What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy generated from the earth’s natural resources that are not finite or exhaustible, such as wind and sunlight. Renewable energy is an alternative to traditional energy based on fossil fuels and is generally much less harmful to the environment.
Types of Renewable Energy
Solar energy is obtained by capturing the radiant energy of sunlight and converting it into heat, electricity or hot water. Photovoltaic (PV) systems can convert direct sunlight into electricity by using solar cells.
Windparks capture the energy of the wind flow through turbines and convert it into electricity. There are various forms of wind energy conversion systems, each of which is different. Commercial-quality wind turbines can supply electricity to many different organizations, while single-wind turbines are used to supplement existing energy organizations. Another form is utility-scale wind farms, which are purchased on a contract or wholesale basis. Technically, wind energy is a form of solar energy. The phenomenon we call “wind” is caused by the differences in temperature in the atmosphere in connection with the rotation of the earth and the geography of the planet.
The oldest form of energy used in industry: Dams are what most people associate with hydropower when it comes to hydroelectric power. The water flows through the turbines of the dam to generate electricity known as pumped storage hydroelectric power. In run-of-river power, the water is directed through a canal instead of being driven through a dam.
There are two types of energy the ocean can produce: thermal and mechanical. The thermal energy of the ocean relies on the surface temperatures of warm water to produce energy through a variety of different systems. Mechanical ocean energy uses the ebb and flow of the tides to produce energy that is generated by the rotation of the earth and the gravity of the moon.
Geothermal heat is energy enclosed under the earth’s crust during its formation 4.5 billion years ago and during radioactive decay. Sometimes large amounts of this heat escape naturally, but all at once, leading to known events such as volcanic eruptions and geysers. This heat can be captured and used to generate geothermal energy by using steam, which comes from heated water pumped under the surface, which then rises to the surface and can be used to run a turbine.
Since hydrogen does not occur naturally as a gas on its own, it must be combined with other elements, such as oxygen, to produce water. When hydrogen is separated from another element, it can be used both as a fuel and as electricity. Hydrogen can be used as a clean-burning fuel, resulting in less pollution and a cleaner environment. It can also be used in fuel cells, which are similar to batteries and can be used to power an electric motor. Since hydrogen requires energy to produce, it is inefficient in preventing pollution.
Bioenergy is a renewable energy that is produced from biomass. Biomass is organic matter derived from recently living plants and organisms. Using wood in your fireplace is an example of biomass that most people are familiar with.
There are different methods of generating energy by using biomass. This can be done by burning biomass or by using methane gas, which is produced by the natural decomposition of organic material in ponds or even landfills.
The proportion of renewable energies varies greatly from country to country. An overview of possible suppliers in Europe can be found here.