Ever stood in the middle of a big city and thought What a lot of energy! You’re right. Any thriving metropolis is teeming with energy – sun beating down; feet and cars bearing down; offal and detritus decomposing; and often, sea tides pulling and pushing.
At the turn of the 21st century, an untenable rise in the environmental and economic cost of fossil fuels has finally spurred research into the development of clean and renewable energy sources all around us.
Let the Sun Shine In
And if rooftops aren’t enough, Mayor Bloomberg wants solar on top of landfills.
Some of the Urban planning tools which are helping attain this include:
- Feed-in tariffs which have long been popular in Germany and are now being used in Gainesville, Florida;
- Studies show the solar potential of New York City’s and Los Angeles’ rooftops;
- Mapping technology pinpoints where solar would work – Planners, you have to check out the NYC Solar Map – it’s totally beast!
But wait – there’s much more!
- Can You Say “Piezoelectricity”? That’s electricity from pressure: like millions of feet in a Tokyo subway station. Or cars on a road in Israel, where they are also working on applying this technology to railroads.
- Turning the Tide: A new generation of hydroelectricity uses tidal turbines in rivers, such as New York’s East River.
- Taking the Trash Out:
- Anaerobic digestion can take wastewater (as in Johnson County, Kansas), biomass (as in Lunen, Germany), or landfill garbage (as in Escondido, California) and use it to generate electricity and produce natural gas;
- Plasma gasification plants are being built or considered in St. Lucie County, Florida; New York City; Arlington, Oregon; and Nagpur, India.
In the Future? How about -
- Using the kinetic energy of braking subway trains?
- Laying down solar roadways?
- Capturing the energy of revolving doors? – Oh, that one’s already been done!
Bonus: making it where you use it, means less energy loss during transmission. It also means job creation.
Do you have ideas for using the liveliness of the city to generate energy?