Energy is what society runs on. Without energy, the perks of modern life would degrade into camping at home. It is easy to take for granted how much everyday life depends on energy. The United States consumes 18 percent of the earth’s energy resources.
Sustainable energy researchers are leading the way in creating renewable energy sources and applying them in practical and affordable ways for businesses and individual households.
As the planet struggles to meet the needs of an ever-growing population the demand for energy resources increases making sustainable energy paramount to human survival.
Finding renewable options that meet the energy and electricity demands are both immediate and future tasks if human life is to continue exploring technological and cultural evolutions.
The future of energy is not relegated to solar power or hydroelectricity. The options for renewable energy are growing every day. Eventually, society won’t need to rely on fossil fuels or other destructive resources that damage the ecosystem.
Here are a few of the most exciting sustainable energy sources that are paving the way for green energy!
Biomass waste is a green energy resource, that is created from combusting wood, plants, and other organic materials like animal waste. The organic material releases CO2 but in extremely lower quantities than fossil fuels. The tricky part with biomass waste is that this energy source is only considered renewable when the organic materials are consistently replaced as they are used.
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Many nations are taking environmental sustainability seriously like the United Kingdom which is moving away from fossil fuels by applying greener energy options to meet the demands of the nation. Biomass only accounts for less than five percent of Great Britain’s energy needs but other renewable sources like solar and wind power contribute more than ten percent each!
According to the Renewable Energy Association’s June 2019 report suggests that the future of biomass waste energy resources could triple to 16 percent by 2032. Politicians and energy experts hope to get UK emissions to reach the necessary targets. Additional findings from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) believes biomass waste energy can provide 60 percent of the earth’s renewable energy resources by 2030.
People have been using solar power since the 7th century BC as a way to light fires. The Greeks used sunlight to light torches which they called burning mirrors.
Romans heated their beloved bathhouses with sunroom technology which focused sunlight in a way that generated warmth. China utilized the sun’s strength is similar ways in 20 A.D.
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The sun is renewable energy. Accessing the power of the sun is spreading across the globe to reduce the costs of electricity and lessen the negative impact on the planet. In 2015, Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a report entitled ‘The Future of Solar Energy’ which discusses two types of solar energy: photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) states, “The main goal of U.S. solar policy should be to build the foundation for a massive scale-up of solar generation over the next few decades.”
Solar power requires an initial investment and many industries are dragging their heels to make the greener switch, but academic experts reckon that between 2025 and 2050 the dependence on solar power and photovoltaics will dramatically increase.
Solar energy is becoming more affordable too. According to FSG ( a company that specializes in helping businesses access affordable infrastructure while streamlining logistics), the price of solar power has dropped by nearly 70 percent when the federal tax incentives, municipal discounts, and the current premium price on fossil fuels, solar power is a prudent way to lower costs and decrease the enterprise’s carbon footprint.
The future of geothermal power is in the third generation of technology, Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) which draws energy from both dry rocks and geothermal deposits.
EGS pumps highly-pressurized water underground to trigger the natural geothermal energetic response.
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Scientists believe the easiest way to apply geothermal energy is to use cogeneration.
Cogeneration employs steam created by other electricity sources like geothermal rich areas close to gas and oil fields making use of what is already available or potentially wasted.
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The earth is hot deep down into the earth. Geothermal energy employs natural heat to create power. Hot rocks, pressurized water, or magma can produce energy.
Only a small percentage of renewable energy derives from geothermal energy. Iceland is leading the way by using their naturally rich geothermal resource to heat commercial and residential environments. Iceland’s geothermal power plants account for 25 percent of the nation’s electricity.
Humans have acknowledged the power of water for millennia. Ancient Egyptians used hydropower to irrigate crops.
Hydropower is readily used today as a source of renewable energy. 74 percent of sustainable electricity is from water.
16 percent of all electricity is generated by waterpower which could easily be increased if governments follow the guidance published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which aims to see Hydropower doubled across the planet by 2050.
However, there is controversy about how hydroelectric dams damage natural environments and pose risks to already threatened animal and plant species.
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The energy created by windmills provides 17 percent of the energy consumed. Modern wind turbines have replaced the quaint windmills to harness the power of this sustainable and developing industry.
By 2040, wind energy will provide more than half of all the electricity used in the United States.
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The Future of Sustainable Energy
Scientists are cooking up ideas for renewable energy sources that seem to come straight from science-fiction novels. The Imperial College of London’s Department of Life and Sciences successfully removed bacteria from a person’s gut and generated propane. Propane is frequently found in this specific type of bacteria as a gas which is quickly transformed into fuel with barely any effort.
Lockheed Martin is building a fusion generator that could accommodate submarines, tanks, fighter jets, and commercial aircraft. In theory, the cold fusion reactor will produce unlimited power but the technology has yet to be successfully developed.
MIT researcher, Daniel Nocera, looked to nature to inspire alternative renewable energy sources. The idea is that artificial photosynthesis created with hydrogen, methanol, and methane can create a single artificial leaf which in concert with water and sunlight will power an entire residence.
The solutions to the energy crisis are slowly developing all over the world. As the consequences of industrialization become more prominent these technologies will quickly advance and replace the old fossil fuels and other environment-damaging resources.