Many nations count on coal, oil and natural gas to supply most of their energy needs, but reliance on fossil fuels presents several concerns:
Wind is the movement of air that occurs when warm air rises and cooler air rushes in to replace it. The energy of the wind has been used for centuries to sail ships and drive windmills that grind grain. Today, wind energy is captured by wind turbines and used to generate electricity.
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between.
Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer — the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel when you can feel the warmth of a hot stove-top element from across the room. When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating.
Geothermal energy is right under our feet. The earth’s core is like an inner sun, heating the earth’s surface and warming the water and rocks beneath. This steaming water and rock can be used to generate heat and electricity. The uppermost six miles of the earth’s crust alone contains more energy than all the oil and gas reserves in the world. Geothermal resources are considered base load meaning they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
There are four types of technology currently in the market place for cars: 1) Traditional standard gasoline combustion engine; 2) A Hybrid vehicle that has both a gasoline engine and an electric engine (NON plug-in); 3) A state-of-the-art ALL electric engine with batteries known as a Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV); 4) And lastly a Plug-In Hybrid Electric (PHEV) that has a plug-in electric engine ‘and’ a gasoline engine. The plug-in hybrid (gas/electric motor) is far superior to a standard hybrid (non plug-in). Below are the things to consider prior to choosing one vehicle over another.
In principle, a fuel cell operates like a battery. Unlike a battery, a fuel cell does not run down or require recharging. It will produce energy in the form of electricity and heat as long as fuel is supplied. A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water and heat.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is equally known as cogeneration. All thermal power plants emit a certain amount of heat during electricity generation. This can be released into the natural environment through cooling towers, flue gas, or by other means. By contrast, CHP captures some or all of the by-product heat for heating purposes, either very close to the plant, or—especially in Scandinavia and eastern Europe—as hot water for district heating with temperatures ranging from approximately 80 to 130 °C. This is also called Combined Heat and Power District Heating or CHPDH. Small CHP plants are an example of decentralized energy.
The ocean provides several forms of renewable energy, and each one is driven by different forces. Energy from ocean waves and tides can be harnessed to generate electricity, and ocean thermal energy—from the heat stored in sea water—can also be converted to electricity. Using current technologies, most ocean energy is not cost-effective compared to other renewable energy sources, but the ocean remains and important potential energy source for the future.
The deregulation of the electricity generation and natural gas industries in North America has led to the introduction of a number of new technologies for distributed power generation. For example, a handful of companies are offering inexpensive, self-contained power generation units based on small gas turbine engines. These “micro-turbines” have an output of about 30 to 300kW. The smaller units come in a cabinet about the size of large home furnace. Possible users include small office buildings, large retail stores and fast-food restaurants.
Biomass has been an important source of energy ever since people first began burning wood to cook food and warm themselves against the winter chill. Wood is still the most common source of biomass energy, but other sources of biomass energy include food crops, grasses and other plants, agricultural and forestry waste and residue, organic components from municipal and industrial wastes, even methane gas harvested from community landfills. Biomass can be used to produce electricity and as fuel for transportation, or to manufacture products that would otherwise require the use of non-renewable fossil fuels.
The heat inside the Earth produces steam and hot water that can be used to power generators and produce electricity, or for other applications such as home heating and power generation for industry. Geothermal energy can be drawn from deep underground reservoirs by drilling, or from other geothermal reservoirs closer to the surface.
Hydrogen has tremendous potential as a fuel and energy source, but the technology needed to realize that potential is still in the early stages. Hydrogen is the most common element on Earth—for example, water is two-thirds hydrogen—but in nature it is always found in combination with other elements. Once separated from other elements, hydrogen can be used to power vehicles, replace natural gas for heating and cooking, and to generate electricity.