The technological advancements we continue to make, especially in sustainable innovation, never cease to amaze me – especially when they’re as strange and weird as the green ideas featured in this post! Could a tornado be the source of your electricity in the future? Will we wash our dead straight down the drain? Read on to learn more strange ideas that could improve the planet…
Power Our Cities With Tornadoes
A tornado generates enough energy to power a small town. They’re widespread and frequent these days, but no one can harness all that potential natural energy they hold. Canadian engineer Louis Michaud solved the problem – he made his own tornado, the Atmospheric Vortex Engine. Michaud’s man-made tornado generates enough electricity to supply a small city and would cost less than other traditional power plants. Will every town have its own tornado one day? Michaud’s prototypes have all proved successful but no investors have expressed an interest as of yet.
Dissolving the Dead
Traditional burials raise a lot of environmental concerns – the vast amount of land required, dangers of embalming fluid, and more. Cremation isn’t too hard on the planet if enclosed incinerators are used and a number of eco-conscience individuals are choosing green funerals and biodegradable coffins to improve the planet when they’re gone. A funeral director in New Hampshire would like to offer alkaline hydrolysis to his clients. (Source)
Originally developed to get rid of animal carcasses, the body is placed within a stainless-steel vat with extremely hot water and lye. High-pressure allows the fat and tissue to dissolve, leaving a powdery bone residue as the remains. The liquid portion of the body can be safely poured down the drain, raising ethical concerns among many. The same process, developed in Scotland and called Resomation, is already in use in parts of Europe.
Snow Powered AC
An airport in Japan will start collecting snow in 2010 to keep the terminals cool during the hot summer months. It sounds a bit crazy, but the small agricultural community of Funagata has been using snow technology since 1987. The airport’s snow-based cooling system is expected to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 2100 tons per year.
Reusable, Erasable Paper
Even with all the digital technology we have at our fingertips, paper is one of those things we seem to inevitably waste. It seems a big percentage of us have a need for printed, tangible information – Xerox estimates that about 40% of the printer paper we use each day is to print out emails, web pages, and single use reference materials. Their scientists are working on a new concept that could cut typical paper consumption at home and at the office in half – reusable paper that erases itself after 16 hours.
Carbon Sequestering Rocks
Columbia University scientists doing field work in Oman discovered a large field of carbonate materials formed by an “interaction of carbon dioxide and a rock known as peridotite”. The area is located within a large desert area near a region that burns a great deal of fossil fuel. It seems that the exposed peridotite naturally sequesters carbon in the atmosphere to create the solid material. Peridotite can only be found on the earth’s surface in certain areas and usually occurs in the mantle below the earth’s crust, meaning extensive and expensive drilling and pipelines would be necessary for this to help curb emissions in the US.