Theme: Bizarre A Genius Ideas For Alternative Energy
Albert Einstein once said that a true sign of intelligence was not education but imagination. When it comes to problem solving imagination is key to finding solutions, and one of the world’s many problems today that needs solving is finding a good source of energy. These alternative energies are amazingly resourceful and are making baby steps toward a cleaner future while saving money (most of them anyways). Our first source is what we all have unless you are a walking corpse and that is body heat, Jernhuset a property administration company has a plan to capture body heat from people riding the train traveling through Stockholm's central station. The heat will warm water in pipes that will then be pumped through the buildings ventilation systems. In Paris an owner of low income housing is planning on using this technique to warm 17 apartments in a building that is above a metro station. In fact you can produce energy whether you're dead or alive, though it may seem morbid a crematorium in the UK uses gasses’ released during the cremation process to warm the building. Human movement is also a source of energy, in fact there are some innovative gyms that have generators inside machines powered by the movement made by people using the machines. Chemists from Virginia Tech are working on developing a way to convert sugar into hydrogen which can be used in fuel, this will be cheaper, cleaner, pollutant free and odorless. Sugar, water and 13 strong enzymes are placed in reactor and turned into hydrogen. The hydrogen is captured and pumped through a fuel cell to provide energy and produces three times more hydrogen then traditional ways and is cost saving. However it might be awhile before this takes off, so a more realistic use for this in the near future is to create long lasting batteries for our electronics. Imagine going to club where all the lights are powered by the vibrations of your dancing. Club Watt (Haha) in Rotterdam Netherlands is using vibrations of people walking and dancing to power the light show using piezoelectric energy. This is done through a piezoelectric sensor that uses the piezoelectric effect which is the ability of certain materials to generate electric charge in response to ‘applied mechanical stress’, so this sensor is converting changes in pressure and stress to energy. Although this is an interesting renewable energy it is not one of the cheaper options, in fact Club Watt spent $257,000 on a 270-square-foot-floor. Our fifth bizarre energy in the surprisingly long list is Human and animal waste. This is very convenient for a Pennsylvania dairy farmer who has 600 cows that produce 18,000 gallons of manure daily, the farm is saving $60,000 a year. The waste is used to produce electricity, bedding (hopefully for the cows), fertilizer and heating fuel. In fact Hewlett-Packard has developed a study explaining how dairy farmers could make money by leasing land to internet server companies, who could power their computers with the methane.
Next up is Sludge, California municipalities alone produce 700,000 tons of dried sludge annually so why not put it to use? This sludge has the potential to generate 10 million Kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. The University of Nevada is drying sludge to burn for a gasification process, which is turned into electricity. The machine turns sludge into powder by using low temperatures in a fluidized bed of sand and salts to produce biomass fuel. Down in the dark depths of the sea lives a well-known creature called the jelly fish, more specifically the Aequorea Victoria, this jellyfish glows in the dark and contains a raw ingredient that is among new solutions for the next generation of solar power. Once liquidized they can find a green fluorescent protein (GFP) it contains to create miniature fuel cells that can power microscopic Nano-devices which can be inserted into the body and used to reverse blindness or fight tumors. A new source of energy can also be found in your intestines! According to British and Finnish scientists a renewable propane can be made using a bacterium widely found in the human intestine. They’ve even said that it’s a fuel that could one day be an alternative to fossil fuel reserves. Propane is a clean burning fuel because of its low carbon content, the problem is that they now need to develop a renewable process that is low-cost and economically sustainable. At the moment they have only produced tiny amounts, but the fuel produced is ready to be used in an engine right away. It’s estimated that in 5-10 years it could be possible to have commercial production. Wake up and smell coffee biodiesel everyone! That’s right! Reprocessed coffee beans can be turned into biodiesel. Now, before you panic let me tell you that it only uses coffee grounds that have already been used. So knowing this all you coffee lovers can sleep easy knowing you’re not in danger of losing your own personal fuel. On average coffee grounds produce on average 15% oil that is processed into biodiesel using standard transesterification. This concept actually isn’t new, for years Brazilians have been extracting oil from defective and surplus coffee beans to produce biodiesel, it seems that Brazil is always 10 steps ahead of everyone when it comes to clean and cheap fuel alternatives. That concludes my list of bizarre and genius alternative fuels