Thermal energy is the energy released in the form of heat. It can also be called heat energy. In a more technical way we can define thermal energy as part of the internal energy of a thermodynamic system in equilibrium that is proportional to its absolute temperature and is increased or decreased by energy transfer.
The thermal energy can be transformed using a thermal engine (a thermoelectric power plant uses thermal energy to generate electricity); or in mechanical work (for example, a car, airplane or ship engine).
The obtaining of thermal energy can imply an environmental…
Nuclear energy is the energy that is obtained from the division (nuclear fission) or from the union (nuclear fusion) of an atom. Despite the existence of a large number of applications related to nuclear energy (medicine, industry, transport, etc.), the main application of this technology is the generation of electrical energy.
Electricity of nuclear origin is generated in nuclear power plants. At present, all nuclear power plants operate through nuclear fission reactions. The nuclear fuel they use is usually uranium or plutonium (by an artificial process). Because…
Autonomous photovoltaic installations are those installations that are isolated from the electricity grid. All electrical energy generated by solar panels is consumed directly.
This type of photovoltaic installation is designed for the cases in which the cost of maintenance and installation of the power lines is not profitable. For example, this would be the case of mountain refuge.
The main element of autonomous photovoltaic installations is the photovoltaic panel. The photovoltaic panel is responsible for transforming solar radiation into electrical energy in the form of direct…
Renewable energy is that energy that comes from practically inexhaustible natural sources. They are considered inexhaustible either because of the large amount of energy they contain or because they can be regenerated naturally.
Among the main advantages of renewable energies we highlight the following:
Renewable energies are respectful with the environment and do not pollute.In this sense, they are safer and pose fewer health risks than other sources of non-renewable energy.
In most cases they are simple to dismantle and it is not necessary to guard their waste, as it…
Thermosolar energy is a technology to generate electricity or electricity by thermal energy from the Sun (solar heat). It is a type of solar thermal energy. Solar thermal energy is characterized by using solar radiation to heat a fluid. This hot fluid (usually water) can be used for many applications such as heating or hot water (DHW). But another application that can be given is the generation of electric power.
This type of energy is also often called thermoelectric power.
This process of electricity generation takes place in the so-called thermoelectric solar or solar thermal…
Hydropower is a source of renewable energy or alternative energy. This renewable energy exploits the transformation of gravitational potential energy, possessed by a certain mass of water at a certain elevation, in kinetic energy to overcome a certain difference in height. The mechanical energy obtained can be used directly to rotate the shaft of a turbine or in some application or machine that works using hydropower. The most common is to use this kinetic energy to generate electrical energy. In this case, we talk about hydroelectric power.
In hydroelectric power, the kinetic energy…
Fossil fuels are often spoken of as a type of negative, polluting energy, harmful to the environment. Fossil fuels are considered a non-renewable energy source due to the difficulty of regeneration.
Currently, fossil fuels are the most widely used energy source in the world. It is used to generate electrical energy but above all it is also used to generate mechanical energy (cars, heat engines, etc.)
The theory that fossil fuels formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants by exposure to heat and pressure in the earth's crust for millions of years was first introduced…
The term solar energy refers to the use of the energy that comes from the Sun. It is a type of renewable energy. The energy contained in the Sun is so abundant that it is considered inexhaustible. The Sun takes 5 billion years emitting solar radiation and it is estimated that it has not yet reached 50% of its existence.
Solar energy, in addition to being inexhaustible is abundant: the amount of energy that the Sun pours daily on…
An inverter is an electronic device. The function of the inverter is to change a DC input voltage to a symmetrical AC output voltage, with the magnitude and frequency desired by the user. The inverters use in a great variety of applications, from small power supplies for computers, to industrial applications to control high power. The inverters are also used to convert the direct current generated by photovoltaic solar panels, accumulators or batteries, etc., into alternating current and thus be able to be injected into the electrical network or used in isolated electrical installations.…
An inverter is an electronic device. The function of the inverter is to change a DC input voltage to a symmetrical AC output voltage, with the magnitude and frequency desired by the user. The inverters use in a great variety of applications, from small power supplies for computers, to industrial applications to control high power. The inverters are also used to convert the direct current generated by photovoltaic solar panels, accumulators or batteries, etc., into alternating current and thus be able to be injected into the electrical network or used in isolated electrical installations.
A solar panel is a device to take advantage of solar energy. It can also be called a solar module.
