Some diversion from our current debates about the future of wind energy in Victoria…
Five Highly Unusual Sources of Renewable Energy
Switching to renewable energy can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do, and in this day and age it’s easier than ever to find new ways of generating power. No longer are we tied down to electricity providers who burn fossil fuels in order to generate power; far from it, we can now, if we choose to, use any one of the renewable energy sources open to us. Of course, these solutions aren’t as quick and easy than the big electricity companies, but the peace of mind in knowing that you’re actively reducing CO2 emissions is truly worth its weight in gold. Plus, you have far more choice than you probably realise.
Believe it or not, your options aren’t limited to solar, wind, hydroelectric, etc. anymore. There are plenty of ‘newer’ renewable energy sources which can be a great source of power for your home, or other electricity-dependent aspects of life. With this in mind, we thought we’d have a quick look at five of the more unusual forms of alternative energy sourcing – just to give you an idea of how wide open your alternative energy options are!
They may be better known for pulling kids’ clothes off washing lines and taking cows on short flights, but tornadoes have actually been shown to be a good source of renewable power. It sounds totally off the wall, and in many ways it is, but it is possible. A scientist in Canada has claimed that we could actually create tornadoes in ‘engines’ whose power could then be stored and used. The odd thing is that these tornado engines would be themselves powered from excess hot air produced by power plants; so rather than replacing them entirely it makes new power from the waste they create whilst making power. Confused? You should be!
Commuters & dancers
We all know how cramped being part of a crowd can be, and there’s no better examples of this than dancers in a club or commuters in train and subway stations. With so many people all walking or dancing in the same area, there’s a lot of kinetic energy generated. At present all of this energy simply works toward making these places warm and sticky, but scientists have recently developed a system of ‘collecting’ this energy and storing it. Simply put, the system is a series of piston-like devices below the floor which move up and down as they’re walked or danced on. This motion, when channeled correctly, can generate a small amount of electricity. It’s only small scale at the moment, but if this was implemented in big cities it could be put to really good use.
We have long known that excrement burns well and so can generate a lot of heat. The concept behind this readily renewable source can be quickly and easily converted into gas. In fact, so popular is this concept that an actual plant has gone online in the UK which converts the treated sewage from the River Thames into actual, usable green gas. This gas is now being pumped into people’s homes for use, so in many ways this ‘theory’ is already well underway.
OK, so this one is quite similar to the human waste point above, but the process is somewhat different. The concept is that plants could easily take the tonnes of cow manure and extract the methane gas from it, which could then be used in turbines to generate power. With so many cows all over the world, and an unlimited supply of manure, this idea really has legs. It surely won’t be long that we see these plants cropping up all over as a genuinely useful alternative fuel source.
The final unusual power source is actually a means of powering boats that are crossing the sea. A company called KiteShip have created a prototype ‘kite’ of sorts which is essentially used as a sail to make the most of the wind on the ocean. These kites would actually be used in addition to the vessel’s standard means of generating speed, so they can’t yet be a fuel replacement, but they’re excellent for conserving fuel and make it last longer. Plus. huge kites floating along the sea is bound to be eye-catching!
Author: Dee Mason.