Topic 2: Renewable Energy What is renewable energy? Energy exists freely in nature.

Some of them exist infinitely never run out, called RENEWABLE With this in mind, it is a lot easier to lay any type of energy source in its' right place. Let's look at these types of energy in the diagram below:

You will notice that water, wind, sun and biomass (vegetation) are all available naturally and were not formed. The others do not exist by themselves, they were formed. Renewable energy resources are always available to be tapped, and will not run out. This is why some people call it Green Energy Renewable energy includes Biomass, Wind, Hydro-power, Geothermal and Solar sources. Renewable energy can be converted to electricity, which is stored and transported to our homes for use. In this lesson, we shall take a closer look at how renewable energy is converted into electricity.

Types of Renewable Energy Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and Solar shingles industrial uses. The sun's heat also drives the winds, whose energy, is captured with wind turbine. Then, the winds and the sun's heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydroelectric power. Along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow. The organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals.

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Topic 2: Renewable Energy The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called bioenergy. Hydrogen also can be found in many organic compounds, as well as water. It's the most abundant element on the Earth. But it doesn't occur naturally as a gas. It's always combined with other elements, such as with oxygen to make water. Once separated from another element, hydrogen can be burned as a fuel or converted into electricity. Not all renewable energy resources come from the sun. Geothermal energy taps the Earth's internal heat for a variety of uses, including electric power production, and the heating and cooling of buildings. And the energy of the ocean's tides come from the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun upon the Earth. In fact, ocean energy comes from a number of sources. In addition to tidal energy, there's the energy of the ocean's waves, which are driven by both the tides and the winds. The sun also warms the surface of the ocean more than the ocean depths, creating a temperature difference that can be used as an energy source. All these forms of ocean energy can be used to produce electricity.

Why Is Renewable Energy Important? Renewable energy is important because of the benefits it provides. The key benefits are:  Environmental Benefits

Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. eNERGY fOR oUR cHILDREN'S cHILDREN'S cHILDREN Renewable energy will not run out forever. Other sources of energy are finite and will some day be depleted.  Jobs and the Economy

Most renewable energy investments are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports. Renewable energy investments are usually spent within the United States, frequently in the same state, and often in the same town. This means your energy dollars stay home to create jobs and fuel local economies, rather than going overseas. Meanwhile, renewable energy technologies developed and built in the United States are being sold overseas, providing a boost to the U.S. trade deficit.

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hot water. Solar power is energy from the sun. Without it. This increased dependence impacts more than just our national energy policy. The water is heated by heat energy from the Sun and returns to the tank. "Solar" is the Latin word for "sun" and it's a powerful source of energy. businesses. They are often located on the roofs of buildings where they can receive the most sunlight. and even larger arrays are used to power satellites in orbit around Earth. our nation has increased its dependence on foreign oil supplies instead of decreasing it. there will be no life. for homes. Solar power Solar cells Solar cells are devices that convert light energy directly into electrical energy. if harnessed by modern technology. and industry. CN604: Energy System Page 3 . You may have seen small solar cells on calculators. electricity. Instead they heat up water directly.Topic 2: Renewable Energy  Energy Security After the oil supply disruptions of the early 1970s. light. SOLAR ENERGY Solar energy technologies use the sun's energy and light to provide heat. Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells. Solar energy is considered as a serious source of energy for many years because of the vast amounts of energy that are made freely available. Solar panels Solar panels are different to solar cells. Larger arrays of solar cells are used to power road signs. A pump pushes cold water from a storage tank through pipes in the solar panel. Solar panels do not generate electricity. and even cooling.

