Power at What Price? Alternative, Energy Sources for Green Living
Nuclear power has long been a bone of contention in a growing community of people world-wide which embrace the principles of green living. The problem is that there is more demands on energy resources and for new supplies, and there are some serious issues regarding supplies from wind farms, solar power and other renewable resources. Burning fossil fuels we know is not the answer, and nuclear power is at least clean, but clean with insidious overtones when looked at from the point of view of Chernoble.
Nuclear concerns are being expressed again as a result of the earthquake and horrific Tsunamis which recently shook Japan to the core – no pun intended. The estimates out of the country are that 10 000 lives have been lost, but emergency workers are not only fighting to rescue those still living; they are also fighting to prevent what could be even more devastation – a nuclear meltdown.
Japanese officials are not releasing much information but the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant appears to be overheating and Yukiya Amano, the chief of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency said he would try to visit Japan as soon as possible and get “firsthand information” regarding the nuclear crisis. Fire in reactors have been reported and workers pumping in sea-water to cool fuel rods were forced to retreat when radiation laden steam clouds were thought to have been emitted from one reactor.
This, in a nutshell is the information we recently picked up from The Huffington Post. On a lighter note, we also picked up some amusing, but very seriously real alternative energy information. Judging from what we recall of Japanese public toilets; perhaps this renewable energy resource could solve two problems in one for this nation.
Is Pee Better than Plutonium?
Can pee power your lights – well apparently it can; it’s new green technology from Ohio University’s Gerardine Botte. Hydrogen fuel created from urine! There are two main compounds found in urine – urea and ammonia, these are both a good source for the creation of hydrogen gas when an electrode is passed into the waste water and a current is applied. A company – E3 Clean Technologies has commercialized this under a process called GreenBox technology which is aimed at providing pee power for large groups of people.
The target is stadiums and city buildings where there is the potential to generate 2 kilowatts of power from approximately 300 people – not actually the people, but their urine. There is an animal feedlot pollution prevention principles also involved in their thinking, and Botte believes that 1000 cows could generate up to 50 kilowatts of power.
Botte is not the only one taking pee power seriously, Inhabitat reported last year on energy-producing urinals and the BBC covered another UK based research group, which aims to test urine powered fuel cells for powering submarines.
We have paid the price for burning fossil fuels and still are, nuclear energy may be powerful efficient and clean, but at what cost? Pee power may be an amusing concept but taking a pee is being taken seriously as a clean and renewable energy source. It might be unpleasant if a pee-powered reactor lies in the path of a tsunami and bursts, but at least it won’t leave the same lasting impression of a megaton meltdown!