 11:11 AM, SkepikI wrote:

    Crazy...hardly worth a look matt. A better approach might have been to pair them with those research projects on the lunatic fringe from 20 years ago....

    The small modular reactor under development and ready for licensing, unmentioned will take another 20 years to be deployed if ever. Thorium has been a dreamers paradise for what 50 years?

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2014, at 11:34 AM, Alpha3x wrote:

    The idea to replace roads and asphalt with solar panels has to be one of the dumbest, widely held and supported ideas of the last decade. First of all, why would you lay a solar panel down flat? That gives it an efficiency of about 30%, where as a rotating solar panel can get up to 100% efficiency. Also, parking lots and roads tend to be populated by cars, which obviously prevents the solar panels from collecting energy. A much simpler, more cost effective way would be to simply put solar panels along side or above roads, or just in big open fields. You wouldn't need protective glass which is both expensive and much more fragile compared to asphalt.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2014, at 6:35 PM, dmeyers529 wrote:

    You folks need a proofreader.

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