Nonconventional Energy Sources

Non conventional energy sources (renewable) or alternative energy sources are consider as the sources that are replenish able within a human lifetime. The energy sources, which are being produce continuously in nature, are call conventional energy. Types of non conventional energy sources are wind, solar, tides, geothermal heat and biomass.

Solar Energy

Consider about non conventional energy sources solar energy is the most readily available energy source in nature. The solar radiation is use from the prehistoric age as a source of energy. According to the estimations, solar energy is equivalent to over 15000 times the world’s annual commercial energy consumption. The sun’s heat is uses to produce hot water or air, cook food, drying material etc.Solar energy harvesting is most commonly do with the solar panels placed on residential rooftops. However, we can find many other solar energy harvesting methods developed with the modern technology. So let us look at those innovative solar energy-harvesting technologies.

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Photovoltaic solar panels use the power of sun create electricity. This is the most widely used and popular method to harvest solar energy. Each solar cell is made up from compound semiconductor wafer structure. (Mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline). The structure is made from two thin layers of semiconductors one is n type and the others is p type. This panel size are vary from a few squire centimeters to squire meters.

Simply a solar panel works by allowing photons (particles of light) to release electrons from free atoms. This solar panels fulfill two functions, one is photo generation of charge carriers (electrons and holes) in light –absorbing material, and separation of the charge carriers to conducive contact that will transmit the electricity.

Thermal Energy Harvesting (Energy of Electromagnetic Radiation)

The sun emits broad spectrum of radiation. Those have many different wavelengths. So this solar energy efficiently transfers thermal energy to bodies that can absorb it. The elements that effectively absorb this thermal electromagnetic energy are transfer as “black bodies”, because the black color has ability to absorb the all wavelengths of radiation that visible to human eye.  An ideal black body can correctly absorb, and emit, all wavelengths of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum. 

From the ancient times, human have used electromagnetic radiation for many different purposes. Passive heating systems is one example. This heating method was used in day today activates such as egg cooking in ancient Roman and Egyptian homes. So he thermal solar energy harvesting strategies are highly rely on black body radiation physics and their ability to absorb and transfer electromagnetic radiation. In modern houses, the solar thermal energy is gather and used for water heating systems.However, these solutions are less suitable for energy generation on an industrial scale. 

Solar Water Heaters

One of the most common thermal solar energy harvesting application implemented in sunny climates around the globe is a solar water heater.   The simplest version of a solar water heater system composed with  a pump to circulate cool water through a black body panel. It is looks like a PV solar panel where the black surface efficiently absorbs thermal energy, which is then cool by the circulated water, thereby heating the water. Water continually circulate through this loop and create warm water by the solar energy. Some systems can function without a pump system by utilizing the buoyancy created by the heated water. This warmer water ‘floats’ and the colder water sinks, producing low amounts of flow in the system, creating a thermostatic. These systems require the storage tank to be above the solar absorption source, to create the water flow.

Vacuum Tube Solar Water Heater

Vacuum tube solar system considered as the most efficient and advanced solar water heating system. So It contains vacuum tubes, self-contained heat pipes to transfer the thermal energy to a secondary tank. The function of the vacuum tubes is ensure the radiant energy can enter the system. The heat pipe absorbs this energy and subsequently transfers it to the large water tank. These systems are significantly more efficient at heating water during cold months. The reason is minimal amounts of thermal energy escape the vacuum tube, allowing nearly all radiant energy to be convert into thermal energy.

Molten Salt Solar Power

Improved molten salt technology is increasing the efficiency and storage capacity of solar power plants while reducing solar thermal energy costs. This technology much likely to the previously discussed solar powered water heating system. The function of this system is melt salt by utilizing electromagnetic radiation. This molten salt then is transfer to a heat exchange. Heat exchange heats water into steam that is then driven through a steam turbine to generate electricity.

Molten salt power plants, such as the Ivanpah Solar Plant, rely on an extensive network of heliostat mirrors to redirect sunlight to a single point, most often referred to as a power tower or central tower. This tower collects the energy from all surrounding heliostats, which is enough power to melt the salt at nearly 1500°F.  This molten salt is then store in insulated tanks, allowing for the energy to be use even when the sun is no longer shining. 

Wind Energy

Wind energy mainly used for produce electricity. The kinetic energy of the wind converted to electrical energy. Wind energy also considered as a form of solar energy. Wind produced when as an impact of solar energy. When solar radiation enters the earth’s atmosphere, the different regions of the atmosphere is heated differently because the earth curvature.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is energy generate or produce by living or once living organisms. It is organic, made of material that comes from living organisms, such as plants and animals. Plants, wood and waste are the most common biomass materials use to produce energy. Biomass also contains the energy of the sun. Those absorbed energy stores as chemical energy. Plans produce biomass through photosynthesis.The Biomass dose not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere because it absorbs same amount of carbon in growing. Biomass can burned directly for produce thermal energy or renewable gaseous liquid and gases fuels through various processes.

Biomass source for energy includes,

  • Wood an wood processing wastes – Fire wood, wood pallets, lumber and
  • Furniture mill sawdust and waste, and black liquor from pulp and paper mills
  • Agricultural crops and waste materials – corn, soya beans ,sugar cane, switch grass, woody plants, algae, crop and food processing residues
  • Biogenic materials in municipal solid waste – paper, cotton, wool products, yard and wood wastes
  • Animal manure and human sewage

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal Energy

The terms Geothermal energy originates from two Greek words “GEO” AND “THERM”. The word “geo” means the earth and the “therm” means the heat from the earth. Geothermal energy is energy derive from the earth. This energy is store in the form of heat below the earth’s surface.This energy is a renewable source use for different purposes from thousand years. Heat passes out through the seabed and land surface by conduction and by active convective currents of molten magma or heated water. The average geothermal heat flow at the Earth’s surface is only 0.06W/m2 , (with average temperature gradient of 25 to 30ºC/km). So some locations have increased temperature gradients (with temperature gradients as high as 200ºC/km ) indicating significant geothermal energy sources.

Non conventional energy sources (renewable) or alternative energy sources are consider as the sources that are replenish able within a human lifetime. The energy sources, which are being produce continuously in nature, are call conventional energy. Types of non conventional energy sources are wind, solar, tides, geothermal heat and biomass. Solar Energy Consider about non…


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