Green energy

You Can Build Your Car Powered by Solar, a Green Energy Source

All cars are powered by gas. But with the volatility of crude oil prices and because it is not a renewable, something must be done before it is too late. Given that solar energy, a green energy source is used to power a community, you can also do this on a small scale by using the same principles to build your own car.

But what do you need to make this work? A lot of things but the two most important are the solar array and the batteries.

The solar array is vital because this is what’s used to collect the sun’s rays and then converts this into electrical energy. There are two types to choose from in the market namely the prefabricated type and the individual kind which you set up yourself.

If you are looking for branded parts, check out either Siemens or ASE Americas that sell terrestrial grade cells and the space grade cells. The lower end model which can produce a significant amount of power is the terrestrial grade version.

Proper wiring must be done to make sure that if one of the panels is not working, your vehicle will still move. If you are worried that the voltage of the solar array should match the system voltage of your motor, you should not to worry because it will still run.

We mentioned earlier that the battery is also important because this is where the solar energy will be stored. Your options for this are lead acid, lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium. Just how many you need to buy will depend on your motor’s voltage.

When you finally have these two components, these will now have to be connected to the motor. So you know how much juice is left in your batteries, you will also need to install instrumentation similar to the heads up display console on regular cars which tells you your speed, mileage and gas.

Don’t forget to put a steering wheel, suspension, brakes, tires and hubs. You may not be able to make a car that have the same features as like what you see done by one of the three US automakers but just enough to be able to drive it from one place to the next.

The only cars that use solar energy so far are the ones only used in races especially the one held in Australia from travels from the northern part of the country all the way to the south. If this has helped people realize that renewable energy is really the key to the future, the big automakers should try tapping this technology instead of relying of still relying on gasoline.

But apart from solar energy as a green energy source, biodiesel is another alternative. This is a combination of alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. This can also be done using corn and sugarcane.

Although these are not renewable, these are still considered as a green energy sources because it is cleaner than conventional gasoline. This means you do not release harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide into the air which causes damage to the environment. So if you can’t build a solar powered car, consider a different fuel alternative.

Benefits of Green Energy Sources

For a very long time, we have relied on fossil fuels. It provides heat to our homes, gas for our cars and electricity. Since we are now using it more than ever, there is a consequence. We are depleting our resources and slowly killing our planet. Fortunately, we can change our ways and then shift our attention to green energy sources.

But why green energy sources? Well because there are advantages to using them which we will never be able to get if we don’t change our ways. This is also even if some will argue that the problem with green energy is that it is sometimes difficult to generate the power we need. While that may be true, that is why there are other green energy sources available and we just to know which ones are viable given the geographic location.

The various green energy sources such as solar, wind, wave, hydropower and geothermal do not produce anything harmful which may have a negative effect on the environment. This is the exact opposite of what you get when you continue to operate a coal or nuclear power plant.

Coal you have to remember releases carbon dioxide into the air. On its own, it may not cause that much damage but there are currently 50,000 coal plants around the world and that number is expected to grow.

Nuclear plants may not release anything harmful into the air. The issue is how we dispose of the spend rods and if another nuclear accident should occur. We remember Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. We have probably learned better ways to prevent another incident from happening. Through the years, a few minor accidents have occurred and although the leak was contained, just imagine if it wasn’t?

Green energy sources may not be maintenance free but at least it does not require that much to maintain them compared to conventional means. In the end, we save money because such facilities don’t cost that much to operate.

The next advantage of using green energy sources is that we will never run out of them. For centuries, the sun’s rays have reached so has the wind which is blown from the sea. By using it, we decrease our dependence on oil which is a nonrenewable resource.

If you think about it, many of us have taken these green energy sources for granted. If we do the right thing now, future generations will not have to face the mess that we could have handled on our own years before.

In short, the power is in our hands. We have the technology and we know what to do with it. The only thing we need is to do is to put our money where our mouth is because despite the number of conferences on global warming and climate change, little has happened.

It is easy to talk about how concerned we are about the environment but you have to ask yourself when will more solar panels or wind turbines will be erected? When will the number of coal or nuclear power plants be reduced?

Green energy sources is the solution to the environmental, political and social problems of this lifetime. By spending more on these technologies, no country will have to depend on another or even a corporation for their power needs because they are self dependent and free.

Solar Energy is a Form of Green Energy Source

Solar energy is a green energy source because it is a renewable and it does not cause any harm to the environment. This is achieved by converting the sun’s rays into electricity with the help of solar cells.

