ALTERNATE ENERGY RESOURCES
Nov 8 - 14, 2010
The soaring cost of gas and petrol is biting everyone. Since the resources are scarce it is becoming insurmountable to make ends meet. High dependence on gas and petrol has led to an increase in electricity cost. This in turn puts a pressure on consumers to pay more than what they were paying for earlier. Some environmentalists might suggest a reduction in energy consumption. However, that is not a very practical solution. In order to grow and prosper, we need industries and energy to run them. Instead of cutting down on consumption there is a need for looking at alternate energy resources that can be beneficial both for businesses and our planet.
There are several alternate resources from which energy can be generated such as solar energy, biomass energy, wind energy, hydrogen, hydropower energy and geothermal energy. These alternates not only provide an option for energy generation, but are also low on pocket and trim down the affects of gas emissions. Let us now view how energy can be generated through these means.
As the name suggests, this form of energy is generated from the Sun. Solar energy is everywhere around us. Plants absorb the Sun's energy through photosynthesis and therefore are a good source of fossil fuels. There are two ways through which solar energy can be generated namely; thermal energy and electrical energy. In thermal energy, Sun heats up the water, and then the heated water is used to generate electricity. On the other hand, electrical energy is produced when photovoltaic cells or solar cells capture the Sun's energy and convert it into electricity.
Biomass energy can be produced through animal and plant-derived materials. This energy can then be utilised to heat up homes, drive vehicles, etc. Wood, paper, trash, agriculture crops (such as corn, corn stalks, wheat, pinecones etc.), animal waste, manure, sewage and other similar things make a good source for generating biomass energy. If you notice most of the sources of biomass energy are items that we consider junk. Hence, this indicates that biomass energy is a much cheaper option available to us.
Wind energy is generated by controlling the wind through windmills or wind turbines. In other words, wind energy can be defined as the force of winds blowing across the earth's surface. In order to obtain energy from wind, the speed of wind should be high enough to turn the turbine. Ideally, the speed should be maintained at a minimum of 10 miles per hour. Wind turbines can produce about 50 to 300 kilowatts of electricity. Electricity generated this way can then be fed into the local utility grid and distributed to customers. Generating energy from wind is not a novel concept. History tells us that some 5000 years ago the Egyptians used the same method to generate energy.
Hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe and also a cheap option. Drive your car on pure water, and you will be increasing your gas mileage by 20 ñ 50 percent. Despite being the most abundant element Hydrogen is not available in its purest form. It is always combined with other elements. It has been observed that an engine which runs on Hydrogen doesn't produce any pollution.
In this form of electricity generation, flowing water is captured and turned into energy. In general, a reservoir such as a dam or river is used to store water. This is called impoundment hydropower. Water is released from this reservoir into a turbine, which spins it and activates the generator to produce electricity. A hydroelectric dam consists of these components: dam, penstock, turbine, generator, transformer and transmission lines.
How will you react if someone tells you we are living on top of a giant heater? Yes, that's right! This Earth that we live on is a giant heater. Energy from the Earth can be employed in many ways to generate electricity. The deeper you go into the Earth, the hotter it gets. Energy from the Earth can be obtained through volcanic activity, magma, hot rocks, geysers, etc.
Earth is a beautiful planet blessed with countless resources. When the resources are not utilised adequately, Earth becomes vulnerable to natural disasters. In recent times, the world has gone through various changes such as global warming, floods, drought, melting glaciers, hurricanes, cyclones, extinction of species and spread of diseases. A lot is being spoken about the sustainability of the world. Environmentalists are raising their voices and sharing their concerns.
Pakistan is already facing immense shortage of electricity. Almost every day in the newspapers, one comes across news regarding electricity tariff being raised. Our existing infrastructure is incapable to fulfil the gap between demand and supply. Therefore, there is a need to introduce alternative means of energy generation. One such development in this regard was the establishment of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB). In the year 2009, the board ran a pilot project in collaboration with SUNEC China. However, we cannot solely depend on the board for energy solutions. There is a need to conscientiously ponder upon the issue and contemplate alternate means of energy generation.
GE Energy is known as the world's leading supplier of power generation and energy delivering technologies in areas including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy as well as renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and alternative fuels. GE's Jenbacher gas engine division produces gas engines that can run either on natural gas or a variety of other gases (for instance biogas, landfill gas, coalmine gas, sewage gas, combustible industrial waste gases, etc.).
GE Jenbacher has established emission reduction systems such as lean burn combustion system and exhaust combustion system to minimise exhaust emissions. The CL. Air (Clean Air) Exhaust Treatment System has made it possible to control carbon monoxide emissions without making any significant efficiency losses. This treatment system reduces carbon monoxide, non-methanic, hydrocarbon, methane and formaldehyde emissions to levels well below the technical limits set for air quality. On the other hand, the LEANOX (Lean Mixture Combustion Control) ensures the correct air to gas ratio under all operating conditions to minimise exhaust gas emissions while maintaining stable engine operation. The system uses a special combustion chamber configuration for more efficient combustion and directly links power output, boost pressure, fuel, temperature and nitrogen oxide emission. This eliminates the need to monitor oxygen in the exhaust using a Lambda probe.
Furthermore, GE Jenbacher's cogeneration systems provide a variety of uses for waste heat. The combined heat and power (CHP) plants generate electricity and heat locally whenever needed. In this manner, maximum efficiency is offered in the conversion of energy and compliance of the most stringent emission standards is maintained. GE Jenbacher's cogeneration systems include Tri-generation, CO2 Fertilisation, Hot Water Production, Steam Generation, and Drying Processes.
Another global leader worth mentioning which is playing an important role in delivering sustainable solutions is Cummins Inc. Cummins is committed to sustainable products and services and spends millions of dollars each year researching and developing technologies to meet emissions regulations while improving fuel economy. In October 2010, the company expressed its support for a regulatory proposal which talks about improving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel efficiency for medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
Recently, the company was also awarded a funding of approximately $54 million to support systems level technology development for highly efficient advanced technology power trains. It is said that this development will play a critical role in achieving GHG reduction and fuel efficiency improvements. Cummin's Selective Catalytic Reduction technology not only reduces nitrogen oxides, but also reduces fuel consumption.
According to Cummins, better fuel economy lowers operating costs and makes a remarkable impact on the environment too. It is a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
Studies show that due to the recent increase in concerns about sustainable living and finding ways for reducing carbon footprint, there has been considerable reduction in carbon emission as compared to what it was thirty years from today.
Now, the choice is yours either you can study various options that have a major impact in reducing our carbon footprint on Mother Earth. And at the same time, work out solutions with sources such as sun, wind, water, coal, nuclear power, etc. to produce energy at a significantly lower cost and make a surviving and thriving energy or sit and wait and let the entire system collapse.
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