Solar cells are often used to power calculators and watches. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials. a number of these modules are mounted in PV arrays that can measure up to several meters on a side. and large buildings. Thin film solar cells use layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometers thick. Because of this. The solar cell version of items such as shingles offer the same protection and durability as ordinary asphalt shingles. NREL researchers. These cells are built into concentrating collectors that use a lens to focus the sunlight onto the cells. the use of concentrating collectors is limited to the sunniest parts of the country. This approach has both advantages and disadvantages compared with flat-plate PV arrays. Some concentrating collectors are designed to be mounted on simple tracking devices. But because the lenses must be pointed at the sun.Producing electricity directly from sunlight. allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. Thin film technology has made it possible for solar cells to now double as rooftop shingles. or they can be mounted on a tracking device that follows the sun. and that means higher cost. built in the 1950s.Topic 2: Renewable Energy There are a variety of technologies that have been developed to take advantage of solar energy. These flat-plate PV arrays can be mounted at a fixed angle facing south. The performance of a solar cell is measured in terms of its efficiency at turning sunlight into electricity. CN604: Energy System Page 4 . They are made of semiconducting materials similar to those used in computer chips. The first solar cells. or the glazing for skylights or atria. but most require sophisticated tracking devices. had efficiencies of less than 4%. roof tiles. Solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity. Several connected PV arrays can provide enough power for a household. Low efficiencies mean that larger arrays are needed. These include: Photovoltaic Systems . the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms. and much of it is reflected or absorbed by the material that makes up the cell. and other U.S. allowing them to capture the most sunlight over the course of a day. a typical commercial solar cell has an efficiency of 15%-about one-sixth of the sunlight striking the cell generates electricity. for large electric utility or industrial applications. Improving solar cell efficiencies while holding down the cost per cell is an important goal of the PV industry. The main idea is to use very little of the expensive semiconducting PV material while collecting as much sunlight as possible. Only sunlight of certain energies will work efficiently to create electricity. hundreds of arrays can be interconnected to form a single. industries. Some solar cells are designed to operate with concentrated sunlight. Solar cells are typically combined into modules that hold about 40 cells. which further limit their use to electric utilities. building facades. and they have made significant progress. This process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect. large PV system. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories.

Solar Electricity . dish/engine. heats the water. The storage tank then holds the hot liquid. And of course. and power tower. but it is usually larger and very well-insulated. Active systems rely on pumps to move the liquid between the collector and the storage tank. uses the sun as a heat source. It can be just a modified water heater. rectangular box with a transparent cover that faces the sun. Solar water heating systems can be either active or passive. Swimming pool systems are simpler. it heats the fluid passing through the tubes. As heat builds up in the collector.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Solar Hot Water . The steam from the boiling water rotates a large turbine. This heats the oil flowing through the pipe. which is painted black to absorb the heat. The hot oil then is used to boil water in a conventional steam generator to produce electricity. The sun can be used in basically the same way to heat water used in buildings and swimming pools. the pool stores the hot water. which activates a generator that produces electricity. focusing sunlight on a pipe that runs down the center of the trough. but the most common are active systems. However. It's nature's way of solar water heating. There are three main types of concentrating solar power systems: parabolic-trough. Small tubes run through the box and carry the fluid – either water or other fluid. Parabolic-trough systems concentrate the sun's energy through long rectangular. such as an antifreeze solution – to be heated. The tubes are attached to an absorber plate. Many power plants today use fossil fuels as a heat source to boil water. Systems that use fluids other than water usually heat the water by passing it through a coil of tubing in the tank. The mirrors are tilted toward the sun. which is full of hot fluid. Mounted on the roof. The pool's filter pump is used to pump the water through a solar collector. which in turn.Heating water with solar energy. CN604: Energy System Page 5 . with concentrating solar power systems. The most common collector is called a flat-plate collector. curved (U-shaped) mirrors. while passive systems rely on gravity and the tendency for water to naturally circulate as it is heated. That's because the sunlight can heat the lake bottom in the shallow areas. which is usually made of black plastic or rubber. Most solar water heating systems for buildings have two main parts: a solar collector and a storage tank. The shallow water of a lake is usually warmer than the deep water.Using the sun's heat to produce electricity. a new generation of power plants. it consists of a thin. flat.

