Renewable energy includes solar, wind, nuclear and geothermal. Alternative energy may be required for continued electricity supply into the future.
Deposits of fossil fuels are believed to be running out and are a non-renewable energy source. It is also believed that burning them for electricity creates air pollution. The world is looking for alternative energy supplies and ideally, they would be from a renewable energy source. Electricity prices may also be affected if the energy source is in short supply. Many alternative energy sources for continued electricity supply have been investigated, and some are currently in use.
Solar Energy for Electricity Supply
Solar energy has been researched and is in use in some aspects today. The sun generates vast amounts of energy – solar energy – every day, which can be used or stored for later use. Solar thermal collectors absorb energy from the sun and change it into heat energy. The collectors are usually flat for solar hot water and have water flowing through them; the water is heated then stored in tanks. Electricity may also be produced from the collectors. The water is heated enough to produce steam, which is used to run turbines and generate electricity. The sun’s energy is renewable and therefore may become an effective alternative energy source.
Photovoltaic cells convert the energy from the sun directly into electricity. Photovoltaic cells allow solar energy to be stored in batteries, these batteries are then used as the electricity supply when the sun is not shining. This technology is in wide use today, although in smaller items like the solar calculator.
Nuclear as an Energy Source
Nuclear energy has also been researched, and it appears it may be an alternative energy source for the future. Although nuclear energy does have some difficulties, such as the disposal of the waste, as it may be hazardous.
Renewable Energy Using Wind
The wind has been used as an energy source for centuries, powering windmills. Wind turbines are now able to produce large amounts of energy. Rotor blades are mounted on a high tower, and the wind turns the blades. These are linked to the shaft of an electricity generator to produce energy.
CHP as an Alternative Energy Source
Combined heat and power (CHP) is an energy source supplied from the waste heat from electricity production. In some nations, CHP is used as an energy supply to heat homes and factories close to the power plant. Well-Insulated pipes are used to pump hot water into the nearby buildings’ heating system from the CHP plant.
Hydroelectricity is Renewable Energy
Hydroelectricity is a renewable energy source – a green way of producing electricity. Through pipes, the water from the dam is released into turbines which are connected to electric generators. The spinning turbines create energy to produce electricity. Hydroelectricity has been used for electricity supply in some places for many years. Environmental problems caused by the building of dams are a drawback to hydroelectricity.
Other Alternative Energy for Electricity Supply
Experiments have been carried out to produce energy from the waves of the ocean. Ocean tides have also been investigated as an alternative energy source. Geothermal energy, derived by utilizing the hot layer of magma within the earth’s crust, is used as an energy source for electricity supply.
All types of alternative energy sources have some environmental impact. The current use of fossil fuels has had a significant impact on the environment. Restricting individual energy consumption may be positive for the environment. However, renewable energy sources are needed for ongoing electricity supply, if fossil fuels run low. Electricity prices may also be affected if an energy source is in short supply.