Alternative energy: the sun, air and water

Constantly rising energy demand, new, extremely voracious consumers of electricity – a giant data centers and electric cars for the mass market – forcing mankind to seek alternative sources of energy. It is important that they are not only highly effective, but also environmentally friendly.

Branches of alternative energy
The traditional sources of energy include thermal (coal, gas, oil), hydro and nuclear power plants. And regarding the “green” is only the third type of power plant, while the first two deal of harm the atmosphere and hydrosphere, respectively.

Eco-friendly (again, relatively) solar, wind and geothermal power plants in several countries produce half of electricity, but they are still referred to as the alternative. In addition, there is an alternative hydropower, implying wave, tidal power plants and waterfalls.

The very same controversial alternative energy industry is perhaps the biofuel. Against the background of a possible global food crisis sow fertile land crops are processed into biofuels – a crime against humanity.

But let’s talk about each alternative energy industry in order.

Solar energy
Solar power stations (SPS) – one of the most widespread on the planet, because they use an inexhaustible source of energy (sunlight). In the process of generating electricity, and if necessary, even heat to heat the living room and the hot water supply, they do not harm the environment. But there is a downside: Dispose of your solar panels costly process, and certainly not environmentally friendly.

Solar panels are often inserted directly into the roofs of houses

Solar power is heavily dependent on the weather and time of day: a rainy day, and even more so at night electricity is really something not his head. We have to stock up on batteries, doubling the cost of installing solar panels, for example, in the country.

The leaders in the promotion of solar energy are Germany, Spain and Japan. It is clear that there are advantages southern countries, where the sun shines hot almost all year round. Germany is traditionally a leader in alternative energy, so even in the SES as a whole-is a cold country to make big bets.

Solar farm Okhotnikovo: picturesque Crimea glistened like a huge mirror

It’s nice that in matters of solar energy Ukraine is not tending the rear. In Crimea, located several large SES: Perov (100 MW, 11 in the world ranking) Okhotnikovo (80 MW, 22 place) and the lake (55 MW, 42 place). The undisputed leaders are the same American Agua Caliente and the California Valley, with a capacity of 250 MW each.

The most powerful in the world of solar power Agua Caliente (Ariz.)

Wind power
Curbed the power of the wind humanity quite a long time: windmills for centuries served as a faith-true for peremolki grain into flour. Now it’s time to find a “mill” new use – the giant blades, driven by the power of the wind power generators are able to rotate and thereby effectively generate much-needed electricity.

Wind generator independently adjusts to the changing wind direction, freely rotating on the mast

Three leaders in the global production of electricity from wind are China, the U.S. and Germany. If we compare the share of vetroelekstrostantsy (WEC) in each country, the leaders Denmark, Portugal and Spain. Then again, a lot depends on the climatic conditions: in some countries, the wind does not die down for a second, in the other the opposite most of the time is calm. Ukraine in this respect is not very lucky: we have mild weather and malovetrenaya. Although still in the 30s in the Crimea was built the world’s first commercial wind farm, and in 1934 under the leadership of Yuri Kondratyuka (the one that calculated the trajectory of the moon) developed the project of building a huge 12-megawatt wind farm on the mountain Ai-Petri with a tower height of 165 meters and two 80-meter turbines, placed on two levels .

The world’s largest wind farm London Array is built in the sea off the coast of the UK (630 MW)

There is a strong wind at the advantages and disadvantages just as good. In comparison with solar panels “windmills” are inexpensive and do not depend on the time of day, so often found in suburban areas. A significant disadvantage of the wind turbine, only one – they are pretty noisy. The installation of this equipment will have to coordinate not only with family, but also the residents of nearby houses.

Geothermal Energy
In areas with volcanic activity, where underground water is heated above the boiling point, it is rational to build a geothermal power plant (GPP). Perhaps the most famous country where geothermal power plants are widely used, is Iceland. It is not strange: boiling water and steam circulates through the pipes throughout the year without interruption, allowing the process to generate electricity without costly and difficult recyclable batteries.

Nesyavellir (Iceland) – Europe’s largest geothermal power plants (120 MW)

Rely on geothermal energy and in other countries that have managed to curb the volcanic activity of the Earth: USA, New Zealand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Rich in thermal waters and Russia: here only new geothermal power plants in Siberia, not very long ago built. Recent progress in this area date back to Soviet times.

Geothermal power “Geysers” (California, USA) originally was 2 MW, but gradually falls

Alternative hydropower
Unconventional use of water resources of the planet for energy involves three types of power: the wave, tidal and waterfalls. Moreover, the most promising of these are considered the first average power disturbances oceans is estimated at 15 kW per meter, and at a height of two meters above the waves peak power can reach as much as 80 kW / m

The main problem of wave power – the complexity of the transformation of wave movement (up and down) to rotate the blades wheel generator. However, the recent development of the British (draft Oyster) and Russian scientists (project Ocean RusEnergy) should solve the problem.

Oyster – a highly effective wave power generator, developed in the UK

Tidal power plants have significantly less power than the wave, but its a lot easier and more convenient to build in coastal waters. Looney and gravitational forces of the sun twice a day, change the water level in the sea (the difference can be up to twenty meters), allowing you to use the energy of the tides to generate electricity.

In France, nearly half a century operated tidal power “La Rance” (capacity 240 MW), which is built at the mouth of the Rance River, near the town of Saint-Malo. For a long time it has been the world leader in power, but in 2011, it bypassed the South Korean Sihvinskaya TPP (254 MW).

“La Rance” – one of the oldest and at the same time the most powerful in Europe PES

Waterfall power are perhaps the most unpromising in the hydropower industry. The fact is that the really powerful waterfalls in the world is not so much. Is it worth to remember that the power plants, “Sir Adam Beck 1” and “Sir Adam Beck 2”, built at Niagara Falls, and more specifically on the Canadian side of it.

The complex power “Sir Adam Beck” (USA), with capacity of 2 MW is built on the border of the United States and Canada

Liquid, solid and gaseous biofuels can be a substitute for traditional sources of not only electricity, but also gasoline. Unlike oil and natural gas reserves are restored is not possible, biofuels can produce in vitro.

The simplest biofuel is wood, or rather waste wood processing industry – wood chips and shavings. Compacted into briquettes are perfectly lit, and the heated water through them can produce electricity and heat, even on a small scale.

Corn – a food product and at the same time the raw material for biofuels

But the future for liquid and gaseous biofuels: biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas and syngas. All of them are based on a rich sugar or fat plants: sugar cane, corn, and even marine phytoplankton. The last option and does have boundless prospects: algae grow in artificial conditions it’s not tricky.

Phytoplankton (tiny algae and bacteria) – the perfect raw material for the production of liquid and gaseous biofuels

The future of alternative energy

The concept of orbiting solar power station NASA Suntower

Given the rise in prices of energy resources and undermined the credibility of the nuclear power plants, the development of alternative energy is gradually accelerated. Well, if you look at the very very distant future, it is worth mentioning the cosmic energy.

The concept of orbiting solar power station NASA SERT

This industry involves placing solar panels on the Earth’s orbit and on the surface of the moon. This will produce approximately one-third more energy than is possible in the earth’s atmosphere. The Earth has also generated electricity will be transmitted via radio waves.

Read another very interesting article about alternative energy of the Sun, water and air.

Look a video from russian roads:

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