Renewable energy can be defined as energy that is derived from resources that can be replenished within a human timeline. Some examples of renewable energy sources include wind, sunlight, waves, rain, tides and geothermal heat. A number of countries across the world are embracing the need to have these sources of energy because of the tremendous benefits that are derived.
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Some Advantages of renewable energy
It is affordable – one of the most important advantages of this form of energy is that it is relatively cheap. An individual that is harnessing the power of the sun can do so for years without incurring too much costs except for acquisition and maintenance of equipment. This is in contrast to an individual that has to continually visit a fuel station to buy gas.
Reduces greenhouse emissions – this refers to a situation where gases are trapped within the atmosphere and this leads to absorption of infrared radiation. As a result of this phenomenon a lot of heat is trapped within the earths atmosphere and this has the ability to change the climate. Indeed if greenhouse emissions are not kept in check the earth’s environment may deteriorate and cause various complications to human beings and other organisms. Renewable energy does not have greenhouse emissions which is why it is one of the best types of energy.
It is stable – renewable energy comes from sources that cannot be depleted. This means that you can be sure of getting enough of these form of energy for years to come. Non-renewable energy does not provide stability because it may get depleted. It is because of this unpredictability that prices of gas tend to rise and fall depending on various factors of the economy.
It is not destructive – when harnessing non-renewable energy it is common for environments to be destroyed. In some cases mining takes place in such a way that large pieces of lands are destroyed. Oil spills into water bodies can be another destructive effect of harnessing non-renewable energy. However, when harnessing renewable energy there is little or no impact to the environment.
It is safe – there are a lot of cases of accidents that have been caused by non-renewable energy including fire outbreaks. On the other hand you hardly ever hear of disasters that are caused by renewable energy.
Reduces health risks – when exposed to fumes that are produced by fuels such as petrol or diesel an individual may end up suffocating or suffering from other health complications. On the other hand renewable energy is known to be clean. This means that it hardly ever has a negative impact on human health unless it is misused or something goes wrong during power generation.
Most popular renewable energy sources
Sunlight – the energy that is harnessed from the sun is by far one of the most popular. Sunlight is transformed into energy by use of equipment known as solar panels. Once individuals install these panels in their homes or commercial places they are able to use electronics such as refrigerator televisions, music systems and microwaves.
Water – with the right equipment people can harness clean energy from water. This type of energy is often referred to as hydro-power. It is harnessed by the use of turbines. As water passes through these turbines it transfers energy from one point to another. Hydro-power is one of the most widely used energy on earth.
Wind – the wind is another source of energy that can power a variety of things without causing greenhouse effect. The only downside to this source of energy is that acquiring the necessary equipment to set it up might be expensive for most people.
Tidal energy – you may have noticed that oceans and seas tend to have quite powerful tidal waves. While these waves may scare some people innovators have come up with ways of harnessing their power. Horizontal and vertical motion of these tidal waves can be converted into energy using certain types of machines.
Best renewable energy sources of 2018
1.Fabric wind blades
When harnessing energy from the wind manufacturers often make blades out of fiberglass. This grantees durability and efficiency. However, GE which is one of the world’s top makers of wind turbines is exploring new ways of producing wind power economically. The company has experts looking into the possibility of making the spinning blades out of fabric. This will tremendously impact on the wind energy sector. Fabric is light and easy to pack which means that transportation will be cheaper. If this innovation works the cost of wind power could significantly reduce.
2. Electric haul vehicles for mining
Electricity is one of the cleanest forms of energy which is why its use is widely embraced. However, a Slovenian company known as ETF Equipment is taking things a notch higher. This company has over the past few months developed electric haul vehicles that rely on energy harvesting technology. These vehicles are powered by rechargeable batteries with zero-emissions. These vehicles feature modular designs that allow mechanics to replace damaged parts within a few minutes. While the company has only manufactured six of these trucks the future looks bright because of the impressive performance they have already had. If this innovation does prove to be viable a lot of companies are likely to pick up the technology and start producing similar vehicles.
3. Futuristic batteries
Batteries have been a popular source of energy for years. They are compact and easy to move around. However, ARPA-E has come up with a strategy that could take battery technology to the next level. This company is testing out batteries that are made of magnesium. These products actually use air as the main ingredient. There are also some types of batteries that use solid state polymers instead of the traditional liquid. The thinking behind such innovations is that at some point these batteries are going to be able to store more energy without necessarily being too expensive. The batteries will also be able to produce more energy while ensuring that the environment remains safe.
4. AGL’s Dockland office
AGL’s Dockland office located in Melbourne, Australia may seem like the average commercial building until you get a closer look at its roof. The entire roof is covered with solar panels which literally cover 20,000 square meters. These panels produce an estimated 110,000kWh of electricity each year. This is without a doubt an impressive energy generating project. Not only does it save the company from high costs of energy but it also ensures that the environment is kept safe because of the use of clean energy. If this concept is embraced by other firms within urban areas the cost of energy can reduce while emissions are kept in check.
The AK-1000 is regraded as one of the largest of tidal energy turbines in the whole world. This turbine measures 73 feet tall and is estimated to weigh about 130 tons. While it is not yet fully operational researchers are studying its impact off the shores of Orkney in Scotland. On successful completion of the testing phase this will be the largest tidal steam energy producing turbine. To bring things into perspective it will be capable of producing about 398 megawatts of clean energy. This is enough power to sustain over 200,000 modern homes. Keep in mind that the estimated number of homes represents half of Scotland.
Energy from sewage
For most people the thought of sewage elicits nausea and foul thoughts. However, a data center belonging to Siemens is turning sewage into power in one of the most innovative ways. The company has set up a system that is purifying the sewage to separate waste from water and in the process generate electricity. The project was kicked off in 2014 and has been stable enough to keep the data center covered with regards to energy needs. This project was undertaken in conjunction with Microsoft and FuelCell Energy.
While electric cars are not a new thing they still remain on the list of some of the best examples of clean and renewable energy. Electric cars are designed in such a way that they are powered by a rechargeable battery. There are quite a number of individuals that have embraced this technology because it offers a cheap alternative to traditional gas. It is also worth noting that electric cars hardly have a negative impact on the environment.
With a large number of people making great strides toward achieving the ultimate goal of producing clean energy that can sustain the needs of large populations, there is no doubt the future looks bright. It is worth pointing out that a lot of governments from around the world have realized the need to rely on renewable energy instead of non-renewable sources. This has led to creation of policies that support renewable energy production. With these developments taking place it is certain that the cost of energy will soon reduce while the environment remains safe as people switch from destructive energy sources to Eco-Friendly alternatives.