There are three basic approaches how we can use this form of green energy source namely passive, active and by using photovoltaic cells.

When we refer to passive solar energy, nothing is converted. What happens is the building’s design helps avoid heat loss and gets the most out of day lighting.

Such a technique can also be used in homes because studies have shown that this can reduce the heating requirements by as much as 80% with minimal cost. This means you don’t have to turn on the air condition or heater that often and if everyone does that, we don’t consume that much electricity which we get from non-renewable resources.

The second approach which is active solar energy is the first way of converting sunlight into heat. You should know that there are certain limits to this one and all it can do is make sure you have hot water.

The third approach is the big scale version and it can power an office or an entire home. This is done with the help of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The smallest ones around can be seen in calculators and watches with large ones planted over huge acres of land.

The only limitation to this green energy source is the fact that it can only generate power when the weather is good and the sun is out. Should it rain, then nothing is collected and converted. When this happens, the auxiliary system is turned on until the weather improves.

Despite that, scientists and students themselves have made solar powered cars. NASA or the National Aeronautical Space Administration has sent satellites into space that are powered by solar panels. A fully functional airport can function on its own thanks to solar power even if it is situated in the middle of the frozen desert.

So people can see the awesome power of solar energy, did you know a kilowatt of solar energy can produce 5.5 hours of electricity per day. If you have more solar cells in place, naturally you will be able to produce enough power to last several days.

Solar energy is just one form of green energy source around. Through the years, we have learned to tap other resources and these examples include wind power, geothermal energy, hydroelectricity and biogas. These are all safe and by using these more often, we don’t need to depend on oil which is a nonrenewable resource.

To make this happen, we have to persuade our law makers to promote the use of such resources. Although you hear speeches left and right about their concern for the environment, it is all talk and not that much action. It is something that has to change.

Two countries that have increased solar usage happen to be Germany and Japan. Spain, France, Italy and South Korea are next in the list and where is the United States? Well, one thing is for certain and that it is not in the top 10 despite the fact that it is an industrialized nation.

How to Make Your Own Green Energy Source

Wouldn’t it be great if we can produce our own green energy source? If we can do that, we don’t have to pay electrical bills or gasoline anymore for our cars. While we can buy some of the equipment, the rest will have to be done on our own.

Take solar or wind energy for example. We already know how to harness and make it. If you want to make one, do some research online and then set up the system yourself.

To have solar energy, you will need to buy an inverter, battery, charge controller, solar panels, some wires and support structure. The only difference with wind energy is that you need a fan. Once you have everything you need, you can put it all together.

If you are not skillful, you will be happy to know that some companies sell the entire system. By buying it from them and having it installed by their experts, you are sure that there won’t be any problems the moment you switch it on.

There is one more thing you need before you can use one or the two green energy sources. Before you buy the materials or the system, make sure you have a flat area that is about a hundred square feet or so because it occupies a lot of space.

For those who don’t have the space or the budget to use these two energy sources, another option is to create your own biofuels.

Biofuels are used in many countries and they get it from harvesting corn, sugar and other crops. Luckily, you don’t need a farm to produce it because you can also make your own using some recycled waste.

A good example of this is vegetable oil which we use for cooking. To turn this into a biofuel, we first filter it by warming up the liquid and then filtering this with a coffee filter. The next step is to remove the water also by boiling it again at 100 degrees for a short period of time.

We need to know the amount of lye present in the vegetable oil and we do this by a process known as titration. When we are done with that, we now mix sodium hydroxide to produce sodium methoxide.

The process of converting used vegetable oil before it becomes a biofuel takes quite awhile and it must be heated the entire time. This is done so the fuel we produce is pure and only when this is achieved that we give it time to cool.

Just how much biofuel we make after all the work varies but you will have an idea of how much you have produced since this is the one you see floating at the top. If there is still some glycerin present, filter it again. From there, you already have your own backyard biofuel which you can use and even sell to those who are just as concerned with the environment as you are.

By making our own green energy sources, we make ourselves less dependent on gasoline in its various forms to power our heater, home or car. Why don’t a lot of people do it? Well simply because they don’t have the time to make it and would rather rely on someone else to do it for them.

Why is Hydropower a Green Energy Source?

Why is hydropower a green energy source? It is because we are able to harness electrical power by converting water into electricity.

