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Everything you need to know about clean energy

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Clean energy is one of the answers to the climate problem, as the climate crisis is becoming increasingly apparent. By its textbook definition, clean energy is any energy that comes from a renewable source. With the warming climate comes the problem of food shortages, which affects the quality of life. As the world’s population grows, so does the need for energy. As there are fewer and fewer non-renewable sources, humanity must increasingly turn to renewable energy sources in the future. Eventually, developed countries will increasingly invest in this sector, as well as individuals who know how important it is to turn to all renewable sources.

Clean energy sources are the best appropriate choice to preserve the environment. Not only because they save the environment and our planet Earth but also because of economic savings. Although clean energy technologies are finding ways to increase their use in homes, there is still enormous untapped potential. The best example is heating hot water with solar panels. The choice of technology depends on local resources. With the development of solar applications, the possibilities are more significant.

Today we have extensive experience based on decades of work. Non-renewable energy sources are becoming more expensive, and over time, when almost all other supplies are depleted they will become luxury goods. People will be forced to look for different and cheaper energy sources. The development of renewable energy sources contributes to climate stabilization, increases the security of energy supply, creates new jobs, and grows the economy.

Image by manyPictures from Pixabay

Sun’s radiation

When we talk about the energy of the Sun’s radiation, we mean its use at the moment when it reaches the Earth, which is the direct use of the Sun’s radiation. The inflow of energy by solar radiation is called the solar constant, which is 1400W / m2 at the average distance of the Earth from the Sun, ignoring the effect of atmospheric absorption. When passing through the atmosphere, part of the energy wastes in complex processes, and part reflects and re-emitted into space. The lost part is about 1/3 of the energy that has reached the edge of the atmosphere. So the inflow of radiation to the Earth’s surface is an average of 920W per square meter.

If the projection of the Earth’s surface is 127,106 km2, the flow of energy is 117400TW. These are average values, and the real ones depend on the latitude, time of the day, clouds, etc. It is a significant amount of energy sources that can meet energy needs for a very long time. The energy of radiation that reaches the surface of the Earth depends primarily on the duration of insolation. The period of the Sun’s emission is the time during which the Sun is above the horizon. The duration of insolation depends on the latitude and the season. The difference between the time of sunrise and the time of sunset gives the period of insolation.

To which the horizontal and unprotected surface is exposed. It amounts to Europe at around 3 pm in summer, and 9 am in winter. The actual period of insolation is significantly shorter due to the appearance of clouds and fog. But also due to the state of the atmosphere in the observed area. It differs for surfaces that take place horizontally, vertically, or at an angle to the surface.

Solar energy

However, the inflow of solar radiation energy is not proportional to the duration of insolation. Namely, part of the radiation decreases through the atmosphere due to the absorption of oxygen, ozone, and carbon dioxide. The closer the Sun is to the horizon the loss is more exponential. Also, the energy of the radiation decreases as it passes through the atmosphere, and the most transparent is immediately after sunset. Some of the scattered radiation still reaches the Earth’s surface (about 50%). Therefore, the total radiation that reaches the Earth consists of direct and diffusion radiation that is part of the scattered radiation energy. Besides, the radiation power changes significantly during the day.

And its changes depending on the season and the position of the illuminated surface. Very often, radiant energy is shown as the energy that reaches the Earth’s surface during the day, naturally during insolation. This energy depends on the state of the clouds and the properties of the atmosphere, but it is desirable to know the potential power of radiation. It is the maximum energy that reaches the surface through a dry and humid atmosphere.

It depends on latitude and altitude. It becomes smaller with decreasing altitude and increasing latitude. As a source of energy, solar radiation is more favorable than wind due to the predictability of the phenomenon. But it is less recommended because there is no radiation during the night and that it is less intense during winter when energy consumption is highest. Plants can only operate during the daily cycle, which does not match the rhythm of energy demand. Must-do project: The building of additional plants or energy storage provided to supply consumers at night.

Clean energy | Solar energy

Wind energy

The wind is the flow of air masses that results from its temperature or pressure differences. Airflow causes friction or loss kinetic energies in contact with a solid substrate, resulting in velocity differences currents in space and time. Due to the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface, air masses heat up. The warm air rises to about ten kilometres in the equatorial belt and is directed towards the poles and rotates under the influence of the Earth’s rotation, or Coriolis force. Cold air fills the gaps and thus causes constant winds.

