Archive for December, 2011
The Practice of Ecological Industry – Changing the Paradigm One Industry At A Time…
What is industrial ecology?
Industrial Ecology (IE) focuses on combining perpetually desirable outcomes in environment, economy and technology sustainably. There is a whole discipline growing up out of this concept.
Here we apply IE as the practice of utilizing technology to economically effectuate environmentally sound industrial wastewater treatment. Not escaping us is the ironic fact that Integrated Engineers (IE) practices IE.
The central tenet of IE is the looking at technical systems analogously to natural systems, continuous perpetual systems (closed loops) rather than straight line linear start to finish thinking.
Isn’t Industrial Ecology a Contradiction in Terms?
No. Industrial ecology seems sort of like a contradiction in terms in the old school paradigm of thought but is anything but today, it is not only a complementary process but beneficial to all sub-processes.. And industrial ecology truly is essentially carrying out industry in an ecologically sensitive manner usually based on standards established by governments but also on the shared values of shareholders, manufacturers and consumers.
This concept of “industrial ecology” is part of the green technology movement.
Industrial ecology is moving industrial processes from linear (open loop, start to finish) systems where you usually wind up with waste, to a closed loop (feedback) system where waste is converted to inputs for the same process (wastewater recovery) or new processes such as sludge being used on fields as fertilizer. This is theoretically a perpetual enterprise meaning “sustainable”, can be sustained indefinitely.
“Sustainable” is one of the primary tenets of the “green technology” movement.
Why is Industrial Ecology Desirable?
Industrial ecology is desirable because as it approaches the unifying of environment, economy and ecology it benefits them all simultaneously, in a sense increasing “profits” for all three!
Industrial Ecology and Integrated Engineers Inc.
Practicing IE is a natural for IE, pun intended.
Integrated has been striving to assist industrial wastewater treatment reclaim materials and wastewater from the waste stream for many years, and is perfecting it to a fine art.
Call Us Today at 1-877-965-4577, get your wastewater optimization or visit our site use the wastewater evaluation contact form…Tags: contradiction in terms, industrial ecology, industrial wastewater treatment, paradigm one, wastewater recovery
When the glossy marketing techniques of the automobile companies make it so difficult to choose just one of the “perfect”, highly developed cars of the future, as they are presented to you in all those commercials, it’s more and more difficult to weigh your choice. Let’s see beyond the shiny coachwork, the comfy leather seats and the multi-tech car stereo and focus on the element that makes all the difference: the car’s engine! Diesel, electric or hybrid motor, now that is the big question?
The major advantages (and since during crisis the one that tends to outshine all the other advantages) of Diesel cars is fuel economy and therefore money saving. If we were to compare it with a vehicle with gasoline engine, we would see that the Diesel car needs far less fuel helping you, on a long term to recover the costs implied by its purchase. Another big pro, sustained by all Diesel cars owners, is driving performance, given by the fact that they deliver much more of their rated power than a petrol engine, givine you the chance to drive quicker from a stop sign, giving you a sensation similar to the one you have when driving a sports car. Still, there’s still a long road to take till technology and mechanics, working together, reach perfection. There are some big minuses, too, that Diesel cars have. The first major inconvenient about Diesel motors is given by its costs. They are more expensive than the gasoline engines, even though, as I have mentioned, those costs can be recovered by the money savings you will make in fuel buying. Another “handicap” would be their weight, since they have much higher compression ratios .Now, for the nature friendly drivers, Diesel’s emission of smelly smoke can be a real problem, not to mention that they are a lot noisier the gasoline engines.
Now, let’s continue climbing this pyramid of the car engine’s technology and make an inventory of the pros and cos of the electric cars. This type of car seems to be any environment concerned driver’s dream. Using one or two motors for propulsion, therefore converting fuel into electricity, they are the less polluting type of vehicles at the moment. That’s not all. If you’re a speed addicted, you will surely appreciate its second major advantage: it can launch from standstill with maximum force, where do you add that, from a mechanically point of view, is much easier to get it repaired. To lower down your enthusiasm, I will have to remind you, though, that you should schedule your driving sessions way in advance, for it will take a while till you get its batteries charged. Also, another issue is represented by the recharging stations’ infrastructure, their high costs, to be more specific, which instantly increases the costs of electricity for the electric cars driven there to recharge their batteries.
We have finally retied the highest position in the hierarchy of car technology, where we can find, nicely displayed, the car of the future: the hybrid car, the one that brings together the energy of the electrical motor with the power of the gas-powered engine. Immediately a thought crosses our minds: it’s the environmental friendly car we have all been expecting, with lower pollution emissions. There’s more! We might be concerned about pollution and CO emission, but we cannot stop thinking about the effect a new car’s purchase might have on our wallet. Luckily, its batteries do not need to be charged by an external source and hybrid cars determine a reducing of the dependency on fossil fuels. You might be thinking: since this is the closer to perfection car of our-days, what disadvantages might it present? Well, the first one would be that they are not accessible to everyone, being expensive even from the car lot. The second problem, that we’ve tackled when we focused our attention on Diesel cars, would have to be the engine’s heavy weight. Now, one embarrassing problem and concern for manufacturers would be the high voltage accumulated in its batteries, which diminishes its safety in case of car accident.
