The GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid has gathered nearly 4,000 ideas. The challenge is reaching its goals of helping to change and inform the way the world uses energy.
How? GE and partners are awarding $200 million to students, technologists, and entrepreneurs who share the best ideas on how to build the next-generation power grid. They’ve teamed up with renowned venture capital firms, including Emerald Technology Partners, Foundation Capital, KPCB and RockPort Capital, to help back the most promising ideas.
The ideas submitted fall under three main categories—Create Power, Connect Power, and Use Power. Each initiative has inspired ideas that paint a picture of the future.
Create Power The potential of renewable energy is huge. From harnessing desert wind to bottling the energy generated by a braking train, people are looking at their personal worlds to find solutions to this global issue. Suggestions include converting plastic waste into a new form of fuel, creating all sorts of new types of smarter solar panels for everything from individual homes to highways and using physical training exercises to generate renewable energy. Talk about thinking outside of the box!
Connect Power A new design for power lines? Wireless monitoring of energy usage? Solar car re-charging stations? These are some of the ideas proposed for Connecting Power. GE is looking at technologies that will help lower delivery losses and anticipate and monitor demand so as to free up grid capacity and protect consumers from steep race increases by reducing voltage and eliminating the over-delivery of energy.
Use Power The third category is called Use Power: Eco Homes/Smart Buildings. There’s an imbalance between supply and demand for energy because consumption is growing so quickly. GE wants to explore innovations like smart meters and appliances that let consumers “talk” to their power utility, renewable integration tools, home energy use monitoring and other promising technologies. Ideas like energy efficient lease-to-own homes, community geothermal energy systems, a water-conserving flusher and passive solar heaters are generating lots of discussion.
The ecomagination Challenge is driven by Creating, Connecting and Using Power in new and exciting ways like the ones mentioned above. Thousands of users are already engaging with the proposed ideas, commenting on specifics and discussing pros, cons, potential advantages, possible pitfalls, and the ways in which each proposal might be improved. And all of these ideas came from you.
Browse these creative ideas and add your comments on ecomagination.com/challenge. Be warned: It will be hard not to be inspired.