TECH

Incredible Alternative Energy Sources From Around The World

Think differently about power.

07/02/2017 09:22 GMT

We’ve all heard of the big three environmentally-friendly power sources: solar, wind and hydro. But scientists and innovators across the world are putting no limitations on their imaginations when it comes to novel renewables. From the alcoholic spirit powering the Scottish economy to partying power in Holland, it would appear that invention knows no end.

According to a report from the United Nations, investments in renewables totalled $286 billion in 2015. Apart from hydroelectric plants, 10.3 percent of all electricity generated worldwide came from renewables, about double the amount recorded in 2007. It looks like everyone is in it together. Here are a few unusual but imaginative solutions making the headlines.

  • Exploding lakes in Africa
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    Methane gas at the bottom of a lake in Rwanda is harnessed to generate electricity. Two million people live along the shores of Lake Kivu, with 78 percent of all Rwandans going without access to electricity on a daily basis. The possibility of gas extraction from the lake for energy production led to the Kivuwatt biogas project launching in 2016. If the 25MW biogas plant is successful, the project will add a further 75MW – increasing Rwanda’s current energy capacity by more than 50 percent.
  • Booze isn’t all bad
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    It is no secret the Scots enjoy a wee dram or two, and those canny folk have turned it into big business. Now they have taken the distillery process one step further in the name of sustainability. Edinburgh-based Celtic Renewables unveiled their first sample of biofuel (or biobutanol) made from Scotch whisky by-products in 2015. With high hopes of building its first demonstration facility at Grangemouth petrochemical
  • Just keep swimming
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    Across England, crematoriums are heating swimming pools. That’s right, Redditch Crematorium in Worcestershire is saving its local pool around £15,000 per year by diverting unwanted heat to better use. And in Durham, the Durham Crematorium (pictured) has installed two turbines in its burners, selling excess energy back to the national grid. Waste not, want not, right?
  • Dancing can save the world
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    In Holland, they’re hitting the dance floor in the name of sustainability. First launched in 2008, the Sustainable Dance Floor made its way to a club in Rotterdam. The concept is simple: the better the music, the more people on the dance floor and the more sustainable kinetic energy created. With the average person generating about 20 watts’ worth, a full club will be able to power itself each and every night.
  • Power to the poop
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    Newborn babies can go through up to 10 nappies per day on average. In Japan, adult nappies are on the rise as an ageing population increases. That’s a lot of paper nappies making their way to a landfill site. That is why Japanese company Super Faiths Inc. has devised a way to convert these – after a fermentation, shredding and drying process – into ‘fluffy fuel chips’. The chips are odourless and contain 5000 kcal of heat per kilogram and are to be used in biomass heating and electricity systems.