SUBJECT : Facts of Renewable Energy 


FACTs of Renewable Energy


Whooshy gods

People have worshipped the wind for thousands of years. The wind god is called Aeolus by the Greeks, Zu by the Sumerains, and Pavan or Vayu by the Indians. Yu Ch’iang is the Chinese god of the sea wind. Shu is the Egyptian god of wind, while Raja Angin is the Malayan wind-god.


The year of hurricanes

The year 2005 was hit by the most number of hurricanes. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Louisiana, and much of the Gulf Coast. It was one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the United States in the last hundred years. Hurricane Rita ravaged Cuba and the East Coast of the United States in mid-September 2005. Hurricane Wilma hit Florida, Cuba, and Mexico in late October 2005 and caused heavy damage.


Longest-lasting hurricane

Hurricane Jhon was recorded as the longest- lasting hurricane in the Pacific Ocean. It lasted for thirty-one days in August 1994. It surpassed Hurricane San Ciriaco’s previous record of twenty-eight days in the 1899 Atlantic season. San Ciriaco affected Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and North Carolina.


Once upon a time

Windmills were first used in Persia 2,800 years ago. The concept of windmills reached Europe through the crusaders. Windmills first appeared in England in Ad 1137.


Past glory

Windmills produced most of the power for the United States till the 1920s. But when electricity from fossil fuels became popular in the 1930s, they fell out of favour. Today, very little electricity is produced from wind energy. In 2007, electricity from wind accounted for less than 1 percent of the total electricity in the United States.


That’s some breeze!

Suzlon Energy Ltd is in the process of developing the world’s largest wind farm in Dhule, Maharastra, which will have a capacity of over a thousand megawatts when completed.


Tweet tweet

Windmill blades kill birds that fly into them. About five thousand to ten thousand birds die every year. A wind turbine of Appledore- the largest of the nine isles of –shoals, some nine kilometers off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine-has a switch to move clear of flying birds! It can be lowered easily by one person.


Imprisoned windmills!

The Newgate prison in London used a windmill to below fresh air into the crowded prison! This windmill was built in 1750 with funds from the local parson. It was designed by the inventor Stephen Hales.


How clean is it?

A wind turbine produces enough clean electricity in six months to balance all of the greenhouse gases emitted during its manufacture –and it produces clean electricity for another twenty to twenty-five years.


Coal doesn’t meet the goal!

The efficiency of modern wind generators (devices that convert wind energy to electricity) is about 45 percent. In contrast, the efficiency of a black coal plant is about 35 percent, and that of a brown coal plant is about 29 per cent. Thus, most of the energy stored in coal is lost in generation and distribution of electricity. The clean electricity produced by wind farms is consumed close to where it is generated.


Big Momma

The mother of all wind turbines is the Maglev wind turbine. This super power structure is being made in Arizona, United States, at a whopping cost of fifty-three million dollars and will finally stand tall in Central China. The makers of Maglev claims that it can run for five hundred years!


Hail wind!

Once there were over nine thousand windmills in Holland, but today there are only about one thousand left. But that doesn’t stop the country from celebrating its windmills. On National Windmill Day, over six hundred windmills are opened to visitors for free!


Gimme more blades

People often wonder why there aren’t more blades on wind turbines. The right number of blades for a wind turbine depends on the nature of the work turbine does. Turbines for generating electricity need to operate at high speeds, but do not need much turning force? So they have two or three blades. Wind pumps operate with plenty of force but not with much speed and, therefore, have many blades.



Windmills in Holland even conveyed messages! Most windmills had canvas sails which could tell turned by the miller to face the wind. With little tilts to the right or left, the miller could tell people that it was time for celebration, mourning, or rest. It even signaled a call for the millwright to repair something. During World War II, new codes were used to warn people about raids!


Wind power!

The blades on a modern wind turbine sweep forty-eight tonnes of air every second, that’s the same weight as ten elephants or five double-decker buses!


