Knowledge is power…

While digging around for information, I came around this list from http://listverse.com/2009/05/01/top-10-renewable-energy-sources/, suprisingly enough, there are many types of alternate energy sources that haven’t receive as much media attention as the common solar or wind power sources. So please enjoy a small sample of what may one day be powering your life.

1) Tidal Power – This system operates like a underwater wind power generator. It allows the tides to move its pellars which in then turns the generator for power. Although not commonly talked about, this generator is actually more dependable than the solar power and wind power as tides are easier to predict. On top of that, the turbines are not very expensive to maintain, though costly to build. However, since tides are only strong for about 10 hours a day, the system is not sophistocated enough yet to be a constant source of energy.

Based on projections for the Severn Barrage project in Wales, the bill to build one of these is a hefty 15billion sterling pounds, equivalent to about 26.5 billion Canadian. However this will generate over 8000 megawatts of energy.

2) Wave Power – Though powerful, wave power is very difficult to capture and highly predictable. One of the main method in harnessing the power of waves to so set up buoys, called Pelamis devices, over a large stretch of water. As the waves move, it will generate a pumping action in these connected buoys will are all attached to a generator at the shore. Although unreliable, this method is relatively cheap to create and maintain and best of all, no waste is produced.

A company based in Isreal by the name of SDE Energy, is seeking to develop a wave power generator in China. According to their predictions, the cost to build a 1 megawatt generator comes to about 650,000USD.

Read more here.

3) Radiant Energy – Anyone ever been to a science lab and touched a glass globe with electricity strands following your fingers, causing all the hair on your body to rise up, will this is what causes it. Radiant energy is one of the earliest source of energy ever, though till this day, it is still not used to generate electricity. Predicted by Listverse to only cost 1% of our current energy sources, it suprises me that there have not been many serious researches in this field.

4) Geothermal Energy – This source of energy literally taps into the earths core for energy. By drilling down into the earth far enough, water is poured down to cool the molten rocks, which causes steam to bellow out the other end to power the generators. The great thing about this method is that it is forever renewable (unless we somehow freeze the core of the earth) and it causes almost no pollution. Unlike the powerful tide power, geothermal energy can produce electricity non stop and is easily controlled to increase or decrease production. However, it is very hard to find places on earth that has the suitable terrains to build these plants. Once located, developers risks the chance that the land will “run out of steam”, in which case they may have to wait decades for the plants to run again.

Currently, there is a $350,000USD geothermal energy generator running in Anaheim, providing enough energy for about 9000 households at about $13.3million USD per year.

Read more here

5) Biomass – Although this source of energy is not clean, I still decided to include it in my list mainly because its a great way for people to manage waste. In simple terms, biomass energy is generated thru burning waste. The idea was from our ancestors who had no technology so was forced to used only wood to fuel their fires. Since garbage is created everyday world wide, this could be a great source of energy for less weathy countries. Though the costs of this energy source depends on many factors such as method used to gather the energy, types of material being used as fuel, location, etc…, it is estimated that electricity can cost as little as 5-6 cents per Kw (per hour). This costs can be further reduced by half if the right type of generator is used (though of course it would be more expensive to build the generator). Once again, this method is by no means being clean or new, however, it should be something that can be easily accessible to less fortunately places if a generator was donated.

Read more about biomass

Information gathered from http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/index.htm

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    mattbaril said,

    Hi there,

    First of all, congrats for your blog, I really like to look of it and you’ve definitely created value with your articles.

    I’m really interested in the biomass technologies since it seems like you can potentially solve 2 problems with one solution: get rid of the waste and create energy. However, I’m environment friendly and burning waste and producing masses of toxic gazes is definitely not an option I would like. Last semester I was working on a paper and I came across a very interesting technology from a Canadian company which happens to be an international leader. They claim they have created a technology with which it’s possible to burn the wastes without creating any toxic gazes. Of course this seems to good to be true and I was wondering if you knew anything about it? Here is the link to the company: http://www.plascoenergygroup.com/

    Thanks!

    • 2

      sunnyhoshingchan said,

      Wow, thanks for the information on Plasco. I have actually heard about something like that before, however i don’t believe it was this specific company. As mentioned before, I do believe one of the criteria for alternative energy should be its minimal negative to the environment, but since we do not currently have the ability to create a biomass energy source without emission, I do believe this would be the most appropriate solution to 3rd world countries. Since there is everywhere and it is relatively cheap to generate electricity, people could potentially afford electricity for emergencies, like during winter storms.

      • 3

        mattbaril said,

        Wouldn’t that aggravate the global pollution problem though? I’m not saying people in third world countries shouldn’t have access to electricity, because it would harm the planet. But is there anything else we can do to help poorer countries to get electricity that is cheap but wouldn’t be so bad for the environment?

        For example, I came across one of our colleagues’ blog and he talked about the new “kite” technology: http://changing888.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/go-fly-a-kite-literally/

        I thought that could be interesting, since it’s a relatively cheap technology and there is no pollution at all. Because from my understanding, biomass is really bad for the environment… Is that right or exaggerated?

      • 4

        sunnyhoshingchan said,

        Hi Matt, you are definitely correct in thinking that bio mass is a very dirty source of energy. However, as I have mentioned before, a lot of these newer energy sources requires lots of money. Corporate sponsors are normally unwilling to donate money to 3rd world countries because there is no potential for business expansions there. Government will not likely divert funds there as there are no voters there. Therefore, most of the funding for electricity in third world country would have to be from charity.

        Unfortunately, charities can only do so much, they may able to build a super expensive generator, but what good is that if there is no funds to maintain it. So that is why there are suggestions that 3rd world countries should use biomass energy, at least as a starting point anyways. Of course, we always look for a brighter tomorrow.


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