Renewable Energy. This is something we have been learning since our childhood. So wondering why do we have that topic here? Well, it’s simple guys. With the current COVID-19 turning more and more dangerous, we have a burden on our economy. It is the perfect time for us to adapt to this source of energy, thus reducing the burden on our economy. We are here to learn about renewable energy.
What is Renewable Energy?
So the basic question is, what’s this renewable energy? Renewable energy is energy produced from sources that do not deplete or can be replenished within a human’s lifetime. Examples include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower and many more.
Renewable energy accounts for 13.5% of the world’s total energy supply, and 22% of the world’s electricity.
There are many sources of renewable energy. We now will see some of them in brief
Solar Energy is the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about renewable sources of energy. Solar energy as the name suggests comes from the sun and can be captured with various technologies, primarily solar panels. It can be harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, concentrated solar power (CSP).
The falling cost of installing solar panels means that more and more people in more places can take advantage of solar energy, even though solar energy is accounting only for a smaller percentage of energy.
Solar is a clean, renewable energy resource, and figures to play an important part in the global energy future.
In the 21st century, we expect solar energy to become increasingly attractive as a renewable energy source because of its inexhaustible supply and its non-polluting character, in stark contrast to the finite fossil fuels coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
Solar energy can generate thermal energy, produce electricity, and many more. We can use this thermal energy for heating purposes like cooking, etc.
The wind is a clean, free, and readily available renewable energy source. Each day, around the world, wind turbines are capturing the wind’s power and converting it to electricity. Wind power generation plays an increasingly important role in the way we power our world–in a clean, sustainable manner.
Wind turbines allow us to harness the power of the wind and turn it into energy. When the wind blows, the turbine’s blades spin clockwise, capturing energy. This triggers the main shaft of the wind turbine, connected to a gearbox within the nacelle, to spin. The gearbox sends that wind energy to the generator, converting it to electricity. Electricity then travels to a transformer where voltage levels are adjusted to match with the grid.
Wind power is cost-effective in many regions. Another advantage of wind power is that it is a domestic source of energy, harnessing a limitless local resource. It is a sustainable source of energy, as wind turbine operation does not directly emit any CO2 or greenhouse gases.
Tidal energy is produced by the surge of ocean waters during the rise and fall of tides. Tidal energy is a renewable source of energy.
During the 20th century, engineers developed ways to use tidal movement to generate electricity in areas where there is a significant tidal range—the difference in area between high tide and low tide. All methods use special generators to convert tidal energy into electricity.
Tidal energy is still in its infancy. The amount of power produced so far has been small.
Advantages include eco-friendly, high energy density and predictable energy source and inexhaustible source. The drawbacks are the cost to build tidal power plants, and the locations are limited.
Geothermal energy is the heat that comes from the sub-surface of the earth. It is contained in the rocks and fluids beneath the earth’s crust and can be found as far down as the earth’s hot molten rock, magma.
To produce power from geothermal energy, wells are dug a mile deep into underground reservoirs to access the steam and hot water there, which can then drive turbines connected to electricity generators.
We use geothermal energy in over 20 countries. The United States is the largest producer of geothermal energy in the world and hosts the largest geothermal field. Known as “The Geysers” in California, the field is spread over 117 square kilometers and formed of 22 power plants, with an installed capacity of over 1.5GW.
Pros include carbon-free, renewable form of energy that provides an uninterrupted supply of heat that can heat homes and office buildings and to generate electricity.
Geothermal energy only produces one-sixth of the CO2 produced by a natural gas plant and is not an intermittent source of energy like wind or solar. Its potential production could reach at least 35GW and as high as 2TW.
Despite low CO2 production, geothermal has been associated with other emissions like sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Geothermal power plants seem to have caused mini tremors in the area they operate in and also have a high initial cost to build. It is also location dependent.
Biomass is organic material that comes from plants and animals, and it is a renewable source of energy.
Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun’s energy in a process called photosynthesis. When biomass is burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. Biomass can be burned directly or converted to liquid biofuels or biogas that can be burned as fuels.
Examples include wood, agricultural crops, and waste materials, food waste, wood waste, animal manure and many more.
Biomass energy is less expensive than fossil fuels and is also carbon neutral. Its usage clears a lot of garbage fills. Disadvantages include less efficiency and it is also not entirely clean and occupies a lot of space.
Hydropower is using water to power machinery or make electricity. When flowing water is captured and turned into electricity, it is called hydroelectric power or hydropower. There are several types of hydroelectric facilities; they are all powered by the kinetic energy of flowing water as it moves downstream. Turbines and generators convert the energy into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid to be used in homes, businesses, and industries.
There are many more forms of renewable sources of energy, but the above are few that have a major share in it.
Advantages of Renewable Sources Of Energy
The foremost advantage is that renewable sources of energy won’t run out. They also require less maintenance. Adding to this they are less costly and they can be produced locally which reduces dependency on other countries and other places. It is also eco friendly.
Disadvantages of Renewable Sources Of Energy
The electricity generation capacity is still not large enough. These forms are still not up to the mark and are less efficient. They require a huge financial outlay for their initial setup.
For statistics on renewable sources of energy, see https://ourworldindata.org/renewable-energy.
So, those were the types of renewable sources of energy you need to know. We strongly promote renewable energy and encourage you all to shift to renewable energy sources as much as possible.