BOLD AND OUTRAGEOUS ENERGY IDEAS

With World Environment Day falling in this month, it’s time to see how we are faring. More importantly, we need to learn about the audacious ideas people have come up with to give Earth a chance to recuperate. How good are these eco-friendly strategies? You decide!

A grand plan for the skies

Just when we are all set to harvest energy from solar panels, the cloudy skies play spoilsport. So what’s the solution? Japanese scientists have come up with an ingenious idea: send satellites into orbit carrying solar arrays up high where there are no clouds to block the sun’s rays. Transmitters in the satellite will also convert the solar energy into microwave energy that can potentially provide power to millions of homes. Is it possible that the microwave beams miss the transmitter and fry up something on Earth? Let’s hope that never happens.

Power from DIY tornadoes

A tornado is a powerful beast, capable of producing the same energy as a power plant… provided it is large enough. A Canadian engineer realized that taming such a beast would be the solution to our energy problems. All that was needed was an area bigger than two football fields and enough space above for manufacturing a spinning column. Some turbines here, and a generator nearby – bingo! You get loads of energy as long as the tornado does not go rogue and escapes its confines!

Hairy plants to the rescue! Who would have thought that hairy plants could one day save the planet? And no, they don’t have to be brought down by aliens. There are quite a few on our planet itself. According to a team at the University of California, hairy plants absorb more light but less heat. Apparently, if there were more such plants across the world, the global temperature could go down. That would mean selecting and developing hairy versions. As long as they don’t make us eat hairy spinach, this is worth a try!

Biogas to drive vehicle

Human waste can, in the future, seamlessly power cars and bikes when petrol is probably all gone. Under the right conditions, bio waste, crop stubble and leftovers from hotels can pool in to make commutes more eco-friendly. Think it’s far-fetched? In Sweden. an entire fleet of buses run on biogas generated from manure and leftovers. The future isn’t so bleak, after all!

The energy of hustling commuters

Rushing to catch a train or even simply sitting in the train can be precious in the future. Swedish scientists are investigating how the air made warm by commuters at Stockholm Railway Station can be harvested through heat exchangers. And just like that, it would be possible to provide heating for a building nearby. Will cities across the world be able to make their citizens feel like superheroes – or at least power generators? Time will tell.

The energy of hustling commuters

Rushing to catch a train or even simply sitting in the train can be precious in the future. Swedish scientists are investigating how the air made warm by commuters at Stockholm Railway Station can be harvested through heat exchangers. And just like that, it would be possible to provide heating for a building nearby. Will cities across the world be able to make their citizens feel like superheroes – or at least power generators? Time will tell.

Store carbon dioxide underwater

What if we could suck up carbon dioxide emitted from power plants and store them in large flexible polymer bags deep under the sea instead of releasing it into the air? As stunning as it sounds, scientists argue that the idea isn’t crazy. Pipes will feed the gas into these bags and they will remain for thousands of years undisturbed. Or at least, that’s what we hope (and also pray that sharks don’t sink their teeth into them!).

Picture Credit : Google 

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