Authors Posts by Anna LeMind

Anna LeMind

Anna is the owner and lead editor of the websites and, and staff writer for The Mind Unleashed. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about technology, science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.

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Kailasa temple

Many archaeological discoveries and ancient monuments that survived to the present day suggest that our ancestors were far more advanced than we think. Massive and sometimes “impossible” structures make us wonder how the ancient people built something like this thousands of years ago, without the sophisticated construction equipment we have today. One of such structures is the majestic Kailasa temple, which was carved out of a single rock 1,200 years ago.

Located in the Maharashtra state in western India, it’s definitely one of the most impressive ancient Hindu temples. It’s a part of the famous Ellora Caves, an area that extends over more than two kilometers (1,2 miles) and includes the total of 34 monasteries and temples.

Kailasa temple

The Kailasa temple is 164 feet deep, 109 feet wide, and 98 feet high, which makes it one of the largest monolithic structures in the world. It is oriented towards the Mount Kailash, which is the home of the god Shiva, according to the Hindu beliefs.

The temple is full of remarkable details and is decorated with the traditional Hindu architectural elements, such as elephants, lions and makaras (sea-creatures in Hindu culture), erotic male and female figures, scenes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the adventures of Krishna.

Kailasa temple

The huge monolithic pillars in the courtyard, which are flanking the entrance on both sides, are particularly striking.

Kailasa temple pillars

It is estimated that about 400,000 tons of rocks were cooped out to build this amazing monolithic structure. The walls were carved with extreme precision from top down, with a vertical excavation method. No surprise that this challenging task took centuries of human labor to complete.

Most archaeologists believe that the Kailasa temple was completed in the 8th century, during the reign of King Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. It is also thought that the earliest carvings were made back in 300 BC.

K. Dhavalikar, a retired Professor of Archaeology and the Director of the Deccan College Post-Graduate Research Institute in Pune, India, wrote a book based on the results of his research in the Ellora Caves. According to him, “all these shrines and the Kailasa were not excavated at the same time, but belong to different periods.” (“Ellora”, M. K. Dhavalikar, 2003, p. 44).

Despite all the research efforts, the archaeologists are clueless as to who built the temple and for what purpose. The only certain thing is that the builders of the Kailasa temple had truly remarkable skills since they managed to create such a huge monolithic structure using just a few hand tools like hammers, chisels, and picks.

Kailasa temple top

There are still many questions that remain unanswered about the origin and builders of the temple. Some people even argue that it was built with the use of alien technologies. You can learn more about this theory in the video below:



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Surreal Stormchasing series

Humans are destroying nature for the sake of material gain like they don’t care about it and the future of our planet. Well, the truth is that neither does nature care about us. We are just one of the numerous species of living things on the planet Earth and not the kings of it like many people tend to think. The Mother Nature always balances everything and will certainly find a way to neutralize a species that disturbs the order of things in the environment. With the climate change and the catastrophic natural disasters resulting from it, it’s a reality that we will soon have to face and are already facing. This is exactly what the Surreal Stormchasing Portraits series is about.

The series of impressive images about climate change and its indifference to our daily lives was created by photographer Benjamin Von Wong. For the purpose of the project, he and storm photographer Kelly DeLay chased real storms in the Great Plains region of the western United States.

Terrific black clouds bursting with lightning symbolize the ruthless power of the climate change. These scary landscapes are paired with mundane scenes that depict people doing their usual everyday stuff, such as sitting on the toilet or working at the office desk.

Surreal Stormchasing series

The result is a series of thought-provoking images that remind us of the fact that climate change doesn’t really care about our plans, daily habits and lives. It is already taking place and will have devastating consequences, regardless of the humans with their daily routines.

Surreal Stormchasing series

The process of creating these powerful photos was not easy. The photographers together with the crew and models had to chase storms that moved at a speed of more than 30 miles per hour (50 km per hour)! They had just ten to fifteen minutes to set up and take each shot. The uncontrollable force of nature made the process of working on the project challenging but also unforgettable.

