By now you’ve probably read countless articles about, or at least heard about solar power and wind power, so rather than dwell on the relatively more mainstream forms of alternative energy, let’s look at some that you don’t regularly hear about.
1. Chicken Manure
A €150 million project out of the Netherlands is planning on using a biomass powerplant to simultaneously manage the the excess chicken manure and provide cheap, environment friendly energy to power up to 90,000 homes. The plant will process approximately 440,000 tons of manure and generate 270 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, making it more than just carbon neutral.
2. Vegetable Oil
A super-efficient system is being developed at Newcastle University in the UK that will burn vegetable oil to generate electricity to power homes. The system has special provisions that minimize wasted energy, optimize energy storage, and can efficiently deal with the fluctuating demand for energy (i.e. releasing energy during peak times, and storing it in the evening or at night).
3. Prius Power
Imagine a storm knocks out your electricity, what do you do? If you happen to own a Prius, you can use the car’s gas engine to power the electric battery, which you can then use to power a 1,200 square foot house. That would be more than enough to keep your lights on, your refrigerator running, and watch some tv while you wait for help.
4. Solar Innovations
While we’re all familiar with social panels, there are many other solar innovations you can use to harness the sun’s power and turn it into energy. Hot roads and parking lots, nanoantennas, and fuel cells are just the beginning.
While not applicable to everyone (for obvious reasons), if you’re one of the lucky few who live near a source of running water (or better yet, live on a boat), small water generators or Micro-Hydro turbines are a great source of renewable energy. By using even just one relatively small turbine, you can create non-stop power regardless of weather conditions that often create problems for solar and wind power generators.