Wind and sun are creating a powerful clean energy revolution together. In today’s article, I will share with you what you need to know about renewable energy and how you can contribute to protecting the environment and fighting climate change right at your home.
Renewable energy is currently booming in both developed and developing countries, as new technologies are constantly being introduced to significantly reduce production costs. as well as increasing efficiency, promises a clean energy future. In the United States, solar and wind power output is abundant and integrated into the national grid with high stability and reliability.
This means that renewable energy is gradually completely replacing fossil fuels which are considered “dirty” energy in the electricity industry, bringing extremely high benefits in reducing CO2 and other environmental pollution. other types of pollution. But not all types of current “renewable” energy are beneficial to the environment. Energy from biomass and hydroelectricity requires large scale, so to build these energy systems we have to trade off being able to negatively impact wildlife, transform climate and a few other issues. Here’s what you should know about other renewable energy sources and how you can incorporate these new technologies in your own home.
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What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy, also known as clean energy, is created from natural sources or certain natural processes that are formed continuously. For example, the sunlight and the wind always appear continuously every day.
Although renewable energy is often considered a new technology, in fact we humans have been using this natural energy source for a long time, such as drying clothes (sun and wind) , sailboats (take advantage of wind), design skylights for houses (sunlight)… But over the past 500 years, people have switched to using cheaper, more efficient energy sources faster but extremely “dirty” and non-renewable like coal and gas.
Now that we have ways to improve and innovate tools that utilize solar and wind energy, these tools are gradually becoming less expensive to produce and operate, energy Renewable energy is becoming an important and very promising energy source in the future. Renewable energy is rapidly expanding at both large and small scales; from solar and wind power plants to small solar power systems serving each household. Even in developed countries, there are community solar power systems built by agricultural cooperatives to serve their own electricity needs.
As the use of renewable sources continues to grow, the main goal of the leaders is to modernize to integrate renewables with the grid most efficiently in all regions.
What is non-renewable energy?
Non-renewable energy, also known as “dirty” energy, is created from fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. Non-renewable energy sources are only available in limited amounts and will disappear over time.
Non-renewable energy resources are often unevenly distributed in each region of the world, with some regions being abundant and others scarce. However, in every country in the world there is access to sun and wind. Prioritizing renewable energy could also help some countries reduce their dependence on fossil fuel-rich distribution countries.
Many non-renewable energy sources can be hazardous to the environment and human health. For example, oil drilling can require deforestation, technologies that incorporate hydraulic fracturing can cause earthquakes and water pollution, and coal power plants can pollute the air. In summary, all these activities contribute greatly to global warming.
There are many forms of renewable energy. Most forms of energy recovery, in one way or another, are fundamentally dependent on sunlight. Wind energy and hydroelectric power are both a direct result of the temperature difference that warms the Earth’s surface, resulting in air movement (wind) and precipitation forming because the atmosphere is lifted (related to hydroelectricity). Solar energy is the direct conversion from light to electricity by the photovoltaic effect (through solar panels). The biomass energy stored in sunlight is contained in plants. Another form of renewable energy that does not depend on sunlight is geothermal energy, which is the result of radioactive decay from Minerals in the Earth’s crust combine with heat in the Earth’s center, and tidal energy is a gravitational energy conversion.
1. Solar energy
Humans have known how to use solar energy for thousands of years to grow, heat and dry food. According to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), for every one hour of the Sun’s illumination on Earth, all this energy is enough for the whole world to use for a year. Today, we use the sun in many ways such as heating the house, heating the water, generating electricity to supply electrical and electronic devices…
Solar cells are mainly made of silicon or other materials capable of converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar energy system today is directly applied with different large and small scales right on the roofs of houses, businesses or cooperative communities. Systems like these help generate abundant electricity but are not ecologically harmful.
Solar power provides just over 1% of U.S. electricity, but accounts for nearly a third of “new electricity” generation capacity, second only to natural gas (no. data 2017).
The power generation system with solar panels does not produce air pollutants and especially does not produce CO2 (causing the greenhouse effect), as If they are installed properly, most solar panels have little impact on the environment.
2. Wind energy
The movement of the atmosphere is driven by temperature differences at the Earth’s surface, since the amount of heat from the sun’s radiation reaching the Earth’s surface is constantly changing. Wind energy can be used to pump water or generate electricity, but the technology requires a very large amount of space to generate significant amounts of energy.
Today, wind turbines are built very tall (equal to skyscrapers), with very large diameter blades. But this tool helps to produce a relatively large amount of electricity based on the wind blowing.
Wind energy is known to be the cheapest source of energy in several countries around the world.
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States such as California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa in the United States have areas with high wind speeds that help produce abundant wind power.
Hydroelectricity is the leading source of renewable energy in most countries, with very large-scale hydropower plants. Hydropower depends on water – usually water flowing at a fast rate in rivers or water flowing quickly from above like a waterfall, we will use water power to set up generator turbines.
However, in the world, many large hydroelectric plants or super large dams are not considered renewable energy sources. Because these dams divert and reduce the natural flow, affecting the animal and human populations living around that river. Small hydroelectric power plants (under 40 MW installed capacity) are more carefully managed and do not tend to have an impact on the environment because they only divert part of the water flow.
4. Biomass energy
biomass is organic material derived from plants and animals and includes plants, waste wood and plants. When biomass is burned, energy is released as heat and electricity can be generated by a steam turbine.
Biomass is often confused as a clean, renewable fuel and is a greener alternative to other fossil fuels in the production of electricity. However, recent science shows that many forms of biomass – especially from forests – produce higher CO2 emissions than fossil fuels. There are also negative consequences for biodiversity. However, some forms of biomass energy with low CO2 emissions are selected in some cases. For example, sawdust and shavings from sawmills quickly decompose and release carbon in low amounts.
5. Hydrogen fuel and hydrogen fuel cells
This is also not a completely renewable energy source, but it is very abundant and causes very little environmental pollution when used. Hydrogen has can be burned as fuel, typically steam-powered vehicles. This application of (clean) burning fuel can significantly reduce pollution in cities. Hydrogen could also be used in hyrdo fuel cells, similar to storage batteries to power electric motors. In both cases this important production of hydrogen requires a powerful heat engine, so “gain this, lose another” steam engine factories water will give off more emissions. Today, there are several promising methods for hydrogen production such as solar energy, we can expect a more positive picture in the near future.
6. Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is energy extracted from heat in the center of the Earth. This energy comes from the early formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals, and from solar energy absorbed at the Earth’s surface. In certain areas, the geothermal gradient (gradually increasing temperature with depth) will be high enough to be able to mine and generate electricity. The technology to harness this energy is limited to a few locations on Earth, as well as many technical problems that limit its utility. Another form of geothermal energy is Earth energy, which is the result of heat storage on the Earth’s surface. This form of energy can only be used to maintain comfortable temperatures in buildings, but cannot be used to produce electricity.
7. Other forms of renewable energy
Energy from tides, oceans, and hot hydrogen fusion are other forms that can be used to generate electricity. These forms of renewable energy have significant drawbacks that are still being discussed by scientists to address in the coming energy crisis.
Can a country use 100% renewable energy completely?
If you previously had the notion that humans could not live on 100% renewable energy, now you should think again. Several countries around the world are gradually implementing this ambitious plan to become a green country. These countries are not only accelerating the installation of clean electricity generation systems/equipment from renewable energy sources, but also integrating them into their existing infrastructures to accelerate planning like windows solar energy, lighting equipment solar lights, airplanes powered by solar electricity…