Top 10 Durable Energy Sources

There are a lot of energy sources that are considered environmentally friendly and harness natural processes. These sources of energy provide an alternate ‘cleaner’ source of energy, helping to negate the effects of certain forms of pollution. The current top 10 of this kind of energy are listed below. Which one(s) do you favor most and why?

10. Tidal Power

Tidal energy can be generated in two ways, tidal stream generators or by barrage generation. The power created though tidal generators is generally more environmentally friendly and causes less impact on established ecosystems.

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9. Wave Power

Wave power is the transport of energy by ocean surface waves, and the capture of that energy to do useful work — for example for electricity generation, water desalination, or the pumping of water (into reservoirs).

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8. Solar Power

Photovoltaic (PV) Solar power is harnessing the suns energy to produce electricity. One of the fastest growing energy sources, new technologies are developing at a rapid pace. Solar cells are becoming more efficient, transportable and even flexible, allowing for easy installation.

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7. Wind Power

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy by wind turbines into a useful form, such as electricity or mechanical energy. Large-scale wind farms are typically connected to the local power transmission network with small turbines used to provide electricity to isolated areas.

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6. Hydroelectricity

Hydroelectricity is electricity generated by hydropower, i.e., the production of power through use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water.

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5. Radiant Energy

This natural energy can perform the same wonders as ordinary electricity at less than 1% of the cost. Hydroelectricity is electricity generated by hydropower, i.e., the production of power through use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy.

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4. Geothermal Power

Geothermal energy is a very powerful and efficient way to extract a renewable energy from the earth through natural processes. This can be performed on a small scale to provide heat for a residential unit (a geothermal heat pump), or on a very large scale for energy production through a geothermal power plant. It has been used for space heating and bathing since ancient roman times, but is now better known for generating electricity.

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3. Biomass

Biomass, as a renewable energy source, refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production.

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2. Compressed Natural Gas

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline, diesel, or propane fuel. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill (natural gas is lighter than air, and disperses quickly when released).

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1. Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is any nuclear technology designed to extract usable energy from atomic nuclei via controlled nuclear reactions.

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Source: http://listverse.com/2009/05/01/top-10-renewable-energy-sources/

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  1. xieaizhi
    05/03/2013 at 15:09

    I prefer Solar Power. It’s quite clean but we still need to produce higher efficiency solar panels. I heard scientists want to build solar arrays outside of atmosphere and use wireless technology to transfer the energy back to the surface. It really increases the power generating efficiency but we still need to deal with the cost problem. It cost us a lot to send stuff into outer space.

    • michaeltijskens
      12/03/2013 at 11:05

      New high-efficiency solar panels have been developed recently. These new solar panels, are the very first with an external quantum efficiency (EQE) that exceeds 100 percent!!

      Should you be interested: http://cleantechnica.com/2012/10/27/new-high-efficiency-quantum-dot-solar-cells-developed/

    • 12/03/2013 at 12:19

      Yeah indeed the article Michael gave is really promising. But also very difficult to understand. What Xieaizhi said about the wireless technology to transfer this energy back to the surface seems very promising too. But can anyone maybe give me an example of how such things work?

  2. 06/03/2013 at 13:29

    Wow! What Xieaizhi said sounds really interesting!
    I prefer the solar and the wind power, for the same reason as Xieaizhi. Compressed natural gas is also a good idea for a durable energy source, because ‘waste’ is used to produce energy and it’s safe!

    • michaeltijskens
      12/03/2013 at 11:07

      I also prefer wind power, because you can generate a lot of energy on a relatively small space. It’s a shame a lot of people see them as an obstruction in the landscape.

      • 12/03/2013 at 12:15

        I agree on that. The turbines really sometimes add something extra to the landscape. Of coarse I can also understand the people who live very close to this turbines.

