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ENEGY101A Renewable and Alternative Energy
The changing lifestyles, sleepless nights, workload has bounded every possible place to keep-up with ENERGY and so the demand for it is rising and continuously rising creating a burden on our economy. We have been using Non-Renewable energy sources like coal, natural gas, crude oil vigorously instead of knowing that they cannot be replenished in short period of time. Coal to power up our lights, AC, Refrigerators and many other devices we plug in, Petroleum for our vehicles and processed petroleum in nail polish, shoes, roofing, capsules and many items. Natural gas is mainly used for cooking and heating and further, it can also be used to generate electricity by burning it. More usage of it will only aggravate the problem since they produce a lot of pollution and severe climate change so we need to switch to some source which is eco-friendly and naturally replenished. Unlike Non- renewable, Renewable energy does not exhaust on consumption, some sources like Solar, Wind and geothermal energy. We will discuss its installation cost, maintenance cost, production cost, energy generation, its advantages and disadvantages. Our aim is to check the viability and sustainability of renewable energy (National Geographic, n.d.).
The emergence of Renewable Energy
Mostly everywhere the governments want scientist, engineers and people of their country to come-up with those sources of energy which don’t degrade the environment. Since global warming and health complication are at peak so measures are needed to conserve our Earth. The decreasing flora and fauna, mainly trees are a major reason for such ecological imbalance. Also, coal is getting extinct from some places and these changes are strongly affecting environmental condition like solar energy is becoming such harsh and strong that it can damage the solar panels. Less rain has led to scarcity of water and through water, we know energy is generated so it is leading to low hydropower production. There is a major need in development and growth of renewable energy and lots of improvisation and new ways are wanted so that it can be embraced more.
In 17thcentury solar energy has been utilized to produce fire from thesun, the wind energy has been put to use for irrigation and fetching water mainly in Egypt. Wind energy was also used for navigation purpose. When the revolution occurred in 18 century, the industries used available resources for energy generation such as coal, gas. Usage of non-renewable resources increased because they were cheap and easily available and renewable energy was put off to use because it was costly and time-consuming. Now, people were losing interest from non-renewable as a result from industries to houses everyone was directed to it. After 18th century i.e.in 19th and 20th-century people realized that things are getting exhausted and there is no way to replenish them again. There is an assumption that renewable energy is expensive, skilled persons are required to operate and maintain rather there is no look onto condition of theenvironment. The carbon release effects, global warming is extreme in many countries and they are the ones who are greatest users of non-renewable energy.
Renewable energy is an alternative which utilizes resource without depleting it and environment. The world is now understanding the need and requirement of renewable energy and so is switching onto it. It is important to access the sustainability and viability factors by evolving better forms of energy. The private sector, Companies are all making their investments in it because they are able to make out that it is just a one-time investment and maintenance cost is too low. This research is to reveal the factors of renewable energy.
Motive of Study
1. To figure out whether renewable energy is viable
2. To figure out whether it is sustainable.
3. To identify which is the best energy source among all.
4. Guidance for renewable energy(Elfetiany, 2016).
Myths of Renewable Energy
1. It is very expensive.
2. It is a waste to implement them in large scale.
3. It cannot supply electricity 24/7.
4. It is impossible for electricity grid to take renewable energy.
5. It is not eco-friendly.
6. It is drawn-in with a motive to draw-out all nuclear and coal power plants.
1. It is not too expensive because we are not able to find out the hidden cost involved in non-renewable as using coal in power plant can damage the plant even more than 5.7 bln US$ every year. Other damage like health impact, climate degradation, pollution in water, land can rarely be healed.
2. It is effective and reliable working in many places like China, Portugal, Germany, Europe etc.
3. Renewable energy can contribute 24/7 when we can effectively use all sources: Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass and Biogas resources. It can be possible when intelligently we can understand the available energy sources in different places and when the resource is highly available we can have a storage plant there.
4. It is said that electricity grid won’t be able to handle renewable energy but what is needed here is to transform just system so that it can shelter the production. The one who was happy to install non-renewable are now in trouble as they are over-investing now.
5. It is widely popular that birds and bats will be harmed, their lifecycle will get disturbed and lot more but if their migratory pattern is recorded and everything is assessed then it can ensure the safety of any livingbeing.
6. It is fitted in minds of some stakeholders that renewable energy is implemented to cut-off coal and nuclear plants rather it is just a blueprint of coming 30 years which focuses on the decrease in their consumption, not elimination.
Significance of the Study
For any nation anything on priority is economy and same is the concern of its people. This study will help in finding out an effective, reliable solution. It is been done so that stakeholders, researchers can get a glimpse and be benefitted from the study. It will provide information that can aid the problem and benefit in decision-making.
