Exploring Renewable Energy Resources

Fossil fuels, being a finite resource are running low on our planet. The consumption and thirst for gas, oil and coal have been so great since the Industrial Revolution, that they have become more and more difficult to sustain their productivity.
Therefore, other means of energy sources have to be found. The added problem with fossil fuels is that they create pollution and greenhouse gases that impact massively on global warming. Fortunately, there are safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to burning fossil fuels. Explained here are a few of the most popular renewable energy sources that could one day replace coal, oil and gas.
Solar energy is possibly the number one contender for providing our energy once fossil fuels have run out. It has great versatility, and ultimately could be used to run entire households alone. It can generate electricity and provide central and water heating, as well as providing lighting. It is also safe and completely natural. The technology that contributes to solar power is constantly progressing. Making it cheaper is key, as is how best to store the energy when the sunshine is diminished. Solar panels are already seen on a lot of properties and this sight has been growing steadily over the years.
Another energy source is hydropower, meaning the force of water. Again, it is a natural source that is all around us and creates no direct pollution. The flow of water has been used to power machinery for hundreds of years, and with technology nowadays, it can stored in reservoirs and at dams to then generate power and electricity for large populations.
Another source is from wind energy. Like water power, wind has been used for centuries to power mills and boats. Today, wind turbines can be seen off shore or on top of hills and divide opinion on an aesthetic level. However, they deliver clean energy by using nothing but a natural resource.
These are the big three of potential renewable energy supplies when fossil fuels either run out or become too scarce and expensive to consider. There are numerous other options available. Geothermal energy is one, which relies on the heat of the earth’s interior to generate power. Others are to use the waves of the sea, the huge potential of hydrogen and also bio mass material to produce fuel and electricity.

Top Renewable Energy Sources

There are several renewable energy resources and environmentally friendly at the same time and natural processes are harnessed. These energy sources are classified as clean energy sources and described as renewable energy since no resources are used to create any energy.
• Tidal Power – is generated in two different ways either through tidal generators which are generally very environmentally friendly or barrage generation. It is not widely used however and similar to wind turbines, as tidal stream generators rotate underwater and swiftly moving dense water drives it.
• Wave power – can be used for water desolation, water pumping and electricity generation. It is a difficult process however in the fact that ocean and wave direction is unpredictable.
• Solar power – is the cheapest form of renewable energy with the use of the sun’s power to produce electricity. This is one of the fastest growing renewable technologies used and very efficient. It is used for small and medium sized applications and widely used every day.
• Wind power – is renewable energy used for mechanical and electrical energy. The conversion of wind energy is a powerful renewable energy resource and its growth is growing each year.
• Hydroelectricity – is the use of power generated by gravitational force of flowing or falling water. It is maybe the most widely used for of renewable energy and after installation initially there is no direct waste.
• Radiant energy – a method called fractionation is used to extract energy from electricity.
• Geothermal power – natural processes are used to extract renewable energy from the earth and very efficient and powerful. Geothermal plants can generate power on large scale and currently used in 24 different countries world-wide.
• Biomass – refers to plant matter grown specifically or even trash such as yard clippings, dead branches and dead trees as well as animal matter as well as biodegradable waste.

Types of Renewable Energy

The United States relies heavily on natural gas, oil and coal for its energy. The use of Fossil fuels are to environmentally damaging to retrieve and also too expensive to retrieve and are non-renewable and resources dwindle as oppose to solar energy and wind energy, which are renewable energies and can never run out as it is constantly replenished.

Renewable energy usually comes either from the sun, whether it is directly or indirectly. The sun or solar energy as it is known are used directly for lighting and heating homes and buildings, hot water heating, cooking, solar cooling, generation of electricity and other industrial and commercial uses. The heat of the sun drives wind and that energy gets captures by wind turbines. With the combination of the sun’s heat and the wind, water is evaporated. The water vapor formed then turns into snow or rain and flow into streams and rivers and this energy are captures with the use of hydroelectric power.

The sunlight, snow and rain also cause greenery to grow and the organic matter the plants consist of is called biomass. This is used to produce transportation fuels, electricity or chemicals. When biomass is used for one of the mentioned purposes it is called bioenergy. Organic compounds and water also contain Hydrogen and as we all know water is an abundant Earth element. Hydrogen however is combined with elements such as oxygen in the making of water. When hydrogen is separated from other elements, it can be converted into electricity or burned as fuel.

Some renewable energy that does not come from the sun is geothermal energy where the earth’s internal heat is tapped for the use of cooling and heating of buildings and electric power production. The ocean’s tide also produce energy with the gravitational pull of the moon and sun upon Earth.