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  • 10 Alternatives to Alternative Energy

  • 10. Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT)

  • Countries like China, the United States, Germany, Denmark, Spain and India produce over 175,000

  • MW of power with traditional wind turbines, but that number stands to double if theyre

  • replaced with BATs.

  • The technology is simple. Basically, a huge blimp with a wind turbine in the middle is

  • secured to the ground and hoisted to altitudes of nearly 2000 feet. At that elevation, winds

  • are blowing at much greater speeds and thus generate twice the power. These new turbines

  • can withstand wind speeds of up to 43 miles per hour, after which the BAT can automatically

  • duck for cover to whatever altitude is safe. The environmental impact is far less visible

  • at such heights, not to mention the 90% cost reductions in terms of transportation and

  • deployment. Unlike traditional turbines, BATs can easily be dismantled and redeployed elsewhere

  • if needed.

  • 9. Oyster

  • With over 70% of the world’s surface covered in water, it’s a surprise that tidal wave

  • energy was left behind in the race for renewable energy. Oyster is an attempt to bring this

  • form of energy back to the forefront.

  • Its design is that of a flap, pushed and pulled by the waves, 50 feet underwater and 1600

  • feet offshore. Through this endless cycle, Oyster is able to pump energy all the way

  • back to a standard hydro-electric power plant on the mainland. So far two flaps have been

  • successfully tested off the coast of Scotland. Oyster 1 was able to produce 315 kW of power,

  • while Oyster 800 (don’t ask us to explain their naming convention) managed a whopping

  • 800 kW, capable of bringing power to around 80 houses.

  • Waves are a frequent phenomenon, unlike tides that only come and go a couple of times a

  • day. The Oyster can also operate in stormy conditions. The first Oyster farm, capable

  • of producing 40 MW, is currently being developed off the north-western coast of Scotland, with

  • future plans for a larger 200 MW farm near the Orkney archipelago.

  • 8. Algae Based Biofuels

  • Biofuels are crop-derived ethanol or biodiesel made primarily out of rapeseed, corn, wheat,

  • sugarcane, sugar beet, soy or other crops. But all of these crops need land to grow on,

  • which is either acquired by replacing food production crops or by cutting down forests,

  • neither of which is viable in the long run.

  • A better approach is to use algae. Since some algae have a natural oil content of around

  • 75%, they can be easily processed into biofuel. The rest of the plant can be used as fertilizer

  • to grow even more algae. It grows very quickly, and doesn’t need any farm land or fresh

  • water to do so. On average, algae can produce around 5000 gallons of ethanol per acre in

  • one year, as compared to only 800 gallons produced with sugarcane.

  • Scientists at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York have discovered that these biofuel

  • producing algae can also clean wastewater. They consume nitrates and phosphates, and

  • also reduce toxins and bacteria. The state of Alabama became home to the first algae

  • biofuel system that also cleans wastewater. Because the entire traditional water treatment

  • process is excluded, algae growing is carbon-negative.

  • 7. Solar Windows

  • Every second, the sun bombards the Earth with roughly 174 quadrillion watts of energy, and

  • were only just beginning to tap into that immense power. The problem with standard solar

  • panels is that they convert a maximum of only 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity,

  • all the while being very costly in terms of production.

  • But recently, scientists from the University of California have discovered how to make

  • solar panels transparent. The material is a plastic-like substance which is transparent

  • in the normal light spectrum, but is able to pick up infrared light. Because it’s

  • made of plastic, it’s relatively cheap to manufacture compared to traditional solar

  • panels. It can also double as an ordinary window in someone’s house. Every sun-bathed

  • window in the world could convert solar energy into electricity.

  • 6. Volcanic Electricity

  • A geothermal plant is like a coal plant without the coal. They both work on the principle

  • of heating water until it becomes steam, which in turn runs turbines that produce electricity.

  • The difference is that instead of burning coal, a geothermal plant will use the heat

  • of the Earth itself. By drilling holes into the ground some two to six miles deep, temperatures

  • can reach 160 to 600 degrees F. Places with high volcanic activity are ideal for this

  • type of renewable energy, since underground magma is much closer to the surface and holes

  • don’t have to be dug so deep.

  • Iceland recently drilled a hole and hit a pocket of magma by mistake. They decided to

  • pour water down the shaft to see what happened. What they witnessed was something record breaking

  • steam gushed out at temperatures of above 842 F. For comparison, steam generated at

  • geothermal plants usually hovers around 158 degrees F. These traditional plants produce

  • around 40 MW of energy, good for roughly 11,500 homes. This discovery is still in its testing

  • phase, but this type of power could multiply the amount of electricity produced by geothermal

  • plants tenfold.

  • 5. Betaray

  • We just discussed the vast amount of energy the sun produces and the inefficiency of standard

  • solar panels. Andre Broessel, a German architect, has come up with a simple yet brilliant idea

  • to increase the energy output in photovoltaic cells. By incorporating a liquid filled glass

  • sphere into the design of a solar panel, the energy output is increased by 34%. It’s

  • fitted with a tracking device that’s able to follow the sun on its daily migration west,

  • and the Betaray can also tap into the sun’s rays on overcast days, producing four times

  • the energy of a normal solar panel. It can even draw energy from the moon on clear nights.