Limitations and Delimitations
This study focuses on renewable energy available globally, their potential to meet the energy demand and feasible approach required. Its limitation is that it is very time consuming and it is faced with ample challenges like resources which are needed for research are unavailable(Greenpeace, n.d.).
Renewable Energy Types
Let’s get through all available energy sources which can be replenished easily. For research purpose, we will get through Solar energy, Tidal energy, Wind energy and Bioenergy.
1. Solar Energy
Energy gained from thesun is termed as solar energy and this energy is generated by capturing the light rays from sun and the heat is converted to electrical energy through solar panels.
Figure 1 Working of Solar Energy
Source: (Bond, 2015)
Calculation of requirement of Solar Power:
After that know your power requirement and time and by dividing them(Watts/Time) you will get to know size of solar panel required.
Advantages and Uses:
1. If we can probably guarantee the existence of someone visible on earth is none other than sun, we know it is free of cost and available almost everywhere.
2. It does not create pollution and noise and hence is termed as cleanest energy.
3. Electricity bills coming very heavy can be reduced.
4. It does not involve any connections and thus can be placed even in remote areas.
5. No harmful gases are generated so air pollution is not there and thus no acid rains, any natural disaster can occur.
6. Maintenance cost is very low almost nothing and its lifespan can go to multiple years.
7. Appliances like electricity water heaters can be replaced with solar water heaters and electric cookers be replaced to solar cookers since its initial cost is high but in due course of time there will be magnificent gains.
8. Solar energy can also be used wide scale like in commercial and industrial purposes also in outdoor/indoor lights and any parks or pools.
1. It is available in daytime only and when it is arainy day or cloudy day it would be very difficult.
2. Solar panels, cells, collectors are very expensive.
3. Solar batteries require huge space and are also heavy, so replacement also becomes difficult.
4. It is not consistent as devices need photons regularly and sometimes its delivery becomes a concern.
5. Much pollution in theenvironment can degrade the quality and efficiency of solar panels.
1. Heating devices
2. Solar cooker
3. Solar Dryer
4. Solar Streetlights
5. To provide energy to appliances like microwave, refrigerator, television, radio etc.
Figure 2 Sunlight distribution over the year
The above figure tells us about the sunlight distribution over the year(Electronics Hub, 2015).
2. Wind Energy
Moving air is known as wind and due to its good speed it possess kinetic energy. Due to solar energy heating of land occurs which results in movement of air and this moving air can be used in generating electricity. Windmill uses this wind to generate energy as shaft is rotated by wind to rotate turbine and further convert it in the energy form we need. Its future also seems promising as it is available at many places.
Figure3 Production, Generation and Distribution of Wind Energy
Source: (Loobeek, 2013)
Calculation of power output:
1. The wind will never be finished unlike coal, oil and gas and that is why it is renewable and also sustainable.
2. After the installation of turbines there is no chance of pollution generation and thus they are till date the most eco-friendly energy source available. Also greenhouse gases like methane, carbon-dioxide are not emitted from it.
3. It is absolutely free and will never be exhausted so the market of it can never fall down and it is the cheapest option for generating energy.
4. The area held by windmill is not much and so the rest of area can also be utilized for agriculture purpose.
5. Wind turbines can also be installed in domestic areas for landowners who wish to install less powerful and smaller to atleast serve purpose of the designated area, also it can be integrated with many renewable energy sources.
6. It can be an ultimate power solution for remote areas like small villages as it can help in bringing up power there.
7. It is a great news that Wind technology is getting cheaper to make it more and more accessible on domestic level too. On the top of it government subsidies and incentives are there which can undoubtedly help out in its installation.
8. Windmill requires low maintenance but old mills can have some reliability problems. Although every new mill is coming up with improved features, efficiency and reliability.
9. Running cost of wind mill is negligible as only cost involved is for maintenance only.
8. Wind energy being renewable and sustainable in wide diversity of locations thus making it available with huge potential. This technology is not just limited to some locations but is widely available.
9. Directly or indirectly it is helping out in strengthening energy security because it will decrease our dependency on foreign markets for oil and natural products. Due to this Jobs will be highly created and people will be more employed.
1. Major drawback of it is that wind flow is unsteady though wind will never exhaust but there is no all-time guarantee of moving air.
2. Proper investigation, time and money is put-in to judge appropriate location for good wind power. This is why windmills are set up generally at hilly places or places where wind supply is least obstructed.
3. Again here also installation cost is high though after some duration cost getequalized. The manufacturing cost of wind turbine, transportation and making it erect on some good foundation takes lot of time and money. Installation at sea is far more difficult than installing on land.
4. It is athreat to fauna mainly flying birds and bats. However wildlife is more affected because of man-activities though it is a reason of danger.
5. The only pollution it generates is Noise, the sound of windmill/ turbine can be heard from faraway.
6. People strongly object its installation nearby their homes because of noise and if somehow it gets installed then they try to relocate.
