Future Alternative /Renewable Energy : Solar, Wind, Biomass, Ocean, Hydro Power … (Top Truths)
Future of Electric Power – Renewable Clean Energy – Go Green – Alternative Energy Perhaps one of the most pressing issues we humans must all face in the coming years is how to continue to power our lives whilst our limited resources like coal and oil are eventually exhausted. Fortunately, there have been many developments in the field of renewable energy. The most commonly known forms are of course solar and wind energy, but there are many more possible alternatives, too. Collectively, these will shape The Future Of Electric Power.
Fuel cells produce energy through chemical reactions that combine hydrogen with oxygen. When a hydrogen-rich fuel such as natural gas or biogas flows through a fuel cell and reacts with oxygen, it produces electricity, heat and water. Fuel cells, which emit about half of the emission of a fossil fuel power plant, aren’t cheap enough to become a primary power source, but they are being used by a growing number of companies to provide backup power as well as reduce their carbon footprints. Fuel cells are also making their way into the automotive world to create zero-emissions cars.
Humans have been harnessing the power of super-hot steams underneath the Earth’s surface for as long as records show, but the first geothermal power generator wasn’t built until 1904 in Italy. The first geothermal power plant in the United States came online in 1921 to help run a hot spring resort at The Geysers in northern California. The Geysers, which covers almost 20,000 acres, is the world’s largest geothermal field and is now home to nearly a dozen power plants. Geothermal power makes up just 3% of the USA’s renewable energy supply.
The rhythmic and powerful movements of the ocean current and waves can drive electric generators to produce a steady stream of vast amounts of power, which would then be transported to land via cables. This presents an extremely hopeful promise for clean energy. The catch? Developing the equipment that would effectively capture all of that mechanical energy whilst withstanding the corrosive salt water and other natural elements out in the ocean is proving to be highly challenging. There are currently no commercial ocean energy power plants in the US, though a number of research and pilot projects have taken place in California, Oregon, Hawaii and New Jersey. Those projects test equipment designs, which resemble everything from giant jellyfish to a snake, to see how well they perform in the rough environment and whether they could efficiently produce enough energy to justify the steep costs of installing and operating them.
The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. However, hydroelectric power doesn’t necessarily require a large dam. Some hydroelectric power plants just use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine. Hydropower is one of the oldest sources of electricity in human history and is used by every state in the USA. The world’s first commercial hydropower plant came online on the Fox River of Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1882. Hydropower is also the largest source of renewable energy, accounting for just over 6% of US electricity generation and 92% of renewable energy production. Washington state, in particular, relies on hydropower for more than 70% of its electricity.
Electricity produced by plants or animal by-products is known as biomass energy. Biomass power plants directly burn feedstock such as wood chips, agricultural waste, some types of garbage or animal manure in order to produce electricity. It’s also possible to convert the materials into combustible gases and then burn them to generate power. Biomass power accounts for 12% of the USA’s renewable energy supply. Biomass is used in almost every nation in the world for electricity generation. Sweden, for example, relies on biomass for 30% of its energy.