Currently fossil fuels satisfy the majority of mankind’s energy needs. The current fossil energy sources are, however, running out. Moreover, the way people use these fossil fuels to produce energy has a bad influence on the environment.
The fossil fuels acting as the main sources of energy for our society are rapidly disappearing. The shortage of these conventional sources of energy leads us to the conclusion that something in our energy production process has to change. That is why people have been working on developing alternative, environmentally friendly and cheaper energy sources already for a while.
Sustainable energy sources
There are various sustainable energy sources. Among the most popular ones are solar energy, water energy and wind energy. A bit less popular, but rapidly developing sources include biofuel and geothermal heat energy. Researchers are currently investigating all these sources of energy, as well as the ways to increase their efficiency. On our website you can find multiple blogs describing the advantages and disadvantages of all these sources of energy. This post will give a short summary of all the sustainable energy sources, while the upcoming posts will focus on each energy source in more detail.
Solar energy is the energy our planet receives from the Sun in the form of radiation. We perceive solar energy as light and heat. This energy ensures the possibility of life on Earth and largely controls the weather and climate of our planet. Solar power is a technological area aiming at using the radiation from the Sun as a source of of energy that the humanity can use for its practical needs. Obviously, Solar energy is a renewable energy source. Another advantage is that no harmful by-products are released during the active phase of solar energy use.
Water power, or hydropower is the power of running water streams or falling water. Nowadays, hydroelectric plants converrt almost all hydropower into electricity. In the past humans also used the generated mechanical energy immediately, for example to pump water with a water mill.
Wind power specializes on transforming the kinetic energy of the moving air to the electrical, mechanical or heat energy for industrial use. Some examples of mechanisms collecting the kinetic energy of the wind include wind turbines, windmills and sails. A wind turbine transforms wind energy into electrical energy. A windmill transforms wind energy into mechanical energy. And a sail has various implementations in transport industry. Obviously, wind energy is a renewable energy source. For that reason wind power technologies are currently rapidly developing.
Biofuel is produced from plant or animal raw material, from the waste products of various organisms and from the organic industrial waste. Many experts consider biofuels as potential replacements for fossil fuels. Theoretically, biofuels are carbon neutral. Ideally, the amount of CO2 produced when burning the biofuel is compensated the amount of CO2 absorbed by the plants during their life-cycle. Practically, however, several other important factors play a role in whether or not a certain biofuel is carbon-neutral. This source of energy is also a renewable source.
Want to have renewable energy at home? Check out this page for the UK and this comparison engine for the Dutch market.
Find out if the world’s energy needs can be completely satisfied only by sustainable energy sources!