Renewable energy is energy that is made up of naturally replenishable resources that are inexhaustible. Renewable resources can provide energy for electricity generation, transportation, water heating/cooling, and rural energy.
Examples of Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy sources are typically used as substitute energy. The major types include geothermal heat, wind power, solar energy, wave power, biomass, and hydropower. Some of these renewable energies are dependent on sunlight in one way or another. Hydroelectric and wind power, for instance, are produced because of the earth's surface heating differently. When earth heats differently, it produces wind and results in the formation of precipitation as air rises.
Wind power is the result of different temperatures of the earth's surface when heated by sunlight. This mechanical power is harnessed when the wind is collected through wind turbines; in turn, the power is used to operate electric generators. Wind power is also useful in pumping water. Hydroelectric energy also uses air rising from the ocean (because of sunlight) to form rainfall. Hydropower is then derived from the energy of the water, which is later purposefully used. Hydropower is used for irrigation and in activating mechanical devices such as domestic lifts, textile mills, and sawmills.
Geothermal power is renewable energy accumulated from the earth's surface. It comes from radioactive decomposition of material and the original formation of the planet. It is environmentally friendly and economical. However, it is only found in limited areas where there exist tectonic plate borders. Geothermal energy is used for electricity in the Philippines, El Salvador, and Iceland.
Solar energy is another major type of renewable energy. It is derived from light and heat from the sun. The heat is collected using modern equipment that includes photovoltaic panels, solar collectors, and solar attic fans. Solar collectors are used for collecting heat that is used for heating water while solar attic fans are used domestically for cooling. The photovoltaic panels turn sunlight into electricity directly.
Other examples of renewable energy sources are biomass and wave power. Biomass energy is usually collected from the decay of animal waste and plant matter which are constantly renewed. As a source of energy, it can be directly burned to produce heat or transformed to biofuel or biogas. Biofuels include biodiesel and ethanol. Ethanol is formed when plants such as sugarcane and corn are fermented; the ethanol is then used as a source of energy for vehicles.
Biodiesel, which is created from animal fats and vegetable oils, is used as heating oil and it is also used in vehicles. Lastly, wave power is collecting of wind waves, ocean waves and sea waves to transform them into energy. The energy produced by the wind is measured by the height, speed, and length of the wave. The functions of wave energy include desalinization of water, electricity generation, and pumping of water. Wave power is collected by a machine known as a wave energy converter.