Some WACKY & BIZARRE sources for Alternative ENERGY!!

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Some WACKY & BIZARRE sources for Alternative ENERGY!!

Did you know?

When I think of Green or Alternative Energy, I think of Wind and Solar Energy! But wind energy is inconsistent, and solar energy can’t be harnessed at night or on cloudy days.
Unfortunately, we live on a planet of finite resources, and we have some really clever scientist who rather than wait for the oil wells to run dry and coastal cities to disappear beneath rising sea levels, are exploring more unusual sources of producing and harnessing renewable energy, and decreasing worldwide dependency on fossil fuels.
With fossil fuels on the verge of being exhausted, the search for abundant, cheap energy is constant, and has led to some pretty strange, surprising and even ridiculous discoveries, some “pleasant” like coffee or chocolate and some “not so pleasant” like poop!

Here are 14 of the wackier ideas for alternative energy in no particular order!

Wacky no 1. PUSH POWER / TEXTING

Everywhere you look these days, people have their heads down, vigorously texting away as though their lives depended on it. Americans sent a whopping 12.5 billion text messages in just one month in 2006, and cell phone users in the United Kingdom send out one billion a week. Although it can be annoying, what if each of those finger taps could generate power?
That is the idea behind Push to Charge, one of the innovative entries into the 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition. The concept relies on what’s called piezoelectricity. Some metals can build up an electric charge under pressure, and this effect can be used to generate energy on surfaces like roads, floors and even cell phone screens.
The Push-to-Charge cell phone would feature plastic buttons sitting atop a layer of hard metal. The bottom layer would be made out of piezoelectric crystals, so that each time you pressed a button, the hard metal directly underneath it would hit the underlying crystal like a hammer, creating a small amount of voltage. Small wires located between the layers would convey the charge to a battery for storage.
The same technology could be used in any other product that features buttons, including computer keyboards and video games.
You have to agree that generating electricity simply by typing on a keyboard or keeping in touch with your friends and family is pretty awesome.

Wacky no 2. SUGAR

Did you know?: That sugar can be converted to hydrogen and that it could be a way to fuel a vehicle.
Researchers at Virginia Tech University are developing a way to convert sugar into hydrogen, which can be used in a fuel cell, providing a cheaper, cleaner, pollutant-free and odourless drive.
The method involves combining plant sugars, water and 13 powerful enzymes in a reactor, converting the concoction into hydrogen and trace amounts of carbon dioxide. The hydrogen could be captured and pumped through a fuel cell to produce energy. This process delivers three times more hydrogen than traditional methods, which translates into huge cost savings.
Research is also underway to develop the same technology to create long-lasting sugar-based batteries for laptops, cell phones and other electronics, although it could be another ten years before we begin to see any results from these experiments or before consumers can actually dump sugar into their fuel tanks.

Wacky no 3. LEFT-OVER FOODS

Did you know?: That the food and waste we throw out on a daily basis can be used to generate biofuel which can, in turn, be used as an alternative source of energy.
Our leftover foods such as fruit skins or coffee as well as other organic matter when stored and degraded over a period of time, generate methane and several other gases that can be used as biofuel.
Many small-scale industries have, in fact, started generating electricity with the biogas generated from collecting garbage.

Wacky no 4. BACTERIA (E.COLI)

If you are like ME, the word ‘E. coli’ makes me want to run for the hills!
But did you know?: That this tiny organism commonly associated with stomach cramps and vomiting could actually alleviate some of our energy challenges … by excreting crude oil.
As you know the world is full of bacteria which, like every living organism, have a survival plan for when food is in short supply. E. coli bacteria store fuel in the form of fatty acids, the same fatty acid that is needed for the production of biodiesel fuel.
Scientists removed enzymes from the bacteria to boost fatty acid production and then dehydrated the fatty acid to get rid of the oxygen, which turned it into a type of diesel fuel. That means because of the raw materials it uses, the process will take even more carbon out of the atmosphere than what it puts back in. And these organisms wouldn’t rely on any single agricultural waste, thereby eliminating the controversy over using specific food crops for fuel. Instead, the process would rely on whatever is abundant in the local environment.
The same bacteria that can make us sick can also help save people money and our environment, by providing fuel for transportation.