In conclusion, dear future buyer, it’s you who decides which is the most important quality from your perspective, the one should prevail in a car: safety, speed, environment safety, costs, reliability etc. There’s no such thing as the perfect type of car, only the newest type of car!Tags: diesel car, diesel cars, diesel motors, engine diesel, gasoline engines
Main forms of renewable energy
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2010)
2008 worldwide renewable-energy sources. Source: REN21
Renewable energy flows involve natural phenomena such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, as the International Energy Agency explains:
Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.
Each of these sources has unique characteristics which influence how and where they are used.
See also: Wind power, Wind farm, and Wind power in the United States
Vestas V80 wind turbines
Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. Modern wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.53 MW have become the most common for commercial use; the power output of a turbine is a function of the cube of the wind speed, so as wind speed increases, power output increases dramatically. Areas where winds are stronger and more constant, such as offshore and high altitude sites, are preferred locations for wind farms. Typical capacity factors are 20-40%, with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites.
Globally, the long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times total current global energy production, or 40 times current electricity demand. This could require large amounts of land to be used for wind turbines, particularly in areas of higher wind resources. Offshore resources experience mean wind speeds of ~90% greater than that of land, so offshore resources could contribute substantially more energy. This number could also increase with higher altitude ground-based or airborne wind turbines.
Wind power is renewable and produces no greenhouse gases during operation, such as carbon dioxide and methane.
See also: Hydroelectricity and Hydropower
The Hoover Dam when completed in 1936 was both the world’s largest electric-power generating station and the world’s largest concrete structure.
Energy in water can be harnessed and used. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, even a slow flowing stream of water, or moderate sea swell, can yield considerable amounts of energy. There are many forms of water energy:
Hydroelectric energy is a term usually reserved for large-scale hydroelectric dams. Examples are the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and the Akosombo Dam in Ghana.
Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power. They are often used in water rich areas as a remote-area power supply (RAPS). There are many of these installations around the world, including several delivering around 50 kW in the Solomon Islands.
Damless hydro systems derive kinetic energy from rivers and oceans without using a dam.
Ocean energy describes all the technologies to harness energy from the ocean and the sea. This includes marine current power, ocean thermal energy conversion, and tidal power.
See also: Solar energy, Solar power, and Solar thermal energy
Monocrystalline solar cell.
Solar energy is the energy derived from the sun through the form of solar radiation. Solar powered electrical generation relies on photovoltaics and heat engines. A partial list of other solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, daylighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
See also: Biofuel, Biomass, and Biogas
Information on pump regarding ethanol fuel blend up to 10%, California.
Liquid biofuel is usually either bioalcohol such as bioethanol or an oil such as biodiesel.
Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials and it is made mostly from sugar and starch crops. With advanced technology being developed, cellulosic biomass, such as trees and grasses, are also used as feedstocks for ethanol production. Ethanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a gasoline additive to increase octane and improve vehicle emissions. Bioethanol is widely used in the USA and in Brazil.
Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases. Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles. Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats using transesterification and is the most common biofuel in Europe.
Biofuels provided 1.8% of the world’s transport fuel in 2008.
Main articles: Geothermal energy, Geothermal heat pump, and Renewable energy in Iceland
Krafla Geothermal Station in northeast Iceland
Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, both from kilometers deep into the Earth’s crust in some places of the globe or from some meters in geothermal heat pump in all the places of the planet . It is expensive to build a power station but operating costs are low resulting in low energy costs for suitable sites. Ultimately, this energy derives from heat in the Earth’s core.
Three types of power plants are used to generate power from geothermal energy: dry steam, flash, and binary. Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that spins a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures over 200 C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, the hot water flows through heat exchangers, boiling an organic fluid that spins the turbine. The condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat.
The geothermal energy from the core of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than in others. Where hot underground steam or water can be tapped and brought to the surface it may be used to generate electricity. Such geothermal power sources exist in certain geologically unstable parts of the world such as Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. The two most prominent areas for this in the United States are in the Yellowstone basin and in northern California. Iceland produced 170 MW geothermal power and heated 86% of all houses in the year 2000 through geothermal energy. Some 8000 MW of capacity is operational in total.
There is also the potential to generate geothermal energy from hot dry rocks. Holes at least 3 km deep are drilled into the earth. Some of these holes pump water into the earth, while other holes pump hot water out. The heat resource consists of hot underground radiogenic granite rocks, which heat up when there is enough sediment between the rock and the earths surface. Several companies in Australia are exploring this technology.
Renewable energy commercialization
Main article: Renewable energy commercialization
Percentage of renewables in primary energy consumption of EU-member states in 2005. Source: Primrenergieverbrauch und erneuerbare Energien in der EU, Fig 55
When comparing renewable energy sources with each other and with conventional power sources, three main factors must be considered:
capital costs (including, for nuclear energy, waste-disposal and decommissioning costs);
operating and maintenance costs;
fuel costs (for fossil-fuel and biomass sourcesor wastes, these costs may actually be negative).
