September 08, 2018

5 Failed Energy Sources Of All Time

by Prince Chandran

The world runs on energy and renewable energy sources are very much important in today’s world. New concepts, renewable projects, and heavy investment are promising a bright future to power the world’s electrical and transport needs.

But not all the technologies which were invented are helpful to mankind, some of them were complete disaster. Let’s look at some of the not so successful ideas of the past that might make us thankful that we can still turn on our televisions.

 

Coal  Vehicles

  coal vehicle  

During the world war 1 most of the gas supplies were diverted to the war zone and the people were searching for an alternative to fire up their beloved auto’s. Using coal gas technology from the 1800s, fuel was produced by heating coal in enclosed, oxygen-deprived ovens and then filtering before distribution.

This was a complete disaster as people did not have a proper storage for the gas and they tied it to the top of their vehicles called ‘gas bags’. These proved to be obvious fire hazards because  so many people smoked at that time, restricted speed, and made bridges a bit tricky.

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Square Sails

     

Wind is the most renewable energy sources we have., with small boats powered by sails as early as 3500 BC.  Used by the Romans, the Chinese, and famously by the Vikings on their long ships, square sails which were super inefficient if the wind was not directly behind them.

It was inspired by the Arab Dhow Style more triangular-shaped sails were adopted around the world to create smaller, simpler, and more maneuverable boats. These are now known as the fore-and-aft sails.

 

Tesla Tower

   

The Tesla Tower could have been one of the greatest inventions of all time but unfortunately it is not. Tesla build this tower in 1901 at his lab in Long Island it was 56 ft tower aimed to transmit wireless electricity signals to the world.

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These tests were initially positive using the Earth itself to conduct electricity and power appliances nearby. However, Tesla lost his funding when rival scientist Guglielmo Marconi completed the world’s first wireless telegraph signal soon afterward.

 

Diapers

 

Something smells off about this one in many ways, but it’s true. In 2007, engineering firm AMEC made plans to convert used diapers to energy in Quebec. This poo to power factory ran on the principles that plastic fibers and feces would break down well in pyrolysis which means heating without oxygen.

Despite the abundant supply of raw material, this venture didn’t take off. Perhaps they were tired of the constant jokes or embarrassed about their grand plans, but the ambitious project no longer features in Canadian energy policy.

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Peanuts

 

In the early 20th century Henry Ford claimed that Bio Fuels would be the future in this world. To prove this he also ran the early Model t’s with ethanol and  diesel engines at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris used peanut oil.

Although this didn’t catch on due to oil exploration, nuts have recently been tried again. In 2012, the Jordanian Rashadia cement plant used 24 million tons of pistachio shells as fuel to offset tight supplies of oil and gas in the country.

   

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