Sailing with the wind

The Germans use giant sails to power ships! Cargo ship MS Beluga Skysails is driven by a computer-controlled kite, which measures 160 square metres in length. This technology could fuel consumption of such ships by as much as 20 percent!



The strongest gust of wind was recorded on April 12, 1934 at Mount Washington, in the United States. The wind blew at a speed of 370 kilometers per hour. That’ s faster than most Formula one racing cars!


Holy windmill

Even the church staked claim on the wind mill business. During the 1190s, Pope Celestine III said that windmills must be built with the church’s consent and levied a tax on their operation.


Run turbine run

A modern wind turbine is designed to run continuously for over twenty years or for 120, 000 hours. By comparison, the designed lifetime of a car engine is twenty times less, at only four thousand to six thousand hours! At the end of the working life of a turbine, the land on which it is sited can be restored at low costs.


Double advantage

Panasonic has invented a device that combines solar and wind power generation in one unit. ‘Seagull’ is a most with blades rotating along its length and solar panels on top. During the day, the panels generate power, which is stored in a battery. At night, the wind turbines generate electricity and also ensure power supply on cloudy days. The ‘Seagull’ illuminates Tokyo’s streets at night.


Warming  up

By 1891, solar   energy meant serious business! That year, Clarence Kemp patented the first solar water heater, which he called Climax. By the 1930s, solar water heaters were quite common in homes across the United States.


Bright and sunny

A one-kilowatt home solar system generates about 1,600 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year in a sunny climate (receiving five-and-a-half hours of sunshine per day) It prevents more than 75 kilogrammes of coal from being burned, more than 135 kilogrammes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, and almost four hundred litres of water from being consumed each month!


Photovoltaics rock!

One photovoltaic cell can keep going for twenty-five to forty years. Imagine how much energy it would produce and how much more it would save! On a bright, sunny day, a solar panel that is one metre long and a metre wide can give enough power to light a hundred-watt bulb for hours.


Not that kind of meltdown!

Large parabolic mirrors can be used to focus the sun’s energy of a point. This produces high temperature, or what is known as a ‘solar furnace’. In the eighteen century, Antoine Lavoisier built the first solar furnace, or heliostat, which concentrated sunlight to melt platinum, a metal.


Sunny homes

The Greeks first used solar architecture over two thousand years ago. They built houses to take maximum advantage of solar energy. The sun’s rays entered their homes during winter, but not during summer. The Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and Native Americans also kept their homes warm by incorporating solar energy designs. Anasazi Indians built cliff dwellings with southern exposures, which ensured passive solar heating and cooling.



Sunlight travels to the earth in about eight minutes from a distance of 149,668,992 kilometres, at a speed of 300,000,000 metres per second. The world’s fastest jet, NASA’s X-43A, which can travel at a speed of nearly 3,130 metres per second, is slow by comparison!


Passive solar design

A house can be designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy (heat) in winter and remain cool in summer. Oriented the building to face the equator (or a few degrees to the east for capturing the morning sun), sizing windows to face the mid-way sun in winter and be shaded in summer; minimizing west-facing windows are all ways to take full advantage of solar energy.


Clean solar power

For every unit of electricity generated, oil gives out eighty times more carbon dioxide than solar energy. Cool gives out a hundred times more carbon dioxide! However, solar energy gives out virtually no pollutants. Even the carbon dioxide released becomes a part of back into the carbon cycle.


Sunshine village

The Korean village Donggwang gets 100 per cent of its power from the sun. The village’s forty houses and the school have large solar panels on their roofs. A typical roof has a two-kilowatt solar installation. In 2004, the government made it easier to install solar systems in Donggwang by paying 70 percent of the installation fees.


Church bright, church light

The first church to use solar energy is situated in Steckborn, Switzerland. The city also has a tower clock that runs on solar cells.


