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Sources of Energy

We cannot imagine the world without energy. The source of energy is important as
well. There are various sources of energy available today to the mankind. On a
broad sense, sources of energy can be categorized into nonrenewable and renewable. Wood, coal, oil, natural gas are some of the nonrenewable sources as they cannot be renewable. These are also called the
conventional sources of energy. Nuclear fuels like uranium produce energy
by fission process. Nuclear energy from sun is obtained by nuclear fusion process.
Conventional fuels and sources of energy cause a lot of pollution to mankind and
hence there is a need for looking towards alternate sources of energy, which are
most likely to be renewable. Solar energy, energy
from wind, hydro energy, geothermal energy and energy from biomass are some of
the alternate sources of energy. Wind energy can be harnessed by using wind mills
that can be erected at suitable locations. Hydroelectric plants make use of hydro
energy. In most of the rural areas biomass is utilized.
Characteristics of a good source of energy:
Enables us to do a large amount of work per unit volume or mass.
Is easily accessible.
Is easy to store and transport.
Is economical.
Burning coal or petroleum products causes acidic oxides to be
released. Thermoelectric production of electricity involves turbines. In thermal
power stations, fossil fuels are burned to produce steam, basically a form of heat
energy. This steam runs a turbine, which rotates a generator to produce electricity.
In hydroelectric power stations, the kinetic energy of flowing water, which is actually
the potential energy of water stored at a height, is converted into electricity. Plant
and animal products, wood and cow-dung cakes, are used as fuels. The source of
these fuels is called bio-mass.
Burning a given mass of charcoal generates more heat than burning an equal mass
of wood. Cow-dung, crop residue, garbage and sewage are decomposed in the
absence of oxygen to produce bio-gas.
Advantages of bio-gas:
It is an excellent fuel with 75% methane.
It burns without smoke.
It has a high heating capacity.
It is also used for lighting.
Wind is another freely available resource that is used for generating energy.
Alternative or non-conventional sources of energy:

Energy from the sun


Energy from the sea
Geothermal energy
Nuclear energy

Black surfaces absorb more heat when compared to white under identical
conditions.
Three types Energy from the sea:
Tidal energy
Wave energy
Ocean thermal energy
Molten rock in the earths crust is pushed upward and trapped in certain regions
called hot spots.
Nuclear energy is produced either by nuclear fission or nuclear fusion. Exploiting
various sources of energy causes disturbances in the environment.