The use of hydroelectric power or even hydroelectricity dates back to Ancient Greece and China when they installed waterwheels in rapidly flowing rivers to turn millstones and other equipment. Years later, this was used in the New World which is now known as North America to power saws and other equipment.

But the hydroelectric plants of today still use the same basic principles as the historical waterwheel with some variations. The difference is that we use the force of the power to push the turbine which in turn powers a generator thus generating electricity.

To make sure that there is a steady flow of power being produced, a dam has to be built to retain the water. If there is a need for more power, the gates of the dam are opened so water can be released. During non-peak, the gates are closed. To ensure there is water at all times, some dams have a recovery and pumping systems to the water released can be used again.

There are issues with the use of hydroelectricity. Some claim that it poses a problem for fish and aquatic plants on both sides of the dam. Because the flow of water has been altered, the nutrient rich silt which helps crops grow could be affected which is exactly what happened when the Aswan Dam was completed in Egypt.

But there are ways to fix that and the bigger picture is that power produced from hydroelectric plants do not generate any emissions or waste which happens to be much better than operating a coal-fired power plant.

There is another way to generate hydropower and you get this form the sea. This is also known as wave power or wave energy which uses changes in the air levels of sealed chambers to power turbines. When a wave rises into the chamber, the rise water pushes the air out which then turns a generator.

Once the wave goes down, air flows into the turbine and back into the chamber through doors that will close.

These chambers remain afloat on the ocean and how much power it produces varies. A lot of these are used on the western coasts of Scotland, northern Canada, southern Africa, Australia, and the northwestern coasts of the United States. These systems are usually small and can power a warning buoy or a small light house.

There is also tidal energy. The difference with wave energy is that when the tide approaches, the water is trapped in reservoirs behind dams. When the tide drops, the water behind the dam is released thus producing power similar to a hydroelectric power plant.

This can only work if you have tides that are at least 16 feet and since there are only a few places in the planet that can do that.

Lastly, you have ocean thermal energy. Here, you get power based on the different temperatures in the water. For this to work, you need at least 38 degrees Fahrenheit difference between the warmer surface water and the colder deep ocean water. Still in the trial stage, it is used Japan and Hawaii.

Hydropower is a green energy source. It is safe to use and what is even better is that it is renewable.

Geothermal as a Green Energy Source

We have the technology to do a lot of things and one of these is to tap the earth’s energy. This is exactly what we do when we decide to use geothermal which happens to be a green energy source.

Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping heat from the earth itself. This comes from magma and the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium, and potassium.

The downside to geothermal energy is the fact that it is expensive to build. On the other hand, because the earth’s crust continuously decays replenishing the heat, it is still a renewable source of energy.

There are three types of geothermal plants around. These are namely dry steam, flash, and binary.

Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that spins a generator.

Flash plants take on water at temperatures over 200 °C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators which runs the steam through a turbine to generate electricity.

Last, you have binary plants. Here, hot water flows through heat exchangers and that boiling organic fluid is what spins the turbine.

Once power is generated, the condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat.

Geothermal plants are used operational in different parts of the globe. These are usually located in geologically unstable parts of the planet. You can see some in Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. At home, two most prominent areas for this are in the Yellowstone basin and in northern California.

Aside from digging deep into the earth, there are some who believe we can generate power from hot dry rocks. You have to dig 3 kilometers deep are drilled into the earth first to find these hot underground radiogenic granite rocks. Right now, some Australia companies are exploring this technology.

If you were to compare the amount of energy collected from geothermal to solar, you still get more from the sun. Despite that, people should still use it since solar energy cannot be harnessed when the clouds block the sun’s rays from reaching the solar panels.

Geothermal energy is a green energy source just like wind, hydropower and biofuel because it is a renewable. By maximizing its potential, we don’t have to worry about the price of oil in the world market when it hit more than $110 a barrel and is now under $40 in the world market.

But that is not the only thing we should be concerned about. We should also do our best to protect the environment given that coal fired and nuclear power plants produce harmful gases and radioactive waste that may cause to people and the surrounding areas.

Everyone knows that our planet has changed due to global warming. We learned our lessons from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island but this does not mean it may not happen again.

For us to do our share to protect the environment now and for generations to come, we have to promote alternative energy and geothermal as a green energy source is just one of many that is currently available.

Can You Use a Green Energy Source like Water to Power a Car?

For more than a century, we rely on oil to fuel our cars. But did you know that the world’s oil is close to drying up because it is a nonrenewable resource? Well that may not happen tomorrow or next year but we are getting closer because of the demand in the world market. Why wait for that day when we can rely on a green energy source like water to power our cars.

