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Non-Conventional Energy Sources

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  • Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2022
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The ability to work is defined as energy. People have learned how to convert energy from one form to another and then utilize it to perform labor, which has enabled modern civilization to emerge.

Energy Resources 

An energy resource is used to generate heat and light, as well as to cook food and power vehicles. Energy Resources are natural resources that are utilized in the power industry. 

There are two types of Energy resources are :

1) Conventional Source of Energy     2) Non-Conventional Source of Energy.

Conventional Sources

Conventional energy sources are those that have been in widespread use for the majority of human history. They are non-renewable in nature. Fossil fuels are the most common type of conventional energy source. Petroleum, coal, natural gas, and its derivatives such as kerosene, propane, and other petroleum-based fuels are all examples of fossil fuels. 

  • Coal: Coal is an ignitable sedimentary rock generated by the decomposition of dead plants. Coal is mostly made up of carbon, with traces of hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen thrown in for good measure.
  • Petroleum: Petroleum, also known as crude oil, is a naturally occurring fuel that is processed into several forms of petroleum-based fuels following extraction. To separate the distinct components of petroleum, fractional distillation is performed. Petroleum is used to make gasoline, propane, kerosene, tar, and other products.
  • Natural Gas: It is a hydrocarbon gas made up primarily of methane with minor amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, and helium.

Non-Conventional Sources

The term “non-conventional energy sources” refers to energy sources that are continually supplied by natural processes. Additionally, these energy sources are less costly and do not pollute the environment or the natural environment. Non-conventional energy sources include wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, and biomass.

The population is becoming increasingly reliant on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas as energy demand rises. As the prices of gas and oil continue to rise with each passing day, it is necessary to ensure future energy supplies. As a result, we must utilize an increasing number of renewable energy sources. The government of India has created a distinct department called the “Department of non-conventional sources of energy” to ensure that non-conventional sources are effectively used.

Some Important non-conventional sources of energy 

Nuclear or Atomic Energy 

The energy contained in the nucleus of an atom is referred to as nuclear energy. A minuscule particle that makes up all matter in the universe is known as an atom.

Nuclear processes, such as fission and fusion, release nuclear energy. In comparison to sources like coal power plants, nuclear energy is one of the most ecologically friendly, conventional forms of energy since it creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions during the generation of electricity. However, in the event of an accident, nuclear energy discharges a large amount of radiation into the environment.

Furthermore, the radioactive and toxic nuclear waste that remains is a concern. It is created by changing the structure of atoms, releasing heat and energy that is then utilized to generate electricity.

Uranium and thorium, which are used to generate nuclear or atomic energy, are found in the Aravalli mountains of Rajasthan and Jharkhand, as well as monazite sands of Kerala. 

Solar Energy 

Solar energy is captured in sun plants that transform solar energy directly into electrical energy. This solar energy conversion is carried out by the photosynthesis process.

It is the most significant non-conventional energy source since it produces non-polluting, environmentally favorable output and is plentiful. In terms of climate, India is a tropical nation. It has a lot of potential for harnessing solar energy. It’s utilized for a multitude of things, including generating electricity (through photovoltaic panels) and providing heat. It is quickly gaining traction as a fuel source in rural and distant areas, decreasing people’s reliance on firewood and drug cakes.

Metal and semiconductors, or two semiconductors, are used to make solar cells. When light contacts the junction of a metal and a semiconductor, or two semiconductors, an electric voltage is generated. A single photovoltaic cell can generate roughly two watts of electricity. 

Example- Bhadla Solar Park is  country’s biggest solar power plant is found in the state of Rajasthan. Other examples- Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka, Kurnool Ultra Power Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh. 

Wind Energy

The technique of using wind to create power is referred to as wind energy. As the wind speed rises, so does the power production, until the turbine reaches its full capacity.Wind farms want locations with strong, consistent winds. The majority of these are found at high elevations. Wind turbines generate power by spinning blades against the wind.

Commercial wind turbines create electricity by capturing rotational energy to power a generator. Wind power is a sort of energy conversion in which turbines convert wind kinetic energy into mechanical or electrical energy that may be used. They are made up of a blade or rotor and a nacelle, which holds the driving train and sits atop a tall tower. It is a clean, renewable energy source that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while also protecting the environment.

 Kanyakumari is home to one of India’s largest wind farms, producing 380MW of energy. Wind power has enormous potential in India. The greatest wind form cluster is in Tamil Nadu, stretching from Nagar coil to Madurai.

Apart from these, major wind farms can be found in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Lakshadweep.

Biogas

Biogas is a naturally occurring gas that is produced by anaerobic bacteria from the decomposition of organic waste and is utilized in energy generation .Biogas is made up of methane, carbon dioxide, and a trace quantity of hydrogen sulfide, as well as moisture.

