The Largest Untapped Source Of Energy

Of all forms of energy we use today, marine energy is our largest untapped energy source. Compared to other renewable technologies, it is still very much in its infancy, having received minimal attention and development capital. TABLE 5.1 Energy Density of Renewable Energy Sources 4QQ-6QQ W m2 for a good-to-excellent site, but ranges from 1QQ to 7QQ W m2 2,000 W m2 typical, but ranges from 1,500 to 4,500 W m2 1,000,000 W meter of wave crest length, or 20,000-70,000 W m2 for the best sites Data...

The Future Is Electric

Electric power is the future for transportation, for three main reasons 1. Electricity can be generated from any renewable or nonrenewable source. It is not bound to fossil fuels. 2. It can be generated almost anywhere. The shorter the distance between the point of energy generation and the point of use, the more efficient and robust your infrastructure is. 3. It can be emissions-free. If we could massively exploit the world's geo-thermal potential, for example,...

Benefits Of Wind Power

Wind power is primarily a utility-scale technology, with hundreds of turbines arrayed in large wind farms. Wind offers a number of advantages over fossil fuel in powering the grid Wind is a vast, free, and inexhaustible resource. Wind helps reduce our use of the primary fuels for grid power natural gas, coal, and to a lesser extent, petroleum. Recognizing that all fossil fuels will peak within the next 20 years, and skyrocket in cost, it is important that we reduce their consumption as much as...

Short History Of Solar Technologies

Modern attempts to harvest the sun's energy directly date back to the 1870s, and the first solar motor company was founded in 1900. The first documented design was a concentrating solar power (CSP) device, which focuses the heat of the sun using lenses or mirrors to drive thermal engines or generators. In the 1870s, CSP systems were used to drive steam engines, which in turn were used to do something else, usually to pump water (although they were also used to make ice, in order to impress...

The Solar Solution

Of all the energy sources available to us, the Sun is our largest source by far, dropping 970 trillion kWh worth of free energy on us every day. Enough solar energy strikes the United States each day to supply its needs for one and a half years. Put another way, the amount of solar energy the Earth receives every minute is greater than the amount of energy from fossil fuels the world uses in a year 1 Nearly all energy forms on Earth come from the Sun, either directly or indirectly. To begin...

The Complexities Of Biofuels

The issues surrounding biofuels are complex, and the opinions on them are widely varied, so we'll start with a brief overview of biofuels, and then explore some of the important questions. There are two main types of biofuel in use today ethanol and biodiesel. Figure 9.1 summarizes their production methods. Ethanol is simply alcohol the same stuff you drink in an alcoholic beverage. Alcohol for human consumption is tightly regulated, though, and industrial alcohol contains impurities that will...

Global Winds

Wind energy comes from the uneven heating of the planet as it spins through the day and night, being warmed and cooled by the Sun. Temperature gradients between land and sea, and physical obstacles like mountains, also play a role in the complex dance of wind. Wind power dates back to at least 5000 b.c.e., when it was used to propel boats along the Nile River. By 200 b.c.e. , simple windmills were pumping water in China and grinding grain in the Middle East. Windmills designed to generate...

Falling Costs

The driving force behind the wind industry's massive growth is simple It makes good economic sense. Although renewable energy continues to be labeled by opponents as too expensive, wind energy has already reached parity with grid power from traditional fuels. We still have elected officials who believe renewable energy cannot power this country, and I think that is incorrect, said ACORE president Michael Eckhart upon the release of the council's 2007 report. We can deliver huge amounts of...

Going Offshore

Wind farm developers are also continuing to seek out more consistent winds. And they're finding exactly that in the ocean. Because our oceans are, for the most part, consistently windy all over, they make excellent locations for turbines. Most of the work being done today in the area of offshore wind development is happening overseas. Online, there are currently 16 offshore projects worldwide. (Although all 16 can be found in only four countries Denmark, Holland, Sweden, and the United...

The Path to Suicide

Of all forms of energy in use today, oil has the lion's share. It accounts for 40 percent of our overall energy consumption, and over 90 percent of the energy we use for transportation. Essentially everything in our modern lives is made with some contribution from oil. For example, oil and gas are embedded into every aspect of making a common shirt from the feedstock to making nylon or rayon, to running the looms, to transporting the shirt to a store, to the transportation used to take the...