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Are These Tomorrow's Unusual Renewable Energy Sources?

31 Oct 15:00 by Steve Walia

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Solar and wind energy may be well-known renewable energy leaders, but the quest to find more sources of clean energy continues. From yeast to algae, no stone is being left unturned. So could these surprising routes herald a new route to the low-carbon economy?

Nightclubs
Piezoelectricity creates kinetic energy from dancing and other movements. It's already being used in Japan and has been rolled out into offices, on to pavements and even on to football pitches in some parts of the world. In fact, the London Tube and Heathrow already use the technology in their floor tiles. Expect to see it on a dance floor near you soon!

Jellyfish
These weird and wonderful sea creatures emit a neon green protein which gives some species their underwater glow. It reacts to the light and emits electrons. If the silicon currently used in solar PV panels could be replicated with a synthesised version of jellyfish GFP proteins, the financial returns from solar panel investment could be far quicker.

Body Heat
The average resting human gives off around 100W of energy, of which 80% is heat. Already, the Mall of America is using the recycled heat from busy shoppers to warm the centre, and here in Britain crematoriums are being used to generate energy. In the future, expect to see wearable tech that can convert body heat to useful power for device charging.

Cows
Our bovine friends are known for the vast amounts of methane and the greenhouse gases they produce. The agricultural industry creates around 18% of total greenhouse gas emissions. But an easy way to lessen this emission impact is to cut down on the amount of dairy and meat that we consume. Another is to harvest the methane and convert it into fuel.