As people become more aware of their impact on the environment, consumers now understand the need to transition from traditional energy sources to renewable energy sources. Green energy is the solution to more power sustainability. However, the term ‘green energy’ is often confused with renewables.
Green Energy vs. Renewables
As expressed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), green energy offers the most significant environmental benefit. These include power generated by biogas, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and biomass sources. These renewable sources enter a power grid. They are also indistinguishable from non-renewable sources, for example, when you turn on a light.
While renewable energy uses similar sources as green energy, this term broadly refers to products and technologies that significantly impact the global environment. When one purchases green power, they are supporting different renewable energy programs.
Green Energy Types
Green energy sources can come from the sun, wind, water, animals, plants, and even waste. Below are the different types:
Biogas is a clean source of energy coming from waste products, such as manure, agricultural waste, food, and sewage. These materials can be reserved in containers free from oxygen, which causes them to generate carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases over time. Note that methane can be used to produce electricity, heat homes, and even fuel vehicles.
Capturing energy from flowing water produces hydroelectric power, which is most effective when water is forced to pass through a small path. Commonly, this is achieved by keeping water in dams or reservoirs and purging water selectively through openings.
Solar energy is energy coming from the sun. Since the sun is a star, it can produce a limitless amount of energy through nuclear fusion, which is the process where atoms undergo fusion to create energy. That energy reaches the earth through solar radiation. We can then collect that energy and transform it into electricity.
The most common equipment that people use globally to harvest solar energy is solar panels. These panels contain PV (photovoltaic cells) that create the electrical current. As the current passes by an inverter, it then turns into an AC (alternating current).
Just like solar energy, wind energy also gets its power from the sun. That is because the uneven temperature of the air creates winds. The unevenness mentioned is caused by how the earth spins and orbits near the sun. Winds then further increase depending on the land or water they pass through.
The use of wind turbines is commonly linked with the production of wind power. The process is relatively simple. The wind moves the turbine blades, moving the internal rotor as well. The rotor causes the main shaft to spin the generator; therefore, creating electricity.
Biomass is an energy source coming from animals and plants. Animals and plants have energy stored within them (cellulose or sugar). When transforming biomass into energy, most of these materials are converted into biogas and liquid biofuels.
Green energy helps with pollution and shortages of power. Therefore, the faster the world adopts renewable energy or green energy, the better.