Really, really alternative energy

Ransom Riggs

Solar too mainstream for you? Bored with windpower? Don't worry -- there are plenty of other ways to harness a watt. (They might not be viable right now, but don't you worry; they will be.) Check out these super-alternative energy sources, courtesy Inhabitat.

Kinetic Wind Power
Fusing art, architecture, and renewable energy, California-based Michael Jantzen's Wind Shaped Pavilion is literally head-turning. The pavilion is a proposal for a large fabric structure that rotates in segments around a central support frame, generating enough electricity as it moves to light the pavilion at night. Just think of the opportunities available in building the pavilion large enough that every level becomes an apartment or a commercial space, and the view from inside changes at the whims of the weather!

Yes, poo. Twenty times more potent than C02, cow emissions contain massive amounts of methane, which can also be harnessed and turned into a viable energy source. "While they haven't yet produced a specific module for bovine emissions, Velocys, a company in Ohio, has come up with a method to refine the methane gas that is the byproduct of a number of industrial processes. The methane is moved through microchannels, mixed with carbon and then frozen, allowing the nitrogen that is in the compound to pass through, thus purifying the gas, so that it may be used as a power source." Sounds like a load of ... oh, never mind. Human and other kinds of poo also have some of the same potential, by the way.

People power
We've mentioned the tube station in Britain powered by footsteps, and the gym in Hong Kong powered by people burning calories on treadmills and Stairmasters. Now there's also the Sustainable Dance Club in Rotterdam, the lights and speakers of which are kept abuzz by the pitter-patter of ravers' feet. Can this technology be harnessed for use in the home? Certainly -- though your household's ratio of occupants-to-square-footage (and the age/rambunctiousness of those occupants) may ultimately decide the cost-worthiness of such an option.