What are some alternative sources of energy which can reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy sources?

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 23 Aug, 2018

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5 Solutions

Bionic Mushroom - Producing Electricity from a Mushroom covered in Bacteria

Posted by Sandeep Singh on 09 Nov, 2018

The scientists used 3D printing to attach clusters of energy-producing bugs to the cap of a button mushroom.  The fungus provides the ideal environment to allow the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of power.  The authors say their fossil-free "bionic mushroom" could have great potential.

As researchers the world over search for alternative energy sources, there has been a sharp rise in interest in cyanobacteria.  These organisms, widely found in the oceans and on land, are being investigated for their abilities to turn sunlight into electrical current.  One big problem is that they do not survive long enough on artificial surfaces to be able to deliver on their power potential. 

That's where the humble button mushroom comes in. This fertile fungus is already home to many other forms of bacterial life, providing an attractive array of nutrients, moisture and temperature.  So the scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the US developed a clever method of marrying the mushroom to the sparky bugs.

Using a special bio-ink, the team printed the bacteria on the cap of the mushroom in a spiral pattern. They had previously used an electronic ink to embed graphene nano-ribbons on to the surface of the fungus to collect the current.  When they shone a light on this magical mushroom, it caused the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of electricity.  Not quite a lightbulb moment but proof that the idea works. The researchers say that several mushrooms wired up together could light a small lamp.

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Artificial Leaf - Create fuel directly from atmosphere

Posted by Marlene Simmons on 11 Oct, 2018

For decades, scientists have attempted to replicate natural photosynthesis in an artificial plant leaf and create fuels directly from the atmosphere, powered by sunlight. The inspiration is obvious: Almost all energy comes from the sun, and most of that comes from photosynthesis. Imagine if you could make fuel from water and carbon dioxide, wherever you and the water reside. That is the goal of the artificial leaf project, founded by Daniel Nocera, a Harvard professor of energy science. Throughout his career, Nocera has been determined to invent an energy source and technology accessible and affordable to all. In June 2016, Nocera and his colleague Pamela Silver announced that they had successfully created energy-dense fuel by combining solar energy, water, and carbon dioxide. First, a solar-electric current runs through a cobalt-phosphorus catalyst to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. Then, an engineered bacteria (Ralstonia eutropha) consumes the hydrogen, along with carbon dioxide, and synthesises fuel. When fed pure carbon dioxide, the process is ten times more efficient than photosynthesis. This breakthrough is a giant step toward the goal of inexpensive energy made with sunshine, water, air and bacteria. Nocera wants to develop the technology in India, where distributed renewables could have an outsized impact.

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AVATAR - A Small Wind Turbine to power your homes, farms or offices

Posted by Melody Douglas on 27 Sep, 2018

AVATAR is a highly affordable Small Wind Turbine suitable for Residential, Commercial, Agricultural, Rural Electrification and more. It is invented by Avant Garde Innovations which aims to introduce innovative, affordable and sustainable solutions that take renewable energy self sufficiency and energy empowerment to the next level through a distributed and decentralized approach.

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Hydrogen Powered Train

Posted by Henry Lowe on 24 Sep, 2018

Germany rolls out the first hydrogen powered trains. Bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, will be running a 62 mile (100 km) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany – a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.

Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions. Excess energy is stored in ion lithium batteries on board the train. The Coradia iLint trains can run for about 600 miles (1,000 km) on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains.

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Biochar

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 23 Aug, 2018

In ancient Amazonia, the waste disposal method of choice was to bury and burn. Wastes were baked beneath a layer of soil. This process, known as pyrolysis, produced a charcoal soil amendment rich in carbon. The result was terra preta, literally “black earth” in Portuguese. Today, terra preta soils cover up to 10 percent of the Amazon basin, retaining extraordinary amounts of carbon.

These ancient roots of what is now called biochar have modern promise for agriculture and the atmosphere. Biochar is commonly made from waste material ranging from peanut shells to rice straw to wood scraps. During the slow baking of biomass in the near or total absence of oxygen, gas and oil separate from carbon-rich solids. The output is twofold: fuels that can be used for energy and biochar that can be used to enrich soil.

When biomass decomposes on the earth’s surface, carbon and methane escape into the atmosphere. Biochar retains most of the carbon present in biomass feedstock and buries it. Rendered stable, that carbon can be held for centuries in the soil—a much-delayed return to the atmosphere. Theoretically, experts argue, biochar could sequester billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year.

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