By John Gerace, PhD, PE
Energy Edge Solutions
There are many different types of renewable energy that can be used in place of energy created by burning fossil fuels. Renewable energy is generated from geothermal heat, sunlight, tides, rain and wind. All of which naturally replenish. Currently only about 20% of the worlds energy consumption uses natural energy sources.
One of the cleanest and most efficient types of renewable energy is wind power which is slowly gaining in popularity and usage. Wind power is seen more in Europe though many countries are building off-shore wind farms. Only a light breeze is needed to generate power and the energy conversion is one of the most efficient of all renewable sources.
Renewable energy is not only being used in large scale production but many can be scaled down to use for small grid or even residential use. The best example of this would be solar power. Solar power takes the sun’s light and converts it to electricity using solar cells. Solar can easily supplement current electricity usage and some business and people are finding that they no longer pay an electricity bill after conversion to solar power.
Hydropower has been used for years via construction and operation of dams. Most people are familiar with the Hoover Dam which is the largest hydropower station in the world. As water flows from a high spot to a low spot it gives off energy which can be transformed into different types of power such as electrical. You also can use hydropower without dams in rivers and oceans as long as there is a current or tide.
Biofuels are mainly based on bioalcohol or bioethanol. This fuel is produced from fermenting soy or sugar that comes from plants. This pure form can then be used instead of gasoline. Biodiesel is an oil made from animal fat, vegetable oils and recycled grease. Although these fuels when burned produce emissions, they are much cleaner than traditional gasoline.
So now that you know, consider how you can make changes and choices to take advantage of these alternatives.