1 Renewable Energy Table of Contents Objectives List six forms of renewable energy, and compare their advantages and disadvantages. Describe the difference between passive solar heating, active solar heating, and photovoltaic energy. Describe the current state of wind energy technology. Explain the differences in biomass fuel use between developed and developing nations. Describe how hydroelectric energy, geothermal energy, and geothermal heat pumps work. Renewable Energy Renewable energy is energy from sources that are constantly being formed. Types of renewable energy includes: solar energy wind energy the power of moving water Earth s heat. Remember, all sources of energy, including renewable sources, affects the environment.
2 Solar Energy Power from the Sun Nearly all renewable energy comes directly or indirectly from the sun. Direct solar energy is used every day, like when the sun shines on a window and heats the room. Solar energy can also be used indirectly to generate electricity in solar cells. Passive Solar Heating Passive solar heating is the use of sunlight to heat buildings directly. In the Northern Hemisphere, south facing windows receive the most solar energy. Therefore, passive solar buildings have large windows that face south. An average household could reduce its energy bills by using any of the passive solar features shown on the next slide. Passive Solar Heating
3 Active Solar Heating Active solar heating is the gathering of solar energy by collectors that are used to heat water or heat a building. More than 1 million homes in the United States use active solar energy to heat water. Solar collectors, usually mounted on a roof, capture the sun s energy. Active Solar Heating Active Solar Heating A liquid is heated by the sun as it flows through solar collectors. The hot liquid is then pumped through heat exchangers, which heats water for the building. About 8% of the energy used in the United States is used to heat water; therefore, active solar technology could save a lot of energy.
4 Photovoltaic Cells Photovoltaic cells are solar cells that convert the sun s energy into electricity. Solar cells have no moving parts, and they run on nonpolluting power from the sun. However, they produce a very small electrical current. Meeting the electricity needs of a small city would require covering hundreds of acres with solar panels. Photovoltaic Cells Sunlight falls on a semiconductor, causing it to release electrons. The electrons flow through a circuit that is complete when another semiconductor in the solar cell absorbs electrons and passes them on to the first semiconductor. Photovoltaic Cells Solar cells require extended periods of sunshine to produce electricity. This energy is stored in batteries, which supplies electricity when the sun is not shining. Currently, solar cells provide energy for more than 1 million households in developing countries, where energy consumption is minimal and electricity distribution networks are limited.
5 Wind Power Energy from the sun warms the Earth s surface unevenly, which causes air masses to flow in the atmosphere. We experience the movement of these air masses as wind. Wind power, which converts the movement of wind into electric energy, is the fastest growing energy source in the world. Wind Farms Wind turbines are used to capture the energy from the wind. Large arrays of wind turbines are called wind farms. Large wind farms supply electricity to thousands of homes. In windy rural areas, small wind farms with 20 or fewer turbines are also becoming common. Because wind turbines take up little space, some farmers can add wind turbines to their land and still use the land for other purposes. Wind Farms The cost of wind power has been steadily falling as wind turbines have become more efficient.
6 An Underdeveloped Resource Scientists estimate that the windiest spots on Earth could generate more than ten times the energy used worldwide. In the future, the electricity may be used on the wind farm to produce hydrogen from water., all of the large energy companies are developing plans to use more wind power. Biomass Power from Living Things Biomass fuel consists of plant material, manure, or any other organic matter that is used as an energy source. Fossil fuels can be thought of as biomass energy sources, although they are nonrenewable. Renewable biomass fuels, such as wood and dung, are major sources of energy in developing countries. More than half of all wood cut in the world is used as fuel for heating and cooking. Biomass Power from Living Things
7 Biomass Power from Living Things Although materials like wood are a renewable resource, if trees are cut down faster than they grow, the resulting habitat loss, deforestation, and soil erosion can be severe. In addition, harmful air pollution may result from burning wood and dung. Methane When bacteria decompose organic wastes, one byproduct is methane gas. Methane can be burned to generate heat or electricity. In China, more than 6 million households use biogas digesters to ferment manure and produce gas for heating and cooking. Some landfills in the United States generate electricity by using the methane from the decomposition of trash. Alcohol Liquid fuels can also be derived from biomass. For example, ethanol, an alcohol, can be made by fermenting fruit or agricultural waste. In the United States, corn is a major source of ethanol. Cars and trucks can run on ethanol or gasohol, a blend of gasoline and ethanol. Gasohol produces less air pollution than fossil fuels. Some states require the use of gasohol in vehicles as a way to reduce air pollution.