Photovoltaic solar panels contain a set of solar cells that convert light into electricity. It is called solar because the sun is one of the strongest energy sources for this type of use. Solar cells are sometimes called photovoltaic cells, and photovoltaics literally means "light-electricity". Solar cells have the photovoltaic effect to absorb the sun's energy and cause electrical current to flow between two charged layers in the opposite direction.
The denomination of solar panel…
Solar thermal energy is a way to harness the heat of solar energy from to get heat. Of the different techniques to convert solar radiation into thermal energy, in this section, we explain high-temperature solar thermal energy.
We refer to high-temperature solar thermal energy to those solar systems that use solar collectors that work at temperatures above 500ºC. In this type of installations, once the solar radiation has been transformed into heat energy, the next objective is to transform this heat into electrical energy.
For the conversion of fossil energy into electrical energy, the technology of a thermal power plant is often used. At the moment in which a thermal power station is fossil fuels fossilized from a source of non-renewable energy generation.
A thermal power plant (or thermoelectric plant) is a plant that generates electricity by transforming heat. Historically heat energy is converted into electricity by transferring heat to a working fluid and then transforming the energy of this fluid into mechanical energy. Finally, mechanical energy is transformed into electricity. The…
Hydropower is the electric power produced in a hydroelectric power station from a current, vertical or horizontal, of a river. In other words, it is electricity (electrical energy) obtained from hydraulic energy (mechanical energy of water in movement of rivers, lakes and marshes).
The difference between hydroelectric and hydraulic energy is that hydraulic energy can be used to generate electrical energy but also to obtain energy of another type, for example, mechanical energy. While hydropower refers only to the use of hydropower to obtain electric power or electricity.
The efficiency of photovoltaic cells is one of the elements that determine the production of a photovoltaic solar energy installation. The other factors that determine the performance of a solar plant are latitude and climate.
The conversion efficiency value of a photovoltaic cell depends on several factors. When we refer to conversion efficiency, we refer implicitly to the thermodynamic efficiency, to the separation efficiency of the load carrier, to the reflectance efficiency and to the values of conduction efficiency. These parameters are difficult to measure…
The applications of photovoltaic solar energy are many and varied. In this field, they include from large power generation plants through photovoltaic panels, to small solar calculators.
A first way to classify the applications of photovoltaic solar energy is to distinguish the applications connected to the electrical network and the isolated installations.
The use of photovoltaic panels in isolated buildings is very useful since the investment needed to place solar panels on the roof of a farm, a chalet in the mountain or in a hotel in a secluded spot, is much less than what it…
In this section we intend to answer the main questions related to solar energy.
Generally, these are general topics that could be located in several sections of the web. Our intention is to expand this section in the future to publish generalist articles and curiosities of nuclear energy.
Most of the questions are focused on small solar installations, comparative with solar thermal energy and photovoltaic solar energy.
In the future we will also answer on more oriented questions in the field of physics: thermodynamics, forms of energy, mechanical energy, potential energy,…
In electronics, a photoelectric cell or a photovoltaic cell is an electrical / electronic device that converts the incident energy of solar radiation into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic cells are the basic components of photovoltaic modules, which are solar panels capable of generating electrical energy from solar radiation. It is therefore the essential basic element for this type of renewable energy.
Compounds of a material that has a photoelectric effect absorb photons of light and emit electrons. When these free electrons are captured, the result is an…
Within the history of solar energy, in one form or another, solar energy has always been present in the life of the planet being this imprescidible for the development of life. However, the way in which human civilization has exploited it invented new strategies and tools has undergone a long evolution.
The Sun is indispensable for the existence of life on the planet: it is responsible for the water cycle, photosynthesis, etc. Already the first civilizations realized this and, as civilizations have evolved, they have also evolved techniques to harness their energy. At the beginning they…
The solar thermal energy consists of the use of the energy coming from the Sun to transfer it to a medium that carries heat, generally water or air.
Among the different applications of solar thermal energy there is the possibility of generating electrical energy. The current technology allows heating water with solar radiation to produce steam and then obtain electrical energy.
Although the principle of operation is very similar there are two main applications of solar thermal energy:
- Use of solar thermal energy in homes and small installations…
In the field of renewable energies, there are other renewable technologies in the development phase. Cellulosic ethanol, geothermal energy from hot and dry rock and marine energy are technologies that can complement traditional photovoltaic solar energy, wind energy or hydropower, for example.
However, these technologies are not yet sufficiently developed or have limited commercialization. Many of these new sources of renewable energy have great potential, but they still have a long way to go in research and development.
There are numerous organizations within the academic…
A photovoltaic power plant or a photovoltaic power station is a set of facilities designed to supply electricity to the grid through the use of large-scale photovoltaic systems. The function of the photovoltaic power station is to capture and transform solar radiation into electricity.