These costs are all brought together, using discounted cash flow, here. Inherently, renewables are on a decreasing cost curve, while non-renewables are on an increasing cost curve. In 2009, costs are comparable among wind, nuclear, coal, and natural gas, but for CSPoncentrating solar powernd PV (photovoltaics) they are somewhat higher.
There are additional costs for renewables in terms of increased grid interconnection to allow for variability of weather and load, but these have been shown in the pan-European case to be quite lowverall, wind energy costs about the same as present-day power.
Growth of renewables
From the end of 2004 to the end of 2008, solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity increased sixfold to more than 16 gigawatts (GW), wind power capacity increased 250 percent to 121 GW, and total power capacity from new renewables increased 75 percent to 280 GW. During the same period, solar heating capacity doubled to 145 gigawatts-thermal (GWth), while biodiesel production increased sixfold to 12 billion liters per year and ethanol production doubled to 67 billion liters per year.
Selected renewable energy indicators
Selected global indicators
Investment in new renewable capacity (annual)
120 billion USD
Existing renewables power capacity,
including large-scale hydro
Existing renewables power capacity,
excluding large hydro
Wind power capacity (existing)
Solar hot water/ Space heating
Ethanol production (annual)
67 billion liters
Countries with policy targets
for renewable energy use
Wind power market
See also: List of onshore wind farms and List of offshore wind farms
Wind power: worldwide installed capacity 1996-2008
At the end of 2009, worldwide wind farm capacity was 157,900 MW, representing an increase of 31 percent during the year, and wind power supplied some 1.3% of global electricity consumption. Wind power accounts for approximately 19% of electricity use in Denmark, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland. The United States is an important growth area and installed U.S. wind power capacity reached 25,170 MW at the end of 2008. As of September 2009, the Roscoe Wind Farm (781 MW) is the world’s largest wind farm.
As of 2009, the 209 megawatt (MW) Horns Rev 2 wind farm in Denmark is the world’s largest offshore wind farm. The United Kingdom is the world’s leading generator of offshore wind power, followed by Denmark.
New generation of solar thermal plants
Solar Towers from left: PS10, PS20.
Main article: List of solar thermal power stations
See also: Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert
Large solar thermal power stations include the 354 MW Solar Energy Generating Systems power plant in the USA, Nevada Solar One (USA, 64 MW), Andasol 1 (Spain, 50 MW), Andasol 2 (Spain, 50 MW), PS20 solar power tower (Spain, 20 MW), and the PS10 solar power tower (Spain, 11 MW).
The solar thermal power industry is growing rapidly with 1.2 GW under construction as of April 2009 and another 13.9 GW announced globally through 2014. Spain is the epicenter of solar thermal power development with 22 projects for 1,037 MW under construction, all of which are projected to come online by the end of 2010. In the United States, 5,600 MW of solar thermal power projects have been announced. In developing countries, three World Bank projects for integrated solar thermal/combined-cycle gas-turbine power plants in Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco have been approved.
World’s largest photovoltaic power plants
Main article: List of photovoltaic power stations
40 MW PV Array installed in Waldpolenz, Germany
As of October 2009, the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the world are the Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park (Spain, 60 MW), the Strasskirchen Solar Park (Germany, 54 MW), the Lieberose Photovoltaic Park (Germany, 53 MW), the Puertollano Photovoltaic Park (Spain, 50 MW), the Moura photovoltaic power station (Portugal, 46 MW), and the Waldpolenz Solar Park (Germany, 40 MW).
Many of these plants are integrated with agriculture and some use innovative tracking systems that follow the sun’s daily path across the sky to generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. There are no fuel costs or emissions during operation of the power stations.
Topaz Solar Farm is a proposed 550 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built northwest of California Valley in the USA at a cost of over billion. High Plains Ranch is a proposed 250 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built on the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley.
However, when it comes to renewable energy systems and PV, it is not just large systems that matter. Building-integrated photovoltaics or “onsite” PV systems have the advantage of being matched to end use energy needs in terms of scale. So the energy is supplied close to where it is needed.
Use of ethanol for transportation
E95 trial bus operating in So Paulo, Brazil.
See also: Ethanol fuel and BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport
Since the 1970s, Brazil has had an ethanol fuel program which has allowed the country to become the world’s second largest producer of ethanol (after the United States) and the world’s largest exporter. Brazil ethanol fuel program uses modern equipment and cheap sugar cane as feedstock, and the residual cane-waste (bagasse) is used to process heat and power. There are no longer light vehicles in Brazil running on pure gasoline. By the end of 2008 there were 35,000 filling stations throughout Brazil with at least one ethanol pump.
