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Renewable Energy Home

“Non-conventional sources of energy” or “Renewable sources of energy”, as they are popularly called can be replenished in a short period of time.  The five renewable sources used most often include

  1. Hydropower (water)
  2. Solar
  3. Wind
  4. Geothermal
  5. Biomass
  6. Fuel cells
  7. Co-generation


Solar Energy
    • Use solar energy to make lights burn
    • You can make use of solar energy even for torch lights and table lamps.
    • Install solar water heaters instead of electrical water heaters.
    • Similarly you should use solar cookers as much as possible.
    • You can use solar dryers to dry your food grains.
    • You can have the toilet linked to the bio gas plant and through bio gas you can operate your domestic pump set.

Renewable Sources of Energy

There are several. Everything cannot be used at Home. But knowledge of them is a must.  You can use them in other walks of life including the work place. Why! you can start a business on generating power out of Renewable Sources of energy.

1. Geo Thermal energy

We have two perennial and wonderful sources of energy. The first, of course the one we see every day; the Sun. While the first one is above us in the sky, the second one is beneath us, hidden in the hot rocks of the earth. The second one is called Geothermal Energy.  Most tribals still use this to cook their food and take a hot water bath free of cost.


2. Solar energy

Solar energy can be tapped for several uses like providing an energy source for lighting torches and lamps. You can use a solar cooker to cook food without having to incur any expense towards gas. You can have a hot water bath without having to receive an electric bill for it by installing a solar water heater. Your toilet can produce bio gas for lifting water. It is free and does not pollute the atmosphere. The more you use solar energy the less the threat of Global warming will be.

Solar energy can also be used to meet most of our electricity needs. The solar electricity can straightway be used; alternatively can be stored in the battery. The uses of Solar energy are as follows:

  1. domestic lighting
  2. street lighting
  3. village electrification
  4. water pumping
  5. desalination of salty water
  6. powering of remote telecommunication repeater stations and
  7. railway signals
  8. Solar Cooker
  9. Solar Water heater

3. Bio Mass Energy
Carbonaceous waste of various human and natural activities is the source for Biomass which is a renewable energy resource.
Bio mass can be produced from the by-products 

  • by-products from the timber industry
  • agricultural crops
  • raw material from the forest
  • major parts of household waste and wood.

Biomass does not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as it absorbs the same amount of carbon in growing as it releases when consumed as a fuel. Its advantage is that it can be used to generate electricity with the same equipment or power plants that are now burning fossil fuels. Biomass is an important source of energy and the most important fuel worldwide after coal, oil and natural gas.

Traditional use of biomass is more than its use in modern application. In the developed world biomass is again beco

Biomass does not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as it absorbs the same amount of carbon in growing as it releases when consumed as a fuel. Its advantage is that it can be used to generate electricity with the same equipment or power plants that are now burning fossil fuels. Biomass is an important source of energy and the most important fuel worldwide after coal, oil and natural gas.
Traditional use of biomass is more than its use in modern application. In the developed world, biomass is again becoming important for applications such as combined heat and power generation. In addition, biomass energy is gaining significance as a source of clean heat for domestic heating and community heating applications. In fact in countries like Finland, USA and Sweden the per capita biomass energy used is higher than it is in India, China or in Asia.

Biomass fuels used in India account for about one third of the total fuel used in the country, being the most important fuel used in over 90% of the rural households and about 15% of the urban households.

Instead of burning the loose biomass fuel directly, it is more practical to compress it into briquettes (compressing them through a process to form blocks of different shapes) and thereby improve its utility and convenience of use. Such biomass taking the form of briquettes can either be used directly as fuel instead of coal in the traditional chulhas and furnaces or in the gasifier. A gasifier converts solid fuel into a more convenient-to-use gaseous form of fuel called producer gas.

Many are trying to explore the advantages of biomass energy as an alternative energy source as it is renewable and free from net CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, and is abundantly available on earth in the form of agricultural residue, city garbage, cattle dung, firewood, etc. Bio-energy, in the form of biogas, which is derived from biomass, is expected to become one of the key energy resources for global sustainable development.

At present, biogas technology provides an alternative source of energy in rural India for cooking. It is particularly useful for village households that have their own cattle. Through a simple process cattle dung is used to produce a gas, which serves as fuel for cooking. The residual dung is used as manure.

Biogas plants have been set up in many areas and are becoming very popular. Using local resources, namely cattle waste and other organic wastes, energy and manure are derived. A mini biogas digester has recently been designed and developed, and is being in-field tested for domestic lighting.

Indian sugar mills are rapidly turning to bagasse, the leftover of cane after it is crushed and its juice is extracted, to generate electricity. This is mainly being done to clean up the environment, cut down power costs and earn additional revenue. According to current estimates, about 3500 MW of power can be generated from bagasse in the existing 430 sugar mills in the country. Around 270 MW of power has already been commissioned and more is under construction.


