World first as British scientists harness drizzle power

limitless supplies of greyness just waiting to be tapped

The rest of the world may be moving towards greater use of solar power or wind power, but renewable energy generation that taps into specific local atmospheric conditions in the UK has leapt forward with a Manchester project that uses drizzle to power street lights.

Technical advances in British solutions to the global energy crisis will be driven by the UK’s unique micro-climates, says Professor Tom Choularton of University of Manchester’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

He explained: ‘Drizzle, which occurs nowhere else in such natural abundance, gives us three ways to generate power. First, it is a relentless source of downwardly vertical hydro energy to drive small turbines.

‘At the same time, the spent drizzle provides a penetrating chill for heat-exchange units. Finally, the small amount of electricity that remains in drizzle droplets from the positively-charged source clouds is farmed and channelled into AA batteries that are then sold at car boot sales.

‘In Manchester, we are fitting lamp-posts and dozens of other outdoor freestanding structures with the tiny but complex drizzle power units that will keep our streets illuminated, day and night.

‘We will soon have enough gloom power for all the city’s street lights, with enough to spare to sell to other European cities that have no natural gloom, like Barcelona and Rome.’

In a parallel project based in the city centre, sonic capture is being used to see if sound waves from traffic noise and the population’s constant whining and bragging can be converted into another source of energy.

A trial of the sound abstraction system at a derby match between City and United at Old Trafford had to be abandoned after an announcement that both Liverpool and Arsenal were winning away caused a sonic power surge that blew all the floodlights.

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Posted: Sep 5th, 2009 by

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