Environmental experts are predicting a very gloomy future. In little more than half a century, supplies of traditional fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, will be virtually exhausted. Their misuse will have contributed to the dire consequences of irreversible climate change. The combustion of fossil fuels has also contributed to global warming. Yet there is still hope for the future in various forms of sustainable, renewable energy.
Why We Need Renewable Energy?
Currently, fossil fuels are used at a massive rate compared to those of the eighteenth century’s Industrial Revolution. Their use for heavy manufacturing, transport, and electricity for domestic purposes, has increased dramatically in recent decades. The result has been thirty billion tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
Experts agree that it is the direct cause of the earth’s average temperature increasing by 1.5 degrees Celsius. They predict that just half a degree more will be catastrophic. The polar ice caps could disappear. The excess water could make sea levels rise. Three-quarters of the world’s coastlines could be flooded and land would be in seriously short supply. The only hope of avoiding this is by turning to renewable energy.
What is Renewable Energy?
Sustainable renewable energy uses the earth’s natural resources, but unlike fossil fuels, they produce virtually no carbon emissions. Hence Renewable energy use does not contribute to Global warming. In some instances, age-old techniques have been combined with advanced electrical engineering to create renewable energy. So, what are the types of renewable energies that exist?
The different types of Renewable energy are listed below.
- Wind Energy
- Hydro power
- Marine Energy
- Hydrogen as an Energy
- Biomass Energy
- Solar Energy
- Air and Geothermal Heat Pumps
Let us discuss them in detail.
Centuries ago, windmills provided clean energy for many forms of manufacturing. Today, modern, streamlined wind turbines operate at even greater efficiency. They use advanced technology to convert up to 50% of the constant wind currents they capture to generate electricity.
The design of a wind turbine is simple with either two or three blades or rotors. When turned by strong air currents, they operate an integral gearbox. The system transforms wind power into affordable electricity without releasing any greenhouse gas emissions.
There are both onshore and offshore wind farms around the world. In India, the popular wind farms are the Muppandal wind farm in Tamil Nadu, the Jaisalmer wind farm in Rajasthan and Brahmanvel Wind Farm in Maharashtra.
A traditional energy supply that lasted for centuries was created by watermills. Now technologically advanced hydroelectric power plants use the same format. Sustainable energy from waterpower is freely available and won’t contribute to global warming.
Hydropower operates in a similar way to wind turbines, but it uses water to turn partially submerged large rotors instead of air. Waterfalls and strong rivers are usually the main sources. However, waterpower generation also uses systems built into dams where energy increases in relation to the water’s fall.
There are many extensive coastlines around the world, particularly in the British Isles. The North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean are two of the most turbulent seas, providing renewable energy resources. Marine energy uses the waves’ power or tidal power to generate electricity.
Devices can include a surface buoy attached to a cable that detects wave motions and uses them to operate a generator. The industry also employs large wave energy converters (WEC). These are being designed for offshore, deep-water locations. It’s generally where the sea is at its most powerful, providing energy for a sustainable future.
Hydrogen as an Energy
As an energy carrier, hydrogen is a renewable fuel source that’s ideal for many forms of transport. It’s an alternative to electric vehicles. Although hydrogen is a gas, it doesn’t release greenhouse gases into the air. Any remaining waste appears as water vapor or steam. Hydrogen technology can be used with combustion engines for vehicles.
An advantage over electricity is it takes much less time to refuel a vehicle. It can also be combined with other elements such as biomass products, oxygen and water. Hydrogen provides a versatile, renewable energy source. Your home can gain up to forty-eight hours of electricity from hydrogen fuel cells.
Biomass is a primitive, renewable energy source that has been available since the Neolithic era when the fire was first used. At its most simplistic, biomass power generation is gained through burning material such as wood to release heat. Although the biomass industry burns waste, the technique is still reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Biomass sources include sawdust from the wood industry, agricultural crop waste, marine algae and household rubbish. It’s one of the benefits of renewable energy as it avoids adding to landfill sites. The steam produced by the process operates turbines that convert the water vapour’s energy into electricity.
In 1827, the theory of using the sun’s vast stores of energy was discovered. But it is only now that the potential for solar energy has become a prime source of sustainable electricity. Solar panels contain rows of crystalline photovoltaic cells that efficiently collect thermal energy from the sun.
The low-maintenance equipment then converts the intense warmth to electricity. Solar power is an accessible, economical renewable energy source for the residential and commercial sectors.
Even a standard array of solar panels combined with battery storage could be enough to make your home self-sufficient in generating electricity. Solar power can operate appliances, provide warmth, and recharge electric vehicles overnight.
John Keohane is one of Ireland’s most experienced electrical contractors. He has observed a large increase in homes being fitted with solar panels. Mr. Keohane recently said that “even though we don’t get much sunshine in Ireland, it doesn’t matter as solar panels work on cloudy days too. That is one of the fantastic benefits of solar panels”.
Noor Complex Solar Power Plant in Morocco, Topaz Solar Farm in US, Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China, Bhadla solar park in India are some of the popular solar power plants throughout the world that produce clean energy.
Air and Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal energy is the thermal energy extracted from inside the earth. The heat pump is the most recent innovation in sustainable, renewable energy techniques. The most widely used version is the air heat pump as it’s quick and easy to install.
Once fresh air from outside has been processed through a heat exchanger, it provides a reliable heat source for homes and businesses. The system never releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The heat pumps operate with even higher efficiency, particularly during cold weather when energy consumption is at its peak. Geothermal energy uses an underground system of pipes to extract warmth that’s contained in the deeper layers of the soil. Geothermal energy then provides homes with inexpensive hot water and heating.
Why is the Development of Renewable Energy so Important?
Reducing global carbon emissions by at least two-thirds is vital to bring climate change to a halt. But irrespective of how much CO2 is being released, the fact remains that fossil fuels are due to run out in a few years. Our modern society cannot function without an energy source of some kind. But fortunately, there are alternatives to coal, oil and natural gas.
Nature’s own sustainable, renewable power can be relied on to fill the gap. By converting to renewable energy as soon as possible, it’s hoped that carbon emissions can be reduced by more than 60%.
This would only release a more acceptable twelve billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If practices such as deforestation were immediately ended, a comparatively high amount of carbon could be absorbed by the trees themselves.
Advantages of Renewable Energy
There’s much more to renewable energy than reducing carbon emissions. New energy industries are already creating thousands of new jobs. In the US, wind power employed 12,000 additional engineers in 2019.
Renewable energy sources such as the sun and water are freely available and quickly repay any investment. It’s an economic bonus resulting in cheaper electricity for householders. Clean, green energy dramatically reduces air pollution. It means up to seven million deaths worldwide can be avoided.
Which Renewable Energy Source is Best for the Future?
How your electrical circuitry gains its power isn’t dependent on one particular source. Experts agree that combining different forms is the most effective strategy. Homeowners can play an important role in converting to renewable energy.
Residential homes annually release around six billion tons of carbon dioxide. Much of this is produced through the central heating and supplying hot water. Installing solar panels and generating your electricity reduces your carbon footprint. You’re free from purchasing large amounts of electricity from energy companies.
Even a simple solar thermal device helps lower the amount of energy you need to heat your water supply. Exchanging a gas boiler for a heat pump eliminates the use of fossil fuels to heat your home.
Abandoning fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy is vitally important for the future. Technology is leading the way to make the most of natural resources. And individually, you can make a difference by choosing renewable energy at home.