Interesting Facts about Renewable Energy (Wind, Solar, Water, Geothermal, Bio)

This article provides interesting facts related to sources of renewable energy like wind, solar water, geothermal and bio-energy. The potential of renewable energy is phenomenal.

Solar Energy

1. If it could be properly harnessed, enough sunlight falls on the earth in just one hour to meet world energy demands for a whole year

2. Ever the innovator, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 for his ground-breaking experiments with solar power and photovoltaics

3. A world record was set in 1990 when a solar-powered aircraft flew across the USA in 21 stages, using no fuel at all

4. About half of worldwide production of solar panels is consumed by Japan. Their purpose is mostly for grid connected residential applications

5. The sun is 109 times bigger than the Earth. The sun’s radius being 696,000km and the Earth’s radius 6, 376km

6. The sun’s average surface temperature is 5700 C. The Earth’s average temperature is 20 C. And we are worrying about global warming of some 3C!

7. Solar radiation of about 19% is absorbed by the atmosphere, and clouds reflect a further 35% of the total solar energy. Therefore solar energy received a sea level is much less. Its peak power is generally accepted to be 1,020 W/m²

8. Solar cells have about a 15% efficiency rate in converting that energy. Therefore solar panels deliver only 19 to 56 W/m² or 0.45-1.35 kWh/m²/day of that average power. But that does not make solar energy inefficient!

9. The average solar energy falling on Australia is equivalent to about 15.000 (fifteen thousand!) times the nation’s present total energy use. At 15% conversion rate that is still more than 2000 times the present need, providing we could capture it al

10. Africa’s Sahara desert, assuming 15% efficient solar cells, could generate more than 450 tarawatt (TW) per year. Current annual global energy consumption, including fossil and renewable sources is about 13 T

11. It only takes 1% of the earth’s deserts solar energy to provide more electricity than is currently produced by fossil fuels

Wind Energy

1. The largest wind turbine in the world, located in Hawaii, stands 20 storeys tall and has blades the length of a football pitch

2. One wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes

3. An average wind speed of just 14mph is needed to convert wind energy into electricity; that shouldn’t be too hard to come by most countries!

4. There is evidence that wind energy was used to propel boats along the Nile as early as 5000BC

5. The earliest known windmills were in Persia (Iran) and looked like large paddle wheels

6. In 200BC people in China and the Middle East used windmills to pump water and grind grain

7. The UK is the windiest country in Europe, so much so that they could power the whole country several times over using wind energy

8. Wind is the fastest growing energy source worldwide

9. Below 8-10 mph wind speed, wind turbines do not generate power and have to cut out for safety reasons above 56 mph

10. In 2007 it was estimated that only 1 – 2% of the worlds energy supply comes from a renewable wind energy source

11. In recent years wind energy has provided for over 20% of the power consumption of Denmark, providing energy for a large number of homes and businesses throughout the country each year.

12. As of 2005, wind energy has successfully provided for roughly 1% of the world’s energy needs, with the United States being the third largest wind energy producing country in the world and Germany holding steady as the leader in renewable energy sources.

13. Experts estimate that in the United States alone if the 10 windiest states were to fully utilize their available wind sources the energy produced could offset the entire coal-based power production facilities currently being used and replace them entirely.

14. If properly developed, wind power could successfully reduce carbon emissions in the US by at least one third every year and help realize a global carbon dioxide reduction of 4% yearly.

15. When power provides excellent supplement all income as well, as a landowner with a single utility-scale turbine installed on their property could realize financial gains above at least $2000 a year.

16. Developing and maintaining a wind turbine power generator is also an excellent source for jobs and has helped provide income for thousands of families in rural areas that may not necessarily be available otherwise.

17. A basic wind energy generator can be developed at home with basic materials that may be available at your house for a relatively cheap price, allowing for affordable energy production with significantly little cost – something that may not be available in other forms of energy production.

18. It is estimated that if offshore energy farms were to be developed to feed power directly back into local power grids then the entire energy needs of countries such as the United States could easily be covered as offshore wind energy generators can produce energy at roughly 7 times the efficiency of their onshore variants.

19. In order to replace all energy consumption needs of the world with wind power production approximately 13% of all land will need to be developed for wind energy purposes, assuming the placement of six large wind power generators per square kilometer in any given area 80 meters above sea level in order to maximize wind energy potential. This can of course be lowered if we were to rely upon offshore wind energy production facilities as well as onshore ones.

20. As further developments in wind energy production continue to drive down the costs necessary to establish wind energy producers and other developments come about, such as the implementation of vertical axis wind turbines over the traditional horizontal axis wind turbines, wind power is becoming increasingly common even in cities where generators can be found on the tops of some skyscrapers and high-rises residential buildings alike.

Water (as a source of energy)

There is a vast depository of water on the earth surface. Did you know?

1. Water is the most known sources of renewable energy, and it is already providing energy requirements to some 28.3 million individuals.
2. Water has been acting as a source of power for more than 2000 years (various forms of energy).


Geothermal Energy

1. The old Romans were among the first people to develop modern drainage systems, roads and to use geothermal energy to heat households.

2. Geothermal energy supply roughly 18 percent of the total energy needs in Philippines.

3. Some areas of the earth surface are closer to the core of the planet than others. In countries like Iceland, steam can be used to generate electricity directly from underground water.

Bio-energy

1. Biomass (wood) provided up to 90 percent of total world’s energy requirements some 125 years ago.

2. Bio-fuel is becoming more commonly used as vehicle fuel; it does roughly represent 2 percent of total fuel consumption, and is growing fast.

3. Waste oil, such as oil that has been used by restaurant for deep fry can be converted into bio-diesel.

4. Types of Biomass
Woody Biomass: Forest’s products as well as short rotation coppice
Non-Woody Biomass: Industrial and biodegradable products, Animal waste, food processing, energy crops like Maize, sugar cane and rape.

5. Bio-diesel relinquishes a by-product known as glycerine: Glycerine has more than 1,500 different applications ranging from pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food.
6. In North America, ethanol has been widely used as motor fuel since the early years of 1900s while during the Second World War several states were already using blended ethanol gas.

Source: St- Louis Renewable Energy Blog

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