We’re right in the middle of winter where I live.
When the snow and ice comes, it makes me think of getting out the snowblower.
But a community in Japan looks at that same wintry precipitation and thinks, we could power our lights with this.
Aomori is a city of more than 250,000 people.
It’s in the far north of Japan’s largest island, so it’s no stranger to snow.
In fact, it’s sometimes called the world’s snowiest city.
The community is working with the Tokyo University of Telecommunications and a startup called Forte.
When the city’s plow trucks clear snow from the roads, they’ll bring that snow to a swimming pool that’s not being used during the winter.
There, they’ve set up a turbine that can generate power through a kind of heat transfer.
The system takes advantage of the temperature difference between the cold snow and the somewhat warmer outside air.
Not only is that enough to get that turbine moving, the greater the temperature difference, the more power they can produce.
This test project is designed to see how well the setup works.
The hope is that it will lead to inexpensive, green power from something that’s abundant in a lot of places this time of year.
Which would make snow-based electricity pretty hot.
You’ve heard of buses and vans that can run off old cooking oil? Here’s another biodiesel success story.
A scenic train in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture is now running on a special kind of fuel that’s made in part from leftover ramen broth.
They say it works great and smells great!