What are renewable energy sources?
The Difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy.
To nicely understand the sources of renewable energy, we must first explain the non-renewable energy source.
What is a nonrenewable resource?
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s, which replaced home-based cottage industries by large-scale machine production, man has been dependent on oil, natural gas, and coal to power industrial, transport and machine-dependent production systems.
But coal is mined from the earth and oil as well as natural gas is similarly extracted from beneath the earth’s surface. These three major fossil fuels are considered as non-renewable sources of energy since these cannot be replenished after a certain period of time. The limited supply of non-renewable resource of energy puts pressure oil and coal companies on the cost of selling energy or power to consumers.
As we approached the 21st century, there have been initiatives at looking for other alternative energy resources to offset the possible global shortage of non-renewable resources of energy. Today, the exploration and utilization of renewable sources of energy has increased significantly.
Renewable Energy Source (definition).
What is a renewable resource of energy? As problems in energy shortage have been encountered by many countries over the years, and as pollution concerns have dominated the landscapes of many cities especially in the economically advanced countries, extensive efforts have been done to look for easily accessible, cleaner, cheaper and renewable resources of energy.
Some countries in Europe like Holland have been using wind energy for many years. Today, wind turbines can be found in many places of the globe providing energy that can be easily accessed and replenished. Wind is available all year round 24 hours in a day.
A renewable resource of energy comes mainly from natural sources that include solar or sunlight energy, wind, rain and freshwater, sea tides or tidal energy, geothermal energy, biomass, biofuel, and hydrogen all of which will never run out and are always available anytime and anywhere.
you can visit this post to read more about why are renewable sources of energy better than nonrenewable sources? and in what way does renewable energy differ from nonrenewable energy.
Solar Energy Alternative
Sunlight is a popular renewable resource of energy and the utilization of solar energy has increased in terms of investments and geographic area coverage over the years. Solar energy lights up homes, small towns, even cities and photovoltaic-based electricity production will become a major power production thrust of many countries in the coming years.
Solar-powered vehicles are also in the making with biofuel or gasoline fuel used as starter or speed booster. Yet, the use of pure solar power for drones and light planes has already become a reality.
Geothermal and Hydro Sources
Is geothermal energy considered a renewable resource? Yes of course. Geothermal energy has already been in use even in the 20th century, as governments have set up their own geothermal power plants to produce electricity on a wide scale. Parallel to geothermal is the utilization of volcanic energy which is gaining ground today. About 11,000 megawatts of geothermal power is online in 24 countries according to the International Geothermal Association.
Like geothermal, hydro-based power production has been one of the conventional renewable resources of energy utilized for electricity production. The movement of water in mountains and rivers which includes rain combining with lakes and rivers led to the development and construction of hydroelectric power plants worldwide. Water is renewable and a free source of energy and hydropower has become the backbone of electricity production in many countries.
What is biomass energy? The Bio-Energy Spectrum.
Another renewable resource of energy is biomass. Actually, the generic term for this is bio-energy that includes biomass, biogas and biofuel. Biomass energy is produced out of the collected biological material of plants and animals. In the case of biogas, the waste matter of humans and animals can be collected, placed inside a sealed tank to produce methane and generate electricity.
As a derivative of biomass, biofuels are chemicals produced out of industrial biomass to power cars and small machines. Examples of biofuels as renewable resource of energy are palm oil, corn, hemp, sugarcane, sorghum, and switchgrass. Ethanol fuel is produced out of sugarcane feedstock and is considered a cheap and clean alternative to the use of gasoline from non-renewable fossil fuel. More than 7 million ethanol-compatible cars can be found in the US today.
Ocean or Tidal Energy
Tidal energy uses the constant movement of seawater to propel turbines just like in a wind turbine to generate energy. The sea is in constant motion and tapping the tidal currents to power homes and industries has unlimited potentials since sea movement is endless and has become a renewable resource of energy. Tidal energy is also called ocean energy.
There is now a trend to subsume ocean energy under the original generic “hydropower” term since it is the movement of water, whether in rivers or in seas that produces electricity.
Hydrogen Renewable Energy Resource
Hydrogen as another renewable resource of energy is strictly speaking not a source but a way to store and transport energy just like in water. It is considered an energy carrier. When combined with oxygen, hydrogen becomes a renewable clean burning fuel. The fuel cell technology is improved with the use of hydrogen. The number of hydrogen fueled cars is increasing worldwide, and hydrogen filling stations for cars and buses have been set up in the US and Europe.
Like ethanol compatibility, hydrogen fuel compatibility is fast developing among auto makers in advanced countries and can effectively compete with gasoline-based cars.
Energy Sources and Grid Systems
The basic difference between the use of non-renewable energy sources and the renewable resource of energy is the development of off-grid stations to distribute energy to a specific population and area. Fossil fuel-based power production is dependent on a power grid network since these are powered mainly by oil or coal.
In addition, the production and distributions systems of non-renewable energy sources are more expensive to maintain that accounts for the imposition of higher electricity rates especially in developing countries. Renewable resources of energy on the other hand use simpler and less expensive production and distribution systems and are easier to maintain.
Human Movement as Renewable Resource of Energy
An emerging renewable resource of energy that now being tested is the unconventional movement of human feet as they pass through special node points on the ground that tap the movement and pressure of the feet. This is considered renewable since human movement in walking is endless, which means everywhere there are people walking on roads at certain times of the day or night.
Indeed the current and the future trends of the renewable resource of energy are exciting.