Renewable energy is energy that comes from practically inexhaustible natural sources. Renewable resources have the ability to regenerate faster than the rate at which they are consumed.
Energy efficiency varies depending on the type of energy. However, compared to non-renewable sources, the efficiency is higher.
Advantages of renewable energy
Among the main advantages we highlight the following:
- They are respectful with the environment and do not pollute. They do not generate greenhouse gases and do not contribute to climate change.
- Greater security. They are safer and pose fewer health risks than other non-renewable energy sources. The more energy generated by clean energy, the more fossil energy will need to be generated.
- When they come to an end they are easy to dismantle. There is no need to guard your waste, as in the case of nuclear energy, for example.
- They are sustainable. They allow energy to be obtained without depleting natural resources.
Examples of renewable energy
Renewable energy can be used to generate electricity, but it can also be used in other applications. Here are some examples:
- Electricity generation using photovoltaic solar energy panels.
- Thermal solar energy installations for heating.
- Pool heating by solar energy.
- Thermal centers using geothermal energy.
- Heating systems using geothermal wells.
- Electric power generation through wind farms.
- The use of hydraulic energy through swamps for the generation of electricity.
- Sailing boats.
- The flight of gliders and paragliders without a motor, which take advantage of the updrafts of air.
- Photosynthesis is a way for plants to take advantage of solar energy. In this case, who benefits are the plants, but it is still an example of renewable energy.
In a more generic way, renewable energy can be classified depending on the natural resources that are used.
Types of renewable energy
The main sources of renewable energy are the following:
- Solar energy, which uses electromagnetic energy from the Sun.
- Wind energy, which takes advantage of the force and speed of the wind.
- Hydraulic power, which uses the potential energy in the water. Water mills, hydroelectric plants, etc.
- Geothermal energy, which takes advantage of the heat inside the Earth.
- Biomass, based on the use of organic materials of plant or animal origin.
- Tidal and wave energy, which uses marine currents and the movement of tides and waves.
1.- Solar energy
Solar energy is energy that directly harnesses solar radiation. Although the Sun does not have an inexhaustible life, it is estimated that the Sun's life is millions of years. We distinguish two types:
- Thermal solar energy. It consists of the use of thermal solar energy. Converts radiation from the Sun into heat energy. It is used to produce hot water and even steam.
- Photovoltaic solar energy. Transform solar energy into electricity. This transformation is carried out using solar panels.
2.- Wind energy
This type of clean energy does not require any fuel. Only the wind, an unlimited and renewable resource. The wind is displaced by pressure and temperature differences caused directly or indirectly by the Sun.
There are two types of wind installations:
- Isolated wind energy installations, to generate electrical energy in remote places for self-consumption.
- Wind farms, formed by a set of wind turbines, to sell the electrical energy generated to the grid.
3. Hydraulic power
Hydraulic energy harnesses the potential energy of water to obtain mechanical work. If we use this work to drive a generator we get electricity. Hydroelectric power.
Hydraulic energy is renewable thanks to the water cycle. The water cycle of solar energy. Therefore, hydraulic energy too.
There are basically two types of hydroelectric plants:
- Flowing water hydroelectric plants. These plants capture part of the flow flowing through a river.
- Hydroelectric power plants at the foot of the dam. This type of plant is located downstream of the reservoirs.
Biomass is based on the use of organic materials of plant or animal origin. it includes the products and by-products resulting from its transformation.
Biofuels may also be included. The main use of biofuels is transportation.
Biomass applications can be divided into two groups:
- Domestic and industrial applications that work through the direct combustion of biomass.
- Applications linked to the emergence of new resources and new transformation techniques. For example, gasification and pyrolysis of biomass.
5.- Tidal and wave energy
The seas and oceans are huge solar collectors from which energy from diverse sources can be extracted (waves, tides and thermal gradients).
The energy released by seawater in its rising and falling tidal movements (ebb and flow) is harnessed in tidal power plants, passing the water through hydraulic turbines.
The conversion of oceanic thermal energy allows energy to be obtained from the difference in temperature between the surface water and that which is 100 m deep. For use, a difference of 20 ° C is sufficient.
6. Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is obtained from heat in the underground layers of the earth.
The large amount of thermal energy stored inside the Earth is enormous. The exploitation of this energy resource has practically no effect on the internal energy of the Earth. For this reason it is considered renewable energy.
Renewable energy is energy that is obtained from inexhaustible resources. The main advantage in relation to non-renewable is that it does not emit greenhouse gases. Therefore, it does not negatively contribute to climate change.
The main renewable sources are:
- Solar energy.
- The eolic energy.
- Hydraulic energy.
- Tidal energy.
- Geothermal energy.