Curved concept

A Parabollic cooker is quite similar to a conventional oven. It uses the solar thermal energy to cook food by collecting the heat with the help of curved insulators. Parabolic designs have been used for centuries. The concept of using curved mirrors to trap energy was developed by the Greeks, Aztecs, Incas, Romans, and Chinese. The Incas used bronze and gold for their mirrors. The initial parabolic cookers were several stories high.


Competing for sunshine

To encourage research in solar energy and its applications, the Department of Energy of the United States holds the Solar Decathlon. It is a contest in which teams of students design and build energy-efficient houses that use solar energy.


Anyone for solar cakes?

In Lesotho, Africa, bakeries run on solar energy. At the Darfur refugee camp, more than ten thousand solar cookers are in use. Residents put together their own cooker, sealing the joints with local glue. The World could learn a lesson or two from them!


Sunny, Yummy food!

The world’s largest solar-powered kitchen is in Tirupati, India. It cooks enough to feed fifteen thousand people every day. The system has been hooked up with the existing boiler working on diesel to make it reliable under all climatic conditions. Its installation was completed in September 2002.The system saves around 118,000 litres of diesel per year!


Solar spray

Researchers at the University of Toronto are working on spray-on solar technology, which can be applied to any surface-clothing, roof of a car or a building, boats, cell phones, and tents. The spray can make nay surface generate solar power!


One, two, three: Sun!

The World Solar Challenge is a race of solar cars held in Australia once every two years. Teams from universities have to make cars that can charge three thousand kilometers across the continent, from Darwin to Adelaide. The challenge began in 1987, and that year, the winning car raced across at a speed of 67 kilometres per hours.


Speeding with the sun

Czeers MK1 is the world’s first solar-powered speedboat. It can zip across the waters at thirty knots, or fifty-five kilometers per hour and can be used for motor sports or policing.


A tower of energy

The first book on solar energy, called A Substitute for Fuel in Tropical Countries was written by Willam Adams in 1877. Adams and his student Richard Day experimented with mirror and were able to power a 2.5-horsepower steam engine. His design, known as the power tower concept, is still in use today.


Solarly handsome!

Every year, the Aztecs would choose the most handsome man to represent the sun god for a year. The lucky one would be treated as God, and everything would be done according to his wishes. At the end of that year, he would be sacrificed in order to keep the sun moving, and another man would be chosen for the next year!


Solar sizzlers…

As early as 7 BC, people used simple magnifying glasses to concentrate the light of the sun into beams so hot that they would cause wood to catch fire. If you’ve read the Tintin comic, Prisoners of the Sun, you would also know that the Incas used the sun for lightening sacrificial pyres!


Hail the sun god

The sun has been worshipped since time immemorial, in the form of various deities – as Ra the Egyptian sun god; as Apollo in Roman and Greek mythology; and as Surdev in Indian culture. The very first civilization that of the Sumerians also had a sun god. The Aztecs, Incas, and the Mayas, among many other ancient civilizations, also worshipped the sun.


Power packed

One unit mass of hydrogen packs in about 2.6 times the energy as compared to a unit mass of gasoline! Unit mass is used to express atomic and molecular weights.


May the force of hydrogen be with you

Liquid hydrogen has propelled space shuttles and other rockets since the 1970s. It provides electricity for the spacecraft and heat and pure drinking water for the crew on board!



Intelligent Energy, a British firm, has made the first hydrogen motorcycle. The Emission Neutral Vehicle, or ENV, was launched in 2005. It can run for four hours without refueling and can run for four hours without refueling and can touch 80 kilometres per hour.


Fuel cell, the best

Fuel cells are silent when they work because they don’t have moving parts! Neither do they give out harmful gases. The energy they give out can be controlled by changing the amount of hydrogen supplied to them.


Hydrogen ahoy!