Most cars on the road today in the U.S. can run on blends of up to 10% ethanol, and motor vehicle manufacturers already produce vehicles designed to run on much higher ethanol blends. Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and GM are among the automobile companies that sell lexible-fuel cars, trucks, and minivans that can use gasoline and ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up to 85% ethanol (E85). By mid-2006, there were approximately six million E85-compatible vehicles on U.S. roads. The challenge is to expand the market for biofuels beyond the farm states where they have been most popular to date. Flex-fuel vehicles are assisting in this transition because they allow drivers to choose different fuels based on price and availability. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which calls for 7.5 billion gallons of biofuels to be used annually by 2012, will also help to expand the market.
Geothermal energy prospects
The West Ford Flat power plant is one of 21 power plants at The Geysers.
See also: Geothermal energy in the United States
The Geysers, is a geothermal power field located 72 miles (116 km) north of San Francisco, California. It is the largest geothermal development in the world outputting over 750 MW.
Geothermal power capacity surpassed 10 GW in 2008. The United States is the world leader, with some 120 projects under development in early 2009, representing at least 5 GW. Other countries with significant recent growth in geothermal include Australia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iceland, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, and Turkey. As of 2008, geothermal power development was under way in more than 40 countries. Geothermal power accounted for 17 percent of the Philippines total power mix at the end of 2008, with installed capacity close to 2,000 megawatts.
Geothermal (ground source) heat pumps represented an estimated 30 GWth of installed capacity at the end of 2008, with other direct uses of geothermal heat (i.e., for space heating, agricultural drying and other uses) reaching an estimated 15 GWth. As of 2008, at least 76 countries use direct geothermal energy in some form.
Wave farms expansion
One of 3 Pelamis Wave Energy Converters in the harbor of Peniche, Portugal
Main article: Wave farm
Portugal now has the world’s first commercial wave farm, the Agucadoura Wave Park, officially opened in September 2008. The farm uses three Pelamis P-750 machines generating 2.25 MW. Initial costs are put at 8.5 million. A second phase of the project is now planned to increase the installed capacity to 21MW using a further 25 Pelamis machines.
Funding for a wave farm in Scotland was announced in February, 2007 by the Scottish Government, at a cost of over 4 million pounds, as part of a UK13 million funding packages for ocean power in Scotland. The farm will be the world’s largest with a capacity of 3MW generated by four Pelamis machines.
Developing country markets
Main article: Renewable energy in developing countries
Renewable energy can be particularly suitable for developing countries. In rural and remote areas, transmission and distribution of energy generated from fossil fuels can be difficult and expensive. Producing renewable energy locally can offer a viable alternative.
Renewable energy projects in many developing countries have demonstrated that renewable energy can directly contribute to poverty alleviation by providing the energy needed for creating businesses and employment. Renewable energy technologies can also make indirect contributions to alleviating poverty by providing energy for cooking, space heating, and lighting. Renewable energy can also contribute to education, by providing electricity to schools.
Kenya is the world leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita (but not the number of watts added). More than 30,000 very small solar panels, each producing 12 to 30 watts, are sold in Kenya annually. For an investment of as little as 0 for the panel and wiring, the PV system can be used to charge a car battery, which can then provide power to run a fluorescent lamp or a small television for a few hours a day. More Kenyans adopt solar power every year than make connections to the country electric grid.
In India, a solar loan program sponsored by UNEP has helped 100,000 people finance solar power systems in India. Success in India’s solar program has led to similar projects in other parts of developing world like Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Mexico.
Industry and policy trends
See also: Renewable energy industry and Renewable energy policy
Global revenues for solar photovoltaics, wind power, and biofuels expanded from billion in 2007 to 5 billion in 2008. New global investments in clean energy technologies expanded by 4.7 percent from 8 billion in 2007 to 5 billion in 2008. U.S. President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes more than billion in direct spending and tax credits for clean energy and associated transportation programs. Clean Edge suggests that the commercialization of clean energy will help countries around the world pull out of the current economic malaise.
Constraints and opportunities
Availability and reliability
Further information: Energy security and renewable technology and Intermittent power source
There is no shortage of solar-derived energy on Earth. Indeed the storages and flows of energy on the planet are very large relative to human needs.
A criticism of some renewable sources is their variable nature. But renewable power sources can actually be integrated into the grid system quite well, as Amory Lovins explains:
Variable but forecastable renewables (wind and solar cells) are very reliable when integrated with each other, existing supplies and demand. For example, three German states were more than 30 percent wind-powered in 2007nd more than 100 percent in some months. Mostly renewable power generally needs less backup than utilities already bought to combat big coal and nuclear plants’ intermittence.
Mark Z. Jacobson has studied how wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 per cent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. He advocates a “smart mix” of renewable energy sources to reliably meet electricity demand:
Because the wind blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps.
From detailed studies in Europe, Dr Gregor Czisch has shown that the variable power issue can be solved by interconnecting renewable across Europe the European super grid and using only existing storage hydro. The costs of power over the lifetime of the scheme are the same as today’s conventional power supplies, indicating that the capital investment is roughly the same as the cost of fuel avoided over the projects 25 year lifetime.
