New Renewable Energy Sources is Essential for Humanity
In recent years, scientists have realized that the largest source of almost untapped renewable energy is our oceans. With over two thirds (2/3) of the globe covered with water, there is little reason to doubt that assumption. The beauty of the ocean’s energy is that we can capture it in many different ways.
Today, the most common way to capture our ocean’s energy is through tides. Historically tide mills have been run by such technology. These mills, initially built in the medieval age relied on the difference of height between high tides and low tides to power a mill. Today technology adapted to the modern needs in the form of tidal barrages. These barrages convert water flow to electricity in ways similar to those of classic hydro-dams.
The scientific community hopes to benefit from the earth’s primary resource in more ways, which have been possible until now. The possibilities are almost endless. Wave energy is another way to convert the potential into usable energy (electricity). Albeit more costly, the prices keep dropping as the technology evolves.
The exciting thing about renewable energy technologies is that discovery in one specific field can lead to a breakthrough in another zone of the energy spectrum. Improvements in the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy, for example, can mean many existing forms renewable will become more efficient.
Going back to new renewable energy sources, we must note the future importance the salinity gradient could play in future projects. The different properties of fresh and saline water could be utilized to generate vast amounts of energy. For instance, the vapour pressure of the two differs, surely with time technology will allow us to take advantage of such a fundamental property.
The downside of this approach is that it requires freshwater. It is a known fact that many regions of the world lack access to freshwater. Some can make a moral argument that fresh water is more important a source of drinkable water than it is as a renewable source of energy.
Lastly, the ocean’s thermal energy and powerful currents come into play. It is possible to create turbines which capture power from water flow in a fashion similar to the turbines which capture wind power. As for the thermal energy, its resources are pretty much limitless. Don’t overlook the fact that as mentioned before, water covers over two-thirds of the globe’s surface. This covering means we capture most of the solar energy that reaches us by oceans.
Like any other human endeavour, it is essential not to overlook the effect our actions will have on the environment. Sustainability is more important than ever, and it would be tragic to take decisions as a society that jeopardize the advancements we’ve made. On this note, it will be interesting to see what the new renewable energy sources will be.