Scientists are working to improve green energy, improve the environment and reduce dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.
Some predicted that in the future will be the hydrogen economy, but many experts say that solar energy is the right path.
A number of projects involving “high wind turbines” or “antimatter engines” are also considered as future energy sources. In this article, I will introduce you to the energy sources that are and will be used in the near future.
1. Energy from the sun
According to a report by the International Energy Agency, by 2050, the sun could become the largest source of electricity, more than fossil fuels, wind and nuclear energy.
Back in Australia in 2006, a giant 1km solar tower with 32 gas turbines (total capacity of 200 MW) was put into operation. This solar system is surrounded by a giant greenhouse that heats the air to rotate the turbines around the tower.
Experts estimate that power plants will be able to generate 200 megawatts of electricity and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases by 700,000 tons per year. And most recently, Topaz solar power plant with a capacity of 550 megawatts with 9 million photovoltaic panels, covering more than 24 hectares in California, USA. This is considered to be the largest solar power in the world today and Topaz provides electricity to about 160,000 households.
The solar system does not require any additional fuel to operate and the impact of environmental pollution is almost nonexistent. Sunlight can be saved as heat for immediate use or converted into electricity. In addition, the technology allows the conversion of light into electrical energy through the photovoltaic effect. The limitations of the solar system include high initial costs and large space requirements. For most “alternative sources of energy” to replace solar energy, efficiency may be affected by air pollution and weather that reduces the amount of sunlight.
2. Energy from Coal
Coal has been a source of energy for the industrial revolution and it still plays a huge role in meeting the world’s energy needs. The main advantage of coal is that it is abundant enough to supply the world in the next 200 to 300 years with current consumption. Due to the large reserves, coal has high economic value and easy to exploit.
However, the use of this material creates many impurities such as sulfur and nitrogen that mix into the air or can combine with water in the air to form acid rain. Coal combustion also produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, which, according to scientists, is contributing to global warming.
3. Energy from Wind
Wind energy is an indirect form of solar energy. Using wind energy is one of the methods of gathering energy known from ancient times. The concept of using windmills is stepping up as scientists are trying to create electricity in the sky by floating a windmill at a height of 4.5 kilometers in the atmosphere. The system is equipped with four propellers and two turbines to generate electricity from the wind.
Wind power now accounts for only 0.1% of the world’s electricity needs, but that number is expected to grow as fast and one of the forms of clean energy in the future. The expansion of wind power is also difficult because the system depends on the location of the strong wind.
Fears indicate that wind farms may affect local weather, but this has not been thoroughly studied. Scientists hope that the use of windmills in the sky will address these constraints because it is a strong and continuous wind.
4. Energy from Oil
This fuel is known by some as black gold, showing its importance to humans. The great nations of the world rely on oil, and this is also the source of many wars. One of the reasons that gasoline and oil is so valuable is that it can be transformed into a variety of products, not only as an energy source but also as a number of other important products of high economic value.
This is also one of the sources of fossil energy that is “large” but not renewable. Some scientists predict that oil production will peak in the near future, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says oil prices will not be able to surpass $ 100 a barrel in next ten years.
Like coal and natural gas, oil is relatively cheap compared to alternative sources of energy but its use comes with significant environmental damage. Using oil produces large amounts of carbon dioxide, and oil spills can harm ecosystems and are very difficult to clean.
5. Energy from Biomass fuel
Biomass energy, or biofuel, includes substances that contain the chemical energy stored in organic matter. Biomass is waste from agriculture (straw, bagasse, shell, corn fiber …), forest waste (dried leaves, wood chips …). Biomass fuels can be solid, liquid, gaseous … burned to release energy such as ethanol or into biogas.
But unlike some other renewable sources, biomass energy is not really clean because organic fuels produce large amounts of carbon dioxide. In addition to being widely used, people have to find ways to compensate by planting fast-growing trees and grasses for use as fuel supplies. Scientists are also experimenting with the use of bacteria to manipulate biomass and produce hydrogen for fuel. This is a rather interesting alternative but interesting source of biofuels in the process of heat transfer (TCP). Unlike ordinary natural fuels, TCP can convert virtually any organic matter into kerosene and water, but the amount of greenhouse gases that can be reduced is not reduced.
