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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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39°

    
Nancy Susan Mills
 USA
Electricity from Concentrated Wind Printer Friendly Version
How can wind be concentrated, by collecting that which it blows? Wherever the wind blows there is energy. Wind mills are successful but have requirements which limit their effectiveness. This idea has limits, but may be effective in places where windmills are not.
This process begins with a pile of fine sand placed at the bottom of a chute which will funnel the blowing sand up into a container. The container is supported on a spring which begins to compress as the container fills with sand. As the spring compresses, attached gears turn a generator. When the spring is fully compressed, at a point above the initial position of the sand pile, the container dumps the sand into a chute which funnels the sand back to its initial position. The spring then continues to generate electricity as it lifts the container back to its initial position. The process then begins again.
Reward: Satisfaction and joy 

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38°

    
Martin Wallace
 USA
Urban Waste Abatement Kit Printer Friendly Version
This would be a good project for an Environmental Science/ Education Student. The physical object is quite simple, but the institution of the system would require much research and involvement.
The actuall object: A backpack that holds a 32oz thermal mug, a set of flatware, and a lenin napkin.
The hard part: One would need to do a cost analysis comparison between cost of waste removal and landfill use to the cost of distributing such a kit to all citizens of any given urban area. My assumption is that it would be very expensive to issue the kits initially, but over time the city/ community would save money from waste removal and landfill usage. The idea is to cut back on paper and styro waste from restaraunts and convenieance stores by issueing every citizen his/her own set of wares. This not only would cut back on the amount of waste, but also on the amount of litter, so there would certainly be an aesthetic value to it also. Businesses may even chose to get involved by offering discounts to patrons who bring in their own cups/ forks/ napkins etc.
I live in a somewhat progressive community, and I've seen many of the indie kids in town allready doing this on their own. I think it is a lovely idea which large urban areas could really put to good use.
Reward: No reward expected. The reward would be inherent in the execution of the idea. If a reward is necessary, perhaps to bail me out of jail the next time I get arrested for peacefull, non-violent demonstration. 

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36°

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