Renewable Alternative Power Technologies

In addition to traditional forms of power generation that rely on finite reservesoffossilfuels,therearethree basic categories of renewable resourcesthatcanbeusedto generate power. Renewable resources are those that are replenished within the ecosystem(wind,water)orwhose source is so plentiful that it canbeconsideredaninfinite sup ply.

One category uses renewablesasaprimemovercom-bustion fuel source. Examples include landfill-derived methane and wood gasifiers. Anothercategoryusesrenew-able energy sources to raise sufficientthermalenergyto drive conventional prime movers. Thisincludestheuseof renewable sources such as biomassandgeothermalenergy to produce steam for powerproductionfromaconven-tional or modified steam turbine.Italsoincludestheuse o f developing solar thermal technologies in the same manner to raise high-pressure steam or in some cases, such as the prototype parabolic dish technology, to generate thermal energy in the form ofaheatedtransferfluidto drive a reciprocating engine or gas turbine, operating on a Stirling or Brayton cycle. These renewable sources and technologies for thermal generationthatcanbeusedfor power generation are discussedindetailin 5 and

. The third category uses renewableenergymoredirectly to produce power. This involvestheuseofprimemovers such as water and wind turbines. Italsoincludestheuse of photovoltaic technology, whichconvertssolarradiation directly into electricity.

This chapter presents informationonthree renewable technology applications: hydro,wind,andphotovoltaic. A fourth technology in this chapteristhefuelcell. While they involve the use of a renewableenergysource(hydro-gen), fuel cells currently mustbepowered byconventional fossil fuel sources such as natural gas to generate the hydrogen. While this does notsatisfythedefinitionof a renewable technology, it is oftencategorizedwith renewable sources of clean or "green"power,sinceitproduces such low levels of pollution relative to other fossil fuel powered technologies.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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