Water can power a car? If you think that’s impossible, well it is already here but this is not yet being made on a commercial scale.

The German automobile BMW has produced the world’s first ever hydrogen powered car. While only 100 of these units were produced, you can already imagine if more of these vehicles are on the road.

The initial model namely the BMW Hydrogen 7 uses the body of the 760i model. Once you pop the hood, you will notice that the engine is different since it uses gas and hydrogen.

This just means we have not yet totally abandoned are dependence on gas. Given more time and money, the current 4.7 miles per gallon it can travel using water alone could hit double digits in the future.

The biggest challenge to using water as a green energy source as opposed to oil in vehicles is the engine. While there are cars around like the Prius which runs on electricity and gas thanks to fuel cell technology, the hydrogen combustion is less than 10 years old so you could say we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

To prevent the water from evaporating, this has to be stored in a large, 30-gallon, bi-layered and highly insulated tank so this does not evaporate into compressed gas. Another safety mechanism is the valves which are designed to open should the pressure within the tank exceed 5 bars.

With the success of the BMW H7, the company came out with a new car that is also partly powered by water known as the H2R. While we cannot yet put our garden hose into the fuselage to fill it up, this vehicle uses liquid nitrogen as a fuel.

Tests on this vehicle have shown it can achieve 285hp and reach a top cruising speed of 185.5 miles per hour. It can also accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour under 6 seconds.

But why use water? It is because hydrogen combustion is clean so it does not emit harmful gases into the atmosphere unlike cars that run on petrol or diesel that emit carbon monoxide. Studies have shown that it also weighs less than hydrocarbon-based fuels and burns faster than conventional gasoline.

So when can you expect to buy a car that uses water as a green energy source? Hopefully in the next 10 to 20 years. It is really up to the automakers because all we can do is wait until a better and clear car hits the dealership.

Right now, the best option we have are electric cars. Since its introduction in 1999, more people are using it because they don’t want to spend anymore for gasoline that could hit an all time high of more than $110 per barrel.

If water as a green energy source can be used to power a car, why don’t we do the same for solar power which has been around much longer?

Is Biomass Green Energy Source

Is biomass a green energy source? According to experts, yes it is. In fact, it is one of the three main areas of bioenergy.

But what is bioenergy? Well, it is a process by which organic material such as animal waste, plants and wood are used to generate electricity, produce heat and also aid in the production of biofuels.

In the case of biomass, hot air or water is generated to produce electricity. This is done through direct combustion and is considered the simplest and most common method of generating energy from biomass.

Aside from generating electricity, biomass can be used for hot air production so you can keep a place warm. For this to work, biomass has to be combusted in a furnace where it heats either water or air. Speaking of water, this enables you to have warm water so you can take a shower. In short, biomass in itself can also be used in a small scale as a heating system.

Since you can generate electricity and heat, some people have been able to combine the two which is known as combined heat and power or CHP. Something that many consider to be good as you use one energy source for two purposes.

If you are able to compare the amount of electricity generated between biomass and let’s say solar energy, you will notice that biomass produces more because the energy in plants is already captured and stored.

You don’t have to collect it first which is what happens with solar or even wind energy since this is manufactured technology. It is readily available unlike the other two which is totally dependent on the weather.

Another is the fact that you can even use organic waste to product electricity. No other green energy source can do that and by using this extensively, any government can save money because you don’t have to spend money to dispose of the waste and you will no longer depend on foreign oil that much to power your plants.

The downside to biomass is that because you have to burn waste and other organic materials to product power, you add to the pollution which is already in the atmosphere. But this can be offset of course by planting more crops which we know helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

You will also have to shell out a lot of money initially for the costs of labor, the transport of these fuels and how these should be stored.

Biomass uses renewable natural resources which is why it is considered a green energy source. This means that we have an endless supply of it around just like the power of the sun or the wind which flows from the ocean. The challenge is to find suitable land that has a sufficient water supply so these will be able to grow.

This means that in areas where water is not that abundant, you cannot rely on biomass technology to generate power. When that happens, you use other means and one good example given the right geographical location is wave energy which is the process of generating power from the water.

There is a way to generate power without causing harm to the environment. We have the technology and the green energy sources. We just need to muster the willingness to make it happen.

Biofuels are a Green Energy Source

Biofuels are also a green energy source. It has been around for a very long time and lately, people are beginning to take notice.