Many of the passive solar heating design features also provide day lighting. south-facing windows. installed a few inches in front of the wall. and you'll feel the power of solar heat and light. helps hold in the heat. Materials that absorb and store the sun's heat can be built into the sunlit floors and walls. CN604: Energy System Page 6 . many buildings are designed to take advantage of this natural resource through the use of passive solar heating and day lighting.Using solar energy to heat and light buildings. too much solar heating and day lighting can be a problem during the hot summer months. which is painted black and made of a material that absorbs a lot of heat. Then as it cools gradually during the night. Proper ventilation allows the heat to circulate into the building. A power tower system uses a large field of mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto the top of a often used along with an open floor plan inside that allows the light to bounce throughout the building. Other passive solar heating design features include sunspaces and trombe walls. That means electricity can be produced on cloudy days or even several hours after sunset. On the other hand. overhangs can be designed to shade windows when the sun is high in the summer.Topic 2: Renewable Energy A dish/engine system uses a mirrored dish (similar to a very large satellite dish). The wall heats up slowly during the day. it warms the sunspace. To lighten up north-facing rooms and upper levels. it gives off its heat inside the building. Therefore. The dish-shaped surface collects and concentrates the sun's heat onto a receiver. This heats molten salt flowing through the receiver. For instance. south-facing wall. which absorbs the heat and transfers it to fluid within the engine. And a building can be designed to use fresh-air ventilation in the summer. The floors and walls will then heat up during the day and slowly release heat at night. buildings designed for passive solar heating usually have large. Of course. The south side of a building always receives the most sunlight. the salt's heat is used to generate electricity through a conventional steam generator. where a receiver sits. This passive solar design feature is called direct gain. Molten salt retains heat efficiently. A pane of glass or plastic glazing. Day lighting is simply the use of natural sunlight to brighten up a building's interior. when the heat is needed most. Sunspaces can be closed off from the rest of the building. Today. Thousands of years ago. a clerestory . a trombe wall is a very thick. Step outside on a hot and sunny summer day. there are many design features that help keep passive solar buildings cool in the summer. The heat causes the fluid to expand against a piston or turbine to produce mechanical power. the Anasazi Indians in Colorado incorporated passive solar design in their cliff dwellings. so it can be stored for days before being converted into electricity.a row of windows near the peak of the roof . Fortunately. The mechanical power is then used to run a generator or alternator to produce electricity. A sunspace (which is much like a greenhouse) is built on the south side of a building. Then. Passive Solar Heating and Day lighting . As sunlight passes through glass or other glazing.

solar process heating. using another chemistry trick called desiccant cooling. Solar energy can also be used with evaporative coolers (also called "swamp coolers") to extend their usefulness to more humid climates. These nonresidential buildings can also use solar energy technologies that would be impractical for a home. Solar absorption coolers use a similar approach. and/or one or more large storage tanks. In cold climates. and water heating .that are used for residential buildings. which consists of a thin. which runs down the center of the trough. holding in the heat.can operate at high temperatures with high efficiency. saving both energy and money. Parabolic troughs are long. A vacuum between the two walls insulates the inner tube. and solar cooling. It may seem impossible to use heat to cool a building. This heats the fluid within the tube. A space behind the perforated wall allows the air streams from the holes to mix together. A typical system includes solar collectors that work along with a pump. passive heating. combined with some very complex chemistry tricks. Many large buildings need ventilated air to maintain indoor air quality. The heat from a solar collector can also be used to cool a building. but it makes more sense if you just think of the solar heat as an energy source.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Solar Process Space Heating and Cooling -Industrial and commercial uses of the sun's heat Commercial and industrial buildings may use the same solar technologies . An evacuated-tube collector is a shallow box full of many glass. CN604: Energy System Page 7 .an evacuated-tube collector and a parabolic-trough collector . rectangular. The two main types of solar collectors used . a heat exchanger. These technologies include ventilation air preheating. electricity. to create cool air from solar energy. Your familiar home air conditioner uses an energy source.photovoltaic. heating this air can use large amounts of energy. A solar ventilation system can preheat the air. Solar process heating systems are designed to provide large quantities of hot water or space heating for nonresidential buildings. black metal panel mounted on a south-facing wall to absorb the sun's heat. day lighting. This type of system typically uses a transpired collector. The heated air is then sucked out from the top of the space into the ventilation system. double-walled tubes and reflectors to heat the fluid inside the tubes. Air passes through the many small holes in the panel. curved (U-shaped) mirrors tilted to focus sunlight on a tube. to create cool air.