  • The device is specially designed to work for individual houses or buildings, places with

  • limited space for solar panel deployment. It can easily be fitted onto inclined surfaces

  • and curtain walls. The project is still in its development stage, but once finished it

  • might change the look of rooftops around the world.

  • 4. Viruses

  • A breakthrough took place at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California,

  • where scientists managed to create a virus that can produce an electrical charge when

  • a material is mechanically deformed or stressed. This material is made out of the engineered

  • M13 virus, which usually infects bacteria. Long story short, it’s a device that transforms

  • a simple gesture like pushing a button or sliding your finger on a screen into electricity.

  • Its practical applications are endless, with many being used on wireless technologies like

  • mobile phones and laptops. This development will most certainly make other devices and

  • appliances less dependent on the power grid, and even become more portable in the process.

  • What’s even greater is that this virus can be sprayed on any surface, like the floor

  • or a chair, and then produce electricity when it’s stimulated by movement or pressure.

  • But we won’t get too far ahead of ourselvesin its current state, the maximum output

  • generated was a quarter of that of a triple-A battery.

  • 3. Thorium

  • Thorium is a radioactive metal similar to uranium, but it can produce 90 times more

  • energy at a fraction of the waste. It’s also three to four times more abundant in

  • nature, and just one gram of the stuff is equivalent to 7400 gallons of gas in terms

  • of energy.

  • Because of this, Connecticut’s LaserPowerSystems Company has come up with a plan to create

  • a thorium based engine for cars. By using a laser powered with only eight grams of thorium

  • to heat up water and generate steam, a car can run for more than 100 years or one million

  • miles without the need to reful. The engine only weighs around 500 pounds, making it able

  • to replace a standard vehicle’s engine.

  • The greatest challenge is the fact that thorium hasn’t proven its potential on a commercial

  • scale. Because a focus was placed on uranium as the prime nuclear fuel for the last 60

  • years, thorium based reactors are a lot more expensive to build. And the science, while

  • sound, is mostly theoretical.

  • 2. TheImpossibleMicrowave Thruster

  • As the need to travel into space increases in the coming decades, the technology of a

  • microwave powered thruster couldn’t have come at a better time. If viable, this technology

  • could radically change the design of future spacecraft, eliminating the need to carry

  • fuel. With half of any given spacecraft’s mass being fuel, this is a big deal.

  • This technology was labelled as impossible since it defies Newton’s third law, the

  • law of momentum conservation. This law states that in order to move forward, an object must

  • always leave something behind. In this case, rocket fuel is being ejected in order to propel

  • a spacecraft. But by making microwaves bounce off reflectors inside a sealed chamber, scientists

  • were able to achieve thrust without the use of a propellant.

  • The idea was first exhibited in 2006 by scientist Roger Shawyer. It was again proven by a team

  • of Chinese researchers in 2012, but the science wasn’t taken seriously since it went against

  • fundamentals in physics. Only in July 2014 was the idea accepted, thanks to Guido Fetta

  • from NASA. Even now, scientists aren’t really sure how it works, but they agree that it

  • does. It still has a long way to go, thoughthe thrust generated wasn’t even enough

  • to lift a penny off a table.

  • 1. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)

  • Nuclear power has been the most reliable source of green energy we currently possess. Setting

  • aside tragic accidents and the fact that it produces nuclear waste, this form of energy

  • doesn’t pollute the environment nor cause any harm, if were careful. Further development

  • has generated some amazing results, one of which is the Travelling Wave Reactor, which

  • is capable of producing electricity from the waste left behind by traditional nuclear reactors.

  • This technology could theoretically power the entire United States for the next seven

  • centuries.

  • The real prize, however, is ITER. It’s a project so important that China, India, the

  • EU, Japan, South Korea, the United States and Russia have come together to make it work.

  • It’s located in southern France, and it’s the equivalent of building a sun in our own

  • backyard.

  • ITER will be able to replicate the processes happening inside a star. Unlike fission, where

  • atoms are torn apart to create energy, fusion binds two elements to generate even more power.

  • This type of energy isn’t threatening, it doesn’t produce waste, and it’s the closest

  • thing we could come to an endless source of power based on our current understanding of

  • the universe. With every 50 MW it needs to work it gives 500 MW in return, enough to

  • power 130,000 homes.

  • The theoretical knowledge has been around for decades, but the problem was in building

  • a reactor capable of withstanding temperatures above 150 million degrees. This will be achieved

  • by using electromagnets to keep the hot plasma away from the reactor’s walls. The project

  • began way back in 1985, but only in 2010 did the technology became available to start construction.

  • Future predictions say that by the beginning of the 2030s, ITER will begin its operations

  • and be integrated into the power grid as early as 2040.

10 Alternatives to Alternative Energy

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代替エネルギーへのトップ10の信じられないほどの代替品 (Top 10 INCREDIBLE Alternatives to Alternative ENERGY)

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    richardwang に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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