Carbon Industry/ Self-powered Technology/ Eco-friendly Materials/
[ Carbon Industry, Establishing a New Ecosystem ]
In Korea, a lot of research is going on to come up with lightweight and strong new materials. Among them, carbon material is considered as the most suitable material in the era of 4th industrial revolution, calling for hyper-connectivity and hyper-convergence, where the boundaries between industry sectors continue to blur. Out of all carbon materials, carbon fiber is the most widely used material for various purposes. In particular, it is attracting attention as the material ideal for transportations such as cars and motor cycles. It is because its strong and flexible property further increases the performance of transportations. In addition, a new genre has been emerged where carbon fiber is used a material for creating artworks. It is used in art industry, as the light and non-corrosive property of carbon can make up for disadvantage of traditional sculpture arts. Furthermore, carbon material can be applied in many sectors with unlimited possibilities. For example, the film heater has been developed by one research team in Korea, where carbon nanomaterial can be used as a heating material. With excellent heat transfer rate, it rises quickly from low voltage to high temperature. In addition, as it is in a film form, it is lightweight and cost effective since it can be mass-produced. It is expected to be applied in various industries including household products, cars, and ships. We explore the growing carbon industry, where carbon is being used as the material of the future in various industries.
[ Self-powered Technology in Our Daily Lives ]
Today, we cannot survive a day without energy used in electric lights at night, transportations and communications sector where endless data are transmitted. This is why various self-powered technologies recently gained attention, where eco-friendly energy sources are generated for use. In Korea, there are many energy-independent villages where residents sustain themselves by using the electricity generated from installed solar panels. With the voluntary participation of residents, a major part of the electricity used by households has been replaced by solar energy. Meanwhile, an increasing number of spaces have beencreated, where energy can be harvested from ambient environment. The example case is a self-energy sustainable playground for children. Here, the playful energy consumed by children can be converted into electrical energy to run the rides and light up LED in the playgrounds. In the meantime, the electricity generated from the playful energy of children can be stored in a corner of the playground and used for charging batteries. Now, self-powered technology is evolving as the product is becoming smaller and portable. One company in Korea developed hybrid charger. With it, cellphones can be charged wherever necessary by using mini-sized solar panel and thermoelectric element, which makes electricity by temperature difference. We look into self-powered technology, which is appliedin our daily lives in various forms.
[ Eco-friendly Materials, A New Trend for Green Growth ]
Globally, growing number of consumers are shifting to use eco-friendly products, taking into consideration environmental issues. In line with this trend, more and more companies are joining to develop products using eco-friendly materials. As plastic waste and growing green house gas emission have become major social problems, companies are taking another approach in developing and producing products. As the environmental issue has recently become serious due to plastic pollution, bioplastic has taken the center stage. The bioplastic made of molasses is gaining attention, since less CO2 is emitted than conventional plastic and also hormone-disrupting chemicals are not generated. One company developed natural packaging materials using wool instead of disposable styrofoam boxes. It maintains the desired temperature by insulating heat from in and outside of the box and it can be also used a cushioning material. Furthermore, as the Korean government implemented the policy to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic bags, eco-friendly plastic bags have emerged, which are biodegradable and sustainable. They can be completely degraded between 30 days to 90 days to be absorbed by soil, when they are touched water or food. We report on eco-friendly materials, which are being developed for a sustainable future where humans and environment can thrive together.