May 14, 2022 12:52 pm

The strangest ways to generate energy

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Energy is neither created nor destroyed… But if we ask the ways in which we can obtain it, there will be three or four that come to mind easily and quickly: with sunlight, with the wind or with the force of water.

However, and beyond other options such as nuclear or biomass, there are many other alternative ways in which humans can generate electricity. Some of them, such as through plants, are already being exploited by entrepreneurs like Bioo. But there are some more really surprising ones that are the result of the most cutting-edge research.

In addition to being able to make us cry, if onions are squeezed we can convert their juice into methane, which can be used to generate electricity.

It is something that is also being put into practice. More specifically, an onion wholesaler in California is saving more than half a million dollars on their energy bills by implementing this technique. A case that is even published by the United States government.

When we move we generate energy, more specifically of the kinetic type. For this reason, some European clubs have installed a type of floor that is capable of collecting this activity and producing enough electricity to keep the lights on and the music playing.

In fact, this technology is currently being developed so that kinetic energy generators can be placed in other public areas, including roads and playgrounds.

But not only when dancing. A Swedish transport company has devised a system to use body heat to reduce energy costs by using heat exchangers in train ventilation systems. To do this, ventilation systems convert body heat into hot water. The hot water is then used to keep passengers and staff warm.

Research has also been carried out on how to use body sweat to be able to recharge electronic devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, for which a standard is even being created.

Obviously, we could also take advantage of our pedaling to connect a bicycle (preferably static) to a generator and, with the electricity generated by pedaling, supply power to small appliances and electronic devices.

The glow-in-the-dark jellyfish contain the necessary ingredients for a new type of battery to be developed. A green fluorescent protein, known as GFP, is known to be responsible for producing the glow.

A team from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, placed a drop of GFP on aluminum electrodes and then exposed it to ultraviolet light, allowing the protein to release electrons. These proteins have been used to make a biofuel cell, which produces electricity without an external light source.

Instead, a mix of chemicals like magnesium and luciferase enzymes (which are in fireflies) were used to produce electricity.

We do not leave the sea, since the algae also store energy in the form of oil. If this oil is extracted under the right conditions, it can be refined into a usable biofuel.

At the moment it is not something that can be done on a massive scale, but since algae are present in the seas around the world, they could be a great resource for producing renewable energy. Some experts estimate that algae could be up to 100 times more productive than traditional bioenergy sources.

The University of Nevada (United States) is drying sludge to turn it into fuel for a gasification process, which ends up generating electricity. To do this, a processing machine capable of producing low-cost, energy-efficient technology was built.

The machine converts sticky sludge into powder using relatively low temperatures in a fluidized bed of sand and salts to produce the biomass fuel. It is estimated that only with the amount of mud that a state like California generates, 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per day could be produced thanks to this system.

They have a reputation for flatulence that emits a lot of CO2, but the truth is that cow manure can be used to produce electricity through a process known as biogas recovery. To do this, the manure must be deposited in a previously heated tank responsible for converting these wastes into gas. The gas can then be used to power a generator, producing cleaner energy in the process.

Without going any further, the waste that we all generate can also be treated to produce energy. The US Army has used
garbage powered generators
to be able to carry out its operations during the Iraq War.

These systems take advantage of advances in biotechnology and thermochemical science. In addition, they represent cost savings since they reduce the need to acquire and distribute liquid fuels through convoys (which can be attacked).

When rainwater falls on any roof, umbrella, ground or non-conductive surface, it creates an electrically charged trail. The droplets pick up the opposite charge.

physicists of
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz
have investigated this phenomenon in more detail and have developed a method to determine charge generation. These researchers want to develop a surface that makes better use of the charging effect and thus generate small amounts of electricity. This could, for example, benefit inhabitants of isolated and rainy areas where electricity is not yet available.

Meanwhile, another group of Hong Kong researchers is also trying to harness raindrops to generate electricity. In this case, the aim is to take advantage of the energy of the impact of raindrops.

Researchers have developed a nanocurrent generator that can generate energy from the fall of each drop. According to their study, a single drop of water falling from a height of 15 centimeters is enough to light 100 LED lamps.

However, for this to work, the droplets must fall as evenly as possible and from the same height onto the generator surface. For use in the rain, the researchers adapted the construction so that rainwater is first collected and then divided into drops that fall regularly through a system of fine capillaries.

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