Submarines that use fuel cells can stay under water for weeks. The Germans were the first to use fuel cells in the Type 212 submarines. The world’s first submarine to run on hydrogen fuel cell sailed on April 7, 2003, and was used by the German Navy


Fuel-less clean

Some countries like the United States get a lot of their hydrogen by burning fossils fuels, which releases the greenhouse gas-carbon dioxide. Producing hydrogen from electrolysis can also cause pollution, since it needs electricity, which is mostly obtained from plants that produce electricity by burning coal. The way out could be using solar energy for electrolysis.


Lighting lives

Town gas (made from coal) has 50 percent hydrogen and was used in the early 1800s across Europe and America. About forty-four thousand lights in Berlin, Germany, still use town gas. The exterior of Buckingham palace, parts of London and certain American cities like Cincinnati, New Orleans, south Orange, and parts of Boston also use town gas. However, it gives out harmful methane and carbon monoxide when burnt.


Hydrogen is a light gas and fills up space easily. So, it’s difficult to store a large amount of gas in a small tank. It is n’t easy manufacturing cars that can carry enough hydrogen to travel nearly 500 kilometres to the next station like any other oil-filled car. But the problem is being solved with the latest compressed hydrogen tanks or liquid hydrogen tanks.


Too much energy

Hydrogen is high on energy and needs to be handled with care. Handling the fuel with caution has paid off. Hydrogen is produced, transported, and used safely in many countries.


Energy in a packet

Sunlight is mode up of packets of energy called photons. When sunlight falls on water, the energy of photons breaks the water into oxygen and hydrogen. Scientists are still trying to improve this method known as photo-electrolysis.


Help! Help!

In 1785, Richard Crosbie tried to cross in Irish sea many times in a hydrogen-filled balloon. He even sent animals off in hydrogen balloons. Once, a balloon carrying a cat crossed over to Scotland. IT was ultimately rescued by a ship!


Up in the American sky

On January 9, 1793, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a Frenchman, made the first manned flight a hot air balloon in the United States. His hydrogen-filled balloon took off from a prison yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The flight reached 1,770 metres and landed in Gloucester Country, New Jersey. President Georage Washington was among the guests observing the take-off.

54.  `

Rising high

In the 1920s and 1930s, hydrogen gas began to be used in passenger balloons, or earl;y aircrafts. These could rise to more than 730 metres and fly at a speed of 120 kilometres per hour.


Fuelling industry

About fifty million tonnes of hydrogen is produced globally every year. The United States produces about nine million tonnes, which is enough to fuel twenty to thirty million cars. Most of the hydrogen produced today is used in industries such as the ammonia industry.


Viva Lifecar !

A zero-emission sports car, called the Lifecar, was unveiled in the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008. It was made by the Morgan Motor Company. It produces only heat and water vapour as by-products.


Fuelling fiction

Jules Verne’s novel Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) was an instant hit. In the book, a scholar Samuel Ferguson sets out to travel across the African continent in a hydrogen balloon. Public interest in stories of African continent in a hydrogen balloon. Public interest in stories of African exploration was at its height of that time, and the book was a runaway success!


Popeye, are you listening?

In 2001, Dr Elias Greenbaum at Oak Ridge National Laboratory produced hydrogen from Spinach! A particular group of cells in the leaf of the plant acts as a tiny ‘battery’ and powers photosynthesis. Greenbaum has used this ‘battery’ for producing hydrogen and thinks spinach can prove to be a new clean energy source.


Ringing in hydrogen

In 2003, Toshiba made a mobile phone powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Mobile phone chargers that run on hydrogen fuel cells are also out. It will be easier to charge mobile phones on chargers that need no electric socket!


Hydrogen in war

The hydrogen balloon was first used by the French, to spy on the Austrian army, during the Battle of Fleurus in Belgium in 1794. The French were able to continuously monitor the Austrian army’s movements, and they eventually won the bottle.