Wacky no 5. BODY HEAT

 

 

Finally, we’re reverting back to the traditional way of harnessing energy – Natural Body Heat!
Did you know?: The heat your body produces can warm an entire building? At least that’s what is happening in Stockholm and Paris, but Sweden has the most efficient method of harnessing it.
The body heat generated by the 250,000 commuters who crowd Stockholm’s railway station (Scandinavia’s busiest travel hub) each day is immense. This heat used to drift off into the air and was wasted until engineers have figured out a way to harness it and transfer it to a newly renovated office building down the block.
The heat generated by the commuters is captured by the station’s ventilation system and used to warm water in underground tanks. This water is then redirected into the office’s ventilation, thus heating the entire block.

Wacky no 6. HUMAN WASTE (NOT so Pleasant)

Did You Know?: That faeces (poo) contain methane, a colourless, odourless gas that could be used in the same way as natural gas, instead of fossil fuels.
At Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, researchers are working on an alternative to fossil fuels. They’ve developed a state-of-the-art toilet for use in developing countries that employs microwaves to chemically alter human waste into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This syngas can then be used in stacks of fuel cells to generate electricity, where one toilet could generate enough energy to power several households.
In Bristol, Australia a VW Beetle car is powered by methane captured from a raw sewage treatment plant. Engineers from Wessex Water estimate the waste from 70 homes can generate enough gas to make the car run for 10,000 miles.
Some companies claim to have found the best source: used nappies, as it’s an unlimited resource. Urea, on the other hand, due to its saline properties, can be easily hydrolysed to obtain hydrogen. Overall, urea is better than simple water for this process.
Urea is also an accessible, non-toxic, organic chemical compound rich in nitrogen. So, humans are constantly carrying around a chemical compound that can produce electricity.

Wacky no 7. Cows

Did you know?: That Cows are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
A 2006 United Nations report estimated that cows, along with other livestock like sheep and goats, contribute about 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. More than cars, planes and all other forms of transportation put together.
That’s largely true because bovine emissions are rich in methane, a gas that’s 21 times more efficient than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
Scientists have already developed a method for extracting methane from cow excrement and converting it to a biogas fuel that’s of sufficient quality to be fed into a standard natural gas pipeline. In California, a company called BioEnergy Solutions uses that method to produce 18,406 cubic meters of biogas from manure, enough to power 200,000 households.
Six hundred cows that produce 18,000 gallons of manure daily are helping a farm in Pennsylvania save $60,000 a year. The waste is used to produce electricity, bedding, fertilizer and heating fuel.
And Hewlett-Packard recently released a study explaining how a dairy farmer could make money by leasing land to Internet server companies, who could power computers with the methane.
In Argentina, a major beef producing nation where the collective herd of 55 million cattle outnumbers the human population, researchers have developed a special bovine backpack that captures a cow’s emissions via a tube attached to the cow’s stomach and discovered that the animals produce between 800 and 1,000 litters of gas each day.

Wacky no 8. VIBRATIONS

Did you know?: That the kinetic energy of people walking, dancing or jumping can be converted into electricity.
Need an excuse to go out clubbing? Club Watt in Rotterdam, Netherlands is using floor vibrations from people walking and dancing to power its own light show. A number of dance clubs in Japan have already implemented this technology in order to make their establishments self-sustainable.
This concept works on the principle of piezoelectricity. Piezoelectricity is produced when stress or strain is applied to an object, which can then be converted to electricity (see wacky no 1).
The technology used in the sustainable dance floors could potentially be applied to other situations, such as a bus or train station, for example, to make the most of kinetic energy generated by movement.
The U.S. Army is also looking at piezoelectric technology for energy. They put the material in soldier’s boots in order to charge radios and other portable devices, doable but not cheap.

Wacky no 9. Jellyfish

Did you know?: 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 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.
The same proteins have been used to make a biological fuel cell, which makes electricity without an external light source. These fuel cells can be used on small, nanodevices such as those that could be implanted in a person to diagnose or treat disease.

Wacky no 10. Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes are a form of carbon, similar to graphite found in pencils. They are hollow cylindrical tubes and are 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, but stronger than steel. They are also good conductors of electricity and heat and have a very large surface area.
Carbon nanotubes have a range of potential uses, from armor-like fabrics to elevators that could lift cargo between Earth and the Moon. Recently, scientists from MIT have found a way to use carbon nanotubes to collect 100 times more solar energy than a regular photovoltaic cell.
The nanotubes could work as an antenna to capture and funnel sunlight onto solar arrays. This means that instead of having an entire rooftop covered in solar panels, a person may need just a small space.

