Six different types of renewable energy technology. Wind power. Solar power involves converting solar energy directly into electrical or thermal energy with one of the cleanest, and potentially most plentiful, renewable energy resources. Hydroelectric power plants use water flowing through turbines to generate electricity. Geothermal power plants use ground temperatures to create energy.
We know how to harness energy from within our Earth’s resources. We have known for a long time that the Sun will always produce sufficient energy to supply our needs. It’s just a matter of converting that energy to usable electrical current. How do we move beyond the existing limitations on our Earth? Two of the most compelling ideas are hydroelectricity and geothermal heat.
Both of these potential solutions have their limitations. For example, solar energy is great for providing electricity at night. It is not practical for powering everything at a small scale. On the other hand, the enormous demand for wind power is becoming a de facto reality. The challenge becomes, how to create large enough turbines to harvest even a small percentage of this ever-growing demand.
Most experts agree that the burning of fossil fuels, and resultant carbon dioxide emissions, are leading to climate change. To halt or reverse this process, experts recommend using all or part of these types of renewable energy resources. This would substantially reduce the overall amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into our atmosphere.
Hydroelectric power, while perhaps a good long-term solution for decreasing the total amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, can sometimes be very expensive. This cost can be transferred to the users of natural gas and coal. Thus, a large portion of natural gas and coal must be used to finance the development and implementation of these types of renewable energy projects.
There are also concerns about the effect of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Many scientists believe that the burning of fossil fuels is one of the leading contributors to the buildup of this potent greenhouse gas. Global warming may be a reality sooner than many people realize. While it will not impact the earth’s climate as drastically as the greenhouse gas theory suggests, it can nonetheless be a very real and serious problem. While there has been some slow improvement in recent years with the amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere, scientists believe that future progress will not be as rapid as the natural disasters and other issues currently plaguing our world.
There are, however, a number of very promising developments currently underway. Advances in technology are allowing for the conversion of some types of bio-gas, such as bioalcohol, into usable electric power. In general, it appears that renewable energy resources will be widely available for use in the not too distant future. The real question then becomes, how can we make the transition from using current resources to relying more on alternative sources of power?
One possible solution lies in using hydrogen energy. While it can generate much less amounts of electricity than other types of renewable energy, it is a resource that is abundant in both its supply and its availability. Hydrogen can be combined with oxygen in order to create water, which can further be converted into oxygen in order to create even more electricity.
There are a number of technologies currently in development that will allow us to utilize hydrogen in this manner. One such system uses fuel cells to convert hydrogen into oxygen gas, creating a closed cycle of energy production. Other potential technologies use oxygen gas coupled with hydrogen to generate even more electricity. Still others combine hydrogen with oxygen to produce energy in the process known as electrolysis. Each of these technologies has their own inherent limitations, but as their effectiveness and reliability become better known, they may become a useful source of electricity.
Another option that researchers at major environmental organizations are investigating is the use of carbon dioxide in place of burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. The problem with this is that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, meaning that it is expected to steadily rise in price in the foreseeable future. If something is to be done about the rising cost of fossil fuels, one option is to find alternate sources of energy, such as using renewable energy resources such as the combination of solar and wind power. However, scientists believe that it would be difficult for us to generate large quantities of carbon dioxide using renewable energy sources at a low cost. In addition, because the process involves mixing water, there is also a danger of acid rain being produced during the conversion process.
Using plants and trees to create energy does have the benefit of being a natural process that does not require any further input from humans. Additionally, plants and trees typically adapt to their environment very quickly, meaning that they can continue to produce carbon dioxide until such time as their leaves fall from the trees. Unlike fossil fuels, the carbon dioxide released by the plants and trees do not remain in the atmosphere for a long time, and this fact reduces the overall impact that carbon dioxide has on global warming.