The increasing energy problem our world faces today continues to gain attention as the cost of using fossil fuels rise. Figuring out ways to stay sustainable is crucial to keep our society functioning at an economical level and save our planet from the inefficiencies and harm fossil fuels create.
My idea does not offer any new scientific research, major new development, or breakthrough discovery, it simply looks at how we operate on a daily level and aims to make that process more efficient. The concept of littering plays into my idea: When one person has the attidude, "who cares if I litter this one gum wrapper, it's just one gum wrapper," but if everyone has that same attitude, then there would be billionss of gum wrappers on the ground. This pertains to my idea in this way, if we can save a few hundred - maybe a thousand watts per year, per household, on the grand scale that is really millions and millions of watts we are saving a year.
So how do we save these watts per household? This is where my idea comes in :)
A technology known as thermalelectricity has been known of for a while and is currently being looked into as a source of energy by scientists and engineers around the world. The technology looks at how to harness heat and turn it into electricity, and currently there are forms of generators that can do this on the market. This is a great breakthrough for technology, but I feel that the application can be used in a unique way, a nickel and dime type of way. These nickel and dimes however would add up to a lot.
Think about light...how much heat are the lamps surrounding you in your home or classroom are generating righ now? Well these bulbs produce quite a bit of heat depending on their wattage.Of what light bulbs generate, only 5% of it is light and about 95% of it is heat! So, depending on what type of bulb is being dealt with, a large amount of heat is being radiated.
So here comes my idea of implemation: If possible, in the near future or possibly right now depending on how far the technology is, should our engineers and scientists develop thermalelectric generators on many different scales, could we implemement them into our lamps, bulbs, and lighting systems. Imagine a thermalelectric generator that is maybe the size of a dime, and now imagine a few of them all surrounding the bulb under your lamp. These small generators could harness the light from the lamps energy and actually pump the electricity right back into the bulb, THUS RECYCLING THE LIGHT!!! or better yet, the heat from the light. We could develop a line of self sufficient lighting systems that only need a fraction of electricity to create an initial light, which would then repower the bulb.
I find this idea to be very practical, as lighting manufacturers would love to be able to advertise their lighting systems are self sufficient. And currently, the thermalelectric generators on the market are not exspensive at all, less than 50.00 dollars. However, they are not at the right scale yet, but in our world of nano technology and fast growth change, I have no fear that this technology too could be brought down to a miniature level.
Now that this one example of implementation can be recognized, the doors of how to use this technology are wide open. Stoves, firplaces, ovens, dryers, anything that produces heat could be brainstormed, reengineered, and developed to be self sufficient with this technology!!!!!
One more addition. Even sitting in you chair is creating heat. Imagine stationary chairs in classrooms designed to insulate and trap the heat your body makes and transfer it to energy through custom fit thermalelectric generators, which would then help to power something in the building. Thousands of kids sit in classsroom chairs each day, in one school, for hours at a time. All of the heat created by these kids added up could create a surprising amount of electricity.
The possibilities are endless!