Liquid biofuel which is the one used in cars is a natural and renewable domestic fuel that can only be used for diesel engines. This can be made from vegetable oils mostly soy and corn. The nice thing about it is that it contains no petroleum, is nontoxic and biodegradable.

By fueling up with biofuel, you decrease the pollutants in the air because it does not emit anything. Right now, it is the only fuel approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), passed every Heath-Effects Test of the Clean Air Act and meets the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

One example of this is biodiesel which is made from alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. Aside from methanol, some countries have also experimented with corn and sugarcane to create their own version of biofuel.

Glycerine is a common products and this is used in making toothpaste and soap. Since it is quite new, the process of converting it is quite expensive and right now, this is still much more expensive per gallon compared to petroleum.

But if you look at what you pay for it, the returns are huge because you get to do your share to preserve a cleaner environment, an improvement in air quality and a reduction of cancer-causing agents.

A cheaper and primitive way to make bio-diesel is by collecting cooking oil and then processing it. This may not good your car’s engine so be careful if you decide to use it.

If you are skeptic about biodiesels, studies have shown that its performance on the road is just as good as petroleum in terms of power to efficiency, hauling and climbing. You can use this in its pure form or blend with petroleum fuel. The most common mix in the market is 20/80 and is referred to as « B20. » This means that 20% is biodiesel and the remainder is 80%. Another version is the E85 which is fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

The best part about using biodiesel is that you only have to make a few changes in your engine to be able to use it. Aside from making the car run, it also helps clean the engine. If you are concerned that this will void the warranty of your vehicle should there be a problem, don’t worry because it doesn’t. In the US, B20 is the most common one available but there are only a few gas stations that carry it.

When car’s first rolled out in the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to make these vehicles especially the Model T’s run using ethanol. Tests have even shown that these may also run using peanut oil.

This never materialized because huge oil deposits were discovered and diesel was cheap. It was only when our demand for oil increased in the 1970′s, 1980′s, 1990′s and in the early part of this year that people began to realize that to reduce our demand for foreign oil that we should try using biodiesels and other forms of alternative energy.

Is it too late? Not yet because there is still time to use biofuels and others as green energy sources.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Green Energy Sources?

Today, we are now aware of the effects of global warming. Fortunately, it’s not too late and we can still change which is why many are pushing for green energy sources.

The advantage of using green energy sources is that it is clean so it does not emit anything harmful into the air which has an impact on the environment. It is also renewable which means we will never run out of it unlike oil which is expected to dry up in a decade or so.

Although green energy facilities are expensive to build, it requires less maintenance so you don’t have to shell out a lot of money to operate it.

It can also bring economic benefits to certain areas even boost tourism.

While these sound good, there are some who say that there are advantages to using such technology.

While green energy sources can produce electricity, how much it can generate is not consistent. This is because we have no control of the weather so if a certain area relies on solar energy and there is a weather disturbance, it will not be able to convert sunlight into electricity.

Building these facilities also requires a lot of land so we may have to cut on farmland which is what many are concerned about if more wind turbines are to be put up.

Another disadvantage is the fact that some of the green energy sources cannot be installed in certain areas of the planet. For instance, wave energy can only be utilized if the waves coming from the ocean reach at least 16 feet. The use geothermal energy can only be done in geologically unstable parts of the planet.

But if you look at such arguments, places that cannot use one form of green energy source can be substituted for another. If wind turbines need more space, they can be installed near the coast instead of putting these on land. A study shows that you can generate more electricity while these are in the ocean.

While the weather is something we cannot control, it is not everyday that there is a weather disturbance so this too shall pass. If solar energy is being used and the sun is covered, the emergency generators will be activated and use up the energy that was stored.

The point is that there are ways around the arguments put by certain individuals which discourage the use of green energy sources. In fact, research is ongoing to try and harness other means to generate the power we need.

A very good example of this is called ocean thermal energy. Power is generated by harnessing the different temperatures in the water. It is currently being used on a small scale both in Japan and Hawaii.

In the US, only 7% of green energy sources are used nationally. This was much higher 11 years ago and if we don’t have to worry about the cost of oil or even reduce our dependency on it, we have to invest more in this clean energy.

We can get it from green energy sources such as biomass, biodiesel, geothermal, solar, water and the wind. These are things we have all around us and all it takes is for someone to harness it instead of relying on traditional non-renewable means to produce energy.