Yet, although wind energy is a pure source of power, it is believed that it is not without impact on the environment. The visual influence in order not to disturb natural landscapes and endanger them with noise. Wind energy is still a relatively expensive option compared to fossil fuels, but that hasn’t stopped the development of the energy industry. The use of wind energy is the fastest-growing segment of renewable energy production sources. In the last few years, turbines on the wind improved. A good example is the German turbine market, where the average power of 1280 kW in 2001 increased to more than 3000 kW in 2020.

They achieved this increase in power by a corresponding increase in the size of wind-driven turbines. They are currently developing turbines that will be able to generate power more than 10 MW. Some manufacturers have already introduced their prototypes in this power class. Albert Betz, a German physicist, gave the law of energy back in 1919, published in 1926 in the book Wind-Energie. His law says we can convert less than 16/27 or 59% of the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical energy using a wind turbine. 59% is the theoretical maximum, and in practice, between 35% and 45% wind energy.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy refers to the use of heat inside the Earth. Due to energy use, the result was developing many technologies have, but we can simplify single out two ways, direct and indirect. It means the use of hot water that erupts (or is pumped out) from underground. It varies: from use in spas, for heating houses or greenhouses, for sure, processes in the industry. Indirect use of geothermal energy means obtaining electricity. Here it is the principle of operation that does not differ significantly from classic coal-fired or fuel oil thermal power plants – the difference is only in the way water vapor is obtained.

Depending on the temperature of the water (or steam) in several different technologies have been underground. When we say geothermal energy, we mean the one that has accumulated in the rocks of the Earth’s crust, not the one that conducts current to the surface.

We distinguish four groups of geothermal energy sources:

– Hydro geothermal energy of hot water sources

– Hydro geothermal energy of water vapor source

– Hydro geothermal energy of hot water at great depths

– Petrothermal energy – the energy of hot and dry rocks

The water that appears in the springs of hot water and water vapor has reached deeper layers through permeable layers. It accumulates hot heat rock and that which comes from greater depths and reaches a  temperature of about 400C. If water finds its way to the Earth’s surface either through wells, or across the upper impermeable layer of rock, it occurs in the form of hot, or boiling water (fumaroles), or the form of steam (geysers). There are layers of the Earth that are so many impermeable so that water from the surface cannot reach them.

Hydro energy

Hydropower plants are energy plants in which potential energy is stored water turns first into mechanical energy (via hydraulic turbines) and then in electricity (using an electric generator). The energy capacities each HPP (Hydropower plant) depends on the watercourse on which it is built. On the flow, total available water, and its distribution during the year and falls. However, construction measures can improve conditions for the use of natural water potential in the first place by blocking the water flow and forming accumulation lakes. In this way, the water level rises, and the usable drop concentrates significantly on a shorter section of river flow while reducing fall losses.

According to the way of using water, hydroelectric power plants can be:

  •  Accumulation – water accumulates so that so we can use it whenever needed. Problems arise in the summer months when the natural inflow becomes too small for the operation of the power plant. In that case, the dam must be closed, and it is necessary to maintain at least a water level that is the biological minimum.
  •  Flow – water is used as it flows, so there is no accumulation.
  •  Reversible or pump-accumulation.

According to the height of the fall of the watercourse; the height difference between the intake and the discharge of water hydropower plants can be:

  •  low pressure – drop up to 25 m
  •  medium pressure – drop between 25 and 200 m
  • high pressure – drop more significant than 200 m
    And that is everything you need to know about hydro clean energy so far.

Energy of a biomass

Biomass, in the context of energy, refers to all matter, plant, or animal origin used as fuel. As we know, CO2 biomass is neutral, and that means burning the same in the environment does not release an additional amount of carbon dioxide. Wood during, its life for its growth and development by the process of photosynthesis, binds CO2 from the environment, and the vast majority of that carbon dioxide, in the form of complex carbon compounds – carbohydrates remain permanently trapped in the tree. During wood combustion, trapped carbon binds to oxygen, releasing heat, and a new chemical compound-carbon dioxide is formed. Unlike biomass fossil fuels, they release an additional carbon, which then remains in the atmosphere -greenhouse effect.

