Sources of Renewable Energy
For more than 100 years fossil fuels mostly oil, coal and gas have been the major source of energy.
Today, we are beginning to run out of these fossil fuels that over the years have created a lot of environmental problems.
More and more people are now beginning to look for alternative sources of renewable energy. The most promising options are solar, wind and marine energy.
Solar power is currently probably the most discussed and developed of all the sources of renewable energy.
The sun continuously produces a huge amount of power and various technologies already exist to convert this solar power into electricity.
A very popular option is to use solar collectors. These heat-absorbing panels can already be seen on many rooftops.
Solar collectors absorb solar energy and convert it into heat energy to warm up water. Once the water is heated it is stored in tanks and can then be used to heat the shower in your house or to heat a swimming pool.
Wind power is another of the main sources of renewable energy.
Wind energy is actually a derivative of the sun’s energy. As the sun heats different surfaces of the atmosphere while other surfaces cool down this creates an imbalance. The imbalance in pressure in turn creates the winds.
A big advantage of wind power over the burning of fossil fuels is that it is available in abundance and does not release any greenhouse gases into our environment.
Even though wind energy has only recently been discussed as one of the viable sources of renewable energy it is not a new concept.
The ancient Egyptians have already used wind power to generate electricity and by the beginning of the 20th century Denmark and the rest of Europe were using wind power extensively.
However, the wind power industry was destroyed when cheap oil and gas became available.
Today, due to concerns over green house gas emissions and other pollution the interest in wind power has risen drastically again.
Marine energy is another popular type of the main sources of renewable energy. Scientists are trying to develop technologies that use energy of the waves and tides to produce electricity.
Marine energy is a sustainable source of energy with limited negative effect on our environment.
The idea to use water to generate energy is not a completely new idea but currently you cannot yet buy any commercial wave energy devices.
However, some technology has already been developed but it is still being tested. On the Scottish island of Islay, for example, a device with the name LIMPET is already producing power.
Consistent research and development produces more and more innovations over time.
Next time you read your newspaper or an environmental magazine see if you can find an article about new technologies in the area of marine energy or any of the other sources of renewable energy.
The last of the sources of renewable energy that we are going to talk about in this article is geothermal energy.
Geothermal energy is taking advantage of a combination of salt water and steam that is trapped in rock far below the earth’s crust.
Natural hot springs are the best known examples of geothermal energy. They have been used for hundreds of years.
However, geothermal heat pumps are a newly invented energy technology.
Even though geothermal energy is sustainable the problem is that it is not available everywhere.
First of all, the natural resources of salt water and steam have to be present and secondly extracting the steam can be quite expensive.
However, geothermal energy is one of the sources of renewable energy and as such it offers us another option when looking for a solution to our current energy crisis.