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Tokyo Westward Group Energy Alternatives 10 Wacky Forms of Alternative Energy - News - Bubblews

Tokyo Westward Group Energy Alternatives 10 Wacky Forms of Alternative Energy - News - Bubblews | Westward Group Alternatives | Scoop.it

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Hanna Remaley's insight:

At Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, researchers are working on a novel, albeit somewhat distasteful, alternative to fossil fuels. They've developed a state-of-the-art toilet for use in developing countries that employs microwaves to chemically alter human waste into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This syngas can then be used in stacks of fuel cells to generate electricity. Hypothetically, one toilet could generate enough juice to power several village households, freeing them from dependence on coal or oil.

 

At first glance, Delft's scheme to turn poop into power may seem a bit daft. But drastic times call for drastic measures, and many people categorize the state of our environment as drastic. We live on a planet of finite resources -- some of which are crucial to our survival, and others that harm the environment every time we use them.

 

Rather than wait for the oil wells to run dry and coastal cities to disappear beneath rising sea levels, many people are looking ahead to cleaner alternative sources of energy. Some of these energy sources, like solar power, hybrid-electric vehicles and small, hand-powered gadgets have already caught on. Others, however, like feces-fueled water heaters, may take a little getting used to.

 

Here, for your reading enjoyment, are 10 of the wackier ideas for alternative energy. Some of them are already available; others need a few more trial runs before they hit the market. Either way, if you're reading this during a self-imposed Earth Hour, hand-crank your flashlight and prepare to be surprised -- or even amused.

 

Muscle Power

 

When you're at the gym, does your mind ever drift off to ponder the perils of the planet? Do you feel a bit of remorse as your legs pound away on an electric machine that goes nowhere, while the ice-cold air conditioner blows down on your neck? OK -- so most likely, you're probably thinking more about the amount of calories you're burning. But if you're one of the more eco-conscious athletes out there, you may soon be able to let those concerns melt away with the pounds.

 

Several innovative gyms are popping up that convert human energy into useable electricity. One of them, in Hong Kong, has exercise machines that look perfectly ordinary from the outside, but have generators inside that create energy from movement. So while you're busy sweating it out, your efforts are creating electricity to power the exercise console and supplement the electrical juice it takes to keep the overhead lights on. The owner of the gym maintains that the average person can generate about 50 watts of electricity per hour on the machines. So, unless you like running in the dark, you better get moving.

 

Pedal generators like the Pedal-A-Watt bike stand operate on a similar concept but are more powerful. A person in top condition can generate 500 watts of power, while someone in couch-potato condition could generate around 150 watts. Although that may not seem like much, that's enough to power two laptops, two fluorescent light bulbs and a cell phone -- as long as you maintain that pedaling.

 

The Pedal-A-Watt bike stand, which works by powering a generator with the movement of the bike's rear wheel, comes with an optional PowerPak that stores the energy you create for later use. The PowerPak has an outlet where you can plug in and power any appliance that runs on less than 400 watts of electricity. For a frame of reference, a large television uses around 200 watts, a stereo 20 watts, a desktop computer 75 watts and a refrigerator 700 watts.

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Paris Energy Westward Group News: Thirteen ministers urge EU to agree green energy goals in March

BRUSSELS, March 3 (Reuters) - Thirteen ministers on Monday urged the European Union to reach agreement on the main elements of 2030 environment and energy policy this month or risk deterring investors and delaying efforts to get a global deal on climate change.

 

Among the rest of the 28 EU member states, the most prominent opposition has come from Poland, which says there is no hurry to reach a political deal.

 

"We can work with Poland to get an agreement in March," Britain's Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey told reporters. "I'm not saying it's going to be easy."

 

But he said the early agreement of the 13 ministers, including from France, Germany and Britain, provided a chance to make an agreement with Poland and others.

 

The Commission, the EU executive, in January outlined its vision of 2030 climate and energy policy to succeed the existing set of 2020 goals.

 

The Commission suggested a single fully binding 2030 target to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels, plus an EU-wide goal to get at least 27 percent of energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. In broad terms, the Green Growth Group supports the Commission view.

 

A full legislative proposal is not expected until next year, when a new set of Commissioners will have taken office, so it will take years to finalize a 2030 law, but an outline agreement from all leaders would be a strong signal.

 

Europe's economic fragility, however, has increased the difficulty of agreeing on climate policy. A draft EU document ahead of the meeting of leaders on March 20-21 placed the focus on industry and competitiveness, rather than the environment.

 

The Green Growth Group of 15 countries, including the 13 who issued the statement, says climate policy need not be an enemy to competitiveness.

 

"A delay risks undermining commercial sector confidence, deferring critical energy investments, increasing the cost of capital for these investments and undermining momentum towards a global climate deal," the group of 13 ministers said.

 

EU-WIDE VERSUS NATIONAL

 

Britain, which previously avoided any commitment to a renewable goal, said it could accept an EU-wide target provided it did not lead to any binding national targets. Critics of the EU-wide target say it is almost impossible to enforce without national targets.

 

The group of ministers says there is no time to lose ahead of U.N. talks seeking to get a global deal on tackling climate change in Paris next year.

 

It also says investors need early certainty if they are to help with the upgrading of infrastructure, for instance, which would improve grid connections in Europe, increase security of supply and theoretically lower costs.

 

Poland, whose economy is heavily dependent on coal, says the goals under debate would impose a greater burden on it than other countries.

 

Marcin Korolec, Poland's deputy environment minister, told reporters that aiming for agreement in March was "a very optimistic approach" and that the international agenda did not require EU agreement until early next year.

 

"I think it will be difficult for the European Council to decide on some targets without knowing crucial elements," Korolec said, referring to how targets should be distributed among different member states.

 

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