Sustainable energy, specifically renewable energy or green energy, is an energy source which can be replenished, that is essentially inexhaustible. Sustainable sources of energy include solar, wind, water, biomass and geothermal. Non renewable energy sources include coal, oil and natural gas.
The Generation of Electricity from Water
Explain the generation of electricity from water
- Renewable sources
- Non- renewable sources
Non- renewable sources:These are the energy sources, which cannot be turned into use again. Examples: oil, natural gas and charcoal.
Hydroelectric Power (H.E.P):This is electricity produced by running water.Hydroelectric power stations provide about 20% of the world’s electricity. In Tanzania, hydroelectric power stations/plants are found at Mtera, Kidatu and Nyumba ya Mungu.
Production of hydroelectric power
First, a dam is built to trap running water. This is usually in a valley where there is an existing lake. Water is allowed to flow through tunnels in the dam, where they turn turbines, which in turn drive generator.
- The dam constructed is made much thicker at the bottom than at the top because the pressure of water increases with depth.
- Hydro electricity produces no waste products.
The Importance of Water Energy
Water energy has the following importance.
- The energy is virtually available
- It is environmental friendly
- It is more reliable than other sources like wind
- Electricity can be generated constantly
- The energy increases power very quickly
- In Industries – to drive machine parts
- Lighting purposes for example in homes
- Heating and cooking
- In health facilities i.e. runs incubators and freezers.
A Model of HydroElectric Power Plant
Construct a model of HydroElectric power plant
A model ofHydroElectric power plant
The Sun as a Source of Energy
Explain the sun as a source of energy
We consume energy in dozens of forms.Yet virtually all of the energy we use originates in the power of the atom. Nuclear reactions energize stars, including our Sun. The energy we capture for use on Earth comes largely from the Sun or from nuclear forces local to our own planet.
Sunlight is by far the predominant source, and it contains a surprisingly large amount of energy. On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with more than enough energy in a single square meter to illuminate five 60-watt lightbulbs if all the sunlight could be captured and converted toelectricity.
The energy produced by the sun is more than we need. Solar energy can be converted to electricity by using solar cells or photo voltaic cells. The main surface of solar panel is dull black. This enhances the absorption rate of the radiant energy from the sun.
Applications of solar energy
- It is used in electric appliances such as television and radios
- For lighting purposes
- Spaceship satellites use solar cells
- Some torches, cars and calculators are powered by solar cells
- Drying of clothes and farm (food) products.
- Heating water using a solar hot water system
Though solar cells are expensive, they are very useful in remote and sunny areas.
A Model of Solar Panel
Construct a model of solar panel
A model solar panel
Wind as a Source of Energy
Explain wind as a source of energy
Wind energy can be converted into electricity by building a tall tower with a large propeller on top called windmill.
When wind blows, it rotates the propeller, which causes the attached generators to produce electricity.
Note: for more electricity to be produced, more properties are needed.
A Model of a Wind Mill
Construct a model of a Wind Mill
Diagram of a wind mill
A Wind Mill in Daily Life
Apply Wind Mill in daily life
Application of wind energy
Disadvantages of wind energy
- Wind energy is not reliable
- Winds are variables
- The wind turbines are noisy and can spoil the landscape.
- Large windy sites are required
Sea Wave Energy
Sea Wave as a Source of Energy
Explain sea wave as a source of energy
The concept of sea water:Sea water around the world is continually moving. The wind causes ocean waves as it blows across the sea. These waves are powerful sources of energy. This can be used to drive generators.
The concept of tides:Tides by definition are the rising and falling of the ocean flow. Tides are produced by the gravitational pull of the moon and to some extent the sun. The change of water levels that the tides produce can be used as an energy source.
The occurrence of waves in a swimming pool:Air is blown in and out of the chamber beside the pool; this makes the water bob up and down, causing waves.
Electricity can also be generated from tides. As tide rises, water is allowed to enter the upper basin in the dam. Once the high tide has passed, the water on the upper basin is made to flow back to the lower basin through turbines in the barrage. The turbine turns generators, which convert seawater into electricity.
Geothermal as a Source of Energy
Explain Geothermal as a source of energy
The word “geothermal” means “Heat”, so geothermal energy is the energy generated by the flow of heat from the earth’s surface. It is the energy associated with areas of frequent earthquakes and high volcanic activity.
Areas like Kilimanjaro and Oldonyo in Tanzaia; and Rift valley in Kenya are geologically well structured to produce efficient geothermal system. The hot spring can cause rocks to be hotter than the earth’s surface. Thermal energy is obtained from radioactive materials that naturally occur in the rocks.
The energy produced can be used in:
- Heating buildings
- Driving generators
- Heating water
Energy is obtained in the earth’s interior; it is necessary to drill through rocks. This creates vents where pipes are laid to bring the steam from the hot zone to the earth’s surface.
Once the steam has risen to the surface, it is directed into turbines. The steam drives turbines, which again are used to drive electric generators that produce electricity.