There are various environment friendly and renewable energy resources available that offer alternate source of energy and help to nullify the effects of certain forms of pollution. All these power generation techniques can be described as renewable because they are not reducing the quantity of any resources to create the energy.
Here is a list of the top 10 renewable energy resources.
# 1 – Nuclear Power
Nuclear power is obtained through any nuclear technology designed to extract usable energy from atomic nuclei through controlled nuclear reactions. Currently, only fission nuclear method is used, though other methods might one day include nuclear fusion and radioactive decay.
The reactors heat up the water to produce steam, which is then converted into mechanical work for the purpose of generating electricity or propulsion.
Fourteen percent of the world’s electricity is produced by nuclear energy. U.S. , France, and Japan together account for 56.5% of nuclear generated electricity.
439 nuclear power reactors are in operation around the world in 31 countries. According to the figures of World Nuclear Association during 1980s one new nuclear reactor starts up in every 17 days on average, and this ratio will increase till 2015 up to one reactor every 5 days.
France gets cleanest air than any other industrialized country because of nuclear power, and also cheapest electricity in all of Europe. For reducing mass and making more energy France reprocesses it nuclear waste.
By reprocessing, up to 95% of the remaining uranium and plutonium can be put into new mixed oxide fuel. Europe is considered to be the most successful re-processor but currently it only recycles 28% of the yearly fuel use, 7% in France and another 21% in Russia.
The energy experts believe that nuclear energy is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by decreasing dependence on foreign oil. It is also emphasize that storing waste risks are low and using the latest technology in newer reactors can further reduce them. As compared to other major nuclear power plants the operational safety record in the Western World is excellent.
According to critics, nuclear power generation is dangerous even though using latest technology can lower the risks down. While on other side proponents advance the concept that nuclear power produces eventually no air pollution as compare to fossil oil energy producing and they also say that nuclear energy is the only virtual course to achieve energy independence for most Western countries.
But its being criticized also and critics say that radioactive waste can be contaminated by accident or sabotage as such accidents had happened before.
# 2 – Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
Compressed Natural Gas is the substitute for the fossil fuel like gasoline, diesel or propane fuel. Though its combustion also produce the greenhouse gases but it’s more environment friendly as compare to other fossil fuels CNG is used in traditional gasoline engines which are converted into b-fuel vehicles (gasoline/CNG).
CNG vehicles are increasingly used in Europe and in North America. In Europe Italy is the no.1 and in world its 4th country with largest number of CNG-powered vehicles.
Canada is the largest producer of natural gas and CNG in Canada is used as economical motor fuel.
# 3 – Biomass
As a renewable energy source biomass refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. For that biomass make an appeal to plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce for instance trash like dead trees, yard clippings wood chip biofuel, and it also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers, chemicals or heat.
Industrial biomass can be grown up by several types of plants such as misconstrues, switch grass, hemp, poplar, corn sugarcane etc.
Biomass is a growing industry as demand for sustainable energy resources is increasing. Currently in U.S. 0.5% of electricity is produced by using biomass. New Hope Power Partnership is the largest biomass power plant in North America.
# 4 – Geothermal Power
The most efficient and powerful way to extract energy from earth through natural process is called geothermal energy. In ancient roman times it was used for space heating and bathing but now its better known to produce electricity.
Though geothermal power is cost effective, reliable and environment friendly but geographically its limited only to areas near tectonic plate boundaries.
The largest group of geothermal power plants is in the Geysers a geothermal field in California, United States. According to statistics 5 countries in world (EL Salvador, Kenya, Philippines, Iceland, and Costa Rica) generate more than 15% of their electricity through geothermal sources.
The main advantage of geothermal energy is that it doesn’t need any fuel. Geothermal electricity is generated in 24 countries around the world and still there are number of potential sites that needs any discovery.
# 5 – Radiant Energy
This natural energy is gained directly from environment or its extracted from ordinary electricity by using the fractionation method. Nikola Tesla invented the earliest wireless telephones based on radiant energy. This natural energy can work same as ordinary electricity at less than 1% of the cost. It doesn’t behave exactly like electricity.
# 6 – Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is generated by hydropower. Using the force of falling or flowing water generates the power. This is the most widely used form of the renewable energy and it doesn’t produce any waste that will be harmful for the environment.
Hydropower produces the world’s almost 19% electricity.
# 7 – Wind Power
Conversion of wind energy by wind turbines into useful energy form such as electricity or mechanical energy is called Wind Power.
Wind power haves one the lowest environmental impacts of all energy resources. Recently wind produces only 1.5% of worldwide electricity but its growing fast. It achieved high level of penetration in many countries.
The wind power electricity production in few countries is phenomenal such as 19% of electricity production in Denmark, 11% in Spain and Portugal, and 7% in Germany and Ireland.
If we look in history humans are using wind energy from centuries such it was used to propel the sailing ships, for grinding grains and now today it is used to produce the electricity.
# 8 – Solar Power
Solar power is controls the suns energy to produce the electricity. This is one of the fastest growing energy sources and so many new technologies are developing with rapid speed to attain more from sun’s energy.
Solar cells are becoming more productive, flexible, transportable and easy in installation. Photovoltaic production was rise rapidly in 1973 due to of oil crisis.
Recent years solar installations are largely expanded to residential areas as governments are offering incentive programs to make green energy and more economically viable option.
# 9 – Wave Power
Transporting the energy from the ocean surface waves to capture the energy for useful work such as generating electricity, water desalination or pumping of the water is called wave energy.
This method of renewable energy is not most reliable due to unpredicted ocean and wave direction. Anyhow waveforms are in use in Europe. They are using floating Pelamis Wave Energy converters.
The world’s first commercial wave form is in Portugal, at the Agucadora Wave Park, that consists of three 750 KW Pelamis devices.
# 10 – Tidal Power
Tidal power generation is similar to a wind turbine power generation. It is more environment friendly and cause less impact on established ecosystems.
Tidal energy can be generated in two ways, one tidal stream generators and other by barrage generation.
Similar like wind turbines tidal stream generators rotate underwater swiftly driven by dense water.. Though its not used wider basis but its having a potential for future power generation.
Tidal energy production is more predictable than wind energy and solar power. Tidal mills were used in Europe and on the Atlantic coast of America long before.
Tidal power is directly derived from the motion of the Earth-Moon system, tidal forces are produced by the moon and sun with combination of earth’s rotation.
Lunar Energy Company in England had announced that they would build the world’s first tidal energy farm at the coast of Pembrokshire in Wales. It will be the world’s first deep-sea tidal energy farm, which will provide electricity to 5,000 homes.