Lovins goes on to say that the unreliability of renewable energy is a myth, while the unreliability of nuclear energy is real. Of all U.S. nuclear plants built, 21 percent were abandoned and 27 percent have failed at least once. Successful reactors must close for refueling every 17 months for 39 days. And when shut in response to grid failure, they can’t quickly restart. This is simply not the case for wind farms, for example.
Wave energy and some other renewables are continuously available. A wave energy scheme installed in Australia generates electricity with an 80% availability factor.
Sustainable development and global warming groups propose a 100% Renewable Energy Source Supply, without fossil fuels and nuclear power. Scientists from the University of Kassel have suggested that Germany can power itself entirely by renewable energy.
Both solar and wind generating stations have been criticized from an aesthetic point of view. However, methods and opportunities exist to deploy these renewable technologies efficiently and unobtrusively: fixed solar collectors can double as noise barriers along highways, and extensive roadway, parking lot, and roof-top area is currently available; amorphous photovoltaic cells can also be used to tint windows and produce energy. Advocates of renewable energy also argue that current infrastructure is less aesthetically pleasing than alternatives, but sited further from the view of most critics.
Environmental, social and legal considerations
Land area required
One environmental issue, particularly with biomass and biofuels, is the large amount of land required to harvest energy, which otherwise could be used for other purposes or left as undeveloped land. However, it should be pointed out that these fuels may reduce the need for harvesting non-renewable energy sources, such as vast strip-mined areas and slag mountains for coal, safety zones around nuclear plants, and hundreds of square miles being strip-mined for oil sands. These responses, however, do not account for the extremely high biodiversity and endemism of land used for ethanol crops, particularly sugar cane.
In the U.S., crops grown for biofuels are the most land- and water-intensive of the renewable energy sources. In 2005, about 12% of the nation corn crop (covering 11 million acres (45,000 km) of farmland) was used to produce four billion gallons of ethanolhich equates to about 2% of annual U.S. gasoline consumption. For biofuels to make a much larger contribution to the energy economy, the industry will have to accelerate the development of new feedstocks, agricultural practices, and technologies that are more land and water efficient.
The efficiency of biofuels production has increased significantly and there are new methods to boost biofuel production, although using bioelectricity, by burning the biomass to produce electricity for an electric car, increases the distance that a car can go from a hectare (about 2.5 acres) of crops by 81%, from 30,000 km to 54,000 km per year. However, covering that same hectare with photovoltaics (in relatively sunless Germany or England) allows the electric car to go 3,250,000 km/year, over 100 times as far as from biofuel.
The major advantage of hydroelectric systems is the elimination of the cost of fuel. Other advantages include longer life than fuel-fired generation, low operating costs, and the provision of facilities for water sports. Operation of pumped-storage plants improves the daily load factor of the generation system. Overall, hydroelectric power can be far less expensive than electricity generated from fossil fuels or nuclear energy, and areas with abundant hydroelectric power attract industry.
However, there are several disadvantages of hydroelectricity systems. These include: dislocation of people living where the reservoirs are planned, release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide at construction and flooding of the reservoir, disruption of aquatic ecosystems and birdlife, adverse impacts on the river environment, potential risks of sabotage and terrorism, and in rare cases catastrophic failure of the dam wall.
Large hydroelectric power is considered to be a renewable energy by a large number of sources, however, many groups have lobbied for it to be excluded from renewable electricity standards, any initiative to promote the use of renewable energies, and sometimes the definition of renewable itself. Some organizations, including US federal agencies, will specifically refer to “non-hydro renewable energy”. Many laws exist that specifically label “small hydro” as renewable or sustainable and large hydro as not. Furthermore, the line between what is small or large also differs by governing body.
Hydroelectric power is now more difficult to site in developed nations because most major sites within these nations are either already being exploited or may be unavailable for other reasons such as environmental considerations.
Wind power is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of renewable energy
A wind farm, when installed on agricultural land, has one of the lowest environmental impacts of all energy sources:
Wind power occupies less land area per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated than any other energy conversion system, apart from rooftop solar energy, and is compatible with grazing and crops.
It generates the energy used in its construction in just 3 months of operation, yet its operational lifetime is 2025 years.
Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced by its construction are low and declining. There are no emissions or pollution produced by its operation.
In substituting for base-load coal power, wind power produces a net decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and a net increase in biodiversity.
Modern wind turbines are almost silent and rotate so slowly (in terms of revolutions per minute) that they are rarely a hazard to birds.
Studies of birds and offshore wind farms in Europe have found that there are very few bird collisions. Several offshore wind sites in Europe have been in areas heavily used by seabirds. Improvements in wind turbine design, including a much slower rate of rotation of the blades and a smooth tower base instead of perchable lattice towers, have helped reduce bird mortality at wind farms around the world. However older smaller wind turbines may be hazardous to flying birds. Birds are severely impacted by fossil fuel energy; examples include birds dying from exposure to oil spills, habitat loss from acid rain and mountaintop removal coal mining, and mercury poisoning.