? The largest wind turbine in the world. and this can be transferred into electrical energy using wind turbines. located in Hawaii. driven by heat energy from the Sun. wind energy turbines have been around for over 1000 years. which spin a shaft. stands 20 stories tall and has blades the length of a football field. CN604: Energy System Page 8 . business and schools. Wind turbines are usually sited on high hills and mountain ridges to take advantage of the prevailing winds. or if the wind speed is so high it would damage them. From old Holland to farms in the United States. One wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Did you know. windmills have been used for pumping water or grinding grain. This means as long as the sun shines. Wind turbines cannot work if there is no wind. The moving air (wind) has huge amounts of kinetic energy. The first power generating turbine was constructed in Ohio during the late 1800's and was used to charge batteries. Wind Power Wind is caused by huge convection currents in the Earth's atmosphere.. Wind energy is the fastest growing segment of all renewable energy sources. there will be wind.. The electricity is sent through transmission and distribution lines to a substation. which connects to a generator and makes electricity. The wind turns the blades. An average wind speed of 14 miles per hour is needed to convert wind energy into electricity. Just like a windmill. then on to homes.

a wind turbine . the windmill's modern equivalent . CN604: Energy System Page 9 . Distributed energy resources refer to a variety of small. are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. Wind turbines. Today. The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller. Credit: Warren Gretz A blade acts much like an airplane wing. Usually. homeowners. a large number of wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground. Small wind systems also have potential as distributed energy resources. For utility-scale sources of wind energy. However. causing the rotor to turn. a pocket of low-pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade. The force of the lift is actually much stronger than the wind's force against the front side of the blade. Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications. Modern wind turbines tower above one of their ancestors-an old windmill used for pumping water. they can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Turbines catch the wind's energy with their propeller-like blades. farmers. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it. and the turning shaft spins a generator to make electricity. Stand-alone wind turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications. Several electricity providers today use wind plants to supply power to their customers. which is called drag.can use the wind's energy to generate electricity.Topic 2: Renewable Energy We have been harnessing the wind's energy for hundreds of years. or they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor. like windmills. This is called lift. modular power-generating technologies that can be combined to improve the operation of the electricity delivery system. and ranchers in windy areas can also use wind turbines as a way to cut their electric bills. When the wind blows.

Geothermal energy is called a renewable energy source because the water is replenished by rainfall. Geothermal heat pumps can tap into this resource to heat and cool buildings. In the winter. CN604: Energy System Page 10 . It's clean and sustainable. an air delivery system (ductwork). Resources of geothermal energy range from the shallow ground to hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the Earth's surface. In the summer. The water runs through fractures in the rocks and is heated up. A geothermal heat pump system consists of a heat pump. the process is reversed. where its' energy can be used to drive turbines and electricity generators. The heat removed from the indoor air during the summer can also be used to provide a free source of hot water. It returns to the surface as hot water and steam. and down even deeper to the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma. Deep wells can be drilled and cold water pumped down. the heat pump removes heat from the heat exchanger and pumps it into the indoor air delivery system. and the heat pump moves heat from the indoor air into the heat exchanger. and the heat is continuously produced by the earth. the shallow ground or upper 10 feet of the Earth's surface maintains a nearly constant temperature between 50° and 60°F (10° and 16°C). and a heat exchanger-a system of pipes buried in the shallow ground near the building.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Geothermal In some places the rocks underground are hot. Almost everywhere. Geothermal energy is the heat from the Earth.

