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Green Energy

Green energy is renewable (can be used again and again) energy, such as the solar energy, wind energy, or water power. Provided by natural environment or the universe, Green Energy is clean, safe, renewable and accessible. Amply available, it can also be made from waste products. We don’t have to extract it, we don’t have to mine it or disturb the land surface to get at it. We don’t have to worry about spills, leaks and tankers or fret about it affecting the health of human beings. Basically, Green Energy is power, created in an environment friendly way. It includes the energy we get from the sun, the wind, the earth and water. It doesn’t harm or pollute our planet.

There are five often used green energy sources – solar (sun), hydro, geothermal, wind, and biomass (wood, wood waste, solid waste, biogas, landfill gas). Another type of renewable energy is the energy from the ocean, from the tides.

Solar Energy

Solar Energy is made using the sun’s heat. Using different technologies, the energy from the sun can be captured and put to work. The sun has produced energy for billions of years. Solar energy is the solar radiation that reaches the earth. Solar energy can be converted directly or indirectly into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity. Solar energy is used for heating water for domestic use, space heating of buildings, drying agricultural products and generating electrical energy.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Hydropower

It is made from the force of falling water. Hydropower is a clean, renewable and reliable energy source which converts kinetic energy from falling water into electricity, without consuming more water than is produced by nature. This is the oldest method by which green energy has been harnessed. The first water wheels were used over 2,000 years ago and this technology has been refined today to become the most efficient in the production of electricity.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Geothermal Energy

It is made from heat underneath the Earth. ‘Geo’ means ‘from the earth’ and ‘thermal’ means ‘heat’.  This type of energy is found under the earth. The hot lava from a volcano and the hot steam from a geyser both come from underground heat and we can use that same type of heat in our homes. About four feet underground, the temperature of the earth stays the same all year long: around 55 degrees. Heat from the earth can be used as an energy source in many ways, from large and complex power stations to small and relatively simple pumping systems. A geothermal heating system uses pipes buried more than four feet deep inside the earth. A geothermal system can cool your house during the summer, too! It just works in reverse, absorbing the heat from the air inside your home and moving it back into the earth!

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Wind Energy

It is created by the turning blades of big, fan-like machines called the ‘wind turbines’. Using massive windmill-like devices known as turbines, we can generate electrical energy from the passing breeze. As the wind moves through these enormous structures, they turn large paddles, which are connected to electrical motors. When the electrical motors rotate, their magnetic fields form electrical energy, which is captured and stored for use. Wind power can be harnessed in a number of different ways. For example, windmills create mechanical energy, sails move boats and wind turbines generate electricity.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Biomass Energy

It is made from trees, plants and waste matter. Biomass facilities burn waste products from other industries, like the wood and agriculture, which in turn produce steam used to turn electricity-generating turbines. These plants utilize things that would otherwise be thrown into landfills; they are known as ‘Waste-to-Energy" systems. Biomass can be used to make an energy-rich gas called biogas. Biogas is like the natural gas we use in our stoves and furnaces. Biomass can also be turned into a fuel like gasoline. Just as apples can be made into cider, corn and wheat can be made into ethanol! Ethanol is a fuel (a lot like gasoline). Most biomass is in solid form, but it can also be a liquid.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Ocean Energy

Tides and waves can be used to generate power. Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface, making them the world’s largest solar energy collectors. The oceans constitute the largest powerhouse on Earth.

There are three basic ways to tap the ocean for its energy. We can use the ocean's waves (Ocean Wave Power), the ocean's high and low tides (Ocean Tidal Power), or we can use the temperature differences in the water (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion – OTEC). Ocean energy is preferable to wind because tides are constant and predictable. Also, water’s natural density requires fewer turbines than are needed to produce the same amount of wind power.

Courtesy: Shutterstock

Nuclear Energy

The energy hidden in the centre of atoms can be used to make energy! Nuclear energy is created at power plants through a scientific process that involves splitting the nucleus of atoms, a process known as ‘nuclear fission’. When this happens an enormous amount of energy is released. This kind of energy is used to create electricity by boiling water to create steam that turns turbines inside the power plant. 

Courtesy: Dreamstime

Around 30 different countries have operational nuclear reactors. The largest producers of nuclear power are the US, France and Japan. However, the main problem with nuclear energy is radiation that is produced in the process, and the removal and disposal of the nuclear waste from the power plants. Radiation is harmful to people if they are exposed to high levels of it. Radiation in the waste stays harmful for thousands of years! Most countries where nuclear power is used have special regulations about the storage of the waste, so that it doesn’t come in contact with the outside environment. Nuclear power requires uranium, which must be mined and transported to power plants.

Expert Advice

01
Dec

We don't grow into creativity!

It is not what we know that is important today, but what we do with it! It is our ability to analyze, think out of the box, ideate and create. We need creativity to get on with our lives. Finding that next tagline, strategy or product at work or resolving a tussle at home or even finding a quick fix to a leaking pipe!

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