Wacky no 11. Coffee Waste (Pleasant)

If you are like me, coffee is a life necessity that you absolutely can NOT go without!
But did you know?: That the cup of coffee that helps fuel you for the day, could soon also be used to produce bio-diesel fuel?
Every year, the global population consumes 600 billion cups of coffee. An average coffee shop throws out 10 kg of coffee every day. However, the coffee grounds that are thrown away can actually be used to produce bio-diesel fuel.
If all coffee grounds could be converted this way, it would create 2.9 million gallons of biodiesel every year. If all of the leftover grounds from Starbucks were reprocessed, they would produce 89,000 tons of such fuel pellets annually, enough to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the coffee-shop chain, as well as help counter rising fuel costs.
There will eventually be a time when your grandchildren will be filling up their car’s fuel tank with some coffee!

Wacky no 12. ALGAE

Did you know?: That Algae has a higher heat content than corn or sugar, making it more efficient as a fuel source?
Algae, yes the slimy green stuff you find at the bottom of a dam, contains cells which produce oil. In fact, half of its body weight is lipid oil. Lipid oil can be harvested and converted into fuel. The resulting biodiesel is more clean and efficient than petroleum and is more sustainable.
Although there are a few obstacles stopping algae fuel from being utilized on a huge scale, much research is being done to overcome these issues. The space that’s required to grow enough algae to produce a significant amount of oil, for example, is one obstacle. As is the fact that conditions, such as temperature, must be exact to enable optimum growth, which may be difficult to control.
The most promising option on this list, however, is algae, which could realistically replace fossil fuels on our planet.

Wacky no 13. ELECTRIC EELS

Did you know?: An Electric Eel can discharge an electrical current of over 400V at once?
Researchers are attempting to find a way to use this electric power of Electric Eels. This mechanism is used by the fish to defend itself from predators and to hunt small fish, but its main purpose is that of a radar system, a replacement for its nearly blind eyes.
A successful experiment was even conducted in Japan where a Christmas tree was lit up using the electricity generated by an eel.

Wacky no 14. Chocolate (Pleasant)

Did you know?: The shells of cocoa beans can also be converted into biofuel?
The waste left over namely cocoa bean shells from a chocolate factory in the U.K. was fed to E. coli bacteria, which resulted in the production of hydrogen. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest fuels, it’s only by-product being water.
The fat from chocolate was also converted into biofuel and used to power a racing car, which reached 130 miles per hour on a racetrack.

Wow!, Who would have thought that we could be saving our planet by drinking more coffee or indulging in chocolate, or by dancing the night away!!

What is your favourite wacky and bizarre alternative?

 

Sources:
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/21/11-bizarre-sources-for-alternative-energy.html
https://www.scienceabc.com/innovation/unusual-alternative-energy-sources-never-heard.html
https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/five-forms-alternative-energy10.htm
https://greenfuture.io/sustainable-living/weird-renewable-energy-resources/

 

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About Wendy De Wet

I joined Leads 2 Business as an Account Executive in July 2011 and was part of the dynamic sales team in JHB for 2 years. I relocated to the beautiful city of Durban in 2013 and absolutely love KZN. I am very proud to be part of the L2B family and Legacy!

Be your own “Light-saver”

bright_side

 

It’s no secret that I am an eternal optimist, a glass-half-full kinda girl if you will, and I prefer to live my life that way…. but damn!!! ALL this negativity about Electricity and Water Shortage in our country is killing my vibe!

We need to turn this around!

I refuse to believe that we, the little people can’t do something to assist this situation!!!

 

So…….. Is there more you could be doing at home to be your own “Light Saver”? – I’m glad you asked!  Of Course there is!!!

Now when I read these out to you, you probably gonna go “Duh Sherina! we know all of these!!!”…… Well that’s awesomeemot1 ….are you actually doing any of them?…..

ye I didn’t think so emot2…. so let’s get started shall we!

 

  • Turn your geyser temperature down to 60o Celsius – You can bath/shower quite comfortably at this temperature, and it’s cheaper to maintain than the standard 70o Celsius.

This is an easy one – In most cases, the thermostat is located in the little cover over the electrical element of the geyser. Switch off the electricity circuit at the mains, undo the cover, and then turn down the thermostat using a screw driver. Or hire a plumber to help you 😉

 

  • Cut down on the amount of hot water you use.
  1. Shower instead of bath (If possible) – I’m personally not fussy as long as you get one of those done every day!…. but if showering saves electricity and water then that’s what I’m all for!
  2. Don’t wash your dishes under a running tap….. guilty Guilty!… I do this all the time, but I will make a concerted effort to allow enough dishes to accumulate (yuck!) before I run a full sink and do them all one shot!
  3. If you have your hot water tap connected to your washing machine – TURN that OFF RIGHT NOW!!! (my-face-with-no-electricty_admin100114ivkbkit’s totes not necessary)

 

  • Switch off equipment when its not in use – Turn appliances off at the wall plug, rather than leaving them on standby as this can still draw about 20% or more of normal electricity use. (Examples are TVs, music systems, computers, phone chargers etc.) Also turn the geyser off when you go on holiday!!!