7. If some people like wind turbine look then maximum doesn'tseem to like it which means that it is widely reported in visual pollution.(Bratley, 2017)
1. It has a great mechanical application which means that there is a multi-blade windmill that does water pumping.
Figure4 Multi-Blade mill
Source: (najah, n.d.)
2. It can generate electricity from a range of 400 Watt to 5 MW as multiple size and types are available for it.
3. It also helps kids and even grown-ups in kite flying.
4. It also contributes in paragliding and sail boats too.
5. In olden times it was been used to grind flour and even in drawing water from wells.(najah, n.d.)
3. Hydropower Plant/ Hydroelectricity
Hydropower plant generates electricity from water and Hydroelectricity is the term which brings electricity from hydropower. Thermal plants and Hydropower plant work in a similar way i.e. in them turbine-blades is been rotated. In Thermal, steam is used and in Hydroelectric, water is used. In it a large dam is built on a big river and this dam collects water in reservoir which is situated on the backside. There is also a water intake situated like in thefigure below and then waterfalls on penstock which is then directed to turbine. The shaft in turbine goes to generator from where power is produced, from here power lines are setup which carries electricity to our homes.
Source: (Perlman, 2016)
Calculation Of power which would be available from falling water-
1. Hydroelectricity utilizes water which can be renewed process strategy. back to earth. Though water is slowly depleting from some places if process of water cycle continues then it can be highest reliable source of energy. For example, China is one nation which produce highest amount of energy from Hydroelectricity.
2. In the process of generation of electricity there is no waste product generated unlike biomass and nuclear. It is the coined as cleanest fuel because no emission or radiation is emitted from it.
3. We know that our earth is covered by 71% of water and so it is no doubt that water is a reliable source for energy. Many countries like India, United States, China, Canada etc. has it as their greatest source of energy.
4. The energy generation can be easily managed as when demand is low then less flow of water can be done and when demand is at peak then flow of water be done more. Also there can be an adjustment for future energy requirement.
5. Operating and Maintenance cost is very low as it has very few parts in operation. In addition, dams are for long durations and so they can be put to long use.
6. Water sports, irrigation, aquaculture, agriculture, pleasure/leisure activities can also be done through basins which are there for theproduction of power.
7. It can be a source of revenue for economy as dams are generally tourist attractions.
1. Installation cost is again very high, it is too expensive to build a dam of high standard.
2. The cost been put to make dam implies that it must operate for decades.
3. There is a risk of life, farms and business too because people who are living nearby dams have to move-out when the valley gets flooded especially in rainy season.
4. Sometimes these dams can lead to geological damage like earthquakes.
5. Previously built dams have led to breaching due to its design but now proper planning with design is made to cutthese things out.
6. When dam is built in say one country and the river progresses in other nations also then it could create serious relationship problems among countries as dams will block the control of river for other countries.
7. Dams altersnatural flow of water and table level. Also changing the condition of water bodies in there.(Ryan, 2009)
1. It is used in power intensive industry for producing aluminum.
2. Being an important source of energy it is able to generate electricity.
3. It is beneficial in balancing load during low usage and in high usage generating more power.
4. In older days hydropower was utilized for having flour from grain, lifting water in irrigation canals and to saw stone and timber.
5. In earlier times it was used to extract metal ores known as hushing and driving bellows in furnaces.(Greenworldinvestor, 2012)
It is a fuel developed from organic substances like scrap lumber, crops, forest debris, food, wood waste, animal manure, human sewage, waste residues like peels of vegetables and manure. This organic material comes from plants and animals.
Since solar energy is stored in plants due to photosynthesis and when it is burned the energy is released in form of heat or else it can be changed into biogas or biofuel. Biomass is used for fuel too, approx. 5% of energy totally used. The beauty of biomass is that it utilizes thesame amount of carbon in developing as it exhales when in fuel consumption. Some countries like USA, Sweden and Finland are higher producers of energy from biomass. Even a dry plant tissue can produce heat, half a kilo may give us 1890Kcal.
Figure 6 Biomass to Electricity procedure
Source: (Blogger, 2014)
Calculation of Biomass density-
1. It has decreased the consumption of fossil fuels which were typically used for creating steam, electricity and heat for industrial and residential purpose. Heat energy from biomass is 3.5 times of heat generated from wood when burned.
2. From every house, organic materials can be extracted and so it can be renewed easily and is available almost everywhere.
3. A major benefit is that biomass crops give oxygen while consuming carbon-dioxide.
4. It acts as a cleansing agent since it uses up all waste biodegradable products and can vacant space.
5. Since biomass is in use than low money will be invested in foreign oil.
6. In this era consumption of electricity will gonna increase and increase so if we have some good backup source to produce electricity like biomass energy then it will reduce our dependency on traditional electricity.
