Did You Know? New, Unusual Energy Sources

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Electrical Contractor Magazine has an ongoing series of articles that point out unusual energy sources that we will be able to use in the future for green power. While some of the articles point out sources that we’ve covered before (such as waves and trash), there are a few that are quite surprising.

  • Hot asphalt and tarmac: both absorb the sun’s rays to store heat in theground that can be captured and saved for the winter, now heating apartments in northern Holland
  • Molten salt: converts heat into electrical power, even when the sun isnot out that can produce as much as 500 MW of peak power or operatenonstop at 50 MW
  • Knee power: a new device harnesses kinetic energy from a person who iswalking, generating electric power from knee swing that can power acell phone for 10 minutes, motorized prosthetic joints, GPS locators,implanted drug pumps and more
  • Trash: a Rockford, Il. landfill-to-gas electricity plant uses methanegas produced by decomposing trash to power equipment engines that flow into the grid
  • Bacteria: a changed strain of E. coli produces substantial amounts ofhydrogen for natural glucose conversion to help reduce energy costsrequired to produce sugar from crops such as corn; it’s hydrogen whereyou need it
  • Dams: on the Red Sea would generate hydroelectric power to solve thegrowing energy demands for millions of people in the Middle East; a similar seawater barrier at the entrance of the Persian Gulf wouldgenerate 50 gigawatts
  • Pedal pushers: MIT students powered a supercomputer for nearly 20minutes using bicycles, marking the largest human-powered computation in history– Hang ten: ocean wave energy conversion uses buoys and an anchoring andelectrical connection system to power about 150 homes in northwest Washington state

It’s surprising to think that maybe one day your asphalt driveway will store enough power to heat your home in the winter!

Photo credit 

  • Ian Andrew

    As the Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greener Ideal, Ian has been a driving force in environmental journalism and sustainable lifestyle advocacy since 2008. With over a decade of dedicated involvement in environmental matters, Ian has established himself as a respected expert in the field. Under his leadership, Greener Ideal has consistently delivered independent news and insightful content that empowers readers to engage with and understand pressing environmental issues.

    Ian’s expertise extends beyond editorial leadership; his hands-on experience in exploring and implementing sustainable practices equips him with practical knowledge that resonates with both industry professionals and eco-conscious audiences. This blend of direct involvement and editorial oversight has positioned Ian as a credible and authoritative voice in environmental journalism and sustainable living.

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