Nikola Tesla is known by many as the father of commercial electricity, without his breakthrough in the field of electromagnetism and patents as well as his theoretical work served as the basis for modern alternating current (AC) electric power systems, including the polyphase system of electrical distribution and the AC motor.
Since Tesla, countless inventors have developed technologies that influenced and changed the way we use and generate electricity. Nowadays the quest is to find ways to generate electricity from renewable energy resources to reduce the Earth’s carbon footprint easing the impacts of Global Warming.
Every now and then we bring to our readers some of these renewable energy resources projects and concepts. Today we have compiled a list with those that we think are the most innovative, efficient and most importantly cost-effective renewable energy generation projects to date.
Thorium is abundant and clean enough to supply global energy demand for centuries. According to experts, there is more energy available from thorium than all coal, gas, oil and uranium combined.
Considered by many as the future of nuclear energy generation, Thorium operates significantly cleaner than uranium-based power plants as the waste products are much easier to handle. A ton of Thorium produces the same energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3.5 million tons of coal.
2. OTEC – Ocean Thermal Energy Conservation
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature difference that exists between deep and shallow waters to run a heat engine. As with any heat engine, the greatest efficiency and power is produced with the largest temperature difference and, up until now this was the biggest challenge for OTEC. But recent developments in the efficiency of heat exchange assisted by modern designs performance can reach theoretical maximum efficiency making OTEC a viable and efficient renewable energy resource.
A single 100 Mw floating plant can generate 800 million kW of electrical energy, without the need of oil, gas or any other fossil fuel. OTEC only needs the temperature difference between the oceans hot surface water and cold deep water.
3. Wind Power
Needless of detailed information and one of the biggest bets of the Coalition Government to help Britain meet its Climate Change Bill Agreements and prevent us from a possible energy crisis in the near future. Wind Power is one the cleanest but not so cost effective renewable energy generation resources there is.
Despite accounting only for 2% of global energy generation, wind power electricity generation is growing rapidly and it has doubled over the past three years and in countries like Denmark it already accounts for 20% of stationary electricity production.
4. Solar Energy
Another renewable energy generation resource that doesn’t need detailed explanation. Solar energy generation is another clean and abundant renewable energy resource. Up until now the biggest challenges faced by solar energy has been the cost and efficiency of solar panels and solar cells.
The ultimate challenge is to make solar panels convert the maximum energy from the sun into electricity. Actually only about 31% of solar energy is converted into electricity. The rest of the energy is not able to be harnessed as it becomes heat – as ‘hot electrons’ – which is lost very quickly because electrons cool down very fast. Capturing almost all solar energy and converting to electricity is the goal of the ‘ultimate solar cell’.
5. Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy uses heat stored in the earth to generate electricity. This energy is originated from the radioactive decay of minerals, from volcanic activity and solar energy absorbed at the Earth’s surface. Up until now geothermal energy generation was limited to areas near tectonic plate boundaries.
Technological advancements in the field have expanded the range and size of viable geothermal resources. The only downside is that geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped within the earth surface and wells can run dry or lose steam.
We want to hear it from you now. Are renewables the solution to solve or at least reduce Global Warming effects? Is the Coalition Government right to back renewable energy generation against other “antiquated” energy generation methods?