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What Is Renewable Energy?

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Renewable energy resources are those, which never run out and can be replenished any time, as and when they are required. These energy sources are basically good substitutes  for non-renewable energy sources like coal, petroleum, and  wood

Types  of renewable energy

The various types and sources of renewable energy are as follows:

  • Solar Energy
  • Solar Hot Water
  • Photovoltaic Systems
  • Passive Daylighting &Solar Heating
  • Solar Electricity
  • Space Heating and Cooling
  • Bioenergy
  • Biopower
  • Biofuels
  • Bioproducts
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Geothermal Direct-Use
  • Geothermal Electric Production
  • Geothermal Heat Pump
  • Wind Energy
  • Ocean Energy
  • Hydropower
  • Green Power
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Why are renewable sources of energy named so?

Aside from tidal and geothermal energies, all other sources can be constantly replenished by the sunlight.

Do you want to know how?

Actually, uneven heating of the surface of the Earth by the sun causes wind energy. The water cycle is even fuel by sunlight.  Hydropower, like hydroelectric dams and some other invasive systems, is used to harness water from streams, rivers, and oceans. Sunlight also helps in the growing of biofuels.

Geothermal energy is produced by the radioactive decay in the core of the Earth, which isn’t going to cool down anytime soon.

Tidal energy is produced by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun, that causes tides on the oceans. Hence, these two energies have no relation to solar energy.  They are purely generated by gravity.

All these energy resources are easily available, and they are inexhaustible; hence, the name “renewable energy sources.”

On the other hand, coal, petroleum and natural gas resources are finite. A limited and unknown amount of these resources is buried deep under the ground or the ocean.

Why should renewable energy sources be preferred over non-renewable energy sources?

This energy is readily available, abundant and quite reliable. Currently, harvesting these energy sources is rather costly; however, it is set to become cheaper once the infrastructure and the technology improves. It is important to note that these energy resources are harvested without the use of fossil fuels. Renewable sources are also great resources to combat climatic change as they emit very little or no carbon.

Non-renewable resources, on the other hand, are costly to extract. And the drilling and mining of these elements are very dangerous to the environment as well. These sources also emit harmful gases like CO2 to the environment leading to air pollution. Finally, they are finite; Ergo, there is no knowing how long they will last.

Harvesting and finding new sources of non-renewable energy is also very difficult.  The limited availability, as well as the cost of mining these resources, will ultimately force prices to keep on hiking due to their limited availability. Consequently, this will ultimately result in a great disturbance to the global economy. Not only that, the chances of catastrophic accidents are also there especially when drilling for oil under the ocean bed (for example). The British Petroleum Oil Spill in 2010 is a good example of such a catastrophe.

Renewable energy sources are also much cleaner to use when compared to the use of fossil fuels. The use of non-renewable energy sources not only causes air pollution but also leads to water pollution from toxic waste like mercury, lead, and arsenic. A typical example of this is the exploration for (and mining of) oil, ending up in the refinement of.

Consequently, it is vital that steps are taken to make people aware of (and how to use) the various renewable sources.

Finally, this will also affect the global economy in a positive sense.

Energy

Benefits of Solar Energy: Diverse Applications (Part 2)

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With countless gadgets and technologies that can leverage solar power in the modern world, it is important to learn the benefits of solar energy and its diverse uses. My previous post about the diverse uses of solar energy offers an in-depth discussion of how this form of energy could be used at homes, holiday properties, and central power stations. Here are other applications of solar energy.

Solar water heating systems

In a home or business, hot water systems for kitchens, space heating, and bathrooms are nearly universal. What most people don’t know is that they can leverage solar power to get enough hot water in their homes and commercial buildings. Property owners can user thermal panels along with storage tanks to store the hot water. When needed, this water can circulate to a heater, shower or sink.

The modern ‘in floor’ heating systems and the traditional baseboard heating systems offer solar heat as the pre-heater to a traditional hot water tank or furnace. This will serve as the backup to your solar thermal system.

Industrial applications

One of the common benefits of solar energy is the diverse industrial applications associated with it. For decades, solar energy has been the primary power supply of choice for many industrial applications, especially where power is needed in a remote area. In these applications, solar energy is cost-effective. This is because many individual uses need just a few kilowatts of electric power.

Solar energy is also used on transportation signalings such as lighthouses, offshore navigation buoys, road traffic warning signals, and aircraft warning lights. It is also used to power environmental or situation monitoring tools and even corrosion protection systems for well-heads, bridges, pipelines, and more. For huge electrical loads, it is cost-effective to configure the hybrid power system and link to a PV with a sizeable diesel generator.

The benefits of solar energy here include the reliability and minimal maintenance needed. That makes this form of energy ideal in regions that are hard to get to.

Lighting, water pumping, and heating in the developing world

In addition to off-grid properties, remote buildings such as clinics, schools, and community halls can benefit from solar power. It can power telephones, different pieces of refrigeration equipment, TV, and more. WHO (World Health Organization) requires every clinic to have these devices. Rather than having a base solar power generator for each dwelling, it is possible to configure a central power plant. The plant power homes through a local wired network. It can also serve as a battery charging station where the member of the entire community can charge their batteries here.

