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Renewable energy:

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as


sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable
(naturally replenished (to fill or make complete again)).

Renewable energy sources almost all stem from the Sunwith the
exceptions of geothermal and tidal energy.
Solar energy can be collected directly, by solar water heaters, solar
collectors that concentrate heat and convert it into electricity, or
photovoltaics that convert light directly into electricity.
electricity
Other renewable use wind, waves, rain via hydroelectric dams, or biomass
and
d wood
d fuel
f l that
th t allll have
h
as their
th i source solar
l radiation.
di ti
In fact coal, gas and oil also came from the Sun as it was the Suns energy
that
h grew the
h ancient
i
bi
biomass
that
h created
d fossil
f il fuel
f l reserves.
In wind, wave and hydroelectric power, the Suns heat causes convection
currents that power weather systems, and evaporates water that falls as
rain. The energy is then converted from kinetic energy of the wind and
waves, or the potential energy of a head of water, via a generating turbine
into electricity.

Biomass and wood convert solar energy by photosynthesis, which has a


very low efficiencyless than 1 % of solar energy falling on a hectare of
vegetation can be converted into biomass for use as fuel.
fuel
The only forms of energy we use that are not forms of solar power are
geothermal powerenergy
power energy from the Earth
Earthss internal heat; tidal power,
power
coming from gravitational forces (from Earth, Moon and Sun) and nuclear
power.
Renewable energy has the advantage of not producing carbon dioxide, and
is one essential component in any strategy to reduce the risks of climate
change.
h
While biomass does produce CO2 when burnt, it only releases the same
amount as it took in when growing, and so is carbonneutral over the
lifetime of the tree or other plant.

TheSunasthesourceofrenewableenergyresources.

Renewableenergyresources
Renewablesource

ResourcebaseTW

RecoverableTW

90,000

1,000

3001,200

10

30

15

Wave

110

0 51
0.51

Hydro

1030

1.52

Tidal

0.1

Geothermal

30

Solarradiation
Wind
Biomass

As table above, the amount of energy from the Sun and from the other
renewable sources is very large compared with the amount of energy
used by mankind. However much of this energy is either too diffuse (i.e.
high entropy) or too inaccessible to use as fuel.

Hydroelectricpowerandpotentialenergy:
Hydroelectric power or HEP is the production of electricity from the energy
in moving water.
The energy produced comes from the potential energy of the water, which
travels down through a pipe from a height, to turn a turbine.
For an HEP station with a head height h, the potential energy of the water is
given by
PE = mgh
g
The power as energy output per hour can then be calculated from the flow
rate
ate of tthee water
ate aand
d tthee stat
station
o eefficiency.
c e cy
Efficiency depends on friction in the pipes, and efficiency of conversion to
electricity.

Hydroelectricpowerstationandpumpedstorage.

Environmentally, HEP has a poor record,


Environmentally
record as many large projects have been
constructed requiring dams that flood large land areas, resulting in loss of
productive land or forest and people being evicted from their homes and
villages However,
villages.
However smallscale
small scale plants are now being built that do not require
dams or lakes, but benefit from being renewable and having no emissions.

Windpower:
Modern wind turbines owe more to aeronautical engineering than to the
windmills used historically to grind corn.
Turbine blades are aerodynamically designed, similar to an aircrafts wing.
Wind farms provides a zeroemission source of electricity that is rapidly
becoming cost competitive with fossil fuels.
A wind turbine takes its energy from the KE of wind passing through its
blades.
For a turbine with area A swept by the blades, the amount of air passing will
be given by the volume of a cylinder of wind, with surface area of its face A
and length v,
v the distance travelled by the wind in a second.
second

m=volumepersecondxdensity
=Av
wherev isthewindspeedandisthedensityofair.TheKEofthismassofair
p

y
isthengivenby:
1 2
mv
2
1
KE = ( Av )v 2
2
1
KE = Av 3
2

KE =

As energy depends on v cubed,


cubed doubling the wind speed will mean 23 or 8
times as much energy.
The energy output will then depend on the efficiency of converting this blade
movement into electricity.
electricity

EnergyInthewind.

Because of the v3 relationship, wind turbines need to be situated on very


windy sites to maximize their output, as a small increase in wind speed
produces a large increase in output.
The average output of the turbine will be considerably less than its rated
capacity, because of the variability of the wind.

Tidesandtidalpower:
A tidal power plant consists essentially of a barrage enclosing an estuary (An
estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or
streams flowing into it), such that the estuary may be filled at high tide, then
the water released through generating turbines (very similar to those used in
hydroelectric power plants) at low tide.

Tidalpowerenergy.

