TYPES OF GREEN ENERGY:: TYPES OF GREEN ENERGY: Geo-Thermal Energy Wind Energy Solar Energy Hydro Energy
Geo-Thermal Energy: Geo-Thermal Energy The core of our Earth contains dense mass of metals and minerals in plasma state. The temperature is extremely hot in those regions. These minerals are in constant state of decay. This process is nothing but the deformation of complex elements into its constituents radioactive primitives such as Alpha and Beta particles. The earth beneath us has tectonic plates. These tectonic plates are constantly under motion. They are also the source of seismic, volcanic and tidal activity in many parts of the world. Further at the fringe of these tectonic plates we can find the geo thermal wells where one can tap the necessary emissions of heat. The geo thermal emissions are eco friendly. Unlike the traditional sources of fuel they will not harm the environment in anyway. Further the millions of years of radioactive decay must have created a lot of heat. All that has to be done is to tap them. At present less than one percent of the earth’s requirements are met by geo thermal energy. Scientists are exploring ways to tap this energy profitably. A theoretical estimate shows that we should be able to produce another 30 Mw of energy with the known sources of geo thermal energy. On the other hand people who are researching this area suggest that the geo thermal energy has the potential to satisfy all of mankind’s needs and much more! The efficient and profitable utilization of the geo thermal source of energy is the need of the hour. This energy could be use to produce electricity The geo thermal energy is earth’s way of collecting heat due to its motion and the radioactive energy of minerals. As the amount of heat within increases the earth is now finding way on its own to give them out. We are just tapping a small fraction of that energy without necessarily speeding it up. Thus geo thermal energy is renewable, sustainable and eco friendly.
Wind Energy: Wind Energy Wind power generation is the process of converting the wind energy into electricity or other useful form of energy. One might easily comprehend that wind power is sustainable and renewable. There is no way mankind could find to use all the wind in the world!! Wind power is generated by placing huge turbines in windy areas. As the wind causes the huge turbines to rotate the wind is converted to mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy of other form of energy through special apparatus. This process is akin to a bi-cycle dynamo. Wind energy at present caters to more than one percent of the energy needs of the world. With more careful study and implementation further advancements could be made in this field. More than eighty countries have understood the utility of wind power and have taken steps to commercialize it. Besides the obvious advantages in wind power there are limitations to it. Wind power unlike other power systems is not transferable. This means that wherever the energy is produced it must be used. One cannot dispatch this energy to other areas. They must be used as soon as they are produced. Two other reasons some people quote as points against wind power is that they are not good looking and they might kill birds. While the first issue seems to be stupid considering the fact that we are no longer in a situation where we can afford to not use the wind power as long as we find a suitable aesthetically pleasing alternative. The second reason though is a small cause for concern. Migratory birds and bats are known to have been killed by the giant wind turbines. Bats are also harmed by the high pressure region near the wind turbines. But the estimated amount of casualties of birds caused by the wind turbines all around the world is highly negligible. One has to accept this as a necessarily evil as wind power is perfect in every other way. It has been predicted that wind power can be used to produce several tens of TW of power. Thus the pros of using wind power outweighs the cons by a long way!
Solar Energy: Solar Energy Sun emits enormous amount of heat and light energy. Sun in essence is a nuclear reactor in which the hydrogen-helium fusion creates the heat and light energy we see. Earth being a tiny speck considering the size and the mass of the sun, receives only a very tiny fraction of the total energy of the sun. If human beings find a way to tap about one half of the energy incident on the sun we would be producing power and electricity that would be un manageable! There are two different ways to make use of the solar power incident on the earth; the active method and the passive method. In the active method solar cells are arranged in solar panels. These solar cells are photovoltaic in that they convert the incident light energy into electricity. These solar panels could be connected to dc batteries for storage purposes. This should be enough to handle night lighting and winter lighting. The solar cells are not cheap. Building a big enough panel to produce energy for a city would require hundreds of square feet of area and cells. This alone is the singular reason why solar energy has not replaced the conventional sources of energy. But with the advent of miniature chip technologies like the nanotechnology, we are not far off from building a realistic solar source that could power a substantial part of the earth. Even now a good number of countries have realized the importance of preventing our environment. They have recognized the enormous potential of sun and have started using it commercially. The passive solar powering involves building apartments and blocks to make use of the sun directly. Without tapping into the energy part of the sun one can make big use of the sun. Some of the utilities include ventilation, water circulation, cooling and heating. All these processes make use of thermodynamic concepts to directly use the solar heat. Green house gases are a bane to our world. But green house in general is an effective agricultural practice to grow certain types of crops which need high temperatures and humidity all around the year. Green houses use the sun and its heat energy to trap the heat in an enclosed shelter to accelerate the growth of plants. Thus this ever present source of power could be tapped to meet every conceivable need of mankind with little intelligent effort on the part of human beings!
Hydro Electric Power: Hydro Electric Power The water bodies in the earth which makes up two thirds of the area are potentially never depleting. The water cycle of the earth ensures that the earth has the same amount of water at all times. However if we are able to use the water in a way that would not destroy any of its physical or chemical properties there could no better solution to our energy hassles. Hydro electric power is the process of converting moving water into electricity. Water flowing down due to the action of gravity is made to rotate huge turbines on its way to generate hydro electric power. This source of electricity generation is the purest form of generation. Green house gases which are liberated due to partial burning of fossil fuels are no longer in picture. As long as we are able find ways to install hydroelectric turbines in spatial locations the amount of electricity and energy one could derive from water is potentially incalculable! At present hydroelectricity accounts for about twenty percent of the earth’s power needs. Thus hydroelectricity is a major contributor in the eco friendly energy resource family. United States of America, Canada, Australia and Chile are some of the earliest to use the hydroelectric power as a source of energy. The most common way of generating hydroelectric power is by making water that is stored in damn to rotate turbines connected to electricity generators. The potential energy of the stored up water is converted into kinetic energy as the water flows, which is made to turn the turbine. After this the mechanical energy of the rotating turbine is converted into electricity. One other form of energy generation is by using reservoirs in varying altitudes. As water moves from a higher altitude reservoir to a lower altitude one, they are made to activate the turbines. Electricity is generated in surplus using this method. The excess electricity could be used to move the water up to a higher elevated reservoir for future use. Thus a very optimal balance is achieved. Hydroelectricity generation involves none of the hazardous gas emissions. Further it is easily available. Hydroelectric power plants have better abilities to vary power according to power demands. This is the advantage of having a reservoir near the power house. China, India Canada, United States and Russia are at the top of hydro power generation. But Norway is one country which is using hydro electric power as the main source of electricity as it caters to more than ninety percent of the countries power needs. Brazil too has a very high percentage of power coming from the hydro electric power projects. Using the potential of water to create electricity is one of the best alternatives available to us!
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