Commercial buildings

On a commercial building, atria can be effectively covered with PV modules. These modules are semi-transparent to offer shaded light. In factories, the large roof areas offer a perfect location for solar modules. Besides, the vertical walls of commercial buildings can offer opportunities for PV incorporation.

Whether it is charging a wireless speaker or powering a renewable, the list of uses and benefits of solar energy is endless.

 

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Sources of Energy in Their Usage in Daily Life

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Sources of Energy

Fossil fuels mainly consist of hydrogen and carbon bonds and are the important sources of energy since time immemorial. Man’s energy needs in every aspect are being served by fossil fuels only. These fuels are basically derived from the organic remains and decomposition of prehistoric animals and plants.

These organic remains are several million years old and are converted to carbon-containing fossil fuels by the extreme pressure and temperature of the Earth’s crust. These fuels produce a huge amount of heat and energy to meet man’s every need. Coal, petroleum and natural gas are considered to be the three most important fossil fuels. Let us discuss the four main types of fossil fuels known so far:

Petroleum

Petroleum, also known as crude oil or condensate is one of the most widely used fossil fuel. The word petroleum is derived from the Latin words petro and leum. Petro means rock and leum means oil. This fuel is highly valuable for mankind and almost every industry is dependent on this fuel. Hence it is also known as the “black gold”.

Petroleum is a liquid fuel that is made of hydrocarbons compounds inclusive of other liquid organic compounds. It is extensively used as fuel for automobiles, jets and to produce electricity. Its derivatives are also utilized in the plastic and medicine industries.

Petroleum products are derived from refined crude oil. Unprocessed crude oils that occur naturally are also referred to as petroleum products. Petroleum demand has been increasing year after year and which has immensely contributed to the water and air pollution worldwide. Because this is a stored reserve and due to high demand the oil field is depleting every year by around 2.5 per cent.

Coal

Coal is a flammable organic and one of the rich source of fossil fuel. It is usually brown or black in colour. About one-quarter of the total world’s energy and 40 per cent of the world’s electricity production is provided by coal. Several iron and steel industries in India and around the world are highly dependent upon coal.

Owing to its high use and demand coal reserves are also declining steeply and is on the verge of extinction within a few years from now. Hence we must find some alternative sources of energy that will serve the same purpose. Some of the alternative energy resources like solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy are being used widely, but the usage needs to be increased more.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a colourless gas and is a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases like methane, ethane, propane and butane. It is a combustible, convenient and efficient source of energy. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas. It has two parts: conventional gas- which can easily be extracted and unconventional gas- which requires more advanced technologies for extraction.

Natural gas also helps in the generation of electricity and is widely used for industrial, commercial and residential purposes. Unlike any other fossil fuels, natural gas usually causes less pollution as this is comparatively cleaner. But like any other fossil fuel, this energy resource is also depleting rapidly.

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Advantages of Solar Energy: Diverse Applications (Part 1)

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There is a reason the advantages of solar energy have become a trending topic in discussions regarding renewables. Though it has been criticized for being less efficient and expensive, solar energy has proved to be beneficial. It is eco-friendly and financially affordable. Advancement in technology has made it easier to harness this form of energy.

Solar energy has an array of uses in both commercial and residential applications. Here are some of the most popular ways humans can use solar power.

Homes

Every household needs hot water and electric power. These basic needs are the top goals of solar thermal and solar PV systems. Over recent years, there has been an increase in the number of PV installations to buildings that connect to an electricity grid.

The demand for these systems has been stimulated partly by the government subsidy programs notably Germany and Japan. Also, the green pricing strategies of utilities or electric service providers have led to an increased demand for PV systems. The central driving force comes from the desire of companies or individuals to get their electric power from an eco-friendly, renewable source for which they pay low premiums.

In grid-connected systems, an effective PV system supplies electric power to the building, and all day-time excesses are exported to the power grid. These systems don’t require batteries as the grid can also offer additional power when necessary. But if you intend to be independent of the grid power supply, you need a battery to store power.

Holiday properties

One of the most preferred energy solutions for holiday properties is Photovoltaic Systems. These systems have no access to the central electricity grid system. They are configured to meet power requirements less costly than extending the electricity grid to reach your holiday home.

Remote properties in sunny regions can get reliable electrical power for their radios, televisions, and lighting using a simple PV system. They also need a rechargeable battery to store all the power harnessed during the day, a charge controller, and wiring and switches. This system is often referred to as solar home systems (SHS).

The power storage capacity of the battery and the size of the PV module are designed to offer enough power and storage to meet the home’s energy requirements. This is commonly known as the ‘sizing’ system. Every system with battery storage must use the right battery design and specification for the system. That means a car battery shouldn’t be used!

Also, it is important to use high-quality fluorescent lamps as poor quality lumps will quickly blacken, dropping their light output. The charge regulator quality is also a critical factor in the overall reliability of the system. The PV modules can be mounted on the roof or a pole.

Central power stations

One of the advantages of solar energy is that central power stations can use it. In this case, applications use solar energy in a similar configuration to that a utility would utilize a power station. This is different from ‘distributed power’ applications or power distributed in low aggregate amounts.

To wrap up, the advantages of solar energy and its uses are unlimited.

Check the second part of this post here

 

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