With renewable energy we mean energy sources other than traditional made out from fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas. They don’t pollute nor exhaust, since they can regenerate at the end of their lifecycle.
These sources are a great advantage for both environmental protection and human health and are used to produce electricity.
What kind of renewable energy do we use and what is its potential? We’re going to analyse the main types of renewable energy and how they work.
SOLAR ENERGY: this is the most common green energy, it is obtained from the sun and can be used for heating or cooling homes and workplaces. The naturally unlimited sun energy is converted into electricity through solar panels and photovoltaic systems. These devices capture sunlight to transform it into electricity or use it for heating buildings and plants.
WIND POWER: among renewable resources wind has been one of the first types used by human being. Think of mill blades, transforming wind into mechanical energy that makes move heavy machineries. Thanks to wind turbine, this kind of energy is mainly used nowadays for electricity production. In order to operate at its best, beside quality of the plant, we need to consider the location, that has to be a very windy area, better if close to sees and oceans.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY: thanks to specific equipment this renewable energy uses earth heat deriving from natural phenomena like hydrothermal sources and geysers. For using geothermal heat geothermal power plants have been invented. The steam flow from subsoil produces such a force to move a turbine; in the last step, mechanical energy from turbine is converted into electricity through an alternator.
BIOMASS ENERGY: biomass is made out of fuels and other industrial and agricultural waste, like wood or urban waste. This is the first renewable energy used by the human being. Biomass energy generators produces less amount of nitrogen, sulphur and carbon compared to energy from fossil fuels, but more than other types of renewable energy.
HYDROPOWER: also hydropower is exhaustible but renewable, on the condition that human being doesn’t overuse it. Water is used to produce energy by installing a vertical and horizontal axis generator. Waves, tides, natural and artificial waterfalls, rivers and other natural ways produce kinetic energy, that is then transformed into electricity thanks to turbines. Hydropower is produced in plants that are usually built in the mountains near waterways and where it is easier to use gravity and kinetic energy together.
MARINE ENERGY: this kind of renewable energy is produced by ocean currents, which means by huge masses of water. Exploitation of marine energy and its conversion into electricity occurs thanks to the installation of vertical and horizontal axis generators, like for wind power.
Renewable energetic sources are thus the ones that won’t exhaust. Not every source, among those we use, has the regeneration skill to be reused. In addition, among the renewable ones, some can regenerate faster than others, in favour of more sustainability and consequently a better impact in terms of energy efficiency. They are anyway clean sources of energy with the lowest possible environmental impact compared to the impact caused by non-renewable sources, that can be divided into two categories: fossil fuels and nuclear fuels. The first type is produced from organic matter sedimented in earthly layers. Nuclear fuels, instead, are produced mostly from uranium. This means that all types of non-renewable energy are produced from exhaustible sources and are often very polluting.
Although prospects about development of energy sources are encouraging, to this day the main energy needs of all countries is made out of fossil fuels. By the way use of clean energy has been increasing, either for its environmental advantages and for the economic ones; what do you think? Can we use only renewable energy in the future, completely replacing those with high environmental consumption? Let us know in the comments below.
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