My name is …

Hydrogen comes from the Latin word hydrogenium, meaning ‘something that forms water’. In 1783, French scientist Antoine Lavoisier made dew from hydrogen and oxygen. He first used the French word ‘hydrogene’ for the gas now known as hydrogen.


Ring a bell?

Water-powered cellphones are set to be one of the greatest inventions of the next decade. Samsung has developed a cellphone that will work on a water-powered cartridge! A hydrogen fuel cell holding the water will need to be charged every fifth day, but the company in working towards not having to charge the cartridge at all.


Water gods

People have always recognized and feared the energy of water. Water has been worshipped in many religions and civilizations. Poseidon was the Greek god of seas, oceans, and earthquakes. The Romans called him Neptune. It is said that he had dangerous mood swings and tantrums, leading to sea storms.


Roman genius

Vitruvius, the Roman engineer and author, is credited with inventing the vertical waterwheel, which he described in his book DE Architectura, dating 25 BC. The vertical waterwheel was an improvement over the older horizontal waterwheel.


Solid stuff

Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state is the largest concrete structure and produces 6,500 megawatts of hydroelectric power in the United States. Its construction started in 1933, and was completed in 1941. There in enough concrete in it to build a four-feet wide, four-inch deep sidewalk, which can circle the equator twice!


Small is sweet!

The 13-Kilowatt Sidrapong Hydel Power Station in Darjeeling, set up in 1897, was the first small hydropower plant in India. Such small plants are free from issues associated with bigger projects, like the effect on the lives of thousands of people living along the river banks, destruction of forests, and earthquake threats.


No petrol needed!

A Japanese company called Genepax unveiled a car that runs on water. The car has an energy generator that extracts hydrogen from water that is poured into the car’s tank. The generator then releases electrons that produce electric power to run the car.


Fishy dam

The Us Department of Energy is designing a ‘fish-friendly’ turbine. Fish can swim right through this turbine and survive. Engineers have also designed fish ladders, which look like steps running alongside a dam. Fish can jump from one level to the next highest to move upstream.


Oh, so high!

Rogun Dam, an incomplete structure across the Vakhsh river in southern Tajikistan, is said to have been the tallest dam of 335 metres. Its construction began in 1976, but the project was frozen. In February 2007, Russia announced a partnership with Tajikistan to complete the dam.


Ancient dam

The oldest surviving and standing dam in the world is the Grand Anicut, also known as the Kallanai, dating back to AD 2. It is on the Kaveri river in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It was built by the Chola king Karikalan.


Holy Pharaoh!

The ancient temple of Ramses II was originally built near Abu Simbel, Egypt. That area was flooded due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, which created a reservoir called Lake Nasser. In an enormous engineering marvel, the temple was cut up and relocated to higher ground.


Powered by water

The first electric power plant was powered by water! It opened in Godalming, UK, in 1881. A waterwheel in the river produced enough electricity for streetlights and lighting a few buildings. However, the plant soon closed down because it was too expensive to run.


Turning through time

The first waterwheels were invented either in the Middle East, India, or China. The Chinese used them for crushing rocks and even for iron casting. According to an ancient text, in AD 31, the engineer Tu Shih invented a water-powered machine for the casting of iron agricultural tools. The Arabs used hydropower to grind corn, crush sugar beets, and pound wood pulp for paper.


Tidy mills

Tidal mills dating back to the twelfth century can be found in both England and France. These mills were constructed in low-lying areas near the ocean and had dams with swinging gates. As the tide came in, the gates swung open inwards. Water filled the area behind the dam. When the tide turned, the gates swung shut, forcing the water to flow towards the sea through the turbines of the tidal mill.


Roman Factory

One of the most amazing applications of a Roman Waterwheel was in a factory of Barbegal, near Arles in southern France. Dating back to AD 4, the factory was an immense flourmill, which had sixteen waterwheels!


