BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy
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Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy
With the increasing demand for energy and with fast depleting conventional sources of energy such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc. the non-conventional sources of energy such as energy from sun, wind, biomass, tidal energy, geothermal energy and even energy from waste material are gaining importance. This energy is abundant, renewable, pollution free and eco-friendly.
It can be more conveniently supplied to urban, rural and even remote areas. Thus it is capable of solving the twin problems of energy supply in a decentralized manner and helping in sustaining a cleaner environment. It is the energy of the future. No wonder, non-conventional energy is fast catching the imagination of the people in India.
The importance of renewable energy was recognised in the country in the early 1970s. The renewable energy programme started with the establishment of the Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources (DNES) in 1982. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) was set up in 1987.
In 1992, DNES was converted into the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) which has taken several steps to create a suitable atmosphere for harnessing non-conventional sources of energy. India has today one of the largest programmes for renewable energy. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
The activities cover all major renewable energy sources, such as biogas, biomass, solar, wind, small hydropower and other emerging technologies. Several renewable energy systems and devices are commercially available. The renewable energy programmes cover the entire gamut of technologies, including improved wood stoves, biogas plants, biomass gasifiers, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic systems, windmills, ??-generation, small hydropower, energy recovery from urban/municipal and industrial wastes, geothermal energy, hydrogen energy, electric vehicles and biofuels, etc.
Coal is a major conventional energy source. It was formed from the remains of the trees and ferns that grew in swamps around 500 million years ago. The bacterial and chemical decomposition of such plant debris (which remained buried under water or clay) produced an intermediate product known as peat which is mainly cellulose (C6H1005)n. Due to progressive decomposition by heat and pressure, the cellulose lost moisture H2 and Oz and got converted into coal as per the given equation.
The average formula of coal is (C3/H4/n. Out of the 6000 billion tons of coal stocks under the earth’s crust, 200 tons have been exploited by the present society. The coal reserves are found in the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, M.P. and A.P. Some important coal fields are Talcher, Raniganj, Jharia, Bokaro, Panch Konkam, Signoulli, Chanda etc.
- Petroleum and Natural Gases
Petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons, mostly alkanes and cycloalkanes. It occurs below the earth’s crust entrapped under rocky strata. In its crude form, the viscous black liquid is known as petroleum and gas in contact with the petroleum layer which flows naturally from oil wells is termed natural gases. The composition of natural gas is a mixture of mainly methane, (95.0%), small amounts of ethane, propane and butane (3.6%) and traces of CO2 (0.48%) and N2 (1.92%).
A liquid mixture of propane and butane can be obtained from natural gas or refinery gases at room temperature under a pressure of 3-5 atmosphere. This is stored and distributed in 40-100 litre capacity steel cylinders. 1. The crude petroleum after being refined and purified, are available as petrol, diesel, kerosene, lubricating oil, plastic etc. for commercial and domestic use. In India, the oil deposits, are found at Ganga-Brahmaputra Valley, Bombay high, plains of Gujarat, Thar desert of Rajasthan and the area around Andaman Nicobar islands. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
Non-Conventional Energy Sources
The conventional energy sources discussed above are exhaustible and in some cases, the installation of plants to get energy is highly expensive. In order to meet the energy demand of the increased population, the scientists developed alternate nonconventional natural Resources sources of energy which should be renewable and provide a pollution-free environment.
Some non-conventional, renewable and inexpensive energy sources are described below:
- Solar Energy
Solar energy, a primary energy source, is non-polluting and inexhaustible. There are three methods to harness solar energy:
(i) Converting solar energy directly into electrical energy in solar power stations using photocells or photovoltaic cells or silicon solar cells. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
(ii) Using photosynthetic and biological processes for energy trapping. In the process of photosynthesis, green plants absorb solar energy and convert it into chemical energy, stored in the form of carbohydrates.
