There is still a question of sustainability when it comes to energy supplies. It is critical that resources have enough energy to meet our needs – heat our homes, power cities, and run our cars. However, it is also important to understand how these tools can be used in the long term. Some resources will hardly run out ever or not. They are known as renewable resources.
The planet is quickly becoming a global village due to the growing regular demand for energy from all the world’s people, while the earth in a step cannot shift. The need for energy and related services to meet human social and economic growth, welfare, and health grow. Returning to renewables to help tackle climate change is an excellent solution that needs to be viable to satisfy future generations’ energy demand.
What exactly are renewable resources?
Renewable resources are the ones that are derived from renewable energy, and Renewable Energy is extracted from natural resources that replenish themselves in less than a human existence without depleting the resources of the earth. These tools – such as sunlight, rain, wind, biomass, waves, tights and thermal energy contained in the earth’s crust – are available almost anywhere in one form or another. These are the resources which are practically inexhaustible and are more significant as they do not harm the atmosphere or to our ecosystem.
On the contrary, fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, and coal are only available to us in small quantities. As we keep extracting them, they’re going to run out sooner or later. While produced in natural processes, fossil fuels do not replenish as quickly as we humans do. So this makes renewable resources as the need of the hour.
But the next question that arises despite having so many renewable resources is that are present renewable resources appropriate or the possible disadvantages?
Yes, there are several issues associated with the use of renewable energy. For example, renewable energy may be less reliable, or nonrenewable energy, with seasonal or even regular energy changes, generated. However, scientists continue to overcome these problems, seeking to boost renewable energy’s viability and efficiency. Renewable resources include biomass energy such as its known, hydropower, geothermal energy, solar energy and wind.
Now, let’s one by one talk about all the renewable resources beginning with what they are and then their disadvantages.
So, biomass refers to organic material that is created by plants or animals. This includes wood, wastewater and ethanol (which comes from corn or other plants). Biomass can be used as an energy source because this organic material has absorbed energy from the sun. This energy, in turn, is emitted as heat energy when it is burned. No, let me state of the fact that is that worldwide, about 2.9 billion people use biomass fuels for cooking. These fuels include dung, charcoal, firewood and agricultural residues. Isn’t this too huge number of people that use this resource.
But now let us also have a look at its disadvantages.
- Biomass fuels are mainly burnt on efficient open fires and conventional stoves in certain situations; biomass fuels demand significantly exceeds sustainable supply. This may lead to deforestation, land loss and desertification. There is currently enough wood present, and there is a risk of deforestation in the future.
- Unclean biomass burning leads to air-pollution. Every year, the smoke from open for years and conventional stores leads to indoor air pollution and kills about 4.3 million people. Hence every 8 seconds, someone mostly women and children die due to this wasteful use of biomass fuel.
- Decreased resources contribute to an additional workload for women and children as they have to spend more time looking for firewood. The fuel they find is mostly of a lower quality and thirst bones with more smoke and less heat.
- Fuelwood is sometimes harvested regularly and does not have time to try before use. This makes the usage less effective as some heat is lost to get the moisture out of the wood, and this moist fuel produces more smoke.
- Biomass energy is also not as efficient as fossil fuels as some biofuels like ethanol are relatively inefficient compared to gasoline. It has to be further fortified with fossil fuels to increase their efficiency.
- Biomass plants also require a lot of space.
However, more research and innovation are being done in this field of biomass energy to become more suitable for usage.
It is one of the oldest renewable sources of energy that has been used for thousands of years now. Today, every US state uses a certain amount of hydroelectricity. Mechanical energy from moving water is used to produce electricity through hydropower. Hydroelectric power plants use rivers and streams to transform the turbine into a generator to release electricity.
It’s disadvantages are –
- It has an impact on fishes as a running water supply. Must be damned to build a hydroelectric project. This prevents fish from reaching their breeding ground, which affects any animal that relies on them for food. As the water seizes to flow, riverside ecosystems begin to vanish, and animals get removed from water access.
- The locations of hydroelectric power are minimal. While hydropower is renewable, a few locations are not suitable for the plant’s construction. On top of that, some of these places are not close to a major city that could make full electricity use.
- Its initial costs are high. Although no power plant is simple to build, it does require to build a dam to avoid running water. As a result, the cost more than comparable fossil fuel plants. They won’t have to think about buying petrol later, though. But it’s going to be even out in the case of long term.
- It has a lot of carbon and methane emissions. While the actual production of electricity in the plan does not generate pollution, there are emissions from the reservoir their produce. Plants that are at the bottom of the reservoir are beginning to decompose. And when plants die, vast amounts of carbon and methane are released.
- This source of renewable energy is susceptible to droughts. A hydro plant’s performance can be drastically affected because of a drought, and in the future, there is a lot of climate change that is happening, so our planet is getting heated up. There is a possibility of this becoming even more common.
- Risk of floods is another disadvantage to this renewable source of energy. Although while dams are built at a higher elevation, they do pose a serious threat to any nearby towns and are at a lower elevation to the dam. There is no denying that dams are built powerfully, but there are still risks. The biggest dam failure in the history of this world has been of Banqiao dam failure. Due to excess rainfall from a typhoon the dam had collapsed. This had resulted in debts of 171, 000 people.