use steam produced from reservoirs of hot water found a couple of miles or more below the Earth's surface. This very hot water flows up through wells in the ground under its own pressure. where it is directed into a turbine/generator unit. heating water at fish farms. There are three types of geothermal power plants: dry steam. Flash steam power plants are the most common. Existing technology also does not yet allow recovery of heat directly from magma. and several industrial processes such as pasteurizing milk. while others use the hot water to boil a working fluid that vaporizes and then turns a turbine. the pressure decreases and some of CN604: Energy System Page 11 . They use geothermal reservoirs of water with temperatures greater than 360°F (182°C). The steam rotates a turbine that activates a generator. and drawing off the heated water from another well. growing plants in greenhouses. drying crops. Dry steam power plants draw from underground resources of steam. The steam is piped directly from underground wells to the power plant.Topic 2: Renewable Energy The Earth's heat-called geothermal energy-escapes as steam at a hot springs in Nevada. and Hawaii. there are no commercial applications of this technology. Hot water near the surface of Earth can be used directly for heat. Many technologies have been developed to take advantage of geothermal energy . where there's a well-known geyser called Old Faithful. circulating it through hot fractured rock. Geothermal Electricity Production .Generating electricity from the earth's heat. Geothermal power plants. however. Currently. Some geothermal power plants use the steam from a reservoir to power a turbine/generator. Access to these resources involves injecting cold water down one well. Alaska. Wells can be drilled into underground reservoirs for the generation of electricity. Direct-use applications include heating buildings. the very deep and most powerful resource of geothermal energy. flash steam. most geothermal reservoirs of hot water are located in the western states. Most power plants need steam to generate electricity. In the United States. which produces electricity.the heat from the earth. As it flows upward. and binary cycle. This geothermal power plant generates electricity for the Imperial Valley in California. the only dry steam plants in the country are at The Geysers. There are only two known underground resources of steam in the United States: The Geysers in northern California and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Hot dry rock resources occur at depths of 3 to 5 miles everywhere beneath the Earth's surface and at lesser depths in certain areas. Since Yellowstone is protected from development. Many power plants still use fossil fuels to boil water for steam.

most geothermal reservoirs are located in the western states. which are found a couple of miles or more beneath the Earth's surface. possibly even as distributed energy resources. hot springs are still used as spas. Today. With some applications. These plants use the heat from the hot water to boil a working fluid. a well is drilled into a geothermal reservoir to provide a steady stream of hot water. cooking food.piping. The water is brought up through the well. Binary cycle power plants operate on water at lower temperatures of about 225°-360°F (107°-182°C).delivers the heat directly for its intended use. The steam is then separated from the water and used to power a turbine/generator. CN604: Energy System Page 12 . usually an organic compound with a low boiling point.Topic 2: Renewable Energy the hot water boils into steam. The water and the working fluid are kept separated during the whole process. and loosening feathers and skin from game. such as pasteurizing milk. when people began using hot springs for bathing. In modern direct-use systems. modular power-generating technologies that can be combined to improve the operation of the electricity delivery system. drying crops. A disposal system then either injects the cooled water underground or disposes of it on the surface. heating water at fish farms. Its current uses include heating buildings (either individually or whole towns). so there are little or no air emissions. researchers are exploring ways to effectively use the geothermal fluid for generating electricity as well. Geothermal reservoirs of hot water. the heat from the water will usually warm up the entire bathroom. Geothermal heated waters allow alligators to thrive on a farm in Colorado. can also be used to provide heat directly. a heat exchanger. where temperatures can drop below freezing. In the United States. and several industrial processes. and a mechanical system . This is called the direct use of geothermal energy. Geothermal Direct Use . Distributed energy resources refer to a variety of small. Any leftover water and condensed steam are injected back into the reservoir. Geothermal hot water can be used for many applications that require heat. The water is then injected back into the ground to be reheated. Alaska. But there are now more sophisticated ways of using this geothermal resource. making this a sustainable resource. and Hawaii. Small-scale geothermal power plants (under 5 megawatts) have the potential for widespread application in rural areas. Geothermal direct use dates back thousands of years. and controls . The working fluid is vaporized in a heat exchanger and used to turn a turbine. When a person takes a hot bath. raising plants in greenhouses.Producing heat directly from hot water within the earth.

