Can Renewable Energy Take Over All Forms of Non-Renewable Energy?

Published: Fri 28 Mar 2014
A blog entry by Sarah Chamberland

Contributed by:

Sarah Chamberland
Manager
HHI

Sarah Chamberland's Blog

 

There are various forms of renewable energy available to us. However, not all of them are extremely popular among the masses. Lack of knowledge about these options can be a reason for such lack of popularity. Moreover, the fact that many of these forms of energy can be expensive to extract can also work as a detriment. Let us consider the various available forms of renewable energy, and see how viable they are for a small business or household to adopt:


SOLAR ENERGY: One of the most popularly known forms of renewable energy is solar energy. It has been used frequently because sun is one of the most abundant sources of energy on this planet. One can extract immense energy, by effectively tapping the power of the sun. Some researchers believed that if we could even utilize about one percent of the sun’s energy, we would be able to cater to all the energy demand that we have in the world. While this sounds extremely optimistic, but the real numbers do not reflect such optimism. There are very few businesses and households that are really using the solar energy for their needs. What could be the reason for that? Some experts believe that the expensive nature of the technology, required to tap the solar energy, is one factor that reduces its attractiveness. A business or a household might find it extremely expensive to equip its premise with solar technology. Under this scenario, people prefer to make use of the regular energy that they receive instead of being ambitious. The positive sign, however, is that transformation seems to be on its way. Regular research is being conducted which suggests that improved and more affordable technology might be on its way. If that does happen, we would be able to use solar energy for our needs. Not only would that be good for the environment, it would be lighter on our pockets too.

BIOMASS: Have you heard about Biomass ever? If you have, are you clear about what it is and the use that it can be put to? It is surprising that Biomass isn’t extremely popular among people considering renewable form of energy. This is despite the fact that it was among the first type of fuel that was used by humankind. Do you remember the primitive fire? Biomass was used to generate that fire. Let us throw more light on what biomass stands for. All the plant and animal matter on the earth’s surface can be termed as biomass. The energy that is produced using such matter is known as Bio - Energy. Additionally, this form of energy can also be extracted from wood fuel in the form of chips and pallets. They are very efficient, and can be used to serve different needs of businesses and households. They can be used to either generate energy for central heating or to heat a single room. Moreover, Bio – Energy can also be used to get hot water. One of the constraints of using Biomass, as a form of renewable energy, is the problem in storage. Pallet can be bulky and even consume excessive space. This means that a large storage space is required to keep them safe and in useable condition. Moreover, the storage space needs to be completely dry. Therefore, such problems can make it less convenient for people.

WIND POWER: We are all aware of the power of the wind. During storms and tornadoes, it is the power of the wind that causes all the destruction. However, those are unnatural and rare scenarios. In normal times, there is a steady flow of wind, which can be used in creating energy. You would have heard about the wind turbines. Such wind turbines are used to harness the power of the wind. So, why would we make use of the wind power to generate energy? The reason is that wind power is clean, free and infinite. In other words, the power generated, using wind, isn’t counterproductive for the environment or human health. On the other hand, nothing has to be paid to access the wind, and it is available easily. Many businesses do generate electricity using the wind power. So, it is viable to be used by houses and small businesses? The first consideration would be the cost of the wind turbine. It does not come cheap, and one must be able to afford it. The second consideration is the space that it occupies. One needs to have an open space where the wind turbine can be installed. The other thing to consider is the speed of the wind and its direction. Moreover, turbines generate better results when they are at a height. Therefore, they need to be placed at a high level to ensure that they generate enough energy.

WATER POWER (HYDRO POWER): This form of power captures the energy of flowing water. It has been used for over a century now by humans. There are various important things that affect its effectiveness. The first among them is the height of the water fall. The higher it falls from, the more energy would it generate. Furthermore, it is also important to consider the volume of the water. If the water is not voluminous, it would not be able to generate the desired energy. The water needs to first be diverted with the help of a turbine. Then the kinetic energy of the water is converted into mechanical energy. This is the final stage where a generator or a group of generators is used to convert the created mechanical energy into electricity. It is not always viable for homes and small businesses as one needs a viable water body to be able to best utilize it.

These are just some of the many forms of renewable energy available. They are extremely good for the environment, but more research and technology upgrade is required to ensure that they become viable for small businesses and home owners. Also, one needs to ensure that the right amount of energy can be extracted. For example, in an industry heavy materials are lifted with the help of wire rope slings. If enough energy is not available, such weights wouldn’t be easy to lift.