Name game

In Holland, dams often marked the beginning of towns, which were named after these dams. Amsterdam’s name comes from a dam built on the River Amstel. Rotterdam had a dam on the River Rotte. Dams blocked rivers (to regulate water level) and prevented the sea from flooding the land.


Tick-tock, tick-tock

Water clocks are one of the oldest time-measuring instruments. The oldest water clock dates back to 1417-1379 BC, a period marked by the reign of Amenhotep III in Egypt. India and China also have early evidence of water clocks, but the earliest dates are less certain. Some authors even write about water clocks appearing in China as early as 4000 BC!


Chinese strength

Du Jiang Yan is the world’s oldest surviving irrigation system. Sunshu Ao, who is known as China’s first hydraulic engineer, built it in 251 BC. The system diverted the Minjiang river, using islands built on bamboo frames, which allowed water and fish to flow freely underneath. An earthen dam was also part of this system. On May 12, 2008, when a deadly earthquake rocked China, the only damage caused to the dam was a few cracks!


Superior technique

The earliest recorded dam is believed to have been built on the River Sadd Al-Kafara at Wadi Al-Garawi, about 25 kilometres south of Cairo, around 2600 BC (four thousand years ago). Unfortunately, it was destroyed by heavy rains shortly afterwards. After this, the Ancient Egyptians never tried to build a dam again!



The ancient Greeks used an instrument called the ‘hydraulis’ for entertainment. It was a water-powered organ. Later, it was used in churches also, but only till AD 9. The medieval church did not use this organ.


This lady pumps water

Measuring 22 metres in diameter, the great Laxey wheel is perhaps the largest working waterwheel in the World. Named Lady Isabella and located on the Isle of Man, United Kingdom, the wheel was constructed in 1854 to pump water from lead mines.


Don’t frown at me !

Even plants like water hyacinth, which is frowned upon as a weed, are harvested for biomass. One tank that holds 700 litres of water hyacinth pulp gives 3,600 litres of biogas in Kochi, India. This gas is used to cook food. Nothing is wasted because the residue left is used as fertilizer.


Slippery Seaweed

In Japan, seaweed is taken from the seashore and used to make biogas. This biogas is then used to power on electricity generator in a small power plant. One tone of seaweed gives 20 kilolitres of biogas, which produces enough electricity for about twenty houses. This energy is currently also used to power lights in offices at the plant.



In 1998, Justin Carven, a student at Hampshire College, Massachusetts, United States, designed fuel conservation kits that allow cars to run on cooking oil. Most of Carven’s customers get their used cooking oil for free from restaurants! In 2006, Carven sold three thousand fuel Conservation kits to people who wanted to recycle used cooking oil to run their cars.


Biofuel all the way

The first automobiles were truly environment friendly, as they ran on biofuel! In the early 1900s, the first Ford automobiles ran on ethanol, which is made from sugar cane. Ethanol can also be made from rice, wheat, corn, and even grass clippings.


Firing up

The first fires lit by humans burned twigs, branches, and dry leaves. Later, animal fat was also burnt. The pioneers who set foot in North America used buffalo chips. Dry animal dung produces heat electricity. In Tibet, the highest plateau in the world, yak dung is used. In the Andes, llama excrement is exchanged in sackfuls!


V for Victory

In 1997, Josh Tickell drove across America in a Winnebago run on used frying oil. The veggie van travelled more than forty thousand kilometers around the United States at a speed of 112 kilometres per hour and used close to four litres of oil for every 40 kilometres it covered.


Icy cold? Not really!

Iceland is situated in an area with a high concentration of volcanoes, which makes it a storehouse of geothermal energy. Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, began using geothermal district heating in 1930. Reykjavik and the surrounding areas have the world’s largest geothermal district heating system. Once heavily polluted, Reykjavik is now one of the world’s cleanest cities. In fact, the most popular sport in Iceland is outdoor swimming in geothermally heated pools-in any weather!


What a fat letter!

