I am a big fan of green energy and all kinds of startups trying to do good in this industry. If you are looking for an alternative way to fight against climate change without destroying our planet, then there’s one simple answer. Again, it’s called Green Energy.
If we want sustainable development, which in turn helps mitigate global warming and other environmental problems like pollution or deforestation, green energy should become the main solution.
Green Energy Explained
The term itself means generating electricity from sources that do not produce a lot of greenhouse gases (GHG). GHGs include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone layer depletion compounds (ODCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFOs).
In short, any source of power generation that does not burn fossil fuels or use nuclear fission technology is almost always considered Green Energy.
The most common types of Green Energy include solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, hydropower, fuel cells, biofuels, biomass-based diesel/gasification combined cycle gas turbine engines, and small-scale microgeneration such as rooftop photovoltaic systems.
Renewables are also categorized into two main categories depending on their ability to generate electricity 24 hours per day, seven days per week. They are either intermittent renewables (such as tidal and wave action) or seasonal ones (like sunlight during winter months).
Some examples of seasonal resources include ocean current energy converters and ice melt ponds used as thermal generators.
Despite the fact that they are still premature, there are many ways to make these technologies more efficient while reducing costs. For example, some researchers have developed new designs that can increase efficiency by 40% compared to traditional models. Whether they are going to work or not, we still need to wait further.
Advantages Of Using Green Energy
And if you think about it, using natural resources instead of expensive fossil fuels makes sense because they’re cheaper in the long run. And even better yet — they don’t contribute to emissions of GHGs. Another advantage of making investments in Green Energy is that countries with abundant resources may become leaders in Green Energy production.
China has already made significant strides toward producing its own solar panel products and installing them at home and abroad. This country produces nearly half of all solar panels worldwide today. Its manufacturing capabilities, coupled with a cheap labor force, could result in inexpensive but high-quality solar panels. The irony is that China itself is one of the biggest polluters in the world.
This is why western countries should take advantage of this situation and become the leader in green energy.
Also, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, Green Energy technology manufacturers could easily design smart machines capable of analyzing data and automatically adjusting equipment settings to maximize output. These advancements would reduce human involvement and thus lead to greater profits.
Examples Of Green Energy Products
Let’s talk a bit more about the common green energy products. We’ll start with Solar Panels. Solar Photovoltaics (SPV) is based on harnessing the sun’s rays for electricity generation. SPVs consist of arrays of photovoltaic modules connected together electrically so that they form an interconnected system.
Each module consists of semiconductors doped silicon wafers coated with materials known as an anti-reflection coating. Semiconductor material absorbs light through the creation of electron-hole pairs.
When electrons accumulate on the right side of the battery cell, positive charges build up on the left-hand side, creating voltage potential difference across the device.
Solar PV uses sunlight to create DC electrical energy directly. Unlike conventional methods where electricity must first pass through an inverter before being stored as AC electricity, solar panels convert direct current to alternating current straight away. That means fewer losses due to conversion and storage.
A typical solar array is composed of hundreds of individual solar cells linked together in a series or parallel fashion. By doing so, multiple strings or rows of solar cells are able to deliver enough amperage to meet domestic requirements.
Solar Panel applications range from powering remote homes to supplying whole cities. Offering great value for money, solar panels provide electricity cheaper than retail prices since they pay no taxes or subsidies. Since solar panels are passive devices, they work regardless of weather conditions. But perhaps the greatest benefit of solar panels is their zero maintenance requirement.
As long as sunshine keeps coming, your solar panel will keep working. Now imagine how much time people save when they don’t need to worry about turning off lights or running air conditioning units anymore. Not only do solar panels eliminate the cost of purchasing and operating electric appliances, but they also cut down on electricity usage.
Many countries around the world have installed solar panels in excess of 100 gigawatts.
But wait – aren’t solar panels limited to providing energy only during sunny times? Well, actually yes, they are. However, this limitation doesn’t last forever. More importantly, however, solar panels are still very affordable and can be found even online.
You won’t be buying another solar panel ever again once you buy yourself a set of solar batteries. Even though solar panels work best during daylight hours, they continue to operate efficiently after sunset. Some solar panels even feature built-in LED lighting.
With just a little bit of extra effort, you can transform your old solar panel into a versatile nightlight. Once you install solar batteries, your solar panel becomes a reliable backup generator. Simply plug it into the wall socket whenever you need emergency illumination. You might as well say electric vehicles will be part of our green energy future although its lithium issue remain mystery in the battery space.
Besides solar panels, we also need to talk about wind turbines. Wind turbines are a popular choice among homeowners interested in putting up mini-generators within their yards. Wind generators capture kinetic energy generated by moving objects such as water or trees or boats, trains, etc.
Using large vanes, blades, and nacelles, wind turbines harvest energy from the wind blowing past.
Due to the increasing demand for clean, safe, and reliable energy supplies, wind farms are quickly becoming a viable option for developing nations. Like solar panels, wind turbines are passive devices requiring no upkeep, repairs, or replacements. Though small, wind turbines are quite powerful.
For instance, the largest commercial-size wind turbine currently operates at 130 kilowatts rating and generates 4 MW of electricity. At present, wind turbines supply approximately 5 percent of total US electricity needs.
Next, we need to also consider hydroelectricity. Hydroelectricity refers to the process of converting falling water into useful forms of energy. The first known hydroelectricity project was invented back in 1878.
Hydrogen is produced via electrolysis of water using electrodes submerged in river waters. The hydrogen atoms bond with oxygen molecules forming steam. The steam then spins pistons attached to rotor shafts which drive generators. Waterfalls can also serve as a prime resource for hydropower plants. Many rivers contain sufficient amounts of flowing water throughout the year-round.
Thus, it isn’t necessary to construct dams forcing the river to travel underground pipes for distribution elsewhere. River waters can be diverted along a specially constructed canal leading to a powerhouse. Then, the extracted energy is transmitted to nearby cities through long-distance transmission cables laid above land.
Although building dams causes destruction to valuable ecosystems, studies show that hydropower only accounts for 1 percent of all renewable sources of energy.
Next, we have biofuels. Biofuels refer to organic substances derived from biological processes. Examples of biofuel feedstock include corn starch, woodchips, sugarcane bagasse, vegetable oil, animal fats, waste paper, sewage sludge, algae, switchgrass, etc.
Biodiesel is composed of fatty acids and methyl esters formed from oils and fats obtained from crops, animals, recycled cooking grease, and others. Biogas is created through microbial fermentation of various organic wastes such as manure, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, grass, crop stalks, etc.
Thoughts On This Industry’s Future
The sustainability of our world depends on these products and whether they can keep innovating and growing. If they can, it’s high time that green energy will truly become mainstream and replace fossil fuels all over the world. Investing in green energy is the same as investing in the future.