Curious facts about being energy smart

New ways to get charging


How do you generate electricity from waves?  Tidal energy devices use the natural rise and fall of coastal tidal waters caused principally by the interaction of the gravitational fields of the Sun and Moon. The tide moves a huge amount of water twice each day which can be harnessed to drive turbines which power generators to produce electricity.  Although tidal energy is plentiful, a major drawback is that it can only be generated when the tide is flowing in or out, which only happens for approximately ten hours each day.
As pressure to find sustainable, ‘clean’ methods of energy production mounts, engineers are seeking to harness the power of waves. Waves are more predictable than the wind and hold a huge store of untapped energy. Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power is among those tapping into that energy. Three of its 750kW wave-power machines were part of the world’s first commercial ‘wave farm’, which opened off the coast of Portugal in 2008. That project is now closed, but Pelamis’s P2 was recently named as one of the machines that will be used at three of the six UK offshore sites. The machines will be located 5-10km offshore, where the water is 50-150m deep. Each machine is made up of a series of cylindrical sections, up to 38m long and 4m in diameter, linked by hinged joints. It is ‘slack moored’ so it can swing freely, naturally aligning itself at right-angles to oncoming wave fronts. The UK has about 1000km of Atlantic coastline. The average potential energy of Atlantic waves is 40kW per day for every metre of coastline, which is enough to power around 20 domestic kettles. So, scaling up, 65 P2 machines could generate almost 50MW of power – enough to power up to 33,000 homes a year.

Wireless charging mats
Charging MatUsing such a mat, you can charge up many of your gadgets at the same time, without the need for miles of tangled wires and lots of different power plugs.

All you do is place your gadgets on the mat surface.  Your gadgets get charged through a process called “magnetic induction”.  This is similar to how your electrical toothbrush might get charged – it uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects.

In future, rather than having to use a special mat, you may find the technology is already built into your gadgets as well as your desk, kitchen worktop and furniture!

Power Wellies
Power WelliesThese were designed to help keep music festival goers connected with their friends.

They used a unique ‘power generating sole’ that converted heat from your feet into an electrical current.  This electricity is then used to re-charge your mobile phone.

However, you need a good 12  hours of stomping to create enough power to charge your phone for one hour.