Surreal Stormchasing series

Von Wong writes on his website:

“Coordinating models, building sets & designing lighting – all without knowing where the shoot would take place, while storms zip by at who knows how many miles per hour? Putting together this photoshoot was unlike anything I had ever done before.”

Surreal Stormchasing series

The images don’t only aim to make the viewer see how tiny we with our everyday problems are in the face of the indomitable force of nature. They also call to action, encouraging us to visit the website of the Cowspiracy documentary, which reveals the detrimental effects of animal agriculture on the environment. The documentary promotes vegetarian lifestyle, stating that it’s the most ecologically conscious choice we could make.

Surreal Stormchasing series

Von Wong writes on his website that Cowspiracy and the work on this project inspired him to make actual changes in his own life:

“Though I do not have a solution for changing the world, it is comforting to know that I can make a difference by putting something different in my mouth. I am proud to say I am now a vegetarian.”

Surreal Stormchasing series

Hope that the Surreal Stormchasing Portraits series will make you think seriously about the reality of climate change and reconsider some of your lifestyle choices to help save the environment.

Image credit: Benjamin Von Wong/

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ufo home
Would you live in the middle of the ocean?

I bet that many of you would love to leave it all behind and move to somewhere nice and quiet, far from the crowded cities with their constant noise, never ending traffic jams and hectic lifestyle. Well, the truth is that with all these cute tiny houses and innovative capsule homes that have been coming to light lately, the dream of quiet off-grid living becomes more real than ever. Today, we’ll have a look at the recent concept of a floating UFO pod.

The UFO (Unidentified Floating Object) home was designed by Italian mini yacht-maker Jet Capsule. Except for being a self-sustaining home, it is also a ship that can reach a speed of 3.5 knots (4 mph or 6.5 km/h).

ufo home

Its waterjet-propelled electric motor is powered by 430 square feet (40 square meters) of solar panels placed at the top of the structure’s roof. At the same time, the UFO home has wind and water turbines, which produce electricity to run home appliances and can be utilized on cloudy days when there is not enough sunlight to power the solar panels.

ufo home

There is even a vegetable garden in the area surrounding the structure’s ring; however, it’s not clear how it could possibly survive a storm. The UFO home creators state on their website that the elastic anchor system the construction is equipped with would take care of this.

ufo home

Water supply is based on a solar-powered desalination and rainwater purification systems.

As for the interior design, the house has two levels formed by two half-spherical shells of fiberglass. Moreover, the flexibility of the construction enables various configurations of floors.

“The interior  consist of a transformable kitchen and dining/living area on a 20-sq. m (215-sq. ft.) top level, with stairs leading down to a 10-sq. m (107-sq. ft.) submerged lower level with bathroom and bedroom,” the designers write on their website.

The futuristic design of the home’s interior is enhanced with an amazing submerged viewing window on the lower level of the structure, which lets you observe the marine wildlife in action.

ufo home

Jet Capsule is currently seeking funds to build their first prototype, which is estimated to cost as much as $800,000. However, they claim, the price of a commercially available UFO home would decrease to a reasonable $200,000 for the two-story construction.

Check out this video to learn more about the floating UFO home:

Do you like the concept? Would you live in a UFO home in the middle of the ocean? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Image credit: Jet Capsule

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Edible Six-Pack Rings

You have probably seen the disturbing images of marine animals that were damaged by plastic waste and six-pack rings in particular.

Remember that poor sea turtle who was trapped in a six-pack ring and had its shell growing around it for years, which gave her an odd peanut shape?

sea turtle plastic pollution

This is one of the millions of sad examples of what plastic pollution is doing to the marine ecosystems. According to the estimates, this pollution harms approximately 1 million ocean animals each year, including 100,000 sea turtles and marine mammals.

However, we still have a reason to hope for the better as there are people who want to do something about it and figure out the ways to help prevent and remove plastic pollution. Thus, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery together with ad agency We Believers has designed edible six-pack rings aimed to feed marine animals instead of strangling them.