Tallow, the hard fatty parts from animals, can also be used with agricultural biomass like corn and soya beans to produces bio-diesel. In the United States, the postal department and the military run many vehicles on this kind of bio-diesel.


A nice hot bath

For thousands years, people have used hot springs for cooking, bathing and heating. The ancient Romans liked hot baths and built large bath houses. In what is now Bath, England, people still like to bathe in hot spring water. (Bath was  the ancient Roman town Aquae Sulis) The Maoris in New Zealand have also used a springs for their domestic needs.


Eco-friendly village

Ralegaon Siddhi, Maharashtra, India, is an entirely self-sufficient village. In 1975, Anna Hazare mobilized the people to introduce changes. All the streets in the village are lit by solar lights. There are four large community biogas plants and one of them is fitted to the community toilet. There is a large windmill, which is used for pumping water. A number of households have their own biogas plants.


Down, down, down

The deepest hole ever drilled is the kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia. As scientist, wanted to find out more about the earth’s crust, they started a drilling project in 1970. After twenty-four years of drilling, the borehole reached more than twelve kilometers inside the earth! Work stopped in 1994 because it became too hot at the bottom of the hole for drilling to continue!


Hot spots

Today, geothermal power plants can be built only over a source of very hot water or steam. Most parts of the world can’t use geothermal plants. In the future, the plants could be sited anywhere because of hot dry-rock energy. It is the natural heat energy found deep in the rock layers everywhere on the earth. The temperature of the rocks goes on increasing with depth.


Digging deep to come on top

Kenya was the first African country to use geothermal energy in 1981. One of Kenya’s geothermal plants, Olkaria II (65 megawatt), is Africa’s biggest geothermal power plant. The potential of geothermal power in Kenya is 3,000 megawatts, but the country has managed to harness only 150 megawatts. Plans to increase the contribution of geothermal energy in the power supply have been announced.


Extraction of minerals

Some geothermal waters contain small proportions of highly valuable mineral ingredients. For instance, the Salton Sea area in California has hot geothermal brines, which contain metals such as manganese, boron, zinc, and copper.


Hot property

In January 2006, a new housing development scheme was introduced in London. It will utilize geothermal energy for heating. The new apartments are being built in Norbury by Bob Harris and are a part of the Mayor of London’s renewable energy strategy. Carbon emissions and annual household energy bills will both be reduced!


Ducky duck

In the 1970s, professor Stephen Salter of Edinburgh University in the UK invented the “Salter’s duck”. The ‘duck’ floated on the surface of the sea but was fastened to the seabed. It bobbed up and down on the waves, and the movements generated electricity. Salter’s duck is still one of the most efficient wave power devices ever invented. It converts 90 per cent of the energy of the waves into electricity. But Salter’s ducks are expansive to make and are not currently in use


Tapping the difference

In tropical coastal areas, even the difference in temperature between the uppermost and deeper layers of the ocean can be utilized to create energy! This process is called ocean thermal energy conservation (OTEC). This technique for trapping the thermal energy of the ocean is more than a century old and was first suggested by Jacques Arsene d’Arsonval, a French physicist, in 1881.


Buoyant plan

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company is planning to build America’s first commercial wave power plant off the coast of northern California. The plant will have eight buoys, four kilometers offshore. Each buoy will generate electricity as it would rise and fall with the waves! The plant will begin operating in 2012, generating a maximum of two megawatts of electricity. One megawatt can power about 750 homes.


Cool it baby!

Toronto, situated by Lake Ontario in Canada, uses the deep lake water cooling system, which uses the natural icy water of the lake to cool office buildings near the waterfront. The system also produces enough power to cool nearly seven thousand homes in the surrounding area.


All that energy!

If all the geothermal systems are developed and utilized for non-electrical applications, the stored heat energy available is estimated at about 1024 calories, which is equivalent to 750,000 billion barrels of oil!



Source: ENVIS Library