Sources of Renewable Energy are All Around Us
Sources for renewable energy are all around us. When you say renewable energy the first things that always come to mind are wind and solar power. These two technologies have been the primary focus for discussions about renewable energy for quite some time. Complimented by geothermal energy and biomass production, these four get 99% of the attention when it comes to renewable energy sources. However there are many more potential sources for renewable energy sources in today’s world and it is going to take a broad approach utilizing multiple technologies to truly solve our current energy problems.
The big four sources of renewable energy have gotten the most media and government attention because they all at one point in time were thought to have the potential to be the silver bullet for the energy problem. They were all supposed to be THE solution to our growing demand for energy and dependence on foreign resources. However, it has become quite apparent that no one of these technologies alone can actually provide that kind cure all effect, thus it is time for us to take a broader look at the potential sources of renewable energy around us.
Anywhere there is motion; there is energy being spent and energy that can be captured. The goal of renewable energy sources are to find naturally occurring or wasteful sources of motion and harness this motion to create energy. This is precisely what wind turbines do, they harness the motion of the wind to turn a generator and make power. This same idea can be applied anywhere that here is naturally occurring motion. One example that has actually been tried with some success but needs further development is river turbines.
Of course hydro power has been around for a long time inside of dams, but the building of reservoirs and flooding of land is tremendously harmful to the natural environment. The river turbines of the future will simply harness the natural flow of a river to turn a generator. They will be similar to wind turbines, with blades that extend out into the river current. These turbines could be sunk into the bottom of deep sections of river and have no noticeable effects on the area around them. These river turbines however need to be incredibly durable and low maintenance, which is part of the reason they have only seen limited success and use thus far. However, with further development it is quite possible that they could become a very reliable source of renewable energy.
Another naturally occurring source of motion is the ocean. Ocean’s are constantly in motion, between wave action and tidal changes there is a lot of potential energy that would capture. There have been several different attempted technologies for capturing the motion of the ocean for energy purposes, but they have not received much attention. One major difficulty is the harshness of the environment in the ocean, which corrodes metals and is generally a treacherous environment. Again though, there is a huge potential for renewable energy in this as of yet unutilized source, it will simply take smart development of new technologies.
Turning to wasted potential from human endeavors the smoke pouring out of manufacturing facilities around the country is a prime example of wasted motion. There are several technologies in place and underdevelopment that take this motion of hot air up smokestacks and use it to generate electricity. You can think of it as a constant wind, as long as the factory is running, there will be air moving up the smoke stack, and if you had something in the smoke stack capturing that potential energy you could use those pollutants to help reduce the strain on the environment from power generation.
It is these kinds of creative solutions that, all put together, will be able to truly impact the way we generate power. No one source of renewable energy will ever provide the silver bullet everyone is looking for and it is time to give up the hunt. We need to invest in and pursue a broad spectrum of renewable technologies, not in the hopes of finding the best one that will solve all of our problems, but with the goal of getting all of them to the point where they can contribute to the overall solution. Simply looking at the world around us will show an untold number of potential renewable energy sources, all it takes is creativity and a commitment to pursue multiple technologies with the hope of developing a diversified renewable energy platform that can replace our current dependence on fossil fuels.
About the Author
Barret Hudson is a representative of Green Collar Operations. We are an Austin company that helps homeowners dramatically reduce their utility bills through home weatherization. More information at www.greencollaroperations.com
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