Environmental Science Renewable Energy Discussion

Environmental Science Renewable Energy Discussion

Environmental Science Renewable Energy Discussion

Click here to ORDER an A++ paper from our Verified MASTERS and DOCTORATE WRITERS: Environmental Science Renewable Energy Discussion

Select a type of renewable energy. Compare it to fossil fuels by explaining two pros and two cons for its implementation on a large scale. Maintain an environmental focus (do not just give economic reasons).

Fossil fuels have the advantage of being cheap and transportable, but they cause environmental damage and will eventually run out. Renewable energy sources, by definition, will not run out, and most do not cause much pollution. But renewable energy sources do have a downside, too. Both the advantages and disadvantages of solar, water, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy will be described in this lesson.

Solar Power
The Sun is Earth’s main source of energy, making the development of solar power a natural choice for an alternative energy source.

Solar Energy
Energy from the Sun comes from the lightest element, hydrogen, fusing together to create the second lightest element, helium. Nuclear fusion releases tremendous amounts of solar energy. The energy travels to the Earth, mostly as visible light. The light carries the energy through the empty space between the Sun and the Earth as radiation.

Solar Power Use
Solar energy has been used for power on a small scale for hundreds of years, and plants have used it for billions of year. Unlike energy from fossil fuels, which almost always come from a central power plant or refinery, solar power can be harnessed locally (Figure below). A set of solar panels on a home’s rooftop can be used to heat water for a swimming pool or can provide electricity to the house.

Solar array panels on International Space Station

Solar panels supply power to the International Space Station.

Society’s use of solar power on a larger scale is just starting to increase. Scientists and engineers have very active, ongoing research into new ways to harness energy from the Sun more efficiently. Because of the tremendous amount of incoming sunlight, solar power is being developed in the United States in southeastern California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Solar power plants turn sunlight into electricity using a large group of mirrors to focus sunlight on one place, called a receiver (Figure below). A liquid, such as oil or water, flows through this receiver and is heated to a high temperature by the focused sunlight. The heated liquid transfers its heat to a nearby object that is at a lower temperature through a process called conduction. The energy conducted by the heated liquid is used to make electricity.

Click here to ORDER an A++ paper from our Verified MASTERS and DOCTORATE WRITERS: Environmental Science Renewable Energy DiscussionEnvironmental Science Renewable Energy Discussion

This solar power plant uses mirrors to focus sunlight on the tower in the center. The sunlight heats a liquid inside the tower to a very high temperature, producing energy to make electricity.

onsequences of Solar Power Use
Solar energy has many benefits. It is extremely abundant, widespread, and will never run out. But there are problems with the widespread use of solar power.

Sunlight must be present. Solar power is not useful in locations that are often cloudy or at night. However, storage technology is being developed.
The technology needed for solar power is still expensive. An increase in interested customers will provide incentive for companies to research and develop new technologies and to figure out how to mass-produce existing technologies (Figure below).
Solar panels require a lot of space. Fortunately, solar panels can be placed on any rooftop to supply at least some of the power required for a home or business.

This experimental car is one example of the many uses that engineers have found for solar energy.

Water Power
Water covers 70% of the planet’s surface, and water power (hydroelectric power) is the most widely used form of renewable energy in the world. Hydroelectric power from streams provides almost one fifth of the world’s electricity.

Hydroelectric Power
Remember that potential energy is the energy of an object waiting to fall. Water held behind a dam has a lot of potential energy. In a hydroelectric plant, a dam across a riverbed holds a stream to create a reservoir. Instead of flowing down its normal channel, the water is allowed to flow into a large turbine. As the water moves, it has kinetic energy, which makes the turbine spin.