Creativity Pool
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gracken
 Ecuador
High-altitude solar cells Printer Friendly Version
I was thinking if you could make flexible solar panels and cover a high-altitude balloon with them, you could have sunlight continously generating energy without having to worry about cloud cover or fear of it being damaged by thunder, lightning, tornadoes, etc.
The light intensity would higher too, no?
The problem would be how to send that energy back down. Any ideas? High energy laser pulses? Send up water and then releasing down compressed hydrogen tanks? Compressed air tanks?
Reward: no rights reserved. 

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41°

      
tomeseller
 USA
PHOTOSYNTHESIZING ROOFING MATERIAL Printer Friendly Version
This is my wildest idea and would probably require giant strides in technology but here goes:
Did you ever notice how much cooler it is under a tree than under any other sort of roof or covering? My theory is that this is because conventional roof coverings absorb and then radiate heat/energy downward producing a space that while it may be shaded, is not much cooler than the surrounding area. Trees on the other hand are absorbing the energy and using it for photosynthesis. Since the energy is being used and directed to the nourishment of the tree, heat does not radiate downward and it produces a much cooler space beneath.
My idea would be to produce a roofing material that is embedded or covered with photosynthesizing material. The material would absorb the sunlight/energy and produce sugars or perhaps even electricity that could be collected or used elsewhere, thereby removing the energy and preventing it from radiating down to the area below the roof.
I see this as a possible covering for homes, businesses, permanent patio covers in homes or parks, etc. When used in buildings it should dramatically reduce cooling costs and, if it is possible to convert the output to electricity, it could even offset some of the cost of installation.
Reward: Installation of the material on my house and any future homes I move to. 

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40°

      
Colin Gross
 United Kingdom
Green Energy from the rise and fall of tides Printer Friendly Version
Background: Every object that floats in tidal areas (harbours, the sea, etc.) moves up and down with the tides. The energy that is required to lift the object and the energy disipated as the object descends is all wasted. (Imagine the energy required to lift a relatively small 2000 tonne barge.)
Practical Application 1: This energy can be harvested by connecting the object to a harbour wall or seabed. The relative movement between the fixed harbour wall etc. and moving object can be made to pressurise hydraulic fluid, this can operate an hydraulic 'wobble pump' which turns a generator.
Practical Application 2: In its simplest form this electrical energy would be cyclical, in line with 'still' high and low tides. In this simple form the energy could be sold to a national grid.
Practical Application 3: There are approx. 1500 harbours around UK. Most of them have underutilised harbour walls (built prior to the shrinking of our fishing industry). The oil industry alone discards many barges as 'unseaworthy' and sells them for scrap. A 'nodding donkey(s)' based on a harbour wall, one arm attached to a rising and falling barge and the other to a hydraulic piston(s) would produce the pressurised fluid necessary.
Practical Notes:
- Most forms of 'green' energy are complex and expensive. This one is DIY in its basic form and should provide money from selling power to the grid (in UK).
- The floating body should be relatively wide and long (not deep draught). Hence the 'barge' suggestion.
- To stabalise the electrical output - generator output could be passed to the windings of a bank of alternator/flywheels. Ideally, these would be rotating in a vacuum and suspended by magnetism (giving zero mechanical friction).
Reward: That if this idea is put to use and developed, that process in no way limits other users from using and developing this idea. 

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36°

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