In today’s world, there are two different classifications of energy; renewable and non-renewable. The latter is most commonly used since it is simple to attain, store, and use. Renewable energy, however, is a little more complex when it comes to collecting and storing.
Nearly all sources of energy come from a source of heat, are produced naturally, and then processed by us for use. So why categorize them differently?
There is a liable reasoning behind it. Let’s take a look at some renewable energy projects as well as some of the larger scale ones.
Energy Sources: Renewable vs Non-Renewable
Non-renewable energy is when power sources are limited to a certain amount. It is true that the number is vast and beyond approximate value, but like money, it is relatively easy to consume rather than save. For quite some time now, we have been relentlessly devouring all of our non-renewable energy which has led to the now-foreseeable end of this supply.
Below is a list of some non-renewable energy sources:
Now at this moment, you may be thinking if all sources of energy are natural, can’t we naturally get more supply? The answer to this is yes, but the process of creating these materials takes centuries and hundreds of layers of the earth’s crust development. So if we wanted to wait that long for the resources to rebuild, we would have to wait for generations to pass and no one has that much time to spare. Energy has sufficiently become a must in today’s world, which leads us to the next set of resources we have provided to us.
Renewable energy consists of supplies that can constantly be reused over and over again, which is a very high plus point for our current situation. Some examples of these creative energy sources are:
Solar energy (energy taken from the rays of the sun)
Geothermal energy (Underground heat from the earth’s core bundled under the earth’s surface)
Hydroelectricity (Energy is taken from water currents)
Wind energy (Energy from wind currents)
Biomass (the combustion of plants and waste to make energy)
Hydrogen (Located in organic compounds)
Now there is a pattern here. While all of these energies are things we can attain and are not hard to come by, they are relatively hard to store. The sun’s rays aren’t something that you can put inside of a box, and wind speed can vary at any given moment so it can prove unreliable in certain areas. Geothermal energy can’t even be seen by the naked eye. While you can see and contain water in and of itself, you still need to keep it in a constant flow so that it can produce energy.
It has been established that renewable energy sources aren’t very easy to accumulate and store, so why do we look to them as potential solutions to our energy crisis?
It comes down to fact. We are running out of solutions to turn to. There are only two types of energy to choose from and we have already eaten up much of the former, leaving us only the latter.
While it could be that storing and collecting was the primary reason non-renewable energy was our first resort, as well as the lack of sufficient knowledge about the alternative, things have now changed. We now have access to advanced technological systems to help produce and store these types of energy. They are all works of progress that demand higher costs, but the benefits of endowing these methods into our routine system are innumerable.
Why Is Renewable Energy Better?
Renewable energy offers us a way to not only create energy that has a larger supply to provide but also a method of energy creation that does not create greenhouse gases. But it also creates opportunities for community-based projects.
Certainly, by now, you must have become familiar with the term ‘Greenhouse Gases.’ It’s one of the largest issues we face today and refers to the carbon dioxide that is being released into the atmosphere while we are processing our energy sources. Our non-renewable energy sources are of course the culprits in this sad case. All of these sources of energy are to blame since they all must be burnt in order to be converted into usable energy.
Renewable energy does not need to be burnt and perhaps this is why it was so hard for us to catch on to using this method. Burning something is very easy, but it also means that there is no going back the way you came. Greenhouse gases for a long time now have been piling up in our atmosphere, creating a heavy blanket on top of our heads which is trapping sunlight in our ecosystems, heating our world to rising temperatures, shifting the natural balance of our society.
To help minimize the greenhouse gases we create, renewable energy sources are an ample answer to this, offering energy with no carbon dioxide production required.
The second more obvious of the ideas would be the fact that these resources will be here with us for as long as we are. Water is a human necessity and without it, there would be no life on this planet. So naturally, as long as there is life there will be water that we can utilize. The wind and sun are natural phenomena that we have no control over, we can only embrace and exploit these to our advantage.
Trending Home Appliances
You may believe that renewable energy is a grand-scale project being worked on by governments, but the truth is that you can contribute to this international effort by converting to green energy answers. To kick-start this idea, here are home appliances that you can install that will provide you and your family with renewable energy.
All solar-powered devices have one thing in common; they use solar panels. The way that solar panels work is simple enough to understand.
Solar panels only work under direct sunlight, are easy to understand, and convert the sun’s rays into applicable energy using the inverters built into the panels. Once energy is created, it flows through your system providing the necessary amount of energy. Anything left over goes back to the panels to keep them running.
The best thing to do is lay down the pros and cons of solar panels which are provided here for you, starting with all the good promised from this new home appliance.
Solar Energy Pros
It is a non-polluting method of creating energy that can be applied to anything compatible with a solar panel.
You can always rely on your solar panels to create some kind of energy every day as the sun always goes up in the morning.
Very little maintenance is required for solar panels.
The battery can store energy for the night and any additional energy created can be sold back to the company streamlining your energy grid.