The brewery claims that it now wants to replace all of its six-pack rings with the edible ones, which is about 400,000 cans per month. A mass-produced batch is expected to cost from 10 to 15 cents per unit, which is a bit more expensive than conventional six-pack rings.

Despite this, Saltwater Brewery is quite optimistic and hopes to encourage other beer producers to adopt the idea of edible beer packages. If more breweries follow their example, they say, the edible six-pack rings could be as cheap as the regular ones.

If most craft breweries and big beer companies implement this technology, the manufacturing cost will drop and be very competitive compared with the current plastic solution, while saving hundreds of thousands of marine lives,” We Believers co-founder Gustavo Lauria said.

Except for being completely safe for wildlife, the product is also 100% biodegradable as it is made from recycled materials, such as wheat and barley that are left over from the brewing process.

It’s worth noting that the six-pack rings are required to be made from 100% photodegradable plastic, according to a law introduced in the US in 1989. Moreover, the Plastics Industry Trade Association claims that for this reason, six-pack rings are not hazardous to marine wildlife.

Is it really so, though? In fact, a “photodegradable” means that a plastic item breaks down into small pieces within 60-120 days. As you can understand, this period of time is more than enough for a turtle or any other animal to get trapped in it and eventually die. At the same time, it simply disintegrates into pieces but doesn’t completely decompose like it happens with biodegradable materials.

So it is no doubt that six-pack rings and other types of plastic waste harm marine wildlife. And to stop that from having irreversible consequences, we need to reconsider our whole attitude towards manufacturing, consuming and discharging goods that contain plastic.

Watch the video to learn more about edible six-pack rings.

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Are We Living in a Computer Simulation

The idea that we may be living in a computer simulation is not new. It seems that it just got more support as Elon Musk, one of the greatest visionaries and inventors of our time, said in a recent interview that we could actually be characters in a highly advanced civilization’s video game.

At Recode’s Code Conference, which took place last week in California, Musk was asked if it is possible that our world is nothing but a huge simulation created by some advanced alien civilization. To answer this question, he used the history of video games as an example.

Just think about it: 40 years ago, we had games like Pong, which were based on two-dimensional, black and white graphics. Today, video games approach the level of virtual reality with their photorealistic graphics and millions of users simultaneously playing the same game online. And with the quickly developing augmented reality technology, they will soon become truly indistinguishable from the real life.

This is the progress we have made in just 40 years, which, as a matter of fact, is a tiny period of time in the history of a civilization. So just imagine what kind of video games we will have in 500, 1000 or 10,000 years!

“So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions,” said Musk.

Thus, it makes no surprise that a civilization that has reached a tremendous level of development could create a whole holographic reality based on a computer code. How do we know that our world isn’t such kind of simulation? Given the fact that we still know too little about the universe and the nature of reality, this possibility is quite likely.

Musk went beyond suggesting that this scenario is, in fact, one of the best options we have.

“Arguably we should hope that that’s true, because if civilization stops advancing, that may be due to some calamitous event that erases civilization,” he explained. “So maybe we should be hopeful this is a simulation, because otherwise we are going to create simulations indistinguishable from reality or civilization ceases to exist. We’re unlikely to go into some multimillion-year stasis.”

Here, Musk talks about a well-known thought experiment by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, Vox reports. Published in the journal Philosophical Quarterly in 2003, his paper entitled “Are you living in a computer simulation?” suggests that at least one of these propositions has to be true:

  • There is a high probability that the human race will go extinct before reaching a so-called posthuman stage of development (i.e., being capable of running high-fidelity ancestor simulations); or
  • Posthuman civilizations are very unlikely to run ancestor simulations; or
  • The human civilization is almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

A “posthuman” civilization would have such a great computing power that even if a tiny percentage of them decided to run reality-like simulations of ancestral life, the number of simulated ancestors would significantly exceed that of actual ancestors.

Simply put, we either will become extinct before we reach such a level of technological progress; no advanced civilization was ever interested in running “ancestor simulations;” or we are most probably living in a computer simulation.