since they draw heat from the ground. In the summer. the heat pump unit. The heat exchanger is basically a system of pipes called a loop. which is buried in the shallow ground near the building. providing a free source of hot water. the upper 10 feet of the Earth. maintains a nearly constant temperature between 50° and 60°F (10°-16°C). the heat pump removes heat from the heat exchanger and pumps it into the indoor air delivery system. this ground temperature is warmer than the air above it in the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. In the winter. Geothermal heat pumps use much less energy than conventional heating systems. and the air delivery system (ductwork). Like a cave.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Geothermal Heat Pumps . Credit: Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium Geothermal heat pump systems consist of basically three parts: the ground heat exchanger. the process is reversed.Using the shallow ground to heat and cool buildings. The heat removed from the indoor air during the summer can also be used to heat water. and the heat pump moves heat from the indoor air into the heat exchanger. which are suitable for geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of this resource to heat and cool buildings. All areas of the United States have nearly constant shallow-ground temperatures. They are also more efficient when cooling your home. it reduces air pollution. Not only does this save energy and money.000 square feet of space. The West Philadelphia Enterprise Center uses a geothermal heat pump system for more than 31. A fluid (usually water or a mixture of water and antifreeze) circulates through the pipes to absorb or relinquish heat within the ground. The shallow ground. CN604: Energy System Page 13 .

that it accounts for almost 15% of the world's total energy supply and as much as 35% in developing countries. we will always have wood to burn. mostly for cooking and heating. probably due to its low cost and indigenous nature. Let's see this simple illustration of how biomass is used to generate electricity. Electricity can also be generated from Biomass and stored to be used in homes. Just as with the fossil fuels. dried vegetation.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Biomass Biomass fuels come from living things: wood products. As long as we continue to plant new trees to replace those cut down. It is such a widely utilized source of energy. crop residues. the energy stored in biomass fuels came originally from the Sun. CN604: Energy System Page 14 . and aquatic plants. Wood is a biomass fuel.

Ethanol is an alcohol. and trains). The use of biomass feedstock can also help increase profits for the agricultural industry. 5. These energy crops. trucks. The use of biomass energy has the potential to greatly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. There are three major biomass energy technology applications: Biofuels . Ethanol is mostly used as a fuel additive to cut down a vehicle's carbon monoxide and other smog-causing emissions. wood is still our largest biomass energy resource. The energy/power from the steam is directed to turbines with pipes 4. The net emission of carbon dioxide will be zero as long as plants continue to be 1. airplanes. wood chips. And today. But many other sources of biomass can now be used. such as fast-growing trees and grasses. residues from agriculture or forestry. sugars. The steam turns a number of blades in the turbine and generators. This is burned to heat water in a boiler to release heat energy (steam). It is made by fermenting any biomass high in carbohydrates (starches. The two most common types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. which is sent to homes by cables replenished for biomass energy purposes. or celluloses) through a process similar to brewing beer. including plants. biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels . are called biomass feedstock. The charged magnetic feilds produce electricity.Converting biomass into liquid fuels for transportation. But flexible-fuel CN604: Energy System Page 15 .the energy from organic matter . and the organic component of municipal and industrial wastes. ever since people started burning wood to cook food or to keep warm. Biomass generates about the same amount of carbon dioxide as fossil fuels.biofuels for our transportation needs (cars.for thousands of years. the same found in beer and wine. but every time a new plant grows. which are made of coils and magnets. Energy from the sun is transferred and stored in plants. Unlike other renewable energy sources. 3. Corn can be harvested to produce ethanol. carbon dioxide is actually removed from the atmosphere. straw and other plant matter is delivered to the bunker 2. Even the fumes from landfills can be used as a biomass energy source.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Bioenergy We have used biomass energy or bioenergy . buses. When the plants are cut or die.