Solar Energy Cons
With all good things though comes the bad. So brace yourself as nothing in the world comes perfect and the disadvantages of solar energy are listed.
Solar panels are expensive as their supplies aren’t fruitful and they are pieces of technology still in progress.
Cloudy days and night hours aren’t the best times to have your panels on as they won’t create much energy. They also need very large batteries to store enough energy for the night.
The sun’s strength varies in different areas, so the same-sized panel may not be as effective in one area as in another.
They aren’t very popularly made in winter seasons due to the excess cloudy days.
Steadily, as technology improves with experiments, so will the quality and quantity of solar panels, and eventually, they should become a regular home appliance to install.
A very popular and innovative geothermal appliance that seems promising is its heating and cooling system. Instead of having to buy overpriced heaters and coolers that will only work efficiently for the first two years, you can have an underground heating system installed into your home that uses natural heat from the earth’s crust to warm your house. The temperature is consistent and relaxing, easy to control, and best of all, it is 100% natural to use.
To break this down into easier words, here are the benefits and disadvantages strung out for you to see which side outnumbers the other.
Geothermal Energy: Pros
- It is renewable and sustainable, easy to attain and consistent, unlike other renewable energy sources.
- It has great potential and can efficiently heat and cool homes.
- There is no fuel involved when producing usable geothermal energy which means no wastage and excess money required to convert it.
Geothermal Energy: Cons
Then there come the negative effects of geothermal energy, which are thankful, only a few. The cost of having geothermal power plants or heating systems is unimaginably expensive and the services geothermal power can provide and very location-specific.
What hydroelectric system consists of is running water flowing past a turbine to spin it and create energy converted by the motor the turbine is attached to. All energy created is then used or stored in the battery connected to the motor. We’re starting to see this used in hybrid cars.
Unfortunately, since water reserves require much space there aren’t hydro plans suitable for urban areas, only suburban and rural areas which are quite limited on their own as well. A hydro-efficient plan to keep the energy flowing in rural houses is a micro hydropower system which is considered a miniature dam. It can effectively fuel a large home.
Hydropower Energy: Pros
Hydropower does come with its typical benefits such as:
- Clean energy that does not pollute
- A reliable consistent source of energy once established in an area
- It can be a reservoir for water supply since the energy is harnessed through the system of using a dam to contain enough water.
HYDROPOWER ENERGY: CONS
But there are cons to this energy source as well, which can make it a tough choice to back up.
- Firstly, you cannot use it on a small scale, any project involving hydroelectricity would involve at the least a whole society.
- Having to build a dam, you need to consider the cost to the environment. A dam requires a vast amount of space which can sometimes mean water logging the area behind the dam or evacuating it, which is costly.
- Initial payment for these dams is very high.
- Dams tend to damage the water flow which can affect the local fish population that looks to go upriver for breeding.
Unlike other renewable sources, hydroelectricity does seem to have relatively more economical and environmental drawbacks which would make users reluctant to look to it as an answer. Evidently, the idea is to make as much power as we consume renewable so solutions to these issues will have to be found.
Wind power will be here as long as the sun is. How wind works on its own is that as the sun heats one area, cool air transfers to other areas to clear out the humidity’s way.
Wind power has been used for a long time, slowly engineering and developing into the method we use today of converting it into energy. Today, we use large 200 ft. turbines turning under the wind’s pressure to move and generate energy in a motor inside of its system.
To use for your home you would need a turbine about 30 ft. high with a wingspan of 18-25 ft. so as to ensure you get enough energy to power all appliances in your home.
There are many advantages that can come out of using wind energy as well as a handful of issues that still need solutions.
One of the pros is that wind energy is a renewable source that does not create any pollution to clog our environment. The energy makes also comes free.
As it is becoming cheaper and cheaper, the cost to maintain is low and it doesn’t require that much attention, they are independent and reliable sources of energy.
They carry an immense amount of potential as one 200 ft. turbine can fuel 1400 homes, which is a lot of residents.
The cons are noticeable though, some being the following.
The wind is very variable. Some days it will throw you off of your feet, others it will barely lift your hair. So as the wind fluctuates, so does the energy production.
Like all other renewable energy sources, it is a work in progress and they prove costly. So the initial cost of installing a wind turbine is a bit much.
They are visually and noise-wise not that attractive. They can also tend to take up a lot of space which is inconvenient.
Wind turbines work better in prairies and flatland, not where there is much tall standing building in the way of the wind.
Here is where it starts to get interesting. What we call garbage may not actually be as useless as we claim it to be. It turns out that the natural waste that we create can be reused to create eco-friendly energy. Yes, this does include our own poop. Leaves, dead trees, and both animal and human waste can all be used to create a streamlining of healthy and non-harmful energy.
Plants eat food they create for themselves through the process called photosynthesis. This process gives them energy which is transferred when an animal eats the plant and even when humans eat the animal.