6. Energy from Hydroelectric
Hydropower currently accounts for 20% of the world’s electricity. Up until recently, hydropower has been argued that water power is a rich natural resource that requires no additional fuel and no pollution. Recent studies, however, show that some of the challenges posed by hydroelectric dams can cause significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane through the decomposition of submerged vegetation materials.
One drawback of the dam is that people living around are often displaced. In the case of China, the largest dam in the world when completed in 2009, 1.9 million people have been displaced and countless historic sites have been flooded and disappeared. Improper damming will alter ecosystems in the area and is one of the causes of droughts and floods. This is a limitation of hydropower.
7. Energy from Ocean energy
Oceans cover 70% of the surface of the Earth, and water is a natural solar collector. The conversion of thermal energy of the ocean (OTEC) to exploit this energy collector and use the temperature difference between the surface of water heated by sunlight and the source of water energy below the depth of the ocean to generate electricity. The OTEC factory is divided into three categories:
Closed Cycle: A liquid with a low boiling point such as ammonia heated with warm seawater. The steam generated is used to operate the turbine generator and then is cooled with cold sea water. But the evaporator and condenser of this system must use a bulky heat exchanger, consume a large amount of metal, and difficult to maintain.
Open Cycle: Similar to the closed OTEC cycle, except for the absence of low intermediate liquids (such as propane, isobutane, freon, ammonia …). The system makes boiling water in the evaporator and converts into steam. Steam runs from the turbine nozzle to generate electricity. Breathing from the turbine into the condenser is cooled by cold sea water.
Hybrid Cycle: Closed OTEC cycles are used to generate electricity, which then creates the low pressure environment required for the opening cycle.
The OTEC plant can increase fresh water supplies. In addition, sea water rich in nutrients from the ocean floor can be used to culture microorganisms and marine plants. The main limitation of OTEC is that the conversion of heat energy into electricity is too low when the system operates on a small temperature difference, usually around 20 ° C.
8. Energy from Nuclear energy
Albert Einstein said that the boundary between matter and energy is not clear. Energy can be created by atoms – the process of splitting or combining is called fission and fusion respectively. Radioactive fission is harmful and generates large amounts of radioactive material, which has the effect of thousands of years and can destroy entire ecosystems if leaked. The bigger concern is that nuclear power has been used as a formidable weapon.
At present, most nuclear power plants use fission, which requires large amounts of energy to produce and maintain at high temperatures. The idea of fusion sound synthesis – technically known as fusion inertia – is derived from a sonolumi – nescence. The principle here is to use loudspeakers attached to a liquid filled tank and then transmit pressure waves, which stimulate the movement of the sound waves. These bubbles grow and break, creating visible flashes, lasting no more than 50 picoseconds. The foam produces temperature and pressure that can reach the fusion startup level. Scientists are also working on a way to produce controlled fusion reactions by pushing “heavy” hydrogen ions into a strong electric field.
9. Energy from Fuel cells
At the time of its appearance, hydrogen fuel cells were considered a perfect substitute for fossil fuels. Scientists can create electricity using hydrogen and oxygen without affecting the environment. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles not only deliver better performance than internal combustion engines, but their unique emissions are water.
Unfortunately, while hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, most of it is attached to molecules like water. That means pure hydrogen must be produced by other sources of energy – which in many cases is related to fossil fuels. Another problem with hydrogen is that it can not be compressed easily or securely, and requires large tanks to store. In addition, hydrogen atoms tend to leak through the container material.
10. Energy from the Antimatter
Antimatter is a concept in physics, made up of fundamental antiparticles such as electrons, neutrons, etc. In theory, if antimatter encounters matter, it will cause explosion and resolution. The massive energy, calculated by Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2.
Antimatter has been used in medical imaging technology called positron emission tomography (PET), but its use as a potential fuel source remains in the field of science fiction. Antimatter can be produced in the laboratory, but currently accounts for only a very small amount and at an extremely high cost. Even if the problem of production can be solved, it is still a difficult question to answer as to how to store something that tends to self-destruct when exposed to ordinary matter and so to harness the power generated.