4. Fuel Cells
What are fuel cells? Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert the chemical energy of a fuel directly and very efficiently into electricity (DC) and heat, thus doing away with combustion. The most suitable fuel for such cells is hydrogen or a mixture of compounds containing hydrogen. A fuel cell consists of an electrolyte sandwiched between two electrodes. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, and they react electrochemically to generate electricity, water, and heat.

Though fuel cells have been used in space flights and combined supplies of heat and power, electric vehicles are the best option available to dramatically reduce urban air pollution. Compared to vehicles powered by the internal combustion engine, fuel-cell powered vehicles have very high energy conversion efficiency, (almost double that of currently used engines) and near-zero pollution, CO2 and water vapour being the only emissions. Fuel-cell-powered EV's (electric vehicles) score over battery operated EV's in terms of increased efficiency and easier and faster re-fuelling.

5. Hydel energy
Energy from water sources

The energy in the flowing water can be used to produce electricity. Waves result from the interaction of the wind with the surface of the sea and represent a transfer of energy from the wind to the sea. Energy can be extracted from tides by creating a reservoir or basin behind a barrage and then passing tidal waters through turbines in the barrage to generate electricity.

Mini or Micro Hydro power
Hydro power is one of the best, cheapest, and cleanest sources of energy. Although with big dams, there are many environmental and social problems as has been seen in the case of the Tehri and the Narmada Projects. Small dams are, however, free from these problems. This is in fact one of the earliest known renewable energy sources, in the country (since the beginning of the 20th century).

New environmental laws affected by the danger of global warming have made energy from small hydropower plants more relevant. These small hydropower plants can serve the energy needs of remote rural areas independently. The real challenge in a remote area lies in successful marketing of the energy and recovering the dues. Local industries should be encouraged to use this electricity for sustainable development.

It is a technology with enormous potential, which could exploit the water resources to supply energy to remote rural areas with little access to conventional energy sources. It also eliminates most of the negative environmental effects associated with large hydro projects.

Energy from the sea - Ocean thermal, tidal and wave energy
A large amount of solar energy is stored in the oceans and seas. On an average, the 60 million square kilometers of the tropical seas absorb solar radiation equivalent to the heat content of 245 billion barrels of oil. Scientists feel that if this energy can be tapped a large source of energy will be available to the tropical countries and to other countries as well. The process of harnessing this energy is called OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion). It uses the temperature differences between the surface of the ocean and the depths of about 1000m to operate a heat engine, which produces electric power.

Energy is also obtained from waves and tides. The first wave energy project with a capacity of 150MW, has been set up at Vizhinjam near Trivandrum. A major tidal wave power project costing of Rs.5000 crores, is proposed to be set up in the Hanthal Creek in the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat. In some countries such as Japan small scale power generators run by energy from waves or the ocean, have been used as power sources for channel marking buoys.


6. Co-generation
Co-generation is the concept of producing two forms of energy from one fuel. One of the forms of energy must always be heat and the other may be electricity or mechanical energy. In a conventional power plant, fuel is burnt in a boiler to generate high-pressure steam. This steam is used to drive a turbine, which in turn drives an alternator through a steam turbine to produce electric power. The exhaust steam is generally condensed to water which goes back to the boiler.

As the low-pressure steam has a large quantum of heat which is lost in the process of condensing, the efficiency of conventional power plants is only around 35%. In a co-generation plant, very high efficiency levels, in the range of 75%–90% can be reached. This is so, because the low-pressure exhaust steam coming out of the turbine is not condensed, but used for heating purposes in factories or houses. Since co-generation can meet both power and heat needs, it has other advantages as well in the form of significant cost savings for the plant and reduction in emissions of pollutants due to reduced fuel consumption.

Even at conservative estimates, the potential of power generation from co-generation in India is more than 20,000 MW. Since India is the largest producer of sugar in the world, bagasse-based co-generation is being promoted. The potential for co-generation thus lies in facilities with joint requirement of heat and electricity, primarily sugar and rice mills, distilleries, petrochemical sector and industries such as fertilizers, steel, chemical, cement, pulp and paper, and aluminum

7. Wind energy
Wind energy is the kinetic energy associated with the movement of atmospheric air. It has been used for hundreds of years for sailing, grinding grain, and for irrigation. Wind energy systems convert this kinetic energy to more useful forms of power. Wind energy systems for irrigation and milling have been in use since ancient times and since the beginning of the 20th century it is being used to generate electric power. Windmills for water pumping have been installed in many countries particularly in the rural areas.

Wind turbines transform the energy in the wind into mechanical power, which can then be used directly for grinding or further converting to electric power to generate electricity. Wind turbines can be used singly or in clusters called ‘wind farms’. Small wind turbines called aero-generators can be used to charge large batteries.




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