Greenhouse gases are one of the main reasons for climate change that is reported to be the most serious concern for the future civilization on this planet, by scientists across the world, even though it is considered as a hoax by a few conservative elites. The main contributor for this environmental condition is the usage of fossil fuels which gives us 85% of the total energy consumed globally and this amount of fossil fuel contributes to 56.6% of global green house gas emission, says research.
Moreover the IPCC Fourth Assessment report says that, ‘Most of the observed increased in global average temperature since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Carbon-di-oxide concentration in the air has also gone up by 39% beyond the pre-industrial levels to 390 ppm.
Such alarming reports tell us the grave danger of the non renewable energy sources and have made us look out for alternative energy sources that can keep the greenhouse gas emission levels under check and hence increase the longevity of the planet.
Although the share of renewable energy sources is very less in the total energy demand, their deployment is increasing in the wake of such shocking reports in order to make the energy supply and the planet sustainable.
As countries vie for economic growth because of the growing aspirations of people and improved lifestyles, the demand for energy has always been on the rise and 21st century is no exception to this, and the governments have been able to do this by keeping the concerns about fossil fuels at bay or by compromising energy efficiency, shooting up the average global temperatures to an all time high with every passing day.
But the scenario is not beyond control- thanks to the alternative energy sources and renewable energy companies, which have started to appear in the market recently. Human civilization has always managed to innovate and come up with solutions to complex problems that had posed serious threat for its existence and this has once again become possible on account to the climate change through alternative energy resources.
There are many such energy sources available at disposal that can be handled and utilized effectively, rising energy efficiency with renewable energy engineering practices and further research on raising these efficiency levels.
Below are a few available alternative energy resources -available in nature to mankind – that has the potential to save the earth from drastic climate changes.
Bio- energy is derived from biological matter that store solar energy in the form of chemicals and the sources include plants, animals, wood wastes, miscanthus, forest residues, liquid biofuels etc. There are different methods to extract energy from bio mass including anaerobic digestion, combustion or Combined Heat and Power, gasification, pyrolysis etc. Bio-energy is the only source comes in all three forms namely solid, liquid and gaseous states.
Biomass made up to 10% of the Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) in 2010, says a report of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the number has largely remain unchanged since then.
Solar energy source is the most easily available form and the least harmful to the environment that can considerably reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The usage of solar panels for solar power generation is becoming very popular. In the US, the cumulative capacity of installed solar power units sums up to 17,500 MW through 600,000 installations alone in Q3 of 2014.
The total amount of solar radiation received by the earth’s surface in one hour could help the planet meet its energy requirements for an year. It is also impressively effective in replacing large amount of green house gases although some amount of carbon-di-oxide emission is possible while manufacturing conversion devices, which is very much negligible when compared to the non renewable energy resources.
Geothermal means the heat energy stored in the earth that can be effectively converted into energy. Every 100 meters from the earth’s crust towards its core, the temperature of the earth goes up by 3 degree Celsius. Around 11,700 MW of energy had been produced in 2013 and people use this energy for hot water in swimming pools, to warm buildings and in spas.
The earth’s geothermal energy alone is enough to meet the global energy requirements but all of them cannot be exploited as the means to convert them into electricity is very expensive and hence less profitable.
Hydropower is the electricity generated by running or flowing water which in turn rotates a turbine. The global installed capacity of hydro power generation is 1.31 TW with the countries including China, Canada, and Brazil, leading the list of hydropower generating countries.
This is the energy generated from the ocean waves, and their movement can create energy, which can be harnessed to produce electricity. There are five technologies under development for the production of marine energy: Tidal power, Tidal currents, wave power, temperature gradients and salinity gradients.
The International Energy Agency says that the ocean energy is not contributing considerable to the global energy production, but will start doing so by 2030. The theoretical potential of global marine energy is 4-18 million ToE.
Wind energy is produced from air flow that is consistent annually despite some significant variation on a short span of time making it less reliable and hence used alongside with other power resources.
IEA has come up with a road map to increase the generation of wind energy to 15%-18% by 2050. By 2014 the global onshore and off shore capacity of wind energy was 336 GW and the installed capacity has been rising at a rate of 24% annually since 2000. Currently wind energy contributes to only 4% of the total energy production in the world and measures are taken by the world governments to raise this level further, as it is one of the cleanest form of energy that can considerable reduce the emission of green house gases. Currently Denmark is generating one third of its energy supply from wind.
With the growth of mobile technology, it has become easier to reach the masses in a personal level to spread the word about clean energy sources via effective online marketing campaigns, SEOs etc. The usage of solar water heaters and other such equipments are on the rise lately with awareness being made effectively through the advancement in technology.