Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Way Out Alternative Energy Sources

When we think of viable alternative energy sources, we think of solar energy, wind power and even wave power. But have you ever considered the possibility of making energy out of old pills, used diapers and molten salt? Alternative energy from garbage and molten salt sources is no longer stuff of fiction; it has successfully been tried and tested.

Alternative energy prevents waste and emissions
Since companies in the UK have to comply with commercial EPC regulations, alternative energy is not only for bunny huggers; everyone can benefit from producing energy from new sources. The energy needed to power our daily activities can be transferred from almost anything. We are sitting with all this potential energy but without the means to tap into it.

Some innovative scientists and inventors have found ways to convert waste, which is usually difficult to dispose of, into energy and this gives us the possibility of killing two birds with one stone.  Not only does this lessen the risk of chemical leakage into water tables and reduces landfill problems, but it also takes the strain off our stocks of fossil fuels and oil.

Use an energy pill
Medication seems one of the most unlikely sources of alternative energy.  Expired medication is notoriously difficult  to get rid of. If people flush their medication down the toilet, it becomes part of the water system, and if it's  thrown away as landfill, the potentially harmful chemicals seep into the soil and eventually water tables. Governments are becoming increasingly concerned about pharmaceutical water pollution, as scientists have found high levels of many drugs in water sources. Some of these are hormone pills, which can cause cancers and animal mutations.

A company in the USA that specialises in the disposal of expired medications sends expired drugs to an energy company that converts waste products into energy. Six and a half million pounds of pills were disposed of in 2006, producing enough energy to power hundreds of homes for over a year.

Fill up the tank with dirty diapers
Another alternative energy company was looking for waste sources that are consistently produced to make diesel fuel from. The answer came in the form of used diapers. The company now transforms 30, 000 tons of diapers into 10, 000 tons of diesel fuel at 50 US cents per liter in a low-emission closed system.

Molten salt versus fossil fuel
We've already looked to the elements, the air, sun and water, for alternative energy sources but a rocket building company and solar energy company in North America thought out of the box and came up with a method of making energy out of molten salt.

Molten salt has commonly been used to make alloys, but analysts say that the idea of combining solar power and molten salts is promising. Solar power is collected by tilting mirrors that direct it onto the molten salt, which is then heated up to over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit; the  steam produced is used to drive a turbine. The molten salt can be reused to repeat the process and no emissions are produced.

Drive with drink
Thousands of bottles of smuggled alcohol are confiscated in Sweden each year, and authorities have come up with a brilliant alternative energy use for it - by using alcoholic cocktails as the biogas source to power cars and buses. It seems like a noble use for the large quantity of hard liquor produced for consumption each year.

Alternative energy sources give us a way out of the oil crisis and let us feel all warm and fuzzy inside about saving the environment with renewable energy. However, at the moment, it's difficult to make alternative energy resources accessible to everyone, as new energy systems are expensive to produce.