Biogas differs from natural gas in that it is a renewable energy source created biologically through anaerobic digestion, as opposed to a fossil fuel produced by geological processes.

Organic matter such as waste food residue, fats, sludge, cow dung, and other organic materials are combined with water and delivered to the digester through the input . Organic matter is completely decomposed anaerobically in a sealed room which is called digester. The organic matter totally decomposes within a few days, releasing gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and hydrogen sulfide. These gases are then pulled through pipes from the storage tank above the digester and transferred to surrounding centres for utilization through decentralized routes.   

Deenbandhu Biogas Plant developed in Delhi, Gayatri Model in Bhubaneswar, Krishna Biogas Plant in Andhra Pradesh are few examples.  

Tidal Energy

The sun’s and moon’s gravitational forces, together with the earth’s rotation, cause the sea levels to increase and decrease in cycles.It frequently happens twice on a lunar day in one location. The term “high tide” refers to when the sea level rises, while “low tide” refers to when it falls. 

Tidal energy is a sort of power that is produced by the natural rise and fall of tides induced by the gravitational interaction of the Earth, sun, and moon. Tidal energy may be transformed into usable kinds of power, including electricity, by using properly designed generators at appropriate places. 

Tidal energy, like other renewable energy sources, has been hampered by the comparatively high cost and restricted availability of development locations.However, there appears to be a bright future for tidal energy generation due to recent technical breakthroughs indicating that the economic and environmental costs may be brought down to competitive levels. 

The Gulf of Khambhat, the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat’s western coast, and the Gangetic delta in West Bengal’s sundarban districts provide ideal conditions for tidal energy utilization in India. 

Geo-Thermal Energy  

Geothermal energy is a kind of renewable energy derived from the core of the Earth. It is caused by heat created during the planet’s creation and radioactive decay of elements.The temperature differential between the earth’s core and the surface promotes a continual transmission of thermal energy from the core to the planet’s surface.

To generate electricity from geothermal energy, wells are sunk a mile deep into subterranean reservoirs to obtain the steam and hot water, which is then utilized to drive turbines attached to electricity generators.

Geothermal power facilities are classified into three types: dry steam, flash, and binary. The earliest kind of geothermal technology, dry steam, extracts steam from the earth and utilizes it to directly spin a turbine. Flash plants convert high-pressure hot water to cool, low-pressure water, whereas binary plants convert hot water to vapor by passing it through a secondary liquid having a lower boiling point.

Important geothermal sites in India include- Tattapani in Chhattisgarh, Puga in Jammu and kashmir, Cambay Graben in Gujarat.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: Difference between Hydro Electricity and Thermal Electricity?

Answer : 

Hydro Electricity Thermal Electricity 
It is produced by fast-flowing water collapsing on turbines.It is made from petroleum.
Its supply is limitless or perpetual, i.e. water.Its sources are finite or non-renewable, like as coal and petroleum.
It does not pollute the environment.The combustion of coal and oil produces a great deal of pollutants.
In the long term, it is less expensive.In the long term, it is costly.
These plants should be located near fast-flowing water sources.Thermal power plants for generating energy can be built anywhere.

Question 2: Explain the importance of Petroleum as an energy resource?

Answer :

 The significance of petroleum may be seen below:

  • Petroleum, often known as mineral oil, is India’s second-largest source of energy after coal.
  • It offers fuel for lighting and heating, lubricants for machines, and raw materials to a variety of manufacturing enterprises.
  • It is a fuel that is utilized in all autos.

Question 3: How biogas can be helpful in solving the problem of energy in rural areas?

Answer :

 Biogas can be helpful in solving problem of energy in rural areas because of the following reason :

  • It generates gas with greater thermal efficiency than charcoal or kerosene.
  • It allows for the best possible use of animal and plant waste.
  •  It generates enhanced organic manure that may be used to augment or even replace artificial fertilizers.
  • It burns smoothly, leaves little residue, and is simple to create and store. 

Question 4: What is the primary source of energy in rural Indian households? What are the biggest issues caused by these sources?

Answer :    

 In rural India, the main sources of energy are firewood and cow dung cake.

Major issues:

  • The use of cow dung is discouraged because it consumes the most precious manure that could otherwise be utilised in agriculture.
  • Due to the shrinking forest area, it is becoming more difficult to utilize firewood as a fuel.

Question 5: Why do you believe solar energy will have a promising future in India?

Answer : 

  • Solar energy is an infinite source of energy derived from sunshine. Because India is a tropical country, there is plenty of room for solar energy growth.
  • Because many regions of the nation receive at least 300 days of sunlight each year, it is conceivable to create 20 MW of solar energy per square kilometer in such places.
  • It is simple to set up solar power plants in both urban and rural settings.

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