to generate electricity. which is very much like a jet engine. Cofiring involves using bio-energy feed stocks as a supplementary energy source in high efficiency boilers. There are a number of ways to convert biomass to methanol. only it turns an electric generator instead of propelling a jet. is the use of biomass to generate electricity. The gas fuels what's called a gas turbine. gasification. such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE). Anaerobic digestion involves using bacteria to decompose organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Methane also can be produced from biomass through a process called anaerobic digestion. In landfills. which converts it into methanol. Most of the biopower plants in the world use direct-fired systems. Gasification involves vaporizing the biomass at high temperatures. pyrolysis. For instance. the steam from the power plant is also used for manufacturing processes or to heat buildings. Biopower. carbon monoxide. Gasification systems use high temperatures and an oxygen-starved environment to convert biomass into a gas (a mixture of hydrogen.Topic 2: Renewable Energy vehicles. CN604: Energy System Page 16 .Burning biomass directly. especially sulfur dioxide emissions. but could also be produced from biomass. This steam is usually captured by a turbine. or biomass power. modular. but the most likely approach is gasification. and a generator then converts it into electricity. or recycled cooking greases. Other biofuels include methanol and reformulated gasoline components. and small. Biodiesel is made by combining alcohol (usually methanol) with vegetable oil. The decay of biomass produces a gas .that can be used as an energy source. are now available. animal fat. These are known as combined heat and power facilities. Most reformulated gasoline components produced from biomass are pollution-reducing fuel additives. and methane). Biopower . In some industries. They burn bioenergy feed stocks directly to produce steam. Many coal-fired power plants can use cofiring systems to significantly reduce emissions. cofiring. then removing impurities from the hot gas and passing it through a catalyst. or converting it into a gaseous fuel or oil. anaerobic digestion. Methanol. Then pipes from each well carry the gas to a central point where it is filtered and cleaned before burning. commonly called wood alcohol. wells can be drilled to release the methane from the decaying organic matter.methane . There are six major types of biopower systems: direct-fired. which run on mixtures of gasoline and up to 85% ethanol. is currently produced from natural gas. wood waste is often used to produce both electricity and steam at paper mills. It can be used as an additive to reduce vehicle emissions (typically 20%) or in its pure form as a renewable alternative fuel for diesel engines.

plastics.releasing the sugars that make up starch and cellulose in plants . Most facilities burn it in a boiler to produce steam for electricity generation or for industrial processes. which can be used in making photographic films. Scientists call this mixture biosynthesis gas. Two new ways include the use of micro turbines and fuel cells. A small. it forms pyrolysis oil. Biosynthesis gas can be used to make plastics and acids. some farmers use the waste from their livestock to provide their farms with electricity.also can be used to make antifreeze. modular systems also have potential as distributed energy resources. modular system generates electricity at a capacity of 5 megawatts or less. which can be burned like petroleum to generate electricity. Micro turbines have outputs of 25 to 500 kilowatts. or biobased products. This system is designed for use at the small town level or even at the consumer level. glues. About the size of a refrigerator.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Methane can be used as an energy source in many ways. producing electricity as long as there's fuel. Researchers have discovered that the process for making biofuels . These bioproducts. they can be used where there are space limitations for power production. textiles. Not only do these systems provide renewable energy. Several biopower technologies can be used in small. and foam insulation. A chemical called phenol can be extracted from pyrolysis oil. Methane can also be used as the "fuel" in a fuel cell. Phenol is used to make wood adhesives. we can make using biomass. molded plastic. CN604: Energy System Page 17 . For example. they also often require less energy to produce than petroleum-based products. modular systems. and gel for toothpaste. Distributed energy resources refer to a variety of small. artificial sweeteners. Pyrolysis occurs when biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen. Other important building blocks for bioproducts include carbon monoxide and hydrogen. +Small. When biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen. are not only made from renewable sources. The biomass then turns into a liquid called pyrolysis oil. these two gases are produced in abundance. whatever products we can make from fossil fuels. In addition to gas. modular power-generating technologies that can be combined to improve the operation of the electricity delivery system. and synthetic fabrics. liquid fuels can be produced from biomass through a process called pyrolysis. When biomass is heated with a small amount of oxygen present. A biopower system that uses pyrolysis oil is being commercialized. Fuel cells work much like batteries but never need recharging.

