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A description of the four main kinds of alternative energy sources

What are Alternative Energy Sources?

The 6 Primary Types of Renewable Energy By Chris Bradshaw on September 27th, 2018 Renewable energy is becoming more and more prevalent around the world, but it is still not the dominant energy resource. However, while fossil fuels have have enabled huge economic growth and technological evolution, we now know that it has also damaged our environment as the burning of fossil fuels produces carbon emissions.

For example, the UK government plans to phase out oil fired heating boilers by 2025 with natural gas boilers heading for the same fate by 2050. Instead they want us to adopt renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is energy that can be reproduced in a short period of time. Each of these renewable energy sources provides an alternative to traditional energy generation. Air or Wind An abundant source of renewable energy, the very air around us can be used to generate both heat and electricity.

Air source heat pumps are becoming more and more popular with homeowners and businesses looking to heat buildings with a renewable energy source. This natural heat can then heat rooms air-to-air heat pumps or produce hot water for radiators or underfloor heating air-to-water heat pumps.

  • These energy sources are often non-centralized, leading to greater consumer control and involvement;
  • Just like the geothermal and solar energy, which have long been used in heating homes and lighting as well when harnessed.

Wind power is used as a means of generating electricity by wind turbines which are capable of harnessing the power derived from the wind, converting kinetic energy into mechanical energy. A source of clean, green renewable energy, favourable climate conditions in Europe means wind energy is a highly viable method for electricity generation.

Solar In one form or another, solar power has been around for thousands of years. There are 2 types of solar panels: A popular choice in a growing renewable energy market, solar energy is free and means owners need to buy less energy from a supplier.

Biomass Biomass energy is produced from organic materials such as plants and animals, but the energy that is produced in this fashion is originally provided by the sun. This energy is then passed on through the organism that eats the plant, creating biomass energy. The most common forms used to generate biomass energy are wood, crops and manure.

What are the different types of renewable energy?

Wood fuelled heating involves burning wood so it gives off energy as heat. Biomass boilers burn wood pellets or wood chips, using the generated heat to produce hot for wet central heating systems.

This is not the only method of generating biomass energy; you can also create biomass energy by converting these substances into methane gases, ethanol and biodiesel fuels which can be translated more easily into our current methods of energy use.

For example, steam energy or hot water that is generated by the Earth can be used to generate energy. It is considered to be a renewable source of energy as the water in the Earth is replenished by regular rainfall and the heat used is regularly produced by the planet.

Ground source heat pumps can be installed to harness the natural heat from underground using tubes of fluid buried outside the property.

The 6 Primary Types of Renewable Energy

This fluid absorbs the heat from the ground so it can be used to heat your home and water. Pipes are submerged in the water and a heat pump pushes a heat absorbing fluid through the network of piping; this fluid extracts natural heat from the surrounding water to be used in the heating system.

Hydro Power Hydro energy is derived from the movement of water, rather than the natural heat. One form of hydro power is generated through the movement of water through turbines, such as water running through turbines in a dam. Hydro power is considered a renewable energy source as the water is continuously cycled back through the plant or into nature. Biofuels Biofuels are a form of renewable energy derived from burning plant or animal substances, otherwise called combustion.

One of the challenges to biofuels has been that it is not easily transferred into a liquid form which is the primary method used to fuel most cars and homes. Two of the most common strategies that are said to produce biofuels includes: While these methods are effective sources of renewable energy, they are challenging to produce and maintain on a large scale.