According to Bostrom, it’s difficult to choose between the three options, based on the data about the reality that we have today. But Musk seems to be quite confident that the third option is true. In any case, all of this is just speculation and we are yet to unlock the mysteries of the universe, reality and our own existence. Who knows, maybe we indeed are living in a sort of Matrix.

Watch the full length interview with Elon Musk in the video below:

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Art is often used as a means to raise awareness of the acute problems humanity faces today. Environmental issues, being one of the most significant of them, inspire illustrators and graphic designers all over the world to address these matters in their artwork. From drawings that show the damage the human race has done to each sphere of Earth to the illustrations that reveal a true face of war, all these stunning pieces of art serve the same purpose – to expose the absurdity of what’s happening in the world today and to encourage people to be the change.

Today, we are featuring a series of thought-provoking images titled “Destroying Nature is Destroying Life.” This awareness campaign was created by designer Surachai Puthikulangkura and agency Grabarz & Partner for German environmental activist group Robin Wood.

The title of the campaign speaks for itself, and the pictures convey a powerful message: if humans continue to destroy Earth’s natural habitats, constantly exhausting their resources, life on the planet, including our own species, will eventually be wiped out.

To demonstrate the detrimental effects of human activity on the natural world, the images depict three different landscapes that have undergone most of the damage. Each of those is represented by an animal that comes from the respective habitat.

Thus, in the pictures below, you can see the icy landscape of the Arctic with melting glaciers, which is caused by the climate change. Factors like greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation make average atmospheric temperatures constantly increase. As a result, polar bears and other Arctic animals are being threatened.

Destroying Nature is Destroying Life

Destroying Nature is Destroying Life arctic

The effects of deforestation

Destroying Nature is Destroying Life forest

Destroying Nature is Destroying Life deforestation

The catastrophic consequences of fires, associated with human activity, on tropical rainforests

Destroying Nature is Destroying Life rainforest

Destroying Nature is Destroying Life forest fires

There is real scientific evidence behind the striking images of this awareness campaign, as a recent study concluded that our planet is now entering the sixth mass extinction. It is estimated that due to the human impact on the natural environment, the vertebrate species are now disappearing up to 100 times faster than the normal. At the same time, the loss of habitat, caused by human industrial activities, has, in fact, lead to the extinction of 52% of wildlife in the world. It seems that we humans have reached the point where the deadly consequences of our actions are no longer reversible.

These powerful images demonstrate that we are the reason for all the problems that plague our planet today. Yet, they also remind us that we are the only ones who can do something about it and save life on Earth while it’s still possible.

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Battery That Could Last a Lifetime

All kinds of electrical devices we have today are made to have a limited lifetime, which perfectly serves the interests of the consumerist society we live in. Just think about it: if all home appliances and electronic devices we use daily were designed to last, would we need to constantly buy new ones?

Batteries are no exception to this. Even the best-performing lithium batteries can work efficiently up to 500 charge cycles, after which they lose their capacity and need to be replaced. Now, researchers led by doctoral candidate Mya Le Thai of the University of California seem to have created a battery with a lifespan of over 200,000 charge cycles, which is 400 greater than that of the batteries currently available in the market! Moreover, this remarkable invention was made as a result of an accident in the lab.

“Mya was playing around, and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it,” Reginald Penner of the University of California said in a press release. “She discovered that just by using this gel, she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity.”

The initial goal of the research was to develop a solid-state battery using gold nanowires instead of lithium and an electrolyte gel instead of liquid. In fact, lithium batteries have some major drawbacks: the liquid they contain makes them combustible and sensitive to temperature while lithium inevitably corrodes inside the battery over time. Thus, using nanowires and gel, the researchers were seeking to create an improved version of the conventional battery.

Nanowires are highly conductive but also extremely fragile. However, when they were coated in manganese dioxide with the addition of electrolyte gel, the system was found to be far more resilient than any other known battery systems.

“That was crazy,” Penner said, “because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”

Of course, this new battery would still have to be recharged, but the point is that its impressive lifespan of 200,000 charge cycles is more than enough to cover the lifetime of most devices, including computers, smartphones and even vehicles. And the best part is that it doesn’t lose its capacity as quickly as conventional lithium batteries, which become less and less efficient as you charge and recharge them. The researchers have been testing the new battery for three months and it was found to have lost only 5% of its capacity! Just imagine if your 5-year-old laptop held a charge the same well as if you bought it just yesterday.

