Sustainable energy hasn’t been at the top of our personal or political list. It is a fact that the planet cannot cope any longer with abusive use of energy. I’m an advocate of buying hybrid cars because I believe that human beings are the cause of global warming, and a recent study has shown this to be true. Another sector which is a big contributor towards global warming is manufacturing. Building your house, apartment complex and roads uses a lot of energy; more than automobiles or leaving your lights on. Today’s world needs more efficient ways of creating energy.
The consequences of Global Warming are grave. The planet is becoming more and more populated and new resources have to be promoted to ensure that we are provided with energy. Slowing down Global Warming by using your car less isn’t a solution, because as any police officer would say “slowing down at a stop sign, is not stopping.”
The focus is to stop Global Warming and the solution to this problem is in the production of energy, not in the way it is used. There are many different types of alternative renewable energy which engineers and scientists are working on. These are: solar energy, biomass, wind energy, wave energy and many more. The focus on this article is to bring to light the pros and cons of wave, wind and solar energy.
Wave energy is one of the most researched areas of renewable energy. It can be the solution for the major problem that the world has when it comes to energy. Wave power comes from the transport of energy by the ocean surface waves. This energy can converted to electrical energy and can be used in applications such as pumping water, or water distillation. The first known patent that utilizes energy from ocean waves was provided in 1799 by specialists in Paris. In 2008, Portugal opened the first experimental wave farm at what is known as “Aguçadoura Wave Park.”
This form of energy is a great solution and seems efficient in the production of electrical energy, however it is very costly and it is still under and experimental phase. This form of energy is also limited to several geographical regions and the countries that would benefit are the ones with an opening to a large sea or ocean.
Wind energy is a form of energy utilizes the kinetic energy of the air in motion. Humans have been using this source of energy for thousands of years and it has proven to be reliable. Maybe the first example of using wind as an energy source is by the ancient sailors who used the wind power to sail their ships. Windmills are still used today, especially in Netherlands. Although wind is valuable, it also comes with several disadvantages.
The first disadvantage is that it is expensive to research and to create the systems needed to capture the wind. The second is a technical problem because these systems can only be efficient at generating power when its velocity is zero. The third is that this form of energy is only available in certain areas, such as coasts but they aren’t very effective in areas with warmer climates.
Solar energy is one of the best researched and known types of sustainable energy. This type of energy is also the most promising one because there is so much solar radiation in our world and only a very small fraction is used. In most parts of the world (including my home country), it is used to heat water. In a previous article, I wrote about how solar panels can be a great solution to our energy problem but one of the biggest downsides of solar energy is that the systems are expensive. The sun is a valuable source of energy, but we know that it does not shine as powerfully in every corner of the world. This also implies some limitations.
The solution is out there, we need to make it more main stream!
“Anything which is physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a bugaboo of small minds.” ― Robert A. Heinlein