Once again, fuel prices are on rise. Most of the oil based gulf countries have realized that their economy will suffer a great collapse when all their oil drains out. Therefore, they have increased the crude oil prices leading to the price rise of petroleum product. Coal is also estimated to be finished by 2040, which will directly affect all the countries depending on thermal power. To solve these problems, people are devoting high amount of money towards harnessing the renewable energy resources. People have the wrong notion that renewable energy is still far away from implementation. However, this notion can be proved wrong with the following five small-scale innovations in the field of harnessing renewable energy.
1. Jet stream power
Very few people know that earth is surrounded with high-speed jet streams in high altitudes. These stream flows with a speed of 200mph at 30000 ft. Skymill energy, an Indo-US firm is trying to harness that energy via an aerial vehicle. They are trying to build a helicopter like design that will harness this energy from that altitude. They have even developed a prototype that is undergoing test in India.
2. Micro-Geothermal power
There is big current of hot molten magma flowing underneath the earth surface. The power of this current can be felt with the earthquakes. An Indo-Norwegian venture is exploring this possibility in Himalayan hot springs. They are trying to harness the energy to power the steam turbines that will generate limitless amount of electrical energy without any greenhouse effect. The geothermal power plants have large applications where there is lack of sufficient water resources to generate hydro gravity based electricity. They can also reduce the use of coals and gases in third world countries to generate electricity. It will have a large effect on controlling the green house gas pollution. The energy can be even generated in cold places like Alaska, where sunlight and other form of thermal processes cannot be efficiently harnessed.
3. Solar energy from Dumps
There are large land areas in worldwide that are designated for throwing dumps. These dumps are full of organic wastes that can be used to generate methane by microbial degradation. The problem arises with the facts that the process is anaerobic and collection from open vats can be very tedious. There is another company in US, which is using solar cell based films to cover this land. If one can combine both processes, then solar energy as well as methane can be harnessed from these dumps.
4. Algal based ethanol
There is lot of work going on the biosynthesis of ethanol via algal starch. The algae are wonderful organisms. They need only sunlight and carbon di oxide from air to produce starch via photosynthesis. This starch can be broken down to form alcohol by yeasts. Many companies around the world are working towards the biosynthesis of the alcohol via this pathway. If the process can be optimized, then limitless supply of ethanol can be harnessed without any major cost.
5. Microbial fuel cell technology
Fuel cells are great conversion devices. They can generate double the amount of electricity than the conventional thermal processes with the same amount of fuel. Microbial fuel cells are next generation fuel cells, which can use waste organic matter or molasses to generate electricity. Lots of researchers are working for its implementation phase. If the process is successful then people will not have to worry about buying fuel. They can use their household wastes to generate electricity. With advent of low energy consuming high-powered LED lights, the microbial fuel cell technology can efficiently power all the light sources using your daily wastes. The technology is being explored for both space travel and rural energy generation.