Biomass is a degradable part of products, residues, and waste from agriculture, forestry and wood industry of animal and plant origin. Biomass processing requires minimal investment. Therefore, money flips relatively quickly and multiple times. Its heat capacity is significantly high, so it has a lot of applications in many homes. We use straw and corn combustion systems for cooking and space and water heating. During the process, it is necessary to dry and chop the waste, since the combustion of wet waste releases residual oxides, the causes of acid rain. Integrating bioenergy systems into agriculture and forestry can improve the efficient use of energy, land, and water and helps solve the problem of environmental impact in the middle.

Clean energy | Biomass pellets

The cost of clean energy

Today a lot of counties adopted some incentive tariff policies for electricity producers. The incentive tariff is a policy mechanism that encourages investment in renewable, clean energy sources. It happens guaranteeing producers that the electricity they produce will be purchased at a predetermined price and taken over into the electrical grid. Renewable electricity producers can plan projects knowing that they will make predictable and satisfactory returns on their investment. The amount of the incentive tariff depends on many variables and must be determined based on the national context.

These variables usually include:

1.The need to encourage the use of renewable energy sources
2. Type of renewable energy source, bearing in mind that the price of energy production varies
3. Avoiding the costs of building new production capacities
4. Consumers or taxpayers are the once who get balanced costs
5. Regular revision of the incentive tariff due to cost reduction (cost reduction due to changes or improvements in the technology used);

There are a lot of people who say that the cost of green, renewable, clean energy is high. They are not all wrong. However, the expenses are reduced from year to year. And, there will time, not so far in the future, when the unrenewable energy would be the expensive one. Therefore, that is everything you need to know about the cost of clean energy. Maybe not everything you need to know about the cost of clean energy, but it is a start. If there is a chance to make this world a better place, take it. 

The benefits of clean energy

  • The reduction of world poverty.

Currently, 1/8 of the world’s population does not have access to electricity. Mostly in rural areas of developing countries where there are no conditions for households connected to the energy grid. Solar panels, next-generation batteries, and LED lights are just some of the solutions to this problem. Tesla, known for its innovations, is currently working on a battery that has large solar storage capacities. All this is possible because of the Sun.

  • Clean energy makes a safer world.

With the warming climate comes the problem of food shortages, which affects millions of people to migrate further, destabilizing the already shaky political relations of third world countries. By switching to renewable energy sources, the global warming process is slowing down, which means next, less drought and more food.

  • Pure clean energy has a positive effect on health.

Combustion of fossil fuels pollutes the air, water, and soil, and exposure to such pollution leads to various diseases. On the other hand, the collection and use of solar, wind, and water energy does not pollute our environment and valuable resources.

  • Clean energy preserves forests.

Switching to renewable energy sources reduces the need for deforestation. Deforestation is responsible for about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, almost as much as transport. Protecting forests prevents the release of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

  • Pure clean energy creates new jobs.

Last year, the clean energy industry employed about 9.8 million people globally. By 2030, if we use twice as much, this sector could employ more than 24 million people. It is a benefit for the individual as well as for the whole of humanity. Of course, these are not all you need to know about the benefits of clean energy, but it is a start.

 Summary

Nature gratefully supplies us every day, completely free of charge, with large amounts of sun and wind. On the other hand, there is less and less oil, coal, and others on our planet exploited goods. And their price is growing higher and higher. Besides, in recent years, it has become increasingly clear to the man that over-exploitation of fossil fuels has significantly and most likely irreparably damaged the environment. And that is not only himself but also of all kinds on Earth. We are witnessing that the global climate is changing and most of this change can be attributed to the impact of human activities.

Creating a greenhouse effect and reducing the capacity of the natural environment. And so far that is everything we need to know about clean energy. At this point, it is irrelevant if society and individuals want to invest more in solar or wind energy. There will be a future for planet Earth as long as the investments go in the direction of green technologies. Investing in better tomorrow is the most important and smartest thing anyone can do today. Let’s leave this place better than we found it. Of course, not for us, but our descendants.

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