Written by IEEE | April 22, 2016   |   Updated: December 15, 2020


Earth Day is officially recognized around the world on April 22, and is part of a 46-year legacy around environmental awareness. From solar panels to LED lighting solutions, for some engineers, every day is Earth Day.

To celebrate Earth Day at IEEE, we came up with a list of 5 sustainable innovations that show how engineering and the environment can go hand-in-hand:

  • Solar Energy: Engineers created the next generation of solar panel material. Changing the material in the solar panels from toxic cadmium chloride to magnesium chloride cuts the toxicity that has been present in the panels for the last 25 years.
  • LED Lighting: LED lighting solutions are the brainchild of engineers, and are an energy-efficient, durable, long-lasting lighting solution
  • Self-Driving Cars: Engineers have been working to perfect the autonomous car, and as part of that process, they have been tasked with reducing harmful emissions and minimizing fuel use. 
  • Recycling: To prevent adding more waste to landfills, engineers have upgraded disposable items, creating them from plant-based material. They’ve also found ways to “upcycle” toxic lead from car batteries to make solar cells.
  • Water and Air Pollution: Researchers in Peru created a billboard that dissolves pollutants in the air and releases fresh air, effectively doing the job of 1,200 trees. Using nanotechnology for filtration is an engineered solution to produce clean drinking water.

Engineers constantly advocate for our Earth, building smart, innovative solutions to make our planet cleaner, healthier and happier.



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