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Renewable Energy Explained

In our world, the most common compounds that are used for creating energy are coal, oil and natural gases. Coal is generally the main fuel which is burned to create electricity, oil is used to produce gasoline and other refined liquid fuels and natural gases are used for cooking and heating in your home. These three compounds are called fossil fuels. This is because they come from the remains of ancient plants and planktons. When you hear ‘ fossil fuels’, it is likely that you will not think of it in a positive manner. This is due to the worldwide widespread awareness of the negative effects of fossil fuel use. Before fossil fuels are even burned to produce energy, they can cause the land to become degraded and water to be polluted as mining operations wash acid into streams, rivers and lakes. Fossil fuels even emit harmful air pollutants long before they’re buried. Frighteningly, 12.6 million people in the USA are exposed to toxic air pollution each day, and the figure is expected to be much higher across the globe.

The effects of fossil fuels are just as bad, or even worse in the long term once they are burned. The primary cause of global warming is the release of burning fossil fuels. Global warming is currently taking place and the effects on the planet could potentially be devastating if we do not take action. Global warming is causing the ice caps in our planet to melt, which causes our sea levels to rise. Sea levels rising will destroy the habitats of animals such as penguins and polar bears. Not only this, rising sea levels could eventually lead to the flooding of the lands that we live in. Cities such as London have the potential to be flooded permanently if sea levels continue to rise. Other negative effects of climate change include freshwater drainage and deforestation.

It is our responsibility as humans to work together to prevent global warming. In current times, it is entirely possible to create energy without releasing fossil fuels into the atmosphere. The energy that can be created without burning fossil fuels is called renewable energy. The true definition of renewable energy is energy from a source that is not depleted when used. The most common types of renewable energy are wind and solar power, however, there are more that are just as effective including biomass and geothermal energy. In this post, we will be explaining the different types of renewable energy and its benefits to help you gain more of an understanding.

Wind Energy

Windmills on a hill as the sun sets.

Ever been driving, on a train or even a boat and spotted a large wind turbine in the distance? These wind turbines with large propellors are what is used to generate electricity or mechanical power from the wind by converting its kinetic energy. As wind passes through the turbines, it spins the propellers which spin the shaft inside the turbine. The shaft inside the turbine is connected to a generator which completes the conversion process to electricity or to mechanical power to power tasks such as pumping water or grinding grain. In the UK, there are currently two main types of wind turbines that are in use. These are the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines or the Verticle Axis Wind Turbines. Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines are currently the most common types, displaying the propeller and looking similar to a fan. Verticle Axis Wind Turbines generally have a unique look and are usually in various different shapes and sizes. Each turbine has the same benefits and purpose. As they are powered from wind, wind turbines will not release greenhouse gases (burned fossil fuels) into the atmosphere or release any acid into our land water. Many people dislike the use of wind turbines due to them being large and interfering with the appearance of landscapes, however, the landscapes that the wind turbines may interfere with the appearance of, could potentially be destroyed if we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy.

Solar PowerSolar panels in a field.

Solar Power is one of the cleanest and most reliable forms of renewable energy that is currently available and can be used in multiple forms to produce electricity. Solar energy is created from converting the suns rays to electricity through solar-powered photovoltaic panels. These panels are commonly known as solar panels. It is not uncommon to spot solar panels on top of many various homes, buildings and even fields to produce widespread solar electricity. Solar energy is simple to use as long as the panels are placed somewhere that can easily collect sunlight, hence why solar panels are commonly spotted on top of buildings. A major selling point of solar power as a source of renewable energy is their cost-effectiveness. By having solar panels installed on your property, you will see a noticeable decrease in the price of your utility bills. Similarly to wind power, fossil fuels cannot be produced from solar panels. Therefore, by using solar panels, you are contributing to preventing climate change taking place.

Biomass

Biomass boilers are an extremely efficient and easy way of producing another type of renewable energy called ‘biofuel’ or ‘biomass fuel’. Biomass is the term for energy from plants and trees. This energy can also be found in materials produced from plants and trees such as paper and cardboard. Biomass fuel is produced from burning plants and trees in a biomass boiler. Biofuel is generally ethanol that is produced to be converted into sustainable electricity in power plants or to created fuel for vehicles. Biomass boilers produce CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) when in use. CO2 is a fossil fuel, however, the release of fossil fuel from biomass boilers in the UK is controlled by waste management companies to be sustainable. CO2, when released sustainably, can actually be a benefit to our planet. CO2 is the gas that is used for photosynthesis in plants and trees to provide oxygen for our planet.

If there is too much waste for sustainable biofuel production, waste management companies have other options to use the waste efficiently. This includes methods such as recycling. Biomass Boiler Recycling is the action or process of converting waste into a reusable material. Recycling prevents the overflow of landfills, which is another cause of global warming. Landfills contain waste that can let off harmful greenhouse gases when burned or decomposed. Other negatives of overflowing landfills are air and water pollution, destroying habitats and even more. It is massively important that we increase how much we recycle or convert waste to renewable energy before landfills contribute even more to the progress of climate change.

1st Choice Waste Management has an effective biomass boiler and provides recycling services in the North-East for areas such as Middlesborough, Teesside and Redcar. We pledge to always use our biomass boiler in a way that will only benefit our planet. When we do not use our biomass boiler we will aim to recycle the remaining materials. With remaining wood, we also create reusable wood chippings for multiple different purposes. 1st Choice is more than just a waste management company, we take the environment impact of all waste incredibly seriously. Encouraging a sustainable future is what our company aims for and to reduce our carbon footprint.

Geothermal Power

Energy that is left over from the original accretion of the planet and augmented by heat from radioactive decay seeps out slowly everywhere. In certain areas, the geothermal gradient (increase in temperature with depth) is high enough to exploit to generate usable electricity. This possibility is limited to a few locations on earth and multiple technical problems exist that hugely limit its utility. Another form of geothermal energy is earth energy, which is a result of the heat storage in the earth surface. Soils everywhere generally will stay at a relatively consistent temperature, the yearly average, and can be used with heat a building in the winter and cool a building during the summer. Using geothermal energy can reduce the use of natural gases that we use to heat our homes, therefore, reducing fossil fuels that are released into the atmosphere.

Our planet is slowly changing due to global warming. Our current habits could potentially destroy the future of the beautiful planet that we are living on. If you wish to dispose of your waste sustainably, venture no further than 1st Choice Waste Management. We can dispose of your commercial or personal waste in a way that is as efficient as possible. Help to contribute to preventing the future of our planet being destroyed by disposing of your waste efficiently with 1st Choice.