Will “Dirt Energy” Power the Future of Africa?

Dandelion Salad

Thanks to Mariné

by Rebecca Sato
The Daily Galaxy
May 23, 2008

Ironically, dirt might be the new clean. What started as a simple student design to light up a display at the London Olympics, “dirt energy” will soon be powering 10 households in Tanzania. If the pilot program succeeds, dirt energy tech will be distributed across the country. A team from Harvard led by Hugo Van Vuuren was among the winners of the recent World Bank’s Lighting Africa 2008 Development Competition. They are developing a series of dirt-based fuel cells that are capable of lighting high efficiency LED lamps. Their goal is simple: Light up Africa. But eventually this “dirty” technology could help clean up the whole world.

“The technology will be practical for the developed world in the not too distant future,” Van Vuuren tells The Daily Galaxy. “It is already being considered as a energy solution for remote sensors, deep sea devices, and of course renewable outdoor lighting. We are looking specifically at Africa because given the technology’s current stage, we believe it is best suited for emerging world energy demands and economies.”

…continued on Marine’s blog post

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