Electricity can be generated from the static produced during the nocturnal battle for the duvet, claim scientists at the Centre for Alternative Energy in Basel, Switerland.
Professor Paulina Merz, who led the research, outlined the group’s findings during a recent alternative energy seminar in Geneva. ‘We all know that a tremendous amount of energy is expended trying to get your share of the duvet at the night.’ She said, ‘So we needed to find a way of harnessing that energy.’
‘We discovered that duvet covers made from certain materials generated considerable amounts of static when pulled across pyjamas and nighties. We adapted a Van de Graf generator to convert this potential into electricity which was then stored in batteries.’
Merz outlined that during a three-week period she and her husband generated enough electricity to power an electric egg whisk for five minutes. ‘An astounding result.’ She said, ‘Which would have been even more impressive if Franz didn’t have such a bloody tight grip.’
However the team admit that there are a few flaws to the system which need to be ironed out before it can be introduced into households. ‘Unfortunately we forgot to turn it off when Franz insisted upon his monthly allotment of, how you say, nookie – that egg whisk was buzzing away for so long it nearly melted.’
Fresh from their success the centre is now looking at other ways of generating energy at night. ‘From thumping lumpy pillows to getting up to go to the toilet – we’re leaving no stone unturned.’ Said Professor Merz, ‘We’re particularly excited about the potential to convert nocturnal flatulence into natural gas. If Franz sticks a converter, rather than my head under the covers every time he farts, Europe could tell the Russians to shove their gas exports where the sun doesn’t shine.’
(Written 20 Jan 2009)