7. This biomass energy can bring incentives as under government-backed financial incentive we can get paid by developing a biomass boiler.(Bioenergy, n.d.)
1. The primary cost for biomass boiler is comparatively more than theregular boiler.
2. Any land been chosen for Biomass should be spacious as boiler system are larger than other boilers and they need another area for storing fuel.
3. Some people feel their food shoddy as the heat is produced from sewage waste.
4. Since waste is kept in use to generate power thus it becomes very smelly and unpleasant.
5. Unlike LPG biogas cannot be stored in cylinders. Its storage can prove to be a big headache.
6. Power generated from traditional methods can be transported to long distances via lines but again transportation of biomass energy over pipe is very difficult.
7. Not all crops can be put in use for biomass energy and the crops which can be put are seasonal i.e. they are not available the whole year.(Sparrow, n.d.)
1. In residential areas this energy can be used for cooking or space heating. Now new types of woodstoves are made to increase efficiency in heating such that in less fuel more heat can be collected.
2. Industries has put biomass in use for electricity generation, water heating and space heating.
3. This technology has given jobs to more than 66,000 people in the US alone.
4. It proved to be a successful alternative for Portuguese textile industry in Portugal.(Young People's Trust For the Environment, n.d.)
Viability and Sustainability
Source: (Elfetiany, 2016)
Every process should be bound to be reliable and in case there is any shift to another energy form then intensive research is undertaken to find out whether it is worth or not. As shown in the diagram above Renewable energy has 18% share among all the present sources and this is high on therise every day. It has been kept on hike from other forms of energy because of great employment been occurred through renewable energy source not only on large-scale level but also on domestic level. The increasing energy demand in theworld seems that need of energy could never quest or satisfied even.
After some time when non-renewable sources were very much in use and there were chances of depletion, at that time sources like coal and oil became very expensive. The countries which were a rich source of oil were facing scarcity, there were signs of complete depletion after 100-200 years because of high-usage. Every possible research was made to find other effective alternatives and hope was finally laid on Renewable energy source because there were no chances of depletion and they can be easily replenished. There was a guarantee of renewable source that their supply will never lose. The most reliable and predictable source of energy till date is Solar energy only. In different seasons, climate change or in any instance, the intensity of solar light can be figured and plans can be made for any future needs at an early stage. The only problem is that there is a need of specific technology and appliances to capture solar energy.(Elfetiany, 2016)
The devices used in solar are known to be very durable inspite of high cost because returns are gained high over time. It is coined as most reliable energy source and can be employed in every possible country. Best thing is that when there is rainy season then they don’t get damaged from liquid and wet climate. Now inventions are taking place for places which are less open to thesun so that there also production of energy from less intense sunlight can take place. Also, call for more research on extremely cold places where there is very low or no light like arctic is made.
Hydropower is most renewable energy source and the challenge here is low reliability of water for harness, urge to produce power at the desired moment and climate change. The water exists everywhere possibly we can look but still fluctuations exist but still it can sustain demand for energy if well managed.
Windpower is globally considered due to its availability all around world and the problem faced here is health issues and huge utilization of land to place mills. Here despite of high investment the output is comparatively low. In case of Biopower it has been adopted mainly by small enterprises. It is very easy to use, operate and generate. Since its resource can come from home thus it is considered as cost-effective.(WSJ, 2013)
The research has shown that there exist long-term benefits to renewable energy in every region. There is still chance for supplementary 3200 to 7100 TWh of energy generation annually if taken renewable sources into account. Only there is need of proper design of solar power, wind power, hydropower so that they can match out with the demand of users for energy yesterday, today and tomorrow. There must be steps to reduce pricing first so that it become economically acceptable and it is considered as the primary sources in homes, small business, medium-scale business and large-scale business. Already in 5 years almost 60-80% of price especially in solar panel has decreased and with this pace only we can hope by 2050 that world laid everywhere just by renewable sources and there is no need of importing any resource. We know a penny saved is apenny earned and so if government incentives, scientist technologies come ahead then, in the long run, there will be no huge money spent for electricity. (Reid, 2015)
There will be a billion dollars investment on improvement in renewable energy and there will be failures too but these good changes can change the scenario of theworld. If anappropriate amount of solar and wind energy is not available then we have to get readyearly in regards for storing energies, carrying backup batteries. The energy grid needs to be very strong so that when any other place is need for power then it could be easily transmitted, infrastructure needs to be strong so that it can handle weather changes also the infrastructure can handle change in directions as per source availability. Technologies should continue to propel, our world needs to get down on the path of sustainable future. We need to be vigilant enough to create things which are earth friendly since in ancient times we misused resources and now its time to cautiously use resources. Love Earth as you love yourself!
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