Renewables in general

Renewable energy is a term used to describe a variety of energy sources which do not have a finite supply. In contrast, energy sources such as coal, oil and gas are non-renewable forms of energy and will one day run out. In fact supplies of these fossil fuels are already severely depleted and we need to look carefully at other sources of energy with some urgency. Renewable energy sources also have a further advantage over traditional fuels as they do not have the same negative environmental impact caused by CO2 emissions

There are five main types of renewable energy, namely solar power, wind power, hydropower, biomass energy and geothermal power.

Solar power is the name given for using the energy of the sun to provide electricity or to heat water. Both types can be used in both domestic and larger scale environments.

Wind power harnesses the power of the wind to provide electricity and the UK has the largest wind resource in Europe much more of which can yet be utilised

Hydropower means using the power of water to make electricity or run machinery.

Biomass is a collective term for all animal and plant material. Biomass energy is produced by burning or digesting some forms of these materials and the UK already has some of the largest examples of the use of biomass to generate electricity in Europe.

Geothermal power Geothermal energy is the natural heat of the earth which can be used to heat or cool buildings and provide hot water.

Hydrogen is energy wich is obtained by combining hydrogen with oxigen. There are already some cars running with this kind of energy and is expected wich are in the market over the next decade.

All of these are renewable energy sources could be used much more to generate clean power and heat.

Renewables: the myths#3

The topic today pretty much matches with the weather today: wind. Lot’s of it. A couple of wind towers in Valmiera would work at full speed ,)

We think that the most amazing myth must be that wind towers kill birds in the most astronomic numbers (see an article about it on USA Today). It could be he the new Hollywood shitty blockbuster: The Killer Wind Towers. With three sequels XD

About this amazing (or stupid) myth, there’s a pretty good article on Greener Ideal. We leave it to you with hopes that you’ll stop having nightmares with the super bird-unfriendly wind towers.

“Another myth is that wind power is a noisy bird killer. Wind power was once touted as benign, but once the wind farms started to go up, and people had to start looking at them, then opinions changed. While most will not admit it, objections to wind power are mainly aesthetic. However, they try to couch their objections in other terms.  First is the idea that wind turbines are mass killers of bird and other flying creatures.  Wind turbines do kill birds, this is true. So do many other human actions and technology, like skyscrapers, cars and planes, pollution (like from coal-fired plants) and worst of all, the domestic cat.  The question should be: Do wind turbines kill too many birds? The average wind warm will kill upwards of 3000 birds a year, mostly small birds but the occasional “prestige” species as well, like raptors. Skyscrapers kill millions annually, and domestic cats quite likely even more. So taken in that context, the average wind farm isn’t so bad. Could it better? Yes, and wind project developers are always looking for ways to ease the suffering.

As an example, the bigger the turbine, the less likely it is to kill birds.  Modern wind farms are being built with much larger, and safer, turbines than earlier designs. Proper placement of the turbines to avoid migration corridors will also mitigate the risk.

Another complaint raised against wind turbines is the noise. While a huge, slowly-spinning three bladed turbine is going to make some noise, we’re not talking about helicopter rotors here. A typical wind farm generates 35-45 decibels at over 200 meters. Which is about as much noise as a kitchen refrigerator. So, again, this claim doesn’t really stand up well to scrutiny”.

So, we showed you both sides of the story. But we couldn’t finish this post without  leaving you with a link to a very complete  article on How Stuff Works about this subject. Actually, you may not believe it, but it’s a pretty serious thing – lot’s of discussion about it. If you search for “wind towers” and “birds” on Google, the amount of stuff about this myth is amazing. Anyway, if we you don’t read, the thing is: yes, wind towers kill birds BUT not in astronomical proportions comparing to f****** CATS!!

Renewables: the myths#2

Hi there! Today the Energy Dealers bring you a subject that I’m sure you all like (unless you’re very depressed people and with suicidal tendencies): the sun. More concretely, the solar energy.

The big myth with solar energy is whether is has the possibilty to supply the energy that we need (which is a lot) or no. Well, some say that it has only the power to provide a small fraction. Some even say that it has no power at all. Clearly these guys never tried this. Or this. Or that. Even children can cook with solar energy, it’s all over the Youtube 😀

Yeah, I agree that we need more than just enough power to fry an egg. The thing is: the energy you can get from a small photovoltaic panel is small, indeed. But in order to fix that we do just like humans always do: we build big stuff 😀

According to ‘a Greener Ideal’:  “A 260 square kilometre area of Nevada would be enough to supply all the energy needs of the United States, the biggest energy consumer on the planet. While that may sound like a large area, if that were spread out over many sites, it would be a bit more than the area of all the abandoned industrial sites in the US”.

The thing with solar energy is that is not portable yet – although those crazy japanese people have invented this:

Yes people, it is a solar bra indeed. Read about it here.

Now back to what we were saying: despite not being portable, you can still use it to charge the batteries of electric cars. And yes, the car industry is not ready yet to give up the fuels (although they are trying and doing research, praise the Lord). But if at least a part of the energy for the car can be provided in a clean way, then it’s not so bad 😀

Check the “Go solar power for homes” website: lot’s of articles about solar power directed towards people who are thinking about investing in it in their houses. The last issues talk about a calculator of expenses with solar energy, a DIY home made solar panel, 5 reasons to install solar energy and an article about a company that managed to make it  cheaper than coal (remember the last myth?)

And check also one of the blogs of the Scientific AmericanSolar at home.

Team Energetiki comes back next time with the myth of wind power a.k.a wind farms – terrible murderers of inocent birds XD

Renewables: the myths#1

Aloha!!

Team ViA Energetiki brings you today a very important aspect of renewables: the fact that there are so many myths around them.

Some say they’re the future. Others say that they’re not so reliable as that, and that they are very expensive and nuclear is the way to go. In fact, some even say that the term “renewables” is not correct, since they’re not totally… well, renewable.

We’re not here to tell you that everything about the renewables is perfect. We are here to tell you what renewables are, and that we should start learning and investing and developing them now – while we still have fuels to lean on. So that in the not so distant future, we won’t have to fight for energy when our fuel reserves will resume to… energy for those who can pay for it.

Of course we know that science is already evolving in that way. But because we didn’t start earlier to protect our planet, now we don’t really have the time to wait for the natural course of things. For the next generations to learn and to start using cleaner forms of energy. If that transition doesn’t happen still in this generation, then we’re afraid that no other generations will be here to drink clean water, to swim in the blue sea, to make ski in snowy mountains and even to sing “The Sound of Music” in green hills if they want to.

But enough with drama, cause we’re pretty sure that you’re already crying and weeping and with lot’s of kleenex all around you.

Today we’ll discuse some myths, but not everything at the time, ok? Let’s not be hasty. So… we’re comes myth number one:

Clean coal. Some say that there’s a way to make coal be “green” by using processes to clean it. About coal, we must say that the World Health Organization estimates that more than one million people are killed every year by smoke and particulates from it’s burning. Besides, the smoke stack emissions plus the ash residue releases more radiation into the environment every year than nuclear power has ever done. Ever.

But, and there’s always a “but”, there are claims of a process to prevent pollution by cleaning up the exhaust at the same time its being emitted. It can be done by sequestering the emissions. By sequestering, it means
burying wastes in depleted underground oil reservoirs. The problem is – if the sequestration attempts fail, then all of that material will be released back into the environment. Nice, hum?

According to Wikipedia, 49% of the electricity in the USA (as you know, one of the countries that pollutes more) comes from coal power plants. And this is the year 2010. We think it’s sad, don’t you?

Next time, another myth – solar energy

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