8 Hydroelectricity Power from Moving Water Hydroelectric energy is electrical energy produced by falling water. Hydroelectric energy accounts for 20% of the world s electricity. Large hydroelectric power plants have a dam that is built across a river to hold back a reservoir of water. The water in the reservoir is released to turn a turbine, which generates electricity. Hydroelectricity Power from Moving Water The Benefits of Hydroelectric Energy Hydroelectric dams are expensive to build, but relatively inexpensive to operate. Unlike fossil fuel plants, hydroelectric dams do not release air pollutants that cause acid precipitation. Hydroelectric dams also tend to last much longer than fossil fuel-powered plants. Dams also provide other benefits such as flood control and water for drinking, agriculture, industry, and recreation.
9 Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy A dam changes a river s flow, which can have farreaching consequences. A reservoir floods large areas of habitat above the dam. Water flow below the dam is reduced, which disrupts ecosystems downstream. For example, many salmon fisheries of the northwestern United States have been destroyed by dams that prevent salmon from swimming upriver to spawn. Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy When the land behind a dam is flooded, people are often displaced. If a dam bursts, people living in areas below the dam can be killed. River sediments build up behind the dam instead of enriching land farther down the river, making farmland below the dam less productive. Recent research has also shown that the decay of plant matter trapped in reservoirs can release large amounts of greenhouse gases sometimes more than a fossil-fuel powered plant. Modern Trends While in developing countries the construction of large dams continues, in the United States, the era of large dam construction is probably over. One modern trend is micro-hydropower, which is electricity produced in a small stream without having to build a big dam. The turbine may even float in the water, not blocking the river at all. Micro-hydropower is much cheaper than large hydroelectric dam projects, and it permits energy to be generated from small streams in remote areas.
10 Geothermal Energy Power from the Earth In some areas, deposits of water in the Earth s crust are heated by geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is the energy produced by heat within the Earth. The United States is the world s largest producer of geothermal energy. Although geothermal energy is considered a renewable resource, the water that is used must be managed carefully so that it is not depleted. Geothermal Energy Power from the Earth Geothermal power plants generate electricity using the following steps Steam rises through a well Steam drives turbines, which generate electricity Leftover liquid is pumped back into the hot rock The leftover liquid, water, is returned to Earth s crust because it can be reheated by geothermal energy and used again. Geothermal Energy Power from the Earth
11 Geothermal Heat Pumps: Energy for Homes More than 600,000 homes in the United States are heated and cooled using geothermal heat pumps. A geothermal heat pump uses stable underground temperatures to warm and cool homes because the temperature of the ground is nearly constant yearround. A heat pump is simply a loop of piping that circulates a fluid underground. Geothermal Heat Pumps: Energy for Homes Geothermal Heat Pumps: Energy for Homes In the summer, the ground is cooler than air and the fluid cools the home. In the winter, the ground is warmer than air, and the fluid warms the home.
12 Objectives Describe three alternative energy technologies. Identify two ways that hydrogen could be used a fuel source in the future. Explain the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation. Describe two forms of energy-efficient transportation. Identify three ways that you can conserve energy in your daily life. Alternative Energy To achieve a future where energy use is sustainable, we must make the most of the energy sources we already have and develop new sources of energy. Alternative energy describes energy that does not come from fossil fuels and that is still in development. Alternative Energy For an alternative energy source to become a viable option for the future, the source must be proven to be cost effective. Also, the environmental effects of using the energy source must be acceptable.
13 Tidal Power A tidal power plant works much like a hydroelectric dam. As the tide rises, water enters a bay behind a dam. The gate then closes at high tide. At low tide, the gate opens and the water in the bay rushes through, spinning a turbine that generates electricity. Tidal Power Tidal Power Although tidal energy is renewable and nonpolluting, it will not become a major energy source in the future. The cost of building and maintaining tidal power plants is high, and there are few suitable locations.
