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Michael Kern

Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com, 

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The Six Weirdest Sources Of Energy: A Closer Look

  • Cow manure is an unlikely source of energy that has been used for centuries.
  • Human waste is another surprising source of renewable energy that can be converted into biogas through anaerobic digestion.
  • Creativity is the main driver of the renewable energy transition.

Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important as the world moves towards a more sustainable and green future. While solar, wind, and hydropower are some of the most well-known renewable energy sources, many unconventional and even weird energy sources could play a significant role in our transition to a greener future.

Here is a closer look at six of the weirdest sources of energy:

1. Cow Poop

Cow manure is an unlikely energy source that has been used for centuries. When cow manure is placed in an anaerobic digester tank, microorganisms break down the organic matter without oxygen and produce biogas, which can generate electricity or heat. Biogas from cow poop has several advantages over traditional fossil fuels as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and produces a natural fertilizer.

2. Potatoes

Potatoes have been a power source since the 1800s when they were first used to power telegraphs. A potato battery creates electricity through two metal electrodes inserted into the potato and connected with wires and a light bulb or motor. Although potatoes cannot generate enough electricity to power large-scale applications, they still have potential for small-scale applications such as emergency lighting.

3. Human Waste

Human waste is another surprising source of renewable energy that can be converted into biogas through anaerobic digestion. Sewage treatment plants can capture methane gas produced during this process and use it to generate electricity or heat buildings.

4. Algae

Algae may seem like an unlikely candidate for an energy source, but it has enormous potential due to its high growth rate and ability to grow in various environments such as ponds or tanks. Algae can be harvested and processed into biofuels such as biodiesel or ethanol.

5. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can be converted into biofuel through pyrolysis, which involves heating them in the absence of oxygen. The resulting product contains oils that can be extracted to produce biodiesel.

6. Dance Floors 

Kinetic tiles installed on dance floors use movement dancers generate to create electricity which then powers lighting or other electrical systems within buildings.

While these unconventional sources may seem strange at first glance, they offer us opportunities for creativity and innovation in developing sustainable solutions for our energy needs.

The Green Energy Transition Will Be Fueled By Creativity

The transition towards a greener future requires new ideas, innovative solutions and creative thinking from all sectors, including individuals, businesses, and governments. By embracing these unconventional sources of energy, we not only reduce our carbon footprint but also pave way for new industries while creating job opportunities along with economic growth.

In conclusion, the possibilities for renewable energies are vast if we continue exploring options beyond traditional fossil fuels. We need creativity, innovation, and collaboration between scientists, businesses, and governments to make this happen. The six weirdest sources highlighted here are just few examples out of numerous possibilities. However, it is clear that harnessing unconventional yet sustainable sources would help us achieve our goal of a cleaner environment, thereby ensuring a greener future!


By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on March 05 2023 said:
    The contribution of the weirdest sources of energy you discussed with the exception of cow manure is so minuscule that they would hardly make a difference to global energy needs. Cow manure does provide a relatively sizeable contribution to India’s energy needs.#

    And while creativity will enhance global energy transition, trying to electrify the global economy including agricultural production with a global transition to renewables won’t succeed without major contributions from natural gas and to some extent nuclear power and coal. The reason is the intermittent nature of renewables.

    Batteries can be used to mitigate this intermittency but today’s technology won’t allow us to save solar electricity generated in summer for use in winter. Even if greatly ramped up, wind and solar electricity generation would likely be grossly inadequate by themselves to try to operate any kind of economy. They need a parallel system to mitigate their intermittency and the most practical backup system seems to be natural gas.

    The intermittent wind and solar energy isn’t capable of solving today’s energy problems.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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