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PSFK’s Trending Topic: How To Harvest Energy In Unexpected Ways

People are creating more inventive ways to harness power from the environment.

Leah Gonzalez
Leah Gonzalez on December 5, 2013. @leahgonz

From retrofitted Ray-Bans that double as solar-powered phone chargers to a brussel-sprout powered battery, it seems that people these days aren’t just relying on their average service provider for energy. These initiatives — including a project to divert London subway heat to warm local homes – exemplify the ones in which we can lower our carbon footprint and harness energy that may already exist all around us.

Take a look at some of the initiatives that were featured on PSFK.

Sayalee-Kaluskar-solar-Ray-Bans-2

Solar Panel Sunglasses Double As Phone Charger

Designer Sayalee Kaluskar placed solar panels on the frames of a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses to enable it to harvest solar energy during the day. The energy harvested can then be used to charge an iPhone by detaching the frames and plugging it into the device.

London Tube

Redirecting Heat From Subway To Power Homes

The Islington Project aims to redirect heat from a Northern Line vent as well as an electrical substation in the area to homes across the city. The project will not only deliver cheap heating to consumers but will also reduce CO2 emissions. The initiative is part the larger European Union CELSIUS project, which involves capturing waste heat and turning it into reusable energy.

mypower 2

Device Captures Kinetic Energy From The Body To Power Gadgets

Developed by the NUvention Energy class at Northwestern University, myPower is a running companion that is strapped to the user’s hips and captures free energy as the user goes running. The device is a rechargeable battery that uses a USB cable to connect to devices. It captures energy as long as the user is in motion.

Brussels-Sprouts-Christmas-Tree

Brussel Sprout-Powered Battery

On display at London’s Southbank Center is a Christmas tree powered entirely by brussel sprouts. Developed by scientists from the The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, the tree’s battery system uses over a thousand brussel sprouts to keep the Christmas tree lit. The system is made up of five power cells and each cell contains about 200 brussel sprouts covered in copper and zinc electrodes that create a chemical reaction using the vegetable’s natural electrolytes.

 

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