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Top 10 New Energy Technologies of 2012

Without a doubt, the most exciting part about covering the happenings in the energy world has little to do with the industry's ills. It's easy to get caught up in the oil spills, rig explosions, lawsuits and arguments over fossil fuels' impact on the environment. But in the big picture, it's more important to look at the way “energy” is rapidly evolving with each and every year.

Some of the most ingenious entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers of our time can be found working passionately in this field, creating technologies most critical to the survival of our planet and mankind's ability to thrive in a tech-based world. In the process, entirely new industries are being developed with ideas to tap new sources of power that are literally out of this world.

Looking back at the year, Energy Digital has reviewed a number of the industry's most intriguing new developments:

10. Solar Roadways: Infrastructure of the Future

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4. Hydrogen House Weathers the Storm

Twice this year, Hydrogen House made a special appearance in Energy Digital after surviving the powerful storms that left thousands without power—Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

Using excess renewable energy generated from its solar panel arrays to run an electrolyzer that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, the House can power itself with the stored hydrogen in safe low-pressure tanks onsite come rain or come shine. The inspiring technology is set to be featured in an upcoming documentary film next year.

Related Article: Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch Out For

3. Carbon Capture Technology, One Step Closer to Commercialization

Everyone knows about carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), but no one has believed in the world's ability to turn it into a large scale reality...until now. In Canada, SaskPower is challenging the historical setbacks of CCS, investing billions in one of the world's first and largest full production carbon capture facilities.

2. Space-Based Solar Power

As the solar industry continues to rapidly advance and expand, its potential is limitless. Some ballsy companies are even turning to space, which could very well revolutionize the way the world uses and generates energy. But it doesn't stop at solar...

1. Mining Asteroids—the Future of Resource Development

The most outlandish, aggressive and expensive energy project that stands out by far is the idea of exploiting raw materials from Near-Earth Asteroids.

"Everything we hold of value on Earth -- metals, minerals, energy, water, real estate -- are literally in near-infinite quantities in space," says X Prize Founder Peter H. Diamandis.

Backed by some of the world's richest men—including Diamandis, Director James Cameron, Google Executives and billionaire Ross Perot—Planetary Resources just may have enough dough to pull off next to anything. It's one part crazy, one part genius.

Will human ingenuity be able to keep up?

The future state of energy is no doubt one of the largest and most serious challenges facing the world today. Within a matter of decades, energy demand will more than double at a rate the world will find difficult to keep up with. The good news is that same fear has also provided a necessary catalyst for some of the most unimaginable, innovative solutions.

Man's ability to adapt, invent and survive never fails to surprise me, and that's why the market for energy continues to be one of the most exciting industries to cover. I look forward to what's to come in 2013...

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