We know about the conventional ways gas and electricity can be supplied, so what about the more unusual ways in which it is possible – we have a look at the weird world of science

Generating electricity isn’t all about the fossil fuels, or for that matter even the more publicised forms of renewable energy such as solar or wind. There are also a number of unusual ways of generating power.

Urine

Yes it is possible to turn your excretion into power – hydrogen in fact. The team at the University of Ohio managed to do so after creating an inexpensive nickel based electrode device that produces energy from urine. Potentially a pee powered car can travel up to 90 miles to the gallon, less than most children or others with bladder problems.

Molten Salt

One of the most exciting and energy efficient alternative energies is a product called molten salt. This molten salt is created by solar plants and can produce up to 500 Mw of peak power.

The salt is a mix of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate is placed in an insulated storage tank where it is heated to an adequate point before being transferred to another tank which keeps it warm. The salt is then pumped into a conventional steam generating mechanism to produce superheated steam an so powers a generator.

Faeces

Yes if you can use urine for energy, then you can also use other forms of waste. First engineered in Rwanda after the genocide, this method won the Ashden Award for sustainable energy. The method uses faeces to create combustible methane gas which can be used for cooking. An ironically named digester is used to create the gas, and bacteria break down the matter and release methane gas, which can then be used as fuel.

Onions

The humble onion not only garnishes food and lowers incidents of heart disease; it can also be used to generate electricity. Onions are squeezed and then the juice is turned into methane. This energy production method has been taken seriously in a lot of countries; onions, as well as other veg, are used in Canada and India to create energy requirements.

Beer

BioFuel can also be made from wasted beer. This is done by creating ethanol from beer or wine. Excess beer is collected from a variety of sources and is then distilled into ethanol. The ethanol is then converted into fuel or mixed with regular gasoline to power certain types of cars.

This article was written by Elena Price on behalf of Energy Stories

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