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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 growth 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, which 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 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, but 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 of (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.

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Ecosystem: The Major Types Of Ecosystems In The Earth’s Environment

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In simple words, the ecosystem of an area comprises of the living organisms, the geographical environment, the non-living components, and the inter-relationship between organisms as well as with the environment.

As per the Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, the ecosystem of our environment is of eight major types. They are temperate forest, grasslands, tropical rain forests, deserts, the chaparral, the tundra, the taiga, and the marine ecosystem.

  1. Temperate forest

Temperate forests are present in different parts of Europe and in the eastern parts of the United States. Hardwood trees populate the temperate forests. These are deciduous trees that lose leaves every year in the autumn season. If compared to dense jungles, the number of species existing in temperate forest regions is limited. One can easily spot animals like raccoons, salamanders, and deer.

  • Grasslands

Also known as plains or prairie, grasslands get nearly 20 inches of rainfall every year, most of which occur in the thriving season. Though forests are rarely seen, herbs and grasses grow in abundance.

The grass is the source of food to animals inhabiting the grasslands, but they are always chased by predators. Grasslands also support several crops and varieties of grains.

  • Tropical Rain forests

Tropical rainforests are located in areas that receive plenty of rainfall throughout the year. Jaguar, piranha, anaconda, macaw, mountain gorilla are easily spotted in the rainforests.

Importance of tropical rainforest: Rainforests offer us a wide diversity of animals and plants. They also keep Earth healthy through the absorption of carbon dioxide.

  • Desert

A desert is a vast area of arid land that gets 10 inches or less rainfall throughout the year. Almost all continents have deserts and they can be either cold or hot. The four types are cold desert, hot desert, semi-arid desert, and coastal desert.

Animals and plants in this type of ecosystem have special adaptive features that help them survive in extreme temperatures and without water for days.

Importance of desert ecosystem: The dry conditions of a desert encourage the formation of valuable minerals. They are not empty wastelands but the abode of one-sixth of the total population of the world. 

  • The Chaparral

Chaparral is located in places that have climatic conditions like the Mediterranean regions- dry, hot summers, and wet, mild winters. The Chaparral, also known as Mediterranean Forest, Scrub biome, and Woodland, receives rainfall mainly in winter months. Vegetation consists primarily of thorny bushes and tangled shrubs.

Importance of the chaparral: We need to preserve the chaparral because it protects the soil from erosion and is an ideal habitat for several animals and plants.

  • The Tundra

The term ‘tundra’ stands for treeless, barren land. The tundra region lies in the southern and the northern hemisphere between the poles and the coniferous forests. Some of the countries are Iceland, Russia, Canada, Greenland, and Norway.

The chilling climate is not suitable for most plants. Arctic fox and reindeer are among animals found in the tundra.

Importance of the Tundra: The tundra has a great role to play in regulating the planet’s temperature. So, it maintains biodiversity.

  • The Taiga

In North America, people refer to the Taiga as the snow forest or the boreal forest. Taiga is a biome comprising of coniferous forests of spruces, larches, and pines. It is the fastest land biome in the world. Animals found here are grey wolves, minks, foxes, squirrels, bears, and lynxes.

Importance of the taiga: Besides supporting the life of animals, humans, and plants, the taiga region assists the environment by releasing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Deforestation in these areas can cause serious ecological imbalance.

  • The Ocean

The quantity of saltwater in the ocean ecosystem is more than the presence of freshwater. The food chain has plants at the bottom, followed by crustaceans and smaller fish. Seals, whales, and dolphins are on the topmost layer of the food chain. Currents, tides, rock reefs, and sandbars provide sustenance to plant life.

Importance of the ocean: Oceans absorb most of the carbon dioxide and are the greatest producer of oxygen. They provide us food, transportation, recreation, and medicines.

Conclusion:

So, all eight ecosystems have a significant role to play in maintaining harmony in the environment. Preservation of the rich ecosystems is a must for the sake of co-existence all life forms.

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Fossil Fuels: Meaning, Types, Formation, And Importance

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Fossil fuels can be defined as natural fuels (such as gas or coal), formed in the past from remains of various living organisms (animals and plants). In other words, fossil fuel is an organic substance, present under the ground in the form of deposits, created in an earlier geological period and used widely as a significant source of electricity and energy.

Fossil fuels can be found is almost any product that we humans use on a daily basis. They satisfy 90 percent of the world’s electricity demand.

Types of fossil fuels:

Four types of fossil fuels are present in the world. They are:

  • Petroleum
  • Natural Gas
  • Coal
  • Orimulsion

Formation of fossil fuels

The formation of fossil fuels takes place when organic matters buried deep under the earth’s surface receive continuous pressure and heat for millions of years. When it comes to natural gas and oil, the organic matters responsible for the creation of these fossil fuels have their source in the marine ecosystem. Coal, on the other hand, owes its formation to peat forests of ancient times.

Importance or uses of fossil fuels:-

The three main types of the above-mentioned fossil fuels exist in three varied states of matter. Oil is present in liquid form, coal is solid, and natural gas exists in the form of gas. Let us have a look at the ways in which we can use these fossil fuels.

  1. Uses of oil

The petroleum of crude oil is commonly known as black gold. The uses of oil are many and in various fields. It is required for the generation of electricity and also used by the transportation industry as fuel for jets and automobiles. Apart from that, oil has several byproducts that are used widely in the production of tars, plastics, waxes, lubricants, chemicals, and medicines also most of the fertilizers and pesticides available in the market either use oil or any of its byproducts.

  • Uses of natural gas

Natural gas is basically a gaseous fuel, the main ingredient of which is methane. One advantage of using natural gas is that it is comparatively cleaner than coal and oil. We use natural gas in cooking appliances such as fuel stoves, in air conditioning, in heat appliances required for heating homes, water, and buildings. Natural gas also provides electricity and produces paints, dyes, plastics, and fertilizers. Manufacturing companies and industries such as steel foundries, aluminum smelters, and glass foundries also rely on natural gas to a great extent. Apart from the uses mentioned above, natural gas also has its use in transportation as LNG or CNG.

  • Uses of coal

Coal is a fossil fuel that is present in the environment in a solid-state. It is made up of five key elements, namely, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur. There are three types of coal-based on their properties, namely, anthracite, bituminous, and lignite. As opposed to the other two, anthracite is hard and the carbon content is high, therefore, producing the highest energy.

An interesting fact about coal is that it can exist for more than 200 years. In ancient times, people used coal to smelt metal ores. There are several countries that cannot afford oil or natural gas as they are extremely expensive and thus, rely solely on coal for generating energy. Another usage of coal is the generation of electricity and as a component in electrical utilities.

Coal and its byproducts are also found in products such as aspirin, plastics, solvents, dyes, and soaps. The steel industry, cement manufacturing industry, pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, and the paper manufacturing industry also makes use of coal or its byproducts for manufacturing several essential products of daily use.

Eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels

This was just a brief description of fossil fuels and their uses in our life. The increasing use of coal and other fossil fuels in construction, industry, and transportation release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that plays a key role in increasing the temperature of the planet. Fossil fuels also take millions of years to form. This is the reason why we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and rely more on renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind, tidal, solar, hydro-electric, and bio-fuels.

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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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