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Types of Sustainable Energy

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Solar Energy

Solar energy is consuming sunbeams it changed by using N-type and P-type semiconductor materials.  When the sunlight is captivated by these materials, the solar energy hits electrons loose from the atoms, allowing the electrons to flow into the material to produce electricity.  This method is called the photovoltaic effect.  Solar panels is the most popular way of converting light to energy with the use of ultraviolet and infrared light can be converted into reusable energy.

There are a variety of technologies that have been developed to take advantage of solar energy, which include solar hot water heating hot water with solar energy, the use of solar to produce electricity and solar energy to heat and cool homes and office buildings.

Geothermal Energy

This energy is the warmth from the earth.  It has benefits as it is clean and sustainable.  Resources of geothermal energy range from the low ground to hot water and hot rocks found a few miles below the earth's surface and down even deeper to the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma.  The shallow ground and or upper 10 feet of the earth's surface maintain a nearly constant temp between 50 and 60 degrees F (10 to 16 centigrade).  Geothermal heat pumps can be tapped into to heat and cool buildings.

Geothermal warmth pumps can tap into this resource to heat and cool buildings. A geothermal heat pump system consists of a heat pump, an air delivery system (ductwork), and a heat exchanger-a system of pipes buried in the shallow ground near the building. In the winter, the heat pump removes heat from the heat exchanger and pumps it into the indoor air delivery system. In the summer, the process is reversed, and the heat pump moves heat from the indoor air into the heat exchanger. The heat removed from the indoor air during the summer can also be used to provide a free source of hot water.

Hydroelectric Energy

Flowing water creates energy that can be captured and turned into electricity. This is called hydroelectric power or hydropower.

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. But 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.

Another type of hydroelectric power plant - called a pumped storage plant can even store power. The power is sent from a power grid into the electric generators. The generators then spin the turbines backward, which causes the turbines to pump water from a river or lower reservoir to an upper reservoir, where the power is stored. To use the power, the water is released from the upper reservoir back down into the river or lower reservoir. This spins the turbines forward, activating the generators to produce electricity.

A small or micro-hydroelectric power system can produce enough electricity for a home, farm, or ranch.

Biomass Energy

We have used biomass energy or bio energy, the energy from organic matter for thousands of years, ever since people started burning wood to cook food or to keep warm.  Today wood is still our largest biomass energy resource, but other types of resources can now be used this includes plants, residues from agriculture or forestry and the factors of industrial waste.  Even the fumes from landfills can be used as a biomass energy source.

The use of this reusable energy can potentially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and produces the same carbon monoxide as fossil fuels but every time a plant grows, carbon monoxide is removed from the atmosphere.

Wind Energy

Wind turbines, like windmills, are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground, they can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Turbines catch the wind's energy with their propeller-like blades. Usually, two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor.

A blade acts much like an airplane wing. When the wind blows, a pocket of low-pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn.  The force of the lift is much stronger than the wind's force against the front side of the blade, which is called drag. The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator to make electricity.

Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. For utility-scale sources of wind energy, many wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant. Several electricity providers today use wind plants to supply power to their customers.


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