      • 12/03/2013 at 15:33

        Yh, I agree with Jeroen, it’s not easy for people living very close tho this turbines. Turbines make indeed some kind of ‘zuming’ sound. But I think that this can be solved by putting the turbines in sea…

  3. visualrecognition
    07/03/2013 at 12:15

    I agree that solar power is the way to go. But I think that is better to use concentrated solar power (=CSP) instead of photovoltaïc cells. Although the efficiency of photovoltaïc cells is higher, they can only function for 20 years. After that they have to be dismantled, which isn’t really environmental friendly, because they contain hazardous materials. CSP on the other hand uses mirrors to concentrate the solar beams to one place. At that place the temperature rises, which generates steam that drives a steam turbine. One can imagine that the life cycle of a system like this is longer than 20 years.

    • michaeltijskens
      12/03/2013 at 11:13

      This is true, but there is a lot more space needed for such an installation. You can not simply place it on your roof like the normal photovoltaïc cells…

  4. 10/03/2013 at 11:21

    Wave power looks great to me. No quick moving parts to maim animals that come in the neighbourhood. But I don’t know the amount of energy that can be generated by it.

    Next up would be wind energy and tidal energy. They don’t seem to need a lot of special materials to be created but they have somewhat more influence on the surroundings. Tidal power seems to me like it is 100% predictable in output which is a great advantage over wind and solar energy.

    Photovoltaic cells -as the previous commenter noted- still produce a lot of waste at the end of their lifetime and need materials which are not abundant.

    Al those sources however don’t produce a constant output, so they need some other energy source or storage.

    Hydro energy is sustainable and can be scaled to the power needs, but it has a big impact on the surrounding environment as rivers are diverted. Still I think this is needed in a healthy energy mix.

    Geothermal energy looks nice, but I think it is quite limited to areas having geothermal access points. And I’m not sure about the geologic stability of some techniques. If it could cause earthquakes you better don’t do it in populated areas.

    Although nuclear energy produces a lot of long-term toxic waste, if we want to reduce the CO2 emissions, this seems a needed part of the solution for me. Contrary to wind and solar energy, it produces a stable output, but that makes it as inflexible, as it is not easy to reduce the output on short notice. The older generation reactors should be closed. They produce a lot of waste and are not as safe as they could be. Thorium reactors are a new generation that should not be able to have a meltdown as the reaction needs to be actively maintained. Also it is a lot harder to produce materials usable for weapons with this kind of reactor. But I’m not sure why this kind of reactor is not installed more often.

    note : It looks like the description of radiant energy is garbled. Hydro-energy is mixed in it and there is not a lot info about radiant energy itself.

    • michaeltijskens
      12/03/2013 at 11:22

      I totally agree, that if we wan’t to reduce the CO2 emissions dramaticaly in a short period of time, nuclear energy is the way to go. But I think they can be very dangerous.

      Currently there are 380 nuclear power plants producing electricity worldwide. The wind energy’s global capacity currently is 237 GW (the equivalent of what some 280 nuclear power plants generate), so I think it should be possible to shut down all nuclear plants and replace them by an alternative energy source, which is a lot safer.
      What is your vision on this?

    • 12/03/2013 at 12:33

      I think Wim gave a very good summary here of the different pros and cons of the different techniques. Everything what he said also counts for me. Especially the mix of different ways of generating energy will deliver us the solution. I do not believe in the one miracle best shot alternative energy source. Biomass helps us handle waste in a very interesting way and all other sources use ‘nature’s power’ to produce useful energy. But than there is one exception: nuclear power. The way they generate nuclear power at this moment will shorty evolve to nuclear fission I believe and this technique maybe is the best way to foresee enormous amounts of energy in an environmental ‘friendly’ way.

      To answer Michael’s question I think current plants indeed can be shut down completely even on a short term base if all countries would support this vision. Especially input from China and also India can make it work.

      • 12/03/2013 at 16:07

        I am with the vision of Michael. We have to look for alternative energy sources for replacing neclear plants. But this will be not possible untill there are replacable energy sources with ‘equally’ energy output. And not every energy source can be placed anywhere. It’s weather, ground, climate, … dependent.
        China and India are indeed countries with growing technology, their input and influence on earth is huge. Not only that, those are also the most populated contries, this means that they have a high energy usage. Asia has the highest annual growth of energy consumption, the predicted annual growth is 3,7% (http://timeforchange.org/prediction-of-energy-consumption).

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