Generating electricity from snow.
Generating electricity from snow.

We all know what solar power is but have you ever heard of nival power? Aomori is the snowiest city in Japan, and for that matter the world. On average Aomori gets 26 feet of snow annually. Its a massive undertaking just to keep the streets clear of all that snow and traditionally the haul it off and dump it into the sea but an associate professor at The University of Electro-Communications envisioned a better use of all that byproduct. Koji Enoki of The University of Electro-Communications invented the system that utilizes snow to move heat conducting fluid through pipes to create a thremo-siphon that pushes a turbine and produces electricity. Fascinating stuff:

“The era of solar energy began in 1950 when Bell Labs focused on the development of photovoltaic cells (PV) and created the first solar panels. The breakthrough was made by Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson. The efficiency of their creation was 4%.

Since then, solar energy has made a leap in development, and the efficiency of today’s solar panels reaches more than 23%. As a result of this, countries with a lot of sunny days can generate clean electricity by making full use of the power from the sun.

For example, in the UAE, the world’s largest power plant was built for this purpose. But what about countries where it is cold and there is a lot of snow? Not everyone is as lucky as Iceland, which literally is located on hot water. It seems that Japan has found a way out for cold regions–they have decided that it is possible to generate electricity from snow.”

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