 

  • Be Kitchen Conscience, (wow, that really isn’t easy to say…..try it ….out loud!)
  1. Thaw your meat in the fridge/outside to reduce the use of microwaves and cooking time.
  2. Make sure your fridge seals 100%, and a good temperature to keep it on would be around 4 or 5 degrees Celsius.
  3. When you are cooking, use the microwave when you can – it uses much less energy than an electric oven. If you use the stove, keep lids on your pots to reduce cooking time.

 

  • Air Dry your Clothes! Laziness is not a disability – go outside and hang your clothes, the fresh air will do you good, and look, you are now saving money too!

 

  • Use energy-efficient light globes – This is a no-brainer!

    • They typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
    • They can last 3-25 times longer.

 

There are a few other investment upgrades (all under R1000) you could make to your home to make your electricity bill go down, such as:  funny-quotes-quotes-a-day-35

  • Install an efficient shower head.
  • Insulate the ceiling/roof
  • Insulate the geyser
  • Install a solar water heater System

 

When you are not living alone, most of these efforts are pretty much lost unless you are working together towards a common goal – so have “The Talk” – discuss with your partners, kids, family, friends, whoever is residing with you, the effects of our wastage and come up with ways you can save together:)

 

OK, so now we saving at home people!! How about at work?…… are your companies doing anything to help the electricity crisis?

If not – let’s show them how! emot3

Now I understand that every company has different needs, so there isn’t a one fit, fits all, but there is always something that can be done. perm

#EternalOptimist remember lol!

 

  • Use florescent lighting.tickCheck
  • Minimize the use of the air conditioner. On warm days opt to opening windows and blinds.tick  Check
  • Boil the kettle for groups instead of filling, boiling and pouring for one. tickCheck
  • Cut down on your printing – print double sided if possible. tickCheck
  • Turn off electronics at the end of the day.tickCheck

So how is your company doing?…. Lets keep going!

The next two tips will cost the Company money initially but will save them in the long run.

  • When your company is upgrading their PC’s, suggest they switch to laptops, these use way less electricity than desktops.
  • Move IT to the Cloud – Consider getting rid of your computer servers, and instead going with cloud-based systems. No more running multiple servers or cooling of that hot data center is needed. On top of that, more employees could telecommute. According to one survey in 2010, a small business with 100 users could cut its carbon footprint and energy costs by 90% by moving to the cloud.

 

That’s all I have on Electricity but I’m on a roll now so I’m just gonna keep going and throw out some water saving tips too, if you don’t mind!2016-04-15 10.20.02

  • Turn off your water when brushing your teeth.
  • Fix all water leaks in your home.
  • Put a brick in your toilet cistern.
  • Run your water over flow pipe into your garden for irrigation

and lastly…

  • Shower with your partner! emot3You’re welcome!

 

I thought I would end with some weird and wonderful facts about Electricity:

 

  • One bolt of lightning has enough electricity to supply 200 000 average size homes!
  • A refrigerator uses less energy than a Playstation 3.
  • It is a little known fact that only ten percent of the traditional light bulb is used for actual lighting. The other 90% of the energy creates heat.
  • During a hurricane, 50 to 200 trillion watts of heat energy are released. This is the same amount of energy as a 10 megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes.
  • South Africa was the country with the cheapest electricity in the developed world. That was until the staggering 27.8% tariff increase. According to the Electricity Report & Pricing Survey, Canada is now the cheapest in the world, with South Africa following in second place with a 7% higher electricity tariff than Canada. Italy and Germany on the other have, has the most expensive electricity rates in the world.
  • In 1994 only 12,000 schools had electricity, in 2015, approximately 25,000 have access to electricity.
  • The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 94% in 2013. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 88% in 2012.
  • Have you ever wondered why birds sitting on a power line don’t get electrocuted? If a bird sits on just one power line it is safe. However, if the bird touches another line with a wing or a foot, it creates a circuit, causing the electricity to flow through the bird’s body. This results in electrocution.

 

So, lets see if we can all try

unplug_page_logo1A little …..

Until next time 😉

 

About Sherina Shawe

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining." from: Silver Linings Playbook.