Renewable energy resources are resources that do not run out. Using renewable energy resources to generate electricity is an alternative to using fossil fuels. They also tend to be less harmful to the environment compared to non-renewable energy resources.
Here are some examples of renewable resources:
Let’s look at a few in more detail:
Wind is air in motion, and its kinetic energy serves as the renewable energy source.
How wind energy works:
1. When the wind blows, it transfers some of its kinetic energy to the turbine blades.
2. This action directly drives the turbine.
3. The turbine turns the generator, which generates the electricity.
Solar energy is energy from the Sun, which can be converted to electricity by using solar panels. As long as there is sunlight, we can use solar energy.
Solar panels are made out of photovoltaic cells and they absorb energy from the Sun. This is the one renewable energy source that does not involve a turbine when generating electricity. The solar panels are positioned to get the most sunlight throughout the day.
How solar energy works:
1. Solar panels absorb sunlight.
2. The absorbed sunlight is used to generate electricity.
The term biofuel combines ‘bio,’ which refers to living things like plants, and ‘fuel‘ which is a material burned to produce heat or power.
Biofuels are produced from plant materials.
When plants burn, they release carbon dioxide (CO2). However, this is not as harmful as burning fossil fuels because when plants grow. they absorb CO2 through photosynthesis. This means when you burn the plants, you’re just releasing the absorbed CO2 and not releasing any extra CO2. Therefore, this means biofuels are carbon neutral.
Biofuels are better for the atmosphere than burning fossil fuels that have carbon locked inside of them. When fossil fuels burn, they release new CO2.
The term geothermal combines ‘geo,’ relating to the Earth, and ‘thermal‘ relating to heat.
How geothermal energy works:
1. Water is pumped underground.
2. The water pumped down is heated by hot rocks underground.
3. This water then turns into steam (water vapour).
4. Steam is used to turn the turbine.
Geothermal energy is a great alternative to burning fossil fuels because it does not involve burning fuels, which means that no CO2 is being released and there are no fuel costs. The hot water and steam can even be used to heat buildings.