This is why when we burn any of the waste created from these things, energy can be harvested from it.
Obviously, something this natural can reap many benefits, but there are disadvantages that can come from them, and here we’ll look into both the good and the bad.
This is a renewable energy source, meaning that the end to it isn’t anywhere in sight. it is also environmentally friendly since we harvest it directly from nature itself.
In a way, we are helping to remove waste from the environment by reusing it and turning it into energy. It can come in many different forms which all can serve a different specific purpose. they can provide methane gas and bio-diesel or be used in heating systems like geothermal systems.
It is available anywhere you can make waste. With some more development of this energy source, we can hope to achieve a global-scale reformation of energy by using biofuels.
Biomass : Cons
This can be taken literally. The gases produced from burning the fuels still do damage to the environment, and as mentioned before, the goal was to get rid of the burning factor. When you burn up anything, smoke bellows from it wielding hazardous chemicals which it then takes into the air. A small bonfire is fine, but the scale that biomass must be burnt at to create efficient energy is immense and dangerous.
Some people even claim that it is not that efficient. Compared to nonrenewable sources, it doesn’t prove a step up in terms of replacing gases.
It is expensive to produce and it takes up so much space, it even leads to deforestation. Naturally, the plan was to use dead plants to create energy, but that doesn’t mean we have to go killing whole forests to get it. Taking away land and forests only damages the environment we are in, which already is in a gruesome state.
So when it comes to biomass, the problem is that we are not approaching this solution properly. In the end, we are only doing the same thing we were and are doing when it comes to our non-renewable resources. burning and wiping out whole lands is a blunder we don’t want to continue, but can’t seem not to.
The Development of Renewable Energy
The only way we will ever progress is if we try, and so try humanity has done. There any many new crafty inventions created to work with the help of renewable energy. So why not take a look to see what the foreseeable future holds for us all?
Who doesn’t like the idea of whole flat lands dedicated to clean solar energy? Countries are trying their hardest to make solar farms one of their main sources of energy. After all, we do get sun every day, so why not make use of it? Apologies to the offended lands of Antarctica who don’t receive sun every day.
Breaking the record for the largest floating solar farm, Hunain has really stepped up the solar energy game by building their $45 million 120,000 solar panels on top of an abandoned, flooded coal mine.
Not is only is their statement heavily ironic, but it shows how they have given up a non-renewable resource for a friendlier more steadily efficient one as this creates 40 megawatts, enough to powerfully provide to 15 000 residencies. That is immensely impressive.
Another example of a great farm is Chernobyl, which has turned the decimated area into a solar power plant where they can harvest the sun’s power to feed locals at a distance. It is a great way to make use of a location once thought unusable.
Las Vegas has a 102-acre lining of solar panels placed at the Nellis Air Force Base. Finished in 2007, it produces 13.2 megawatts. A great way for defense to make a positive statement.
This one is slightly different from a farm. In India, to satisfy their enormous population they have about 11,000 trains operating every day. Imagine the gas behind all of those running engines. India has decided that to work toward their goal of a 40% renewable-run country by 2030, they’ll turn their trains solar.
The project is not a complete one, but they certainly are working their way to a great approvable cause. if this goes as planned, they’ll be reducing their diesel consumption by 5,500 gallons a year.
Solar Apartment Home
If you want to see what a smaller scale dedication looks like, then there is no better place to look to than in Berlin, Germany. They have 426 square meters of solar panels installed on the side of the building that can collect 25 kWh yearly.
Wind Farms in the Sea
Typically, you would picture wind turbines standing tall in prairies and open lands, where they can collect huge amounts of wind a day, but why not out in the sea? Out there, there aren’t any buildings standing in their way and they don’t get in anyone’s path. Europe sure thought of this, and they created 175 standing wind turbines off the coast 12 miles from Essex, England. This turbine farm creates 630 megawatts of energy, supplying about 500 000 homes.
There are always geothermal plants being made, as we discover the potential of our earth’s heat. In Iceland, they have a 60 megawatt generating power plant named the Krafla Power Station. Built on boreholes numbering 30, it can produce energy at a safe distance from the Krafla Volcano.
Google has promised that they will be creating an all wind project to feed their energy. With all the predicted wind energy they are hoping to create, they are claiming they can go full 100% into renewable energy by the end of this project. Though they haven’t achieved full energy production yet, they have forecasted a better, and windier future for themselves.
With a new build, wind turbines are now taking on a new look, an egg-beater look. Shaped like your regular egg-beating instrument with multiple wired loops along the body, it can pick up wind currents much quicker and produce energy effectively.
Though there are hiccups in some systems, there is still a lot of progress that needs to be made. Soon, there will be almost flawless products in the market for the conveniences of your home and renewable energy will be much easier to gain access to. For now, the best option is solar as it is the development with the least flaws. It can be applied to stoves, chargers, and fuel entire houses on the daily. Whichever tends to fit your area, renewable sources are what we all hope to be, the brighter future.