The problem is that the researchers haven’t fully understood the mechanism of the system yet. Also, the battery hasn’t been tested with some kind of device to make sure that it can potentially be used in consumer electronics and have the same impressive efficiency. Another challenge is a high cost of gold nanowires – even despite the fact that they are thousands of times thinner than a human hair, their use would significantly increase the market price of the battery. For this reason, the team is now conducting new experiments with nickel to see if they can achieve the same (or similar) level of efficiency.

In any case, the results of this research are promising and could revolutionize the market. However, I’m not sure if electronics giants of the world will be the same enthusiastic about a battery that could last a lifetime as we are.

Meanwhile, check out this documentary that perfectly explains why products we can’t imagine our life today (such as light bulbs or fridges) are made to last much less than their actual technical capabilities:

 Image source: Steve Zylius / UCI 

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Great Barrier Reef bleaching
Image courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Commonwealth of Australia)
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most remarkable natural wonders.

With the impressive overall length of 1,430 miles, it is not only the most extensive coral reef ecosystem but also the largest living structure on the planet. Unfortunately, this natural masterpiece may soon disappear as the findings of a recent study suggest that the reef is on the brink of extinction.

A report from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reveals a terrifying fact that 50% of corals in the Great Barrier Reef have already died or are dying while 93% are suffering from bleaching.

How does coral bleaching occur?

Affected by increased sea temperatures and extreme weather conditions, corals expel the microalgae that live inside them. In fact, these microalgae are what gives the corals such vivid colors, so when they are expelled, the corals turn white. This is what is called bleaching.

In this state, the marine organisms are at the risk of dying but at the same time, have a chance to recover if the environmental conditions stabilize soon enough. However, when the stressing factor persists for too long and the consequences of bleaching are not reversed quickly, the corals become victims of opportunistic species that exploit them to form their own ecosystems.

The scale of the problem

Scientists say that this is the most severe coral bleaching event ever recorded.

As Prof. Terry Hughes, convener of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, said in a press release, “We’ve never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once. Our estimate at the moment is that close to 50 percent of the coral is already dead or dying.”

According to the results of aerial surveys that were focused on 911 individual reefs out of the total 3,000, only 68, or 7%, were not affected by bleaching. At the same time, from 60 to 100% of corals suffer from a severe bleaching on 316 reefs.

This has been the saddest research trip of my life,” said Prof. Hughes. “Almost without exception, every reef we flew across showed consistently high levels of bleaching, from the reef slope right up onto the top of the reef. We flew for 4000km in the most pristine parts of the Great Barrier Reef and saw only four reefs that had no bleaching.”

While winter in the southern hemisphere is expected to bring some relief, it is unlikely that it will have a significant effect on the state of the reefs. The only thing that can save the corals is an action from our side. Scientists say that reducing pollution, sedimentation and unsustainable fishing practices in local communities can partly reverse the detrimental changes in the Great Barrier Reef.

However, the problem is bigger than that and can’t be solved on the local level. CO2 emissions and other consequences of human activity are the cause of this and many other devastating phenomena that plague the natural environment of our planet. Unless we do something about it soon, we will see more and more living creatures suffer and die.

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giant invisible galaxy

An intriguing discovery was just made – our Milky Way appears to be orbited by a huge galaxy we had no idea was there. Crater 2, as it was named, is a dwarf galaxy located 400,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.

A group of astronomers from the University of Cambridge analyzed images taken by the Very Large Telescope in Chile with the help of a computer algorithm. Then, regions with a clustering of stars were identified, one of which appeared to be Crater 2. Moreover, according to the paper the research team published in the Monthly Noticed of the Royal Astronomical Society, there is also a possibility that our newly discovered galactic neighbor belongs to a small cluster of galaxies.