Although hydropower has benefited this world in several ways, still there are cons to it.
This energy comes from the heat produced deep within the centre of the earth. The geothermal reservoir can be located at tectonic plate borders near volcanic activity or deep underground. Geothermal energy may be used by digging wells to pump hot water or steam to a power plant. This energy is then used for heating, cooling and electricity. However, there are some challenges of geothermal energy that still need to be overcome.
Let us have a look at those challenges-
- Restriction of location is one of the major challenges of geothermal energy. Jio thermal plants need to be installed in locations where energy is available, which means that certain areas are not in a position to utilise this resource. Of course, it would not be a concern if you live in a location where geothermal energy is readily available, for example – Iceland.
- There are a few environmental side-effects to it as well. Although geothermal energy does not usually release greenhouse gases, many of the gases stored underneath the earth’s surface are released into the atmosphere while drilling. These gases are naturally emitted into the atmosphere, and the rate rises in the vicinity of these geothermal plants.
- It poses a great risk of triggering earthquakes. This is possible because of the changes in the composition of the earth as a result of digging. This issue is more prevalent with enhanced geothermal power plants that push water into the earth’s crust to open up cracks for greater utilisation of the resources. However, considering that most geothermal plants are away from population centres, the facts of these earthquakes are relatively mild.
- The cost of it is very high. The pricetag of it ranges between $ 2 to 7 million for a megawatt facility.
Hence, it becomes all the more important for industries to take care of these challenges while mitigating against any potential problem.
Wind Energy produces electricity by turning on wind turbines. I am sure while taking a trip to remote farms; you must have noticed windmills. The wind drives the turbine’s blades, and the generator transforms this mechanical energy into electricity.
Although these windmills might look a little old and low-tech, they are still predecessors of modern-day innovative wind turbines. They produce electricity for businesses, industries, and homes. Power Grids can also store this electricity.
But still, it does harbour a fee disadvantages to it which are-
- This renewable energy source is entirely dependent on wind, and there can be days when the winds can be inconsistent, and the levels might fluctuate each day. So, in times like these, it may lead to disappointment. The place where it should be situated should also have a sufficient supply of wind. This is why windmill is situated at higher elevations because the higher you go, the stronger the winds are. If situated in lower elevation levels, then it holds several obstacles.
- It can reduce the population of local birds of that area. Several birds die as a result of a turbine blade collision. It has been recorded in these areas. This could wipe out the population of many birds wishes. Winter Bynes also enable them to dig deep into the earth, which could have a detrimental impact on underground ecosystems.
- It is highly prone to noise disturbances. The most hurtful downside of winter Bynes is the noise that they make. The sound created by a single turbine can be seen from a distance. Combined by several turbines and the noise becomes unbearable. Many homeowners lives have been turned upside down as it result of turbine noises emissions. This is the reason why many people object installation of wind turbines.
Renewable resources as alternatives
Searching for the right alternatives to fossil fuels and nonrenewable energy resources is a task that is growing ever more important than ever as our planet’s supply of nonrenewable resources is dwindling now. The alternatives to nonrenewable energy resources will not only better sustain the world’s rapidly increasing population, but it will also provide us with a cleaner, healthier environment for the upcoming generations. Hence, the question arises: What better options from these can humans opt for in the future?
Alternative energy sources are expected to grow in all industries by 2023. The electricity sector has the largest share of 30%. In decarbonisation, electrification will become the main energy carrier, the bulk of which will be provided by renewable energy. Heating is second with 12%, and the transport sector comes third with just 3.8% of renewable energy sources with growth potential.
According to experts, radiation from the sun can be used as a source of electricity. Photovoltaic cells can be used to transform solar energy into electricity. Individually, the cells only generate enough energy to power a calculator, but when combined to produce solar panels on much larger areas, they supply much more electricity.
There are some more alternatives on which the researchers are still working on like –
Space-based solar power is the concept of storing and transmitting solar power in outer space to earth. The possible benefits of harvesting solar energy in space include a higher collection rate and a longer collection time due to the lack of a diffused atmosphere and the prospect of positioning in an orbital position where there is no night. A considerable fraction of the incoming solar energy is lost through the earth’s atmosphere due to reflection and absorption. Space-based solar power systems transform sunlight to microwaves outside the atmosphere, minimising losses and downtime due to the planet’s rotation.
These roads are built using photovoltaic cells mounted in Road systems. The concept behind these ventures is to melt snow, power street lights, and even remove the need to paint white or yellow asphalt lines. There is a lot of investigation that is going on in this topic, and there is yet a lot of progress that has to be made in it.
Solar thermal is a type of energy and technology for using solar energy to produce thermal energy for industry and the residential and commercial sectors. It works by harnessing the sun’s energy and turning it into heat that is then transmitted to your home or businesses heating system, such as hot water or space heating. Solar thermal panels are used in combination with boilers, collectors or heaters.
In the end, I would like to urge you all to reduce your usage of fossil fuels as it causes a lot of environmental problems and shift to better alternatives. I hope this article was able to enlighten you about the present resources of our planet.
Also Read- Deep Dive into Atomic Energy