In some designs power can also be generated on the incoming (flood) tide, as
the estuaryy fills.
The source of energy in tidal power is the gravitational pull between Earth,
Moon and Sun.
The tinyy amount of energy
gy lost in friction on the sea bed as the tides move to
and fro (and through tidal generators) is causing the Earth to slow down
slightly.
The amount of energy available to generate power depends on the tidal
range and the area of water behind the barrage. The maximum amount of
energy available to generate power is given by the differencein the potential
energy of the water trapped behind the barrage at high and low tide. This
potential energy is given by
PE = mgh
where m is the mass of the water, g is gravity and h is the height difference.
For a tidal estuary of height R (the tidal range) and area of water trapped A,
the mass of water
will be its volume (AR) times the density of water (), and the average height
fallen will be R/2:

ForatidalestuaryofheightR(thetidalrange)andareaofwatertrappedA,
themassofwaterwillbeitsvolume(AR)timesthedensityofwater(),and
th
theaverageheightfallenwillbeR/2:
h i ht f ll
ill b R/2
m = A R
R
h=
2
PE = mgh

PE = ( AR) g ( R )
2
1
PE = AR 2 g
2

This is the maximum theoretical energy available per tidal cycle. In fact, the
amount of power generated will be considerably less than this, as to use all
this potential would mean emptying the entire estuary instantaneously at low
tide.
Tidalrangeisacriticalfactorindeterminingwhetheranestuarywouldbe
usefulfortidalpowergeneration,becauseitsdependenceonR2 meansa
smallincreaseintidalrangegivesalargerincreaseinpotentialenergy
available.

Energyinwavesandwavepower:
Ocean waves are created by the wind on the surface of the water, building
up height and energy over long distances. The size of an ocean wave
depends
p
on the wind speed,
p
, how longg it has been blowingg for,, and the
distance of water over which it has been blowing over which the waves
build up, known as the fetch.

Very large waves are often encountered in the southern oceans where winds can,
and do, blow all the way around the Earth without meeting land, building up waves
to their maximum height for the wind speedindividual waves of 30 or 40 m are
not unknown under the right conditions.
Deep water waves are transverse waves, with individual water molecules moving in
vertical
i l circles
i l but
b overallll not moving
i forwards.
f
d They
Th have
h
a regular
l sinewave
i
shape, which can be described simply in terms of velocity, wavelength (or time
period), and the acceleration due to gravity g.
The energy in a wave is being constantly interchanged between potential and
kinetic energy forms, with potential depending on height and kinetic on velocity.
The energy of a deep water wave expressed as power in watts per metre of
wavefront can be given by:
g 2 H 2T

p=

32

where is the density of water, which for sea water is 1,025 kg m3 and H is the
height of the wave. To a reasonable approximation this simplifies to:

p H 2T
where P is the power in kW per metre of wavefront, H is the height in metres and T
is the time period in seconds.

Photovoltaics:
Photovoltaics (PVs), also known as solar cells or photoelectric cells, work by the
photoelectric effect.
PVsaremadefromsemiconductors.Certainsemiconductingmaterialswhenexcited
bylightwillproduceanelectricalvoltage,whichcanbeusedasacleanand
renewablesourceofpower.
bl
f

A PV cell consists of adjoining layers of semiconducting material of two


different type, ntype and ptype, create a voltage between them.
Incoming radiation in the form of sunlight can then provide an electron with
the necessary energy to allow it to conduct. This leaves a positive charge or
hole in the semiconductor. If connected to an external circuit, the
movement of electrons creates a current, which will flow under the
influence of the voltage created.
Typically
yp
y a single
g solar cell will be around 10 cm square
q
and can p
produce a
voltage of 0.5 V and a current of up to 2.5 A in full sunlight, giving peak
power output of 1.25 W. The solar energy incident on this solar cell would
be 10 W,, of which 1.25 W is converted to electrical p
power,, ie.,, 12.5 %
efficiency. The capacity of this cell would be termed 1.25 peak watts (Wp).

Biomass energy:
Biomass energy in the form of fuel wood to supply human needs has been
used since the first cavemen sat around their cooking fire, and is still the
largest renewable energy form used in the world today.
today
Fuel wood and other biomass energy such as straw, stalks and dung, used as
th main
the
i fuels
f l for
f cooking
ki and
d heating.
h ti
Wood is also widely used in Europe and America, particularly in rural areas,
while
hil the
th production
d ti off energy from
f
wastes
t and
d fuel
f l crops is
i increasing.
i
i

While biomass fuels produce CO2 in combustion, the amount produced is


equivalent to that used in photosynthesis when they grow, and so they have
the potential to form a sustainable,
sustainable carbonneutral energy resource.
resource
There are many other environmental issues to consider, including emissions
such as particulates and NOx,
NOx hazardous emissions including dioxins from
incineration of certain wastes, and land use in energy crops.
However it is now widely recognised that biomass could provide a valuable
and costeffective energy resource with much lower environmental impact
than fossil fuel.