RALEIGH, N.C. — Concerns over climate change sent thousands around the world into the streets to protest last year, but now, as the new decade dawns, Triangle researchers say they're working on a host of solutions.
Peter Thomas, Novus Energy Technologies co-founder, spends a lot of time in the lab these days. He doesn't think we have much time left to reverse climate change.
“That doesn't mean it's going to be too hot for us to live, but when you think that most people take for granted that all the agriculture in the world supports 99 percent of us, if that agriculture dies off, I think we're going to be in a lot of trouble,” said Thomas.
He says Earth's biomass can still repair the damage, but it needs space to work.
So Thomas wants to harness... Space.
"Our solution is to use space mirrors to cut down on the solar flux that's hitting earth right now,” Thomas said.
Thomas's company is working on a high-efficiency solar generator for space probes that can produce 175 times as much power for the same weight as traditional solar panels.
He says this could power a set of space mirrors. Those mirrors would work two ways.
"If they're terrestrial based, they only get, they're only producing power 20 percent of the day, right? Whereas, if we have a space solar power system, a solar power station, it can produce power 100 percent of the time,” said Thomas.
The generator technology is still being developed.
Thomas says once that's ready — all he needs is a way to transmit power to the earth.
Most of the other technology already exists.
As the 2020's unfold, Thomas says we can expect much more research like this from RTP.
Thomas said, “The Research Triangle Park was founded to help inspire people to create new ideas and out of the box ideas that wouldn't be supported in other areas.”
Ideas that just might save the planet.
Thomas says funding will affect how quickly he can get his project off the ground.