Renewable Energy – A Detailed Overview
Globally, the nations are heavily reliant on Oil and Natural Gas as a source of energy. Classified as Fossil fuels, these sources of energy are finite and are gradually decreasing in amount, eventually dwindling. This causes an adverse effect on the cost of these resources, following the principle of Higher cost for Higher demand. Another effect of these resources, are that these are not environmentally viable. Even though they are developed from the nature, consumption of these elements for energy creates byproducts, that are harmful to our surroundings and to our health.
With the increasing cost of energy, many people are seeking alternative sources. And when we say alternate, we mean Renewable Energy. Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.
There are many forms of renewable energy. Most of these renewable energies depend in one way or another on sunlight, and as such forms the basic building block in Energy conversion. A list of available renewable energy sources is indicated below:
1. Solar: This form of energy relies on the nuclear fusion power from the core of the Sun. This energy can be collected and converted in a few different ways. The range is from solar water heating with solar collectors or attic cooling with solar attic fans for domestic use to the complex technologies of direct conversion of sunlight to electrical energy
2. Wind Power: The movement of the atmosphere is driven by differences of temperature at the Earth’s surface due to varying temperatures of the Earth’s surface when lit by sunlight. Wind energy can be used to pump water or generate electricity. Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. Modern utility-scale wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.5–3 MW have become the most common for commercial use.
3. Hydroelectric energy. This form uses the gravitational potential of elevated water that was lifted from the oceans by sunlight. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, even a slow flowing stream of water, or moderate sea swell, can yield considerable amounts of energy. Wave power, which captures the energy of ocean surface waves, and Tidal power, converting the energy of tides, are two forms of hydropower with future potential
4. Biomass: Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. It most often refers to plants or plant-derived materials which are specifically called lignocellulosic biomass. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into: thermal, chemical, and biochemical methods.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
These energy sources greatly reduce carbon footprint. They are clean compared to other conventional energy technologies and have low environmental impact.
The conventional energy never stays for a longer time. They are non-renewable and they will eventually be depleted. However, Renewable energy replenishes itself. That makes it a highly reliable option for the household consumers and firms.