Ever since the industrial revolution, man has used many sources and methods to meet his energy needs. These energy sources can be classified into two major categories. Energy from fossil fuels form the first category and is the first choice when energy is required on the move, like in vehicles. The other major category is electrical energy which is generated through a variety of methods. It is used for lighting and to power equipments in factories and homes.
The depleting fossil fuel reserves, global warming and many other frightening consequences of traditional methods of energy generation has fortunately shifted the focus to sustainable, renewable and clean energy systems.
While it could be many years before a clean replacement for fossil fuels for transportation is available, the scenario is much brighter for using environmentally friendly methods for the generation of electricity. Some main clean energy ideas, hydropower, ocean energy, solar energy and geothermal energy.
Hydropower is obtained when kinetic energy of moving water is converted into electricity. Flowing water has a lot of energy. Perennial rivers and streams are ideal for power generation. This method involves building a dam across the river.
The power hidden in the world’s oceans are enormous. Ocean power is a vast untapped storehouse of energy and may one day power all our energy requirements. There are three main sources and methods of tapping ocean energy. They are wave energy, tidal energy and ocean thermal energy conversion.
The interior of the earth is very hot. The typical increase in temperature is around 3C for every 100 meters. Deep down the temperature is high enough to melt rocks, making the earth a perfect thermal clean energy idea. Thermal energy comes to the surface at certain locations such as hot springs. The temperature of water and steam that comes out of these springs can be in excess of 130C.
Wind power is generated by harnessing the force of the wind to rotate turbines which produce electricity. Though wind farms and wind power may seem newer entrants on the energy generation scene, their actual use dates back to centuries ago. Wind was used to power sail ships, wind mills and water pumps much before fossil fuel engines came to the scene.
Sun is the nuclear power plant provided by nature. Most of the energy sources that we have owe their existence to the sun in one way or other. Sun gives us a continuous supply of heat and light during the day. This energy source is so dependable that all the artificial satellites that orbit the earth use it to generate the energy for their operation. The only drawback of this energy source is that it is not available during the night and not available in full strength on cloudy days.
This clean energy idea revolves around the fact that the sun provides heat in the form of radiation. Using the heat from the sun to run a solar thermal power plant is one way of tapping solar energy. The method is to focus the sun’s energy onto pipes carrying water using parabolic mirrors. The heat converts the water into steam which can then be used to run turbines to generate electricity.