CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTIONS

clean energy, renewable energy, wind, solar power Clean energy refers to power generation methods that do not involve greenhouse emissions. It is sometimes used broadly to refer to energy changes that are considered environment friendly. There are many methods of energy production that do not pollute the atmosphere.

These methods of green energy production include hydro power, solar power, wind power, geothermal power and tidal power.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Effects of climate change are expected to lower economic growth rates and population growth rates. Its a cyclic imbroglio: Lower economic growth results in diminished food supplies, and consequently would result in more hungry people.

Scientific projections paint a gloomy picture of a decrease in crop harvest due to the shortening of the crop growing period and decrease in water availability due to higher rates of evaporation.

In recent years, extreme weather conditions have been witnessed where severe flooding is preceded by extreme drought. Scientists have tried to explain why this is happening now and research is ongoing.

earth temperature rise, 100 years climate graph.

WIND FARMS

There has been a proliferation of wind farms in recent years mostly catalyzed by more awareness about climate issues in disparate countries.

Across the globe, wind farms are slowly becoming more entrenched as the preferred mode of harnessing natural power as opposed to the situation only a few years ago. Although experts say wind power is not poised to overtake coal power generation any time soon, they nevertheless place a lot of emphasis on the need for more research to make this novel method of electricity generation to be more efficient.

Wind farms are turbines that are interconnected to act as small power stations. The major difference between wind farms and, say, coal power generation is that in wind farms it is the wind that drives the turbines, which in turn generate electricity through electromagnetic induction.

SOLAR ENERGY

Understanding the basic science behind clean solar energy. Long ago it was discovered that light had some, well, peculiar properties. But let me talk about sound a bit.

If someone is talking around the corner we might hear what they are saying. This is because sound can ‘bend’. This behaviour is very important because it is exhibited by all ‘substances’ called waves. Among the many properties of waves the one property important to us here is that they carry energy.

There are several other behaviour patterns associated with all waves but this article is not about that. Suffice it to say that light and sound have very many similar properties and that they are therefore waves.

But sound and light also have some very distinct differences. Between one hundred and two hundred years ago several discoveries about light brought a scientific revolution because it was discovered that light travels as a ‘particle’ of energy.

Imagine buckets of ‘clean oil’ lined up from the sun to the earth.

Light from the sun travels in ‘packets’ of energy all the way to the earth. Free, clean, limitless, perpetual energy.

SOLAR HOMES

Solar homes are said to be the homes of the future. Any building with a large enough roof can be fitted with solar panels and become self sufficient in energy terms. Solar heating has initial high installation costs but requires minimal maintenance making it cost efficient in the long term. Houses fitted with solar power panels typically contribute insignificant CO2 emissions and are therefore recommended for all environmentally conscious home owners.

SOLAR HATS THAT KEEP YOU COOL IN SUMMER

With summers averaging higher temperatures than any other recorded time, solar hats may provide the solution. Solar hats come with solar-powered fans that help keep you cool when the weather gets hot. Because the sun’s rays possess energy, it is used to propel motors that run small fans keeping you cool and fresh under the scorching sun.

SOLAR CARS

Solar cars combine technology typically used in the aerospace, alternative energy, automobile, bicycle industries.
The design of a solar vehicle is severely limited by the amount of energy input into the car. Most solar cars have been built for the purpose of solar car races. Exceptions include solar-powered cars and utility vehicles.

Energy efficient Solar cars are often fitted with gauges as seen in conventional cars. In order to keep the car running smoothly, the driver must keep an eye on these gauges to spot possible problems.

Solar cars depend on PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity. In fact, 51.8% of sunlight actually enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Unlike solar thermal energy which converts solar energy to heat for either household purposes, industrial purposes or to be converted to electricity, PV cells directly convert sunlight into electricity.

When sunlight (photons) strike PV cells, they excite electrons and allow them to flow, creating an electrical current. PV cells are made of semiconductor materials such as silicon and alloys of indium, gallium and nitrogen. Silicon is the most common material used and has an efficiency rate of 15-20%.

CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEM

Scientists have proposed a radical new heating system where homes would be heated by district centres rather than in individual households. If implemented, homes will be connected to heating pipes similar to gas piping, but the heating pipes will carry hot water instead of gas.

OZONE LAYER

The ozone layer that shields life from the sun’s harmful rays is projected to recover from harmful chemicals by mid-century, but it will take longer over the polar regions, a United Nations study said recently.

Ozone depletion is blamed for higher ultraviolet radiation that causes skin cancers and cataracts and damages agriculture.

WARM PERIOD

The beginning of the last Millennium saw a “Medieval Warm Period” when temperatures, certainly in Europe, were higher than they are now. Grapes grew in northern England. Ice-bound mountain passes opened in the Alps. The Arctic was warmer in the 1930s than it is today.

CLEAN ENERGY ALL AROUND US

Clean energy surrounds us and the challenge is only how to tame it, harness it for our own benefit. A single hurricane has as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs.  All the waves around the world have the same amount of energy as a nuclear bomb. Energy that we can use to power our lives is all around us.

We collect it from places it is stored, as fuels like uranium or oil buried deep underground. Or we catch it as it passes, like the energy in flowing water, waves or the wind.

Download climate data pdf here.

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  1. niel
    October 11, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Wind energy and solar energy are clean sources of power but they cannot replace coal or thermal plants in the interim period. They just produce too little power. I support more investment in nuclear power production because of the ability of nuclear plants to generate huge electricity per plant.

  2. tann
    July 31, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Fossil fuel subsidies are 12 times support for renewables, according to a study done in the US. one more reason why this climate matter is so political.

  3. Yang Hu
    November 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    What are the main sources of greenhouse gases?

    Although greenhouse gas emissions are primarily associated with the burning of fossil fuels (chiefly, coal, oil and natural gas), they come from many sources. As a result, any effort to reduce the human impact on the climate will need to engage all sectors of society.

    The largest contributors to total U.S. emissions are the electricity generation and transportation sectors; significant emissions also come from other commercial and agricultural activity and from residential and industrial buildings.

    Most emissions come from a relatively small number of countries. The seven largest emitters—the United States, the European Union (EU), China, Russia, Japan, India and Canada—accounted for more than 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2004. An effective strategy to avert dangerous climate change requires commitments and action by all the world’s major economies.

    The United States, with 5% of the world’s population, is responsible for 25% of global GHG emissions, more than any other country. On an intensity basis (emissions per gross domestic product or GDP), U.S. emissions are roughly 50% higher than the European Union’s or Japan’s. On a per capita basis, U.S. emissions are roughly twice as high as those of the EU and Japan (and five times the world average). U.S. emissions are projected to rise 8% above 2004 levels by 2010 (and 28% by 2025). By comparison, emissions are projected to hold steady in the EU, and decline 5% in Japan, by 2010.

    Emissions are rising fastest in developing countries. China’s emissions are projected to nearly double, and India’s to increase an estimated 80%, by 2025. Annual emissions from all developing countries are projected to surpass those of developed countries between 2013 and 2018. Their per capita emissions, however, will remain much lower than those of developed countries. In 2025, per capita emissions in China are expected to be one-fourth—and in India, one-fourteenth — those of the United States.

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