Ricci Bryson

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas…….You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

It’s ok, please don’t panic or adjust your TV sets – well computer monitors –you haven’t really took a trip to another dimension. In the case of some of the mind boggling inventions that follow, it would be a little less of the twilight zone and a lot more of the bright light zone.

Imagine a world plucked straight out of something from some 1950s sci-fi movie or some dodgy episode of Doctor Who, this is probably where you would be if you used some of these energy generating gadgets.

We’ve been busy blogging away and frankly can’t believe that we let these gems of renewable energy technologies pass us by – until now. Have we whetted your appetite enough? Let’s get to the detail.

We all know the Sun is an – almost – infinite source of energy that we can harness through a variety of technologies; however, in the case of a company called Solar Botanic, they’ve gone, to pardon the pun, back to the roots of solar energy’s use and designed trees using nanotechnology which extracts the Sun’s energy through tiny solar panels – the leaves – and stores the power in its trunk.

They’ve thought about it all – the Energy Harvesting Trees are also made from recycled material such as tyres and plastic bags. We can certainly see this technology going down a storm in the shiny and moneyed desert areas of the Middle East.

It’s referred to the beautiful game, but the game has the opportunity to be even more beautiful. Every Saturday as we enjoy the game, we see the kinetic energy generated when kicking a ball around a field for 90 minutes, but where does all that energy go? Pretty much nowhere, to be precise – what a waste. But the waste is over, apparently.

 The sOccket football promises to harness all that kinetic energy of the game to be stored inside the ball and used later.  After play, an LED lamp can be plugged into the sOccket football to provide light for reading and other activities normally impossible after dark.

This invention is undoubtedly a great idea for countries around the world where electricity at night is in short supply. Given that over 500,000 deaths in Africa (WHO 2006) are blamed on solid fuels, such as kerosene, being used to light homes in the evening, the sOccket will hopefully provide a safe source of light.

Our final invention, and one that is certainty sure to get your eco-feet jumping for joy, is the Crowd Farm. I know it all sounds a little surreal, but the inventors of Crowd Farm have stumbled on to a potentially great idea that again harnesses the kinetic energy we use every day.

The technology envisioned by James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk turns the mechanical energy of people walking or jumping into a source of electricity. As an example, if we use the Crowd Farm technology in a nightclub, the kinetic energy generated when people dance could be stored and used to generate the lights in the club or the music from the speakers.  

These are obviously just a few ingenious ideas out there to add to the tried and tested ones that are breaking into mainstream thinking now such as gasification, tidal power or anaerobic digestion. Maybe it’s just us though, but we suspect that while they might not pile as much back into the grid, energy generating footballs and solar trees might just inspire the average man on the street a tad more…

Perhaps we could we tempt the FA and asked them to ensure that every football game is played with a Soccket. Or we could even go one step further, asking that Her Majesty gets into nanotechnology and ‘plants’ some energy generating trees throughout the royal parks – then all cross fingers for less gloomy summers than this one.