(iii) Converting solar energy into thermal energy by suitable devices which may be subsequently converted into mechanical, chemical or electrical energy. Since solar energy is non-ending and its conversion to some other energy form is nonpolluting, attention should be paid to the maximum utilization of solar energy.
- Wind Energy
The wind is air in motion. The movement of air takes place due to the convection current set out in the atmosphere which is again due to the heating of the earth’s surface by solar radiation, rotation of the earth etc. The movement of air occurs both horizontally and vertically. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
The average annual wind density is 3 kW/m2/day along coastal lines of Gujarat, western ghat central parts of India which may show a seasonal variation (i.e., in winter it may go up to 10kW/m2/day).
Since the wind has a tremendous amount of energy, its energy can be converted into mechanical or electrical energy using suitable devices, nowadays, wind energy s converted into electrical energy which is subsequently used for pumping water, grinding corns etc. As per available data dearly 20,000 mW of electricity can be generated from wind. In Puri, wind farms are set up which can generate 550 kW of electricity. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
- Tidal Energy
The energy associated with the tides of the Ocean can be converted into electrical energy. France constructed the first tidal power plant in 1966. India could take up Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) and by the process it will be capable of generating 50,000 mW of electricity, to meet the power requirements of remote oceanic islands and coastal towns. The Netherlands is famous for windmills. In India, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have windmills. The largest wind farm has been set at Kanyakumari which generates 380 mW of electricity. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
- Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy may be defined as the heat energy obtainable from hot rocks present inside the earth’s crust. In the deeper region of the earth’s crust, the solid rock gets melted into magma, due to very high temperature. The magma layer is pushed up due to some geological changes and gets concentrated below the earth’s crust. The places of hot magma concentration at fairly less depth are known as hot spots. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
These hot spots are known as sources of geothermal energy. Nowadays, efforts are being made to use this energy for generating power and creating refrigeration etc. There are a quite few methods of harnessing geothermal energy. Different sites of geothermal energy generation are Puga (Ladakh), Tattapani (Suraguja, M.P.), and Cambay Basin (Alaknanda Valley, Uttaranchal).
- Bio-mass based Energy
The organic matter originated from living organisms (plants and animals) like wood, cattle dung, sewage, agricultural wastes etc. are called biomass. These substances can be burnt to produce heat energy which can be used in the generation of electricity. Thus, the energy produced from biomass is known as biomass energy.
There are three forms of biomass:
(i) Biomass in the traditional form: Energy is released by direct burning of biomass (e.g. wood, agricultural residue etc.)
(ii) Biomass in the non-traditional form: The biomass may be converted into some other form of fuel which can release energy. For example, carbohydrates can be converted into methanol or ethanol which may be used as a liquid fuel.
(iii) Biomass for domestic use: When organic matters like cow dung, agricultural wastes, human excreta etc. are subjected to bacterial decomposition in presence of water in absence of air, a mixture of CH4, CO2, H2, H2S etc. is produced. These gases together are known as biogas. The residue left after the removal of biogas is a good source of manure and biogas is used as a good source of non-polluting fuel. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
Biogas is an important source of energy to meet the energy, requirements of rural areas. As per the given data, around 22,420 million m3 of gas can be produced from the large number of cow dungs obtained in rural areas in a year. The gas is generated by the action of bacteria on cow dung in absence of air (oxygen). There are two types of biogas plants namely. Fixed did type and floating gas holder type. (BEd 2nd Year What do you mean by Non-conventional and Alternate Sources of Energy)
These plants are commonly known as Gobar gas plants because the usual raw material is cow dung (Gobar). The methodology involves in the process is to prepare a slurry of cow dung with water. Sometimes form waters can also be added to the slurry.
The slurry is subjected to bacterial decomposition at 35. C. There are about 330, 00 biogas plants in India. All of India’s dung production is about 11.30 kg per cattle and 11.60 kg per buffalo with about 67.10 m3 of gas per ton of wet dung.