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Understanding the Types of Renewable Energy

If you are thinking about going green, you need to learn about the many different types of renewable energy. Green means many different things to many different people, but it is a huge part of how we live our lives. When you use electricity from a company that uses coal-fired power plants to produce power, there is no way to replenish that energy. The burning of coal produces carbon dioxide, methane, and other gasses. Those gases are one of the leading causes of global warming. That’s why switching to alternative energy sources is such a good idea.

Ocean Energy One of the ways that we can conserve and protect the earth is to use ocean energy. Ocean energy has existed for centuries, but it has only recently been discovered to be a viable source of power. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of natural geothermal wells that are deep in the ocean floor. These natural wells produce natural warmth that is trapped when the pump turns on. The pump then sends that heat up to homes and businesses, using electricity.

Wind Power is another of the many types of renewable energy available to us. The wind is constantly blowing in many parts of the world, and it is harnessed by wind turbines. When the wind blows, it spins a generator and a turbine, which convert that electricity into direct current (DC) energy. That power can then be used by appliances, household items, and even power cars.

Solar Energy Another type of renewable energy is solar energy. The sun’s rays can be converted directly into DC energy. This is done by photovoltaic cells, which are made of semi-conductors such as silicon and gallium arsenide. Once captured, the energy is sent through wires to be converted into AC energy. Some types of solar panels can actually be built on your home.

Biofuels Burning vegetation, trees, and other types of biomass, is also considered to be a form of renewable energy electricity. Wood, livestock, agricultural products, etc. are all considered biomass. Some biofuels are better than others, such as corn and sugar cane; however, biofuels have been widely embraced by manufacturers as a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Geothermal Plants These types of plants utilize ground source heat pumps to transfer heat from the earth deep under the ground. These ground sources are relatively hotter than the surface temperatures of the sun. Geothermal plants use the earth’s molten core to conduct heat, and this heat can be transferred directly to any area that needs heated water. Some geothermal plants are located in cold regions where the sun does not shine very brightly. Others use space heaters to keep the temperatures consistent. They are typically most effective in cold countries with large areas of cold air.

Wind Energy Many areas are now being plagued by severe weather patterns. Extreme weather events can wreak havoc on crops, forests, and homes, and wind generators are often used to help alleviate these issues. Geographically, wind power has been a viable option since at least the 1990’s. More recently, newer technologies, such as photovoltaics, have come onto the scene. Both these types of renewable energy sources are more commonly used for commercial applications rather than for residential situations.

Solar Power While solar energy and wind have many pros and cons, they are still being explored as more options become available. Governments, businesses, and homeowners are exploring the potential of using these types of renewable energy. As more research is done, we will no doubt learn more about these alternatives. With the sun providing free electricity and other forms of renewable energy, the future looks bright for everyone.

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