We’re continuing that motivational list where we investigate the most beautifully strange energy sources, so if you missed the first part, just follow the link to catch up. So, without wasting your time any longer, here are 5 more reasons to think “Wow!”
6. Sugar in the Gas Tank
If you “like” your neighbor, and you feel like doing him a favor by throwing sugar in his car’s petrol tank, he’s probably not going to appreciate it. In fact, can you think of any situation where he’ll shake your hand and thank you for it?
Let’s hold on to this idea quickly, because science can be a beautiful thing when applied correctly. Virginia Tech researchers and chemists believe they can find a way of throwing sugar into a petrol tank and still make it run. Well, it’s not as basic as it sounds, but you get the idea. the hydrogen they create from it. There’s a whole process where they turn sugar into hydrogen, which can then be used through a special fuel cell. The energy will be clean and at least 3 times more effective than typical fossil fuel.
7. Some more Body Heat
But it gets a little stranger than that, because even dead bodies can serve one last purpose. This is definitely one of the more “ugly” sources, but it’s a source nonetheless. There’s a crematorium in the UK that don’t believe in air conditioners. Instead, they use the heat from the gasses every time somebody gets cremated. The energy from the cremated bodies are actually captured and spread through the building.
8. Lakes that Explode
At the moment there are three lakes that are known for their possibility to explode. That’s right, they are filled with mass amounts of methane and carbon dioxide, and if something goes wrong down there these gasses will start fizzing through the water like a coke can after a good shake. This is obviously dangerous, as can be seen in the 1984 Lake Nyos (Cameroon) explosion where hundreds of people and animals died after instantly suffocating.
Provided that this isn’t a source that should be taken lightly on any level, but the government of Rwanda has decided to use it to a power generating advantage. They also have one of these unstable lakes, which they control with a power plant specifically built to extract the gasses. These gasses are powering 3 different generators, which in turn provide about 3.6 megawatts. But they’re not stopping there, because they want those gasses to power a third of the country in a few years.
9. Electric Sludge
South Africans don’t really ever come into contact with sludge waste, but in America it seems to a very common thing. For example California produces about 700 000 metric ton of sludge per year, and they don’t really know what to do with it. But it seems the University of Nevada has come forward with an answer to handle the large amount of sludge, and to turn it into something useful.
After building a processing machine, they took the sludge and turned it into a powder with the help of a fluidized bed of sand and salts. There latter two elements are key for producing biomass fuel. It’s estimated that about 25 000 kilowatts per hour can be generated on a daily basis, and it can be done on site. This means less driving around and getting rid of the sludge, while making much cleaner fuel.
10. Glow in the Dark Jellyfish
Last but not least, we have jellyfish that glow in the dark. Apart from being one of the most beautiful creatures under the sea, and above land for that matter, they have a special something. This special something is green fluorescent protein, which is what allows them to become the beacons of light in the ocean. The Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden took a little bit of this special something, also referred to as GFP, and placed it on aluminum electrodes. After exposing it to ultraviolet light they noticed it released electrons.
Now, let’s get some perspective here. This can essentially be made into a fuel cell without the need of external light, but you’re not going to power a building with it…yet. Instead, they use certain chemicals that take the place of ultraviolet light, such as magnesium, and this fuel cell can then be used to power nano devices. Does nature get more incredible than this?