The search for alternative sources of energy has been on for quite some time now. Researchers from around the world are constantly on the lookout for ways to harness energy from unlikely sources. And judging by the recent developments in the field, we can surely look towards a promising future fueled by these alternate energy sources. Here are 6 such promising developments in this field.
Alternative Energy that is Pee Powered
A team of researchers at the University of Bath, Queen Mary University of Londonas well as the Bristol Robotics Laboratory has created a microbial fuel cell that can generate electricity from urine. The smaller, cheaper and more efficient fuel cell can literally revolutionize the bioenergy industry and can greatly benefit rural or impoverished areas in developing countries.
Fuel Free Engine that runs on Microwaves
NASA has developed what it calls an EM Drive Fuel Free Engine that clearly breaks all laws of physics we have known till now. The engine uses microwaves to generate thrust by bouncing the waves inside a closed chamber using solar power. If tests are successful, NASA predicts the engine can be used in rockets that can reach Mars in just 10 weeks.
Graphene Solar Cells to produce electricity from rain as well
Rain and clouds have never been the best of friends with solar panels which rely on the sun’s rays to power up. This is however, all set to change with a new range of solar cells designed by a team of Chinese material scientists at the Ocean University of China. The researchers decided to use graphene in the manufacturing process of a flexible solar cell which can absorb energy off the sun as well as the rain. The super-efficient solar cell can also increase the cell’s conversion power by up to 6.5%.
Smart Electric Motors that can Self-Diagnose Problems
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A team of researchers at the Saarand University in Germany are in the process of creating a smart motor that can self-diagnose and report problems without the need of external sensors for the same purpose. The smart motor can collect information and send it to a central network operating system. This data can then be analyzed to spot health issues in the drive system early on. Such motors can greatly help prevent time, production and financial losses in manufacturing industries that rely on machines to do most of their work.
Small Vibrations used to Generate Energy
The researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an energy harvesting device that can harvest energy from arbitrary, non-periodic vibrations in the immediate surroundings like those obtained from machinery operating in factories, car traffic on bridges and even bodily movements.
Called Parametric Frequency Increased Generators, these devices use piezoelectric materials to produce up to 500 microwatts of energy that can easily power pacemakers, surgically implanted medical devices and remote wireless sensors that don’t require much power for operation.
Radiant Energy to power Magnifying Transmitter
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Nikola Tesla has developed what it calls a Magnifying Transmitter, a device that runs on what is called radiant energy. Radiant energy has the same capabilities as that of normal electricity, but at just 1% of the cost of the latter. However, radiant energy behaves in a very different way than normal electricity.
This has been the main reason for this kind of energy being untapped till date. Nevertheless, with recent developments, one can hope to see radiant energy making a comeback in the near future. In fact, the Methernitha Community in Switzerland currently uses radiant energy to operate a fuel free version of 5 to 6 models of devices.
Alternate sources of energy can reduce the burden placed on existing energy sources. New developments in the field of alternate energy have shown promise of introducing some rather unlikely sources that can potentially lead to a fuel free tomorrow.