It’s 1:15 AM in the night when I finally crawl up to the bed when I realize that my AC could literally be powered by the waves on the beach I visited earlier today. If you have read my earlier posts, you might already be aware of the complex paths that the electric power travels before it reaches your homes. However, let me walk you through the numerous sources of power in case you are still curious.
Firstly, sources of electric power can be classified into two broad categories – renewable sources that are available in abundance in nature and are inexhaustible; non-renewable sources that primarily consist of fossil fuels and would take up to millions of years to get replenished.
Renewable sources are generally environment-friendly, and pollution-free. You might be surprised to know that you can choose any of these sources to power your home depending on your requirements and convenience.
- Solar Energy
The energy of the sun is harvested using collector panels, which is used to generate power. However convenient solar power might seem, there are only certain geographical locations that get enough direct sunlight for long enough to generate usable power from this source.
- Wind Energy
Windfarms use large turbines to employ fast-paced wind as the power to turn; the turbine can then turn a generator to produce electricity. Similar to the problems faced in solar energy, wind farms can actually be realized in very few locations.
- Geothermal Energy
Steam that is produced by the heating of water due to the hot rocks below the earth’s crust is used to rotate turbines and generate power. It can be used by residential units or on a large scale for application in industries.
- Hydrogen Energy
Water consists of two-thirds hydrogen, and one-third oxygen. Once separated, hydrogen can be used as a fuel for vehicles, homes, industries and rockets. Being completely renewable, it does not cause any polluting emissions as well.
- Tidal Energy
Tides are employed to convert kinetic energy of tides into electrical energy in the coastal areas. The generation of tidal power happens primarily around coastal areas. Even though tidal power plants require a lot of investments, and offer the limited availability of sites, they can produce large magnitudes of energy even when the tides are at low speed.
- Wave Energy
Wave energy is produced from the ocean waves. It is harnessed in the coastal regions of many countries and can actually contribute a huge deal in reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign electrical power. Although renewable, cultivating wave energy can damage the maritime ecosystem and cause noise pollution.
- Hydroelectric Energy
A majority of our towns and cities rely upon hydropower. Dams are erected to block huge bodies of water to a great height, and the energy of the falling water is used to rotate turbines and generate electricity.
- Nuclear Power
The energy that is created via specifics nuclear reactions is harnessed and used to power generators. Although efficient and renewable, nuclear power poses a significant threat to the surrounding ecosystems if not checked and managed efficiently.
- Fossil Fuels (Non-Renewable resources)
Majority of the power supplied to the world is through fossil fuels. Oil is converted into various products like gasoline, and natural gas, mostly for heating purposes is now being used to power vehicles. However, these fuels impose huge levels of pollution on the environment and are limited in reserves.