I've become aware of and interested in the idea of energy harvesting. In fact it's more than an idea, as there are devices already using this technique amongst us.
Capturing electricity by way of recovering vibrational type energy is known as piezoe electric energy.
This kind of energy, is all around us all of the time and it's there for the taking. At the moment, there is a mass roll out going on for things like traffic monitoring devices (oh joy).
Another technique for capturing spare, and otherwise wasted energy is known as pyroe electric energy. This harvests energy from high temperature sources and is stable up to 1200 degrees. This could be a superb way of capturing a great percentage, and a significant amount of all that energy that escapes into the air from industrial process.
The grand idea at the moment is grow the ability to capture the spare energy from nearly everything. It could be from sounds around us, the roar of jet aircraft taking off and landing, a voice, spare heat from rocks cooling down after a sunny day, furniture being moved around, tectonic plates, you get the drift, absolutely everything!
There has been talk of course of smaller scale devices that can use extremely small amounts of power, but what struck me, was the fact that there are ideas being touted around that suggest enough energy could be harvested to allow collection in central distribution stations, there being possibly billions of tiny guilt free power stations feeding into a grid. I guess all these micro amounts would add up to a fairly respectable amount of available power. All free of course (ha ha).
There are some very real designs mixed with genuinely high hopes for releasing the burden on our very finite and possibly almost redundant recourses.
I've posted a couple of addresses below for those who wish to know more on this.
notes: 1 piezoeelectric = recovering walking energy.
:2 pyroelectric energy harvesting = stable up to 1200 degrees increases thermodynamic efficiency = harvests from high temp