releasing the sugars that make up starch and cellulose in plants . glues. which can be used in making photographic films. and foam insulation. these two gases are produced in abundance. textiles. plastics. When biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen. and synthetic fabrics. Whatever products we can make from fossil fuels. Biosynthesis gas can be used to make plastics and acids. they also often require less energy to produce than petroleum-based products. Biomass can be used to produce a variety of biodegradable plastic products. artificial sweeteners. it forms pyrolysis oil. we can make using biomass. molded plastic. Researchers have discovered that the process for making biofuels . Phenol is used to make wood adhesives. A chemical called phenol can be extracted from pyrolysis oil. When biomass is heated with a small amount of oxygen present. CN604: Energy System Page 18 . These bioproducts. are not only made from renewable sources.Converting biomass into chemicals for making products that typically are made from petroleum. Scientists call this mixture biosynthesis gas. or biobased products. and gel for toothpaste. Credit: Warren Gretz Other important building blocks for bioproducts include carbon monoxide and hydrogen.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Bioproducts .also can be used to make antifreeze.

this stored energy is transferred to kinetic energy. Spinning shafts in the generator charges millions of coils and magnets to create electricity. To build a dam there has to be valleys and rivers that flow all year round. The Dam is built to retain the water.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Water power Moving water has kinetic energy. The water has gravitational potential energy which is released when it falls. which is regulated by a transformer? This is then transported via cables to homes and factories. CN604: Energy System Page 19 . This can be transferred into useful energy in different ways. More electricity is produced if the water is more in the reservoir Sluice Gates: These can open and close to regulate the amount of water that is released into the pipes. Potential energy in the retained water is transferred into kinetic energy by water flowing through the pipes with high speed. The force and high pressure in the water turns a series of shafts in a generator. the fullest effect of the waters kinetic energy can be tapped. This will help with the building and success of the dam. which turns electricity generators. This way. Hydroelectric power (HEP) schemes store water high up in dams. Let's see a good example of how water can be used to generate electricity. As the water rushes down through pipes.

called a pumped storage plant . Hydropower is the most important and widely-used renewable source of energy. But hydroelectric power doesn't necessarily require a large dam. the water is released from the upper reservoir back down into the river or lower reservoir.can even store power. The power is sent from a power grid into the electric generators. where the power is stored. Brazil.. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine. To use the power. CN604: Energy System Page 20 . Hydropower is renewable energy source that doesn't cause global warming because it doesn't releases dangerous greenhouse gases. Another type of hydroelectric power plant .. which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. or ranch. This spins the turbines forward. China is the largest producer of hydroelectricity. activating the generators to produce electricity. farm. followed by Canada. The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Did you know. and the United States (Source: Energy Information Administration). which causes the turbines to pump water from a river or lower reservoir to an upper reservoir. The generators then spin the turbines backward. spinning it. Some hydroelectric power plants just use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine. A small or micro-hydroelectric power system can produce enough electricity for a home.

water or other matter    Wind Power           Wind turbines are noisy Requires steady wind Visual pollution— Many people disapprove the idea to install because it can disrupt the landscape High possibility of killing birds Low energy production Moderate to high environmental effect Soil erosion. water pollution. hydrogen. and urban wastes Moderate costs Easy to convert to a high energy portable fuel such as alcohol or gas Very low in sulphur reducing the production of acid     CN604: Energy System Page 21 . timber.Topic 2: Renewable Energy Advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy: Energy Type Solar   Advantages Reduces dependency on fossil fuel and coal Renewable. and loss of wildlife habitat More expensive than conventional fossil fuel A less concentrated form of energy. making it less Biomass     Can make use of agricultural. endless supply that belongs to no one Low environmental effect No Co2 emission Can be constructed faster Can provide electricity to poor and remote people High efficiency Very low environmental effect No CO2 emission Quick construction Does not produce wastes     Disadvantages Low efficiency High costs Need access to sun most of the time Energy has to be stored in batteries.

Topic 2: Renewable Energy rain efficient CN604: Energy System Page 22 .