Unusual sources of energy
With the global warming problem caused by too much greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, there is a need to shift to clean and renewable energy. Furthermore, fossil fuels are nearing depletion which makes the search for alternative energy sources even more important.
Apart from wind, solar and hydro which are now commonly used, researcher s are also improving the technology methane, sea waves, biofuels and algae. But did you know that there are also unconventional sources of energy which are being studied? Some are already being used on a small or experimental scale, but there is a potential to scale them up. Here are some of them:
* Breathe power - The AIRE mask, harnesses the wind power created by breathing and converts it into electr icity to run gadgets like a mobile phone. The electronic mask contains tiny wind turbines and the energy created is transfer red through a cable to the electronic device Body heat - Body heat it is a form of energy already being used in places like Sweden, the Uni ted Kingdom, and United States. The Mall of Amer ica in Minneapolis warms its buildings during the winter by recycling heat from shoppers’ bodies. That heat is transferred to different buildings through a system of pipes, water, and pumps.
* Power of tears - A team of Irish scientists has discovered that applying pressure to a protein found in egg whites and tears can generate electricity. The researchers from the Bernal Institute, University of Limerick ( UL), Ireland, observed that crystals of lysozyme, a model protein that is abundant in egg whites of birds as well as in the tears, saliva and milk of mammals can generate electricity when pressed.
* Evapor ation -. Evapor ation is nature’s way of cycling water between land and air. A machine called Evaporation Engine, controls humidity with a shutter that opens and closes, prompting bacterial spores to expand and contract. The spores’ contractions are transferred to a generator that makes electricity. Researchers at Columbia University find that U.S. lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 gigawatts of power, nearly 70 percent of what the United States currently produces.
* Power in Motion-Human movement can be harnessed as a source of energy. Called Piezoelectric, it converts oscillatory mechanical energy into electr ical energy. This technology, together with innovative mechanical coupling designs, can form the basis for harvesting energy from mechanical motion like walking and dancing.
* Fishpower - Jellyfish that glow in the dark contain the raw ingredients for a new kind of fuel cell. Their glow is produced by green fluorescent protein, referred to as GFP. A team at The Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden placed a drop of GFP onto aluminum electrodes and then exposed that to ultraviolet light. The protein released electrons, which travel a circuit to produce electricity. Electric eels are also a potential energy source. Capable of discharging an electrical current of over 400V at once, an eel uses this mechanism to hunt for food as well as find its path in the sea. A successful experiment was conducted in Japan where a Christmas tree was lit up using the electricity generated by an eel Coffee Grounds – after drinking your coffee, don’t throw those beans. Researchers have discovered that coffee contains up to 20% oil, and could be used to make biodiesel. The oil made from coffee is stable when exposed to oxygen, so it will be healthy for cars, too. If all coffee grounds could be converted this way, it would create 2.9 million gallons of biodiesel every year.