Though a source of renewable energy may last for billions of years, renewable energy infrastructure, like hydroelectric dams, will not last forever, and must be removed and replaced at some point. Events like the shifting of riverbeds, or changing weather patterns could potentially alter or even halt the function of hydroelectric dams, lowering the amount of time they are available to generate electricity.
Some have claimed that geothermal being a renewable energy source depends on the rate of extraction being slow enough such that depletion does not occur. If depletion does occur, the temperature can regenerate if given a long period of non-use.
The government of Iceland states: “It should be stressed that the geothermal resource is not strictly renewable in the same sense as the hydro resource.” It estimates that Iceland’s geothermal energy could provide 1700 MW for over 100 years, compared to the current production of 140 MW. Radioactive elements in the Earth’s crust continuously decay, replenishing the heat. The International Energy Agency classifies geothermal power as renewable.
See also: Ethanol fuel energy balance and Cellulosic ethanol commercialization
All biomass needs to go through some of these steps: it needs to be grown, collected, dried, fermented and burned. All of these steps require resources and an infrastructure.
Some studies contend that ethanol is “energy negative”, meaning that it takes more energy to produce than is contained in the final product. However, a large number of recent studies, including a 2006 article in the journal Science offer the opinion that fuels like ethanol are energy positive. Furthermore, fossil fuels also require significant energy inputs which have seldom been accounted for in the past.
Additionally, ethanol is not the only product created during production, and the energy content of the by-products must also be considered. Corn is typically 66% starch and the remaining 33% is not fermented. This unfermented component is called distillers grain, which is high in fats and proteins, and makes good animal feed. In Brazil, where sugar cane is used, the yield is higher, and conversion to ethanol is somewhat more energy efficient than corn. Recent developments with cellulosic ethanol production may improve yields even further.
According to the International Energy Agency, new biofuels technologies being developed today, notably cellulosic ethanol, could allow biofuels to play a much bigger role in the future than previously thought. Cellulosic ethanol can be made from plant matter composed primarily of inedible cellulose fibers that form the stems and branches of most plants. Crop residues (such as corn stalks, wheat straw and rice straw), wood waste, and municipal solid waste are potential sources of cellulosic biomass. Dedicated energy crops, such as switchgrass, are also promising cellulose sources that can be sustainably produced in many regions of the United States.
The ethanol and biodiesel production industries also create jobs in plant construction, operations, and maintenance, mostly in rural communities. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol industry created almost 154,000 U.S. jobs in 2005 alone, boosting household income by .7 billion. It also contributed about .5 billion in tax revenues at the local, state, and federal levels.
The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page.
The U.S. electric power industry now relies on large, central power stations, including coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower plants that together generate more than 95% of the nation electricity. Over the next few decades uses of renewable energy could help to diversify the nation bulk power supply. Already, appropriate renewable resources (which excludes large hydropower) produce 12% of northern California electricity.
Although most of today electricity comes from large, central-station power plants, new technologies offer a range of options for generating electricity nearer to where it is needed, saving on the cost of transmitting and distributing power and improving the overall efficiency and reliability of the system.
Improving energy efficiency represents the most immediate and often the most cost-effective way to reduce oil dependence, improve energy security, and reduce the health and environmental impact of the energy system. By reducing the total energy requirements of the economy, improved energy efficiency could make increased reliance on renewable energy sources more practical and affordable.
Competition with nuclear power
See also: Nuclear power proposed as renewable energy
Nuclear power continues to be considered as an alternative to fossil-fuel power sources (see Low carbon power generation), and in 1956, when the first peak oil paper was presented, nuclear energy was presented as the replacement for fossil fuels. However, the prospect of increased nuclear power deployment was seriously undermined in the United States as a result of the Three Mile Island, and in the rest of the world after the Chernobyl disaster. This trend is slowly reversing, and several new nuclear reactors are scheduled for construction.
Physicist Bernard Cohen proposed in 1983 that uranium dissolved in seawater, when used in fast neutron reactors, is effectively inexhaustible and constantly replenished by rivers, and could therefore be considered a renewable source of energy. However, this idea is not universally accepted, and issues such as peak uranium and uranium depletion are ongoing debates.
Legislative definitions of renewable energy, used when determining energy projects eligible for subsidies or tax breaks, usually exclude nuclear power.
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^ Global wind energy markets continue to boom 2006 another record year (PDF).
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^ World’s largest photovoltaic power plants
^ Solar Trough Power Plants (PDF).
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^ America and Brazil Intersect on Ethanol
^ World Energy Assessment (2001). Renewable energy technologies, p. 221.
^ What Solar Power Needs Now Renewable Energy Access, 13 August 2007.
^ United Nations Environment Programme Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2007: Analysis of Trends and Issues in the Financing of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in OECD and Developing Countries (PDF), p. 3.
^ a b c Clean Edge (2009). Clean Energy Trends 2009 pp. 1-4.
