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Glacier power

Pull, push: it is all about perspective.
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Everyone is familiar with those watermill-like devices which harness sweet sweet energy from the motion of advancing glaciers. But how to harness a glacier that is receding? I propose that rather than the ground, the glacier mill be anchored firmly in the front of the glacier, with the toothed mill turning against the newly exposed rock behind it. The beauty of this is that should there be a change in the weather, the mill will also work in reverse, again generating the sweetest of energy as the glacier advances, this time pushing it before. Over time the teeth of the mill might wear cogholes in the stone, which will increase grip and thus efficiency.

A similar but lighter device might also be used to harness advancing and receding tidal fronts, but with the teeth gaining purchase on a railroad track-like structure build on the short and extending out to the low tide mark.

bungston, Dec 28 2009

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       This is an excellent idea apart from what I suspect is a fundamental flaw.   

       Surely, when glaciers recede, they don't do so by climbing back up the mountain? They do so by melting back from the front, no? So this plan will not work.   

       Otherwise A+
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 28 2009
  

       By the same logic, an even lighter, personal use device could be used to harness the power of receding hairlines.
swimswim, Dec 28 2009
  

       Ten to one that'll get posted.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 28 2009
  

       beautiful. since glaciers only move downhill, you'd need some gearing going to another toothed gear on top of the glacier to get it to go uphill.
sninctown, Dec 28 2009
  
      
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