Why “invisible,” you may ask? In reality, Crater 2 is just extremely dim (one of the dimmest galaxies ever found) because its stars are too far apart from each other. This is the reason why astronomers didn’t know anything about this galaxy until now – it was simply hiding behind its brighter counterparts in the galactic neighborhood.

“A galaxy like Crater 2 is a sort of invisible object.” Dr. Vasily Belokurov of the University of Cambridge said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “We have found many similar objects in the last 10 years, but never such a large beast. It is orders of magnitude less luminous compared to most objects of similar size. It is extremely diffuse.”

Belorukov and his colleagues have also estimated what Crater 2 would look like if it was a thousand times more luminous than it actually is. You can see the result in the illustration below (Moon is added to demonstrate the scale of the galaxy):

giant invisible galaxy moon
Image credit: Vasily Belokurov

Thus, Crater 2 becomes the fourth largest known galaxy orbiting our own. In fact, the Milky Way has 49 satellite galaxies, but just imagine how many other “dark neighbors” may be hidden from us. With the progress of technology, however, the chances to spot new galaxies will be only growing. Just in the course of the past 10 years, the number of detected galaxies circling our own has doubled.

Last year, the same research team spotted nine new dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way.

“The discovery of so many satellites in such a small area of the sky was completely unexpected … I could not believe my eyes,” said study author Dr. Sergey Koposov from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy.

All this evidence suggests that we know so little about our cosmic neighborhood. Now, the astronomers are continuing to study the Very Large Telescope images with the help of a new galaxy-spotting technique. Who knows what they may find and how many galaxies and other space objects are yet to be discovered.

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carbon dioxide turbine

General Electric (GE) Global Research has just announced the development of a prototype turbine which converts carbon dioxide into electricity. While the size of the turbine does not exceed that of a desk, the inventors say it could actually power a town of 10,000 homes!

This sounds really promising, given that this innovation has the potential to help solve two critical issues of the modern world – CO2 pollution and energy crisis – at the same time.

As Doug Hofer, GE steam turbine specialist who is leading the development of the carbon dioxide turbine technology, said in a press release, “the world is seeking cleaner and more efficient ways to generate power. The concepts we are exploring with this machine are helping us address both.”

carbon dioxide turbine hofer
Doug Hofer demonstrates a 3D-printed model of the carbon dioxide turbine.

Unlike conventional turbines which convert the thermal energy of pressurized steam into mechanical energy, GE’s turbine uses CO2 in the form of a supercritical fluid to operate. This state is what gives the turbine some truly remarkable properties. A supercritical fluid is basically an intermediate state between a gas and a liquid, which is reached thanks to the incredibly high temperatures and/or pressures at which the substance is maintained. Thus, supercritical fluids can both move through solid matter like gases and dissolve materials like liquids.

According to GE, these exceptional properties of supercritical fluids significantly increase the efficiency of their prototype turbine in comparison with steam turbines, along with the advantage in compactness (steam turbines are normally about 10 times bigger). Moreover, carbon dioxide is capable of absorbing, storing and releasing heat much quicker than water, which further increases the turbine’s energy efficiency.

Let’s take a closer look at how the carbon dioxide turbine works. First, heat from the sunlight is harvested in the form of molten salt, which is then used to superheat dry ice and extract the CO2 it contains. As a result of this process, CO2 becomes a supercritical fluid and can be utilized to power the turbine, which in turn, can produce enough electricity for 10,000 homes.

Thus, it’s a great way to utilize the harmful CO2 which otherwise would be released into the atmosphere and wasted. According to GE specialists, the turbine could enhance the energy efficiency of solar energy farms and traditional gas turbine stations. They have estimated that if the carbon dioxide turbine technology is integrated into a CSP plant, up to 68% of the stored energy could be transferred back to the grid. And most importantly, this technology would provide a greener energy solution and help solve the environmental problems that plague our planet.

Hofer told Mail Online: “With energy demand expected to rise by 50 percent over the next two decades, we can’t afford to wait for new, cleaner energy solutions to power the planet. We have to innovate now and make energy generation as efficient as possible.”

Image credit: GE Global Research