^ Renewables Global Status Report 2009 Update (PDF).
^ Renewable energy… into the mainstream p. 9.
^ EWEA Executive summary “Analysis of Wind Energy in the EU-25″ (PDF). European Wind Energy Association. http://www.ewea.org/fileadmin/ewea_documents/documents/publications/WETF/Facts_Summary.pdf EWEA Executive summary. Retrieved 2007-03-11.
^ How Does A Wind Turbine’s Energy Production Differ from Its Power Production?
^ Wind Power: Capacity Factor, Intermittency, and what happens when the wind doesn blow? retrieved 24 January 2008.
^ “Offshore stations experience mean wind speeds at 80 m that are 90% greater than over land on average. Evaluation of global wind power
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^ “High-altitude winds could provide a potentially enormous renewable energy source, and scientists like Roberts believe flying windmills could put an end to dependence on fossil fuels. At 15,000 feet (4,600 m), winds are strong and constant. On the ground, wind is often unreliable the biggest problem for ground-based wind turbines.” Windmills in the Sky (URL accessed January 30, 2006).
^ Richard Shelquist (18 October 2005). “Density Altitude Calculator”. http://wahiduddin.net/calc/calc_da_m.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
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^ Primrenergieverbrauch und erneuerbare Energien in der EU (PDF).
^ The Path to Grid Parity (Graphic)
^ http://www.claverton-energy.com/talk-by-dr-gregor-czisch-at-the-5th-claverton-energy-conference-house-of-commons-june-19th-2009.html Claveton energy group conference house of commons June 19th 2009
^ REN21 (2009). Renewables Global Status Report: 2009 Update p. 8.
^ Eric Martinot and Janet Sawin. Renewables Global Status Report 2009 Update, Renewable Energy World, September 9, 2009.
^ Lars Kroldrup. Gains in Global Wind Capacity Reported Green Inc., February 15, 2010.
^ World Wind Energy Association (2008). Wind turbines generate more than 1 % of the global electricity
^ New Report a Complete Analysis of the Global Offshore Wind Energy Industry and its Major Players
^ U.S., China Lead Global Wind Installation
^ E.ON wraps up 457 MW wind farm, transfers assets
^ Blown away
^ Global Concentrated Solar Power Industry to Reach 25 GW by 2020
^ Solar Thermal Projects Under Review or Announced
^ REN21 (2008). Renewables 2007 Global Status Report (PDF) p. 12.
^ PV Resources.com (2009). World’s largest photovoltaic power plants
^ Strickland, Tonya (2008-04-24). ” billion-plus Carrisa Plains solar farm could power 190,000 firms”. The San Luis Obispo Tribune. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/178/story/341999.html. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
^ “PG&E Signs Historic 800 MW Photovoltaic Solar Power Agreements With Optisolar and Sunpower”. Pacific Gas & Electric. 2008-08-14. http://www.pge.com/about/news/mediarelations/newsreleases/q3_2008/080814.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
^ Solar Integrated in New Jersey.
^ “Industry Statistics: Annual World Ethanol Production by Country”. Renewable Fuels Association. http://www.ethanolrfa.org/industry/statistics/#E. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
^ Macedo Isaias, M. Lima Verde Leal and J. Azevedo Ramos da Silva (2004). “Assessment of greenhouse gas emissions in the production and use of fuel ethanol in Brazil” (PDF). Secretariat of the Environment, Government of the State of So Paulo. http://www.eners.ch/plateforme/medias/macedo_2004.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-09.
^ Daniel Budny and Paulo Sotero, editor (2007-04). “Brazil Institute Special Report: The Global Dynamics of Biofuels” (PDF). Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/Brazil_SR_e3.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
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^ a b REN21 (2009). Renewables Global Status Report: 2009 Update pp. 12-13.
^ Leonora Walet. Philippines targets .5 billion geothermal development, Reuters, November 5, 2009.
^ Sea machine makes waves in Europe
^ Wave energy contract goes abroad
^ Joao Lima. “Babcock, EDP and Efacec to Collaborate on Wave Energy Projects”. Bloomberg Television. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aSsaOB9qbiKE&refer=australia. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
^ Orkney to get ‘biggest’ wave farm.
^ Power for the People p. 3.
^ Energy for Development: The Potential Role of Renewable Energy in Meeting the Millennium Development Goals pp. 7-9.
^ The Rise of Renewable Energy
^ Solar loan program in India.
^ a b Missing the Market Meltdown
^ Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi. A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030, Scientific American, November 2009, p. 43.
^ http://www.claverton-energy.com/why-do-we-need-the-supergrid-what-is-its-scope-and-what-will-it-achieve.html Claverton Energy Group conference, House of Commmons
^ Renewable Energy Sources
^ The Sietch Blog Germany Going 100% Renewable (Or Yet Another Reason Why America Is Falling Behind)
^ “Small Scale Wind Energy Factsheet”. Thames Valley Energy. Last Updated: 14-02-2007. http://www.tvenergy.org/sources-windturbine.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
^ Denis Du Bois (May 22, 2006). “Thin Film Could Soon Make Solar Glass and Facades a Practical Power Source”. Energy Priorities. http://energypriorities.com/entries/2006/05/xsunx_power_glass_bipv.php. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
^ “What is the worst eyesore in the UK?”. BBC News. 2003-11-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/3266673.stm. Retrieved 2007-09-19. “I really wish people wouldn’t criticize wind farms. I would much rather have 12 hills full of wind turbines than 1 single nuclear power station.”
