Lately there has been a lot of talk lately about renewable resources. Most of the conversation has been around how we can take advantage of these resources but before that can happen we have to understand what those natural renewable resources are.
When we say natural renewable resources we are talking about five specific technologies. There are more then these five but when it comes to large scale use these five are really the only viable options today.
The first option is solar. We have heard about solar technology for years and is probably the most recognized natural renewable resource. What most people don’t understand is solar cover any technology that utilizes the sun. For example, solar heating towers is a technology that is starting to take off. There are currently four very large projects in the works to try and utilize this technology. Another type of solar is liquid thermal. With this technology the sun is used to heat a liquid and then that heat is transferred to a heat battery for later use. This is just to name a few but keep in mind that solar is a broad category.
The second option is wind. Wind is another technology that has been around for a very long time. We have all seen the pictures of farms with windmills for bringing water up from the well. While this is not electrical generation it is the same as general idea. Many large wind farms already exist and this technology is utilized all over the word. It is widely recognized and a perfect compliment to solar technologies.
The third option is wave technology. This is a very new idea but it shows amazing potential. One thing that never changes and is as consistent as the sun setting is the tides. This new technology uses the waves as a recycling lever to generate electricity. There are some very large projects on the table to try and tap the natural resource.
The fourth option is alcohol production from bio mass. This is also a technology that has been around for a very long time. It consists of using organisms or enzymes to change bio material (corn, grass, wood, etc.) into ethanol. While this is one option as a replacement for petroleum products it has far to many negatives to be a viable option for complete replacement of fossil fuels. It has it’s place but it will never be a major player in alternative energy production.
Finally, the fifth option is geo thermal. It’s kind of ironic that just below our feet is an almost unlimited source of thermal energy yet it is one of the least used natural resource. The major reason for this is the difficulty of reaching it. We just don’t have the technology today to drill to the depths that are necessary to make it a major option. There are examples of using shallow drilling for use in single home solutions but as a large scale option there is still work to be done.
As I stated before there are many more options but these 5 are the ones that show the most potential for long term solutions. For the average person who is looking to offset the constantly rising energy costs there are many options that are cost effective solutions. Wind and solar being the most obvious.