14 Ocean Thermal Energy In the tropics, the temperature difference between the surface of the ocean and the deep ocean waters can be as much as 24ºC (43ºF). Ocean thermal energy conservation (OTEC) is the use of temperature differences in ocean water to produce electricity. Ocean Thermal Energy An OTEC plant produces energy using the following steps Warm surface water is boiled in a vacuum chamber. This produces a steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity. Cold deep-ocean water will condense the steam. The steam turns into water that can be used again. Ocean Thermal Energy
15 Ocean Thermal Energy The United States and Japan have experimented with OTEC power, but so far, no project has been able to generate electricity cost effective. OTEC plants are inefficient because about one-third of the electricity the plant produces is used to pump cold water up from the deep ocean. The environmental effects of pumping large amounts of cold water to the surface are also unknown. Hydrogen A Future Fuel Source? Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, can be burned as a fuel. Hydrogen does not contain carbon, so it does not release pollutants associated with burning fossil fuels and biomass. When hydrogen is burned in the atmosphere, it combines with oxygen to produce water vapor, a harmless byproduct, and small amounts of nitrogen oxides. Hydrogen A Future Fuel Source? Hydrogen gas (H 2 ) can be produced by using electricity to split molecules of water (H 2 O). Hydrogen fuel can be made from any material that contains a lot of hydrogen. In the future, we may also be able to grow plants to produce hydrogen cost effectively.
16 The Challenge of Hydrogen Fuel One difficulty of using hydrogen as a fuel today is that hydrogen takes a lot of energy to produce. If this energy came from burning fossil fuels, generating hydrogen would be expensive and polluting. The Challenge of Hydrogen Fuel One alternative is to use electricity from solar cells or wind power to split water molecules to produce hydrogen. Hydrogen could then be stored in pressurized tanks and transported in gas pipelines. Or hydrogen might not be stored at all it might be used as it is produced, in fuel cells. Fuel Cells A fuel cell is a device that produces electricity chemically by combining hydrogen fuel with oxygen from the air. When hydrogen and oxygen are combined, electrical energy is produced and water is the only byproduct. Fuel cells can be fueled by anything that contains plenty of hydrogen, including natural gas, alcohol, or even gasoline.
17 Fuel Cells Energy Efficiency There are two main ways to reduce energy use: lifestyle changes increases in energy efficiency Energy efficiency is the percentage of energy put into a system that does useful work. Energy efficiency can be determined by this equation: energy efficiency (in %) = energy out/energy in 100 Energy Efficiency Most of our devices are fairly inefficient. More than 40 percent of all commercial energy used in the United States is wasted. Increasing efficiency may involve sacrifices or investments in new technology.
18 Efficient Transportation Developing efficient engines to power vehicles and increasing the use of public transportation systems would help increase energy efficiency of American life. The internal combustion engines that power most vehicles do so inefficiently and produce air pollution. In the next 50 years, the design of these engines may change radically to meet the need for more efficient transportation. Hybrid Cars Hybrid cars are examples of energy-efficient vehicles. Hybrid cars use small, efficient gasoline engines most of the time, but they also use electric motors when extra power is needed, such as while accelerating. Hybrid cars do not cost much more than conventional vehicles, they cost less to refuel, and they produce less harmful emissions. Hybrid Cars
19 Hybrid Cars Hybrid cars feature many efficient technologies. They convert some energy of braking into electricity and store this energy in the battery. The gasoline engine is sometimes shut off to save fuel, such as when the car is stopped at a red light. They are aerodynamic in design and need less energy to accelerate. Cogeneration Cogeneration is the production of two useful forms of energy from the same fuel source. For example, the waste heat from an industrial furnace can power a steam turbine that produces electricity. Small cogeneration systems have been used for years to supply heat and electricity to multiple buildings at specific sites. Energy Energy conservation is the process of saving energy by reducing energy use and waste. This can occur in many ways, including using energyefficient devices and wasting less energy. Between 1975 and 1985, conservation made more energy available in the United States than all alternative energy sources combined did.
20 Cities and Towns Saving Energy The town of Osage, Iowa, numbers 3,600 people. This town saved more than $1 million each year in energy because they found ways to conserve energy. In addition to saving energy, the town has greatly improved its economy through energy conservation. Businesses have relocated to the area to take advantage of low energy costs. Unemployment rates have also declined. Around the Home The average household in the U.S. spends more than $1,200 on energy bills each year. Unfortunately, much of the energy from homes is lost through poorly insulated windows, doors, walls, and the roof. There are dozens of ways to reduce energy use around the home. in Daily Life There are many simple lifestyle changes that can help save energy. Using less of any resource usually translates into saving energy.
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