^ Hydrogen injection could boost biofuel production
^ Greater Transportation Energy and GHG Offsets from Bioelectricity Than Ethanol
^ Organized Wastefulness Photon International 2007-04 April, page 106
^ Union of Concerned Scientists. Renewable Electricity Standard FAQ.
^ Renewable Energy Today. Groups Seek Exclusion of Large Hydro From Renewables Initiative. June 3, 2004.
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^ a b Why Australia needs wind power
^ newscientist.com June 2005 Wind turbines a breeze for migrating birds
^ Andrew Chapman (2003-11-15). “Renewable energy industry environmental impacts”. Country Guardian. http://www.countryguardian.net/Chapman.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-19. “Evaluations of the bird kills at Altamont suggested that the small, 18-metre diameter rotor, turbines rotating a high speed, 60 revolutions per minute, were a major contributor.”
^ What about offshore wind farms and birds?
^ Australian Broadcasting Company. Critics say geo-thermal power not renewable. August 20, 2008.
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^ Geodynamics says it has the “hottest rocks on earth”
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^ Ethanol Can Contribute to Energy and Environmental Goals (PDF).
^ University of Minnesota
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^ Industrial Biotechnology Is Revolutionizing the Production of Ethanol Transportation Fuel (PDF), pages 34.
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^ US Department of Energy – Nuclear Power Deployment Scorecard
^ Cohen, Bernard L. (1983-01). “Breeder reactors: A renewable energy source” (PDF). American Journal of Physics 51 (1): 7576. doi:10.1119/1.13440. http://sustainablenuclear.org/PADs/pad11983cohen.pdf. Retrieved 2007-08-03.
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Categories: Biomass | Renewable energyHidden categories: Wikipedia semi-protected pages | Articles needing additional references from January 2010 | All articles needing additional references | Articles with limited geographic scope | USA-centricTags: altitude sites, global energy production, international energy agency, renewable energy sources, wind tides
Solar energy is the radiant light and heat from the sun. This free accessible energy has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Still today, only a infinitesimal fraction of the available solar energy is used. Solar power provides electrical generation by means of heat engines or photovoltaics. Solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, day lighting, hot water, thermal energy for cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.
Making your own solar and wind power for less than 0
Energy obtained from solar energy is clean. Clean energy from the sun can replace power sources that pollute the environment. The few emissions of greenhouse gases or air pollutants generated by solar energy technologies occur mostly during the manufacturing process. A 100-megawatt solar thermal electric power plant, over its 20-year life, will avoid more than 3 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when compared with the cleanest conventional fossil fuel-powered electric plants available today.
Many countries through several national and international institutes and agencies have started taking actions to reduce (or eliminate) the pollutant emissions and to attain a sustainable supply of energy. One way to achieve this is by using solar energy as much as possible. This is in compliance with the agreement signed in the December 1997 in International Kyoto Conference on climate change, where a list of fifteen concrete proposals emerged for the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. The list includes, among others, the use of solar energy.
Energy is considered a prime agent in the generation of wealth and a significant factor in economic development. The importance of energy in economic development is recognized universally, and historical data verify that there is a strong relationship between the availability of energy and economic activity. Increase in economic activity also increases environmental problems. The growing evidence of environmental problems is due to a combination of several factors, since the environmental impact of human activities has grown dramatically. This is due to the increase of the world population, energy consumption and industrial activities.
The most important benefit of renewable energy systems is the decrease of environmental pollution, clean energy with no emissions or noise pollution, low operating and maintenance costs, emissions from manufacturing and construction are quickly offset, reliable systems, useful for grid connected and remote applications, modular systems that can be constructed to any size, and creation of new jobs.
Making your own solar and wind power for less than 0
The negative environmental impact of solar energy systems includes land displacement and possible air and water pollution resulting from manufacturing, normal maintenance operations and demolition of the systems. However, land use is not a problem when collectors are mounted on the roof of a building, the maintenance required is minimal and the pollution caused by demolition is not greater than the pollution caused from demolition of a conventional system of the same capacity.
It can, therefore, be concluded that solar energy systems are friendlier to the environment and offer significant protection of the environment. The reduction of greenhouse gases pollution is the main advantage of utilizing solar energy. Therefore, solar energy systems should be employed whenever possible in order to achieve a sustainable future, thus applying the slogan ”THINK GLOBALLY- ACT LOCALLY”.
Making your own solar and wind power for less than 0Tags: benefits of solar energy, greenhouse gas emissions, solar energy technologies, use of solar energy, using solar energy