By Brook, James
17/07/2013

Unusual renewable energy projects

Ever heard about the pig that helped to produce electricity? Well the idea isn’t as outlandish as you may think, as renewable energy is being produced in increasingly innovative ways.

At Cockle Park Farm in Northumberland, pig waste has been put through a £1m anaerobic digester, which helps to create a methane gas, which will subsequently be used to power a turbine.

The project forms part of a study by Newcastle University, with anaerobic digestion with project leader, Dr Paul Bilsborrow, of the university's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, arguing that anaerobic has a lot of potential.

"Anaerobic digestion offers huge potential in terms of utilising the methane from animal waste and converting it into renewable energy.

"By working together with the agricultural industry we hope to develop new ways of making anaerobic digestion a viable process for uptake by farms across the UK."

Last year news emerged of plans to create petrol out of thin air – and we mean literally. Turning the process of combustion on its head, C02 would be removed from the atmosphere, mixed with hydrogen split from water vapour. This fuel can then be used to fill up our petrol tanks.

Speaking to BBC News, Air Fuel Synthesis chief executive Peter Harrison, the company that are attempting this feat, said:

"All we're trying to demonstrate is that here in the UK we can make petrol from air," he said.

"We've got a design now for a one-tonne-a-day unit, and we expect to be in production by 2015."

Food waste is also an increasingly popular method for creating the energy we need. As an example, a food waste recycling plant is set to turn 40,000 tonnes of food waste from homes, supermarkets and businesses into renewable energy each year, again using anaerobic digestion.

If you are a heating oil user there are a number of ways that you can use heating oil in combination with renewable energy.

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