There are many types of renewable energy sources and they can be grouped into five categories: solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and biomass. Each of these categories presents a unique way of forming. This beautiful world offers us many possibilities for a peaceful and healthy life! Pay attention because I am going to show you the most used and common types of renewable energy and their features!
How is renewable energy formed?
The category “aquatic sources” includes energy obtained from rivers and oceans. All these sources of energy, except geothermal, exist due to the energy of the Sun. Biomass consists of plant substances, which have absorbed some of the solar energy following photosynthesis. Rivers are fed by rain that occurred due to evaporation produced on the surface of oceans and lakes, under the influence of solar heat. The wind is formed by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface by the Sun. Geothermal energy is the energy of underground heat.
The energy of solar radiation can be converted directly into thermal energy (heat) and electricity. We can convert sunlight directly into electricity, using photovoltaic modules. There is another indirect method which normally focuses on the Sun’s energy to boil water, which is then used to produce steam used in solar thermal power plants. as well as other technologies. Photovoltaic cells and modules were originally used to power small and medium-sized applications, from computers powered by a single solar cell to home networks powered by a series of photovoltaic panels. The only significant issue is the cost of installation. However, to permanently supply energy, solar energy can be combined with other energy sources. Solar Energy Concentration Systems use lenses or mirrors in sewer systems to focus a large stream of light from the Sun into a small beam. The concentrated heat is then used as a heat source for a power plant with a traditional power generation cycle. A solar cell represents a device that can convert directly the light into an electric current by using the photoelectric effect.
Differences in density between two air masses lead to the formation of wind. The earth is unevenly warmed by the Sun, so the poles receive less energy from the Sun than the equator. The differentiated heating between the equator and the poles generates a stream of current and climatologically associated winds: westerly winds, polar winds and trade winds.
Winds are characterized due to their speed, the different geographical regions in which they appear and the types of forces that cause them. The notion of wind energy means the process of converting the kinetic energy of air masses into mechanical work with the help of wind engines (wind turbines) that operate electromechanical converters (generators) to produce electricity. Most of the energy stored in wind streams can be found at high altitudes, where permanent winds with speeds of over 170 km/h occur. Finally, wind energy is converted into heat diffused to the Earth’s surface and into the atmosphere.
The energy of this cycle is most efficiently used in hydropower. The use of water to produce mechanical energy is a fairly old practice. Water, falling from a height, rotates the blades of the generator and produces electricity. The amount of energy produced by water depends on the difference in height. The energy of waves, tides and ocean currents are other sources of water energy. The energy reserves, conserved in the planetary water cycle and the ocean waves, are enormous, but its use is difficult. The most common method of use is hydropower, ie obtaining electricity on account of falling water.
Advantages of hydropower can be mentioned the recycling capacity, the low cost of energy, the lack of pollutant emissions into the atmosphere. As disadvantages of hydropower can be highlighted the enormous investments in the construction of hydroelectric power plants and the damages brought to the environment during the construction and operation of hydroelectric power plants.
Biomass represents the largest renewable resource on the planet because it includes all the organic matter produced by the metabolic processes of living organisms. By conserving the Sun’s energy in chemical form, biomass is one of the most popular and widespread resources on Earth. It can be used in many forms such as paper, fabrics, building materials or medicines. Biomass is used for energy purposes from the moment man discovers fire. Today, biomass fuel can be used for a variety of purposes – from heating rooms to producing electricity and automotive fuels.
Geothermal energy represents various particular categories of thermal energy, which the earth’s crust contains. The deeper you go inside the earth’s crust, the higher the temperature and theoretically geothermal energy can be used more and more efficiently, the only problem being the depth at which this energy is available.