Monthly Archives: May 2011

Harvesting energy from the human body

… without plugging ourselves into massive battery farms, that is.

If you heard about the dance floors in Rotterdam that gather energy from clubbers’ fancy footwork, then this will be a happy update. Albeit an old one.

The French city of Toulouse tested out a sidewalk that’s estimated to generate around 50 and 60 watts of electricity from pedestrians walking across it. The electricity is then stored in a battery that can be used to power street lamps at night.

Sweden, in the meantime, is testing a new ventilation system in the Stockholm train station that will harness body heat from commuters and transfer it to heat a nearby building.

Read all about it at the Discoblog.


A Drink for the Eco-Conscious

Whisky distilleries have a role to play in kee...

Image via Wikipedia

Don’t be surprised if the next drunk you meet at a bar claims that he’s drinking to fight global warming.

Scotland is slated to build a combined heat and power plant that runs on the leftovers from making whiskey by 2013. The plant will be able to generate over 7 MW of electricity (which the article says is enough to power 9000 homes.. in Scotland) by burning draff sourced from distilleries within 25 miles of the plant in Speyside and from burning wood chips. No word on where the wood chips will be coming from….

It’s nice to hear that alcohol producers at least have their heads on straight. Discover’s Discoblog chummingly notes:

“Whisky and green energy seem to go hand-in-hand in Scotland. In Fife, for example, Scotland’s largest distillery is almost done constructing an on-site bioenergy plant that will meet most of the distillery’s energy needs. And don’t forget the researchers who last year developed a way of producing biofuel from whisky by-products that could fuel cars in the near future.”

Worst Oil Spill in History Inspires Ingenious Technology

Open_Sailing in the UK and France, V2_ in the Netherlands, randomwalks in South Korea, Amorphica in the US and Mexico, and others from all around the world are building a low-cost oil collecting robot, called Protei, that will sail upwind on its own to intercept oil moving downwind. The robot is being developed to address oil spills and the ocean gyre garbage patches. Watch the video on Protei at the group’s kickstarter page.