A photovoltaic power plant is a power plant consisting of photovoltaic modules and an inverter. The photovoltaic panels are in charge of transforming the solar radiation, into electrical energy of direct current. The inverter is the electronic equipment whose function is to convert the direct…
Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources because they require millions of years for their formation in a natural way. Due to their high calorific power they are useful energy sources to generate thermal energy and their use has allowed the great economic and demographic growth linked to the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Although now they are fundamental for our economy. In 2007, the combustion of coal, oil and natural gas accounted for 86.4% of the world's primary energy. However, its combustion is one of the main sources of atmospheric pollution and global warming, which…
An electric generator is a device designed to produce electricity from a different form of energy.
The different forms of energy, which are transformed into electricity, are usually mechanical energy, chemical energy, photovoltaic energy or directly thermal energy.
Depending on their characteristics, there are several types of electric generators. The analysis of these generators is not limited only to the generators used in photovoltaic solar energy, but we will make a brief review of all types of electric generators. Photovoltaic generators
The installation of large photovoltaic power plants in the world continues to increase both in number and installed power. As of today, there is already an installation in India that produces 1000MW. However, even larger photovoltaic solar power plants are still being built.
In this sense, the countries that lead the production of photovoltaic solar energy are China, the United States and India.
From the main photovoltaic solar installations in the world we highlight: Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park. 1,000 MW. India
The Krnool Ultra Mega Solar photovoltaic park is located…
In general, both photovoltaic solar energy and, above all, solar thermal energy has a very good acceptance in society. However, it is convenient to know the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy to reinforce or contrast our opinion.
When we talk about energy sources, most people are positioned in favor or against a certain type (solar energy, nuclear energy, wind power, etc.). The arguments for positioning are varied: energy efficiency, pollution, safety, cost ... Therefore, we will try to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy in the most objective way possible.…
We have two definitions of electricity depending on whether ns refer to physical phenomena on a macroscopic scale or on a microscopic scale.
With the term electricity we refer generically to all physical phenomena in a macroscopic scale that involves one of the fundamental interactions, the electromagnetic force, with particular reference to electrostatics. At the microscopic level, these phenomena are due to the interaction between charged particles on a molecular scale: the protons in the nucleus of atoms or ionized molecules and the electrons. The typical macroscopic effects of such…
The constant price increases in electricity rates are reflected in the monthly bills of our home and therefore, more and more people are looking for alternatives to electricity and natural gas in order to save a few euros at the end of the month . One of these alternatives that has been implemented for a few years in Spain is self-consumption from solar panels .
With the installation of solar panels and the use of solar radiation, it is possible to generate electricity and / or heat in the home in a clean and renewable…
The bioclimatic architecture enters what is called passive solar energy. This type of architecture uses natural elements of the place (sun, wind, water, soil and vegetation) to achieve thermally efficient buildings capable of satisfying thermal comfort requirements, regardless of the use of air conditioning systems.
The bioclimatic approach is related to the principle of self-sufficiency and the realization that the main phenomena that negatively affect the environment are caused by the consumption of large amounts of non-renewable energy, fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Construction…
Solar thermal energy uses solar radiation to increase the internal energy of an element. Said in one way: to heat an element. Normally a liquid is heated to be able to transport this energy more easily to the place where you want to take advantage of it.
In single-family homes it is very common to see solar collectors. The function of these collectors is to heat sanitary hot water for domestic use or for heating. They are generally support systems but allow considerable financial savings. The installation of these solar collectors is very popular in certain areas due to its low installation…
The parabolic cylinder solar collector is another type of solar thermal collector. This type of solar panel used in solar thermal installations uses parabolic cylinders to concentrate all the solar radiation in a point. Instead of heliostats, this type of collector employs parabolic trough mirrors. For the focus of the parabola passes a pipe that receives the concentrated rays of the Sun, where the fluid is heated, usually a thermal oil. Currently the fluid reaches temperatures close to 400º C.
Until recently, the use of thermal solar CCP concentration systems was restricted to…
Hydropower is a source of renewable energy that uses water to generate energy. Normally, it uses the potential energy of water at a certain height to generate turbines and with them, electricity.
The mechanism of operation is to take advantage of the potential energy of water at a certain height, it is dropped to convert this energy into kinetic energy. With the kinetic energy of water a turbine that is connected to an electric generator is activated.
Generally, the installations responsible for hydroelectric production are hydroelectric power plants. Usually these facilities…