The rise of oil prices and geo-political instability has been a major force in contributing to the rise of global investments in renewable energy. The renewable energy market has become a major player in the global economy attracting giant companies such as Sharp, Royal Dutch Shell and Siemens. The need and awareness for a cleaner and sustainable source of energy has led to the widespread application of renewable energy to satisfy consumer demand for energy. Governments of most countries are providing incentives to promote use of solar, wind, biomass and other forms of alternative energy.
Why to invest in renewable energy?
Investing in renewable energy offers exposure to the exciting and fast paced growth in the green energy market. With the backing of the government, the renewable energy market is destined to flourish while contributing towards reducing the carbon footprint on earth. Green energy companies have gone from small companies to being major players offering lucrative opportunities to investors. Use of renewable energy has become crucial for developed countries as well as emerging economies. To face the challenges of global warming, climate change, low carbon footprint and the need to develop technology for harnessing renewable energy is a must. Investing in renewable energy promises guaranteed returns, for investors, against such a backdrop.
Green Products (also called as environment friendly products, eco-friendly products, nature friendly products) refer to products and services that are manufactured using eco-friendly materials. These products contribute to a more sustainable form of living by inflicting less or no impact on the environment.
Green products are formed or partially formed from recycled components, produced in energy-conservative way and then supplied to the market in an eco-friendly manner.
Attributes that describe green products and services may include:
- Produced using recycled components
- Energy efficient with low maintenance cost
- They do not contain toxic or harmful compounds
- While manufacturing they produce almost no air, water pollution
- Can be reusable, recyclable and biodegradable
- Made using renewable resources
- They do not contain ozone reducing substances
Green products are categorized as:
- Solar powered products
- Wind powered products
- Hydro powered products
Solar powered Products
Solar energy can be used to generate electricity which is further utilized to operate electrical appliances, vehicles.
Solar fountain: Sun’s energy is used to produce electricity which is used in solar fountain. The fountain works on solar energy on sunny days and on cloudy days it uses stored energy.
Solar water heater: This system supplies hot water to houses, business premises and different institutions using solar energy. The installation cost is little high but is definitely cost effective over the period of time.
Solar light / bulb: The light / bulb powered by solar panels or photovoltaic cells stores the solar energy into rechargeable battery which produces electrical energy in the night.
Solar inverter: This device uses solar energy to generate electricity which changes direct current into alternate current making it executable for home, business premises during electricity failure.
Solar battery charger: These charges use solar panels to generate energy which re-charge the solar batteries. The batteries of capacity AAA to 9V can be charged using these solar chargers.
Solar oven: The excellent alternative to traditional cooking appliances as it does not use any fuel such as coal, cooking gas or electricity. Solar oven is made up of a reflective material wherein sun rays are concentrated in a cooking box. The heat produced inside the box helps in cooking the food.
Wind powered Products
Wind power is the transfer of wind energy into usable energy. Wind power has been used as a never-ending source of reliable, efficient and a low cost power.
Wind turbines: A wind turbine is equipment that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy which in turn is used to produce electricity. The device has two or three blades that grab the wind in their propeller like blades.
Windmill: A windmill is a machine that converts the wind energy into rotational energy using sails or blades. Earlier windmills were used for milling food grains or pumping the water. But now windmills are used for various industrial purposes.
Wind pump: Wind pump is a machine that converts the wind energy into rotational energy using sails or blades. It is used for pumping water from wells, or for draining low-lying areas of land. Wind pump is an excellent and affordable option for electric power which is expensive as compared to wind.
Hydro powered Products
Hydro power (also called as hydraulic power or water power) is power derived from the force of moving water. Earlier hydropower was used for operating watermills, sawmills, dock cranes etc.
Water powered products operate on the water technology in which the water powered cells activate the devices. You need to refill the cells to keep the device operating. As long as the cell is filled with water, the devices keep functioning properly.
Some Other Green Products
An electric car is propelled by electric motor using electrical energy which is stored in an energy storage devices such as batteries. Recently people have started thinking of using electric car because of increase in fuel prices and the need to control greenhouse gas emission.
Electric Motorcycles and Scooters:
Electric Motorcycles and scooters are vehicles that use electric motors. Along with electric cars, electric vehicles are becoming popular in the world mainly because of rapid increase in oil prices. Electric motorcycle includes electric bicycles, electric kick scooters.
Sources of Renewable Energy
Water’s usability to generate electricity is tremendous since the kinetic energy of flowing water is amply used to produce hydroelectricity such as to rotate turbines. It’s a form of renewable energy where it contributes to less pollution of environment and consumption of fossil fuels. In the United States there are approximately more than 5,000 dams that are used to produce hydroelectricity contributing to 9% of the nation’s electricity.
Hydropower doesn’t require a large dam to produce electricity but a small canal is enough is channel the river water to rotate the turbine. However, only large projects are able to produce on-demand electricity which unfortunately is the limitation for small projects. Dams producing hydroelectricity also offer other forms of recreation such as habitat for aquatic animals and destructive flooding downstream.
• Tidal Energy:
Tidal energy also called Tidal power is a renewable source of energy and a form of hydropower used to generate electricity using the energy of the tides. Though not widely used to generate electricity, it can be called as the energy resource of the future with the current rate of depletion of non-renewable resources. High costs and limited availability have kept tidal energy from being utilized to its full potential. Tidal power is generated through Tidal stream generator, Tidal barrage and Dynamic tidal power.
• Wave Power:
Wave power is the transport of energy on ocean wave to carry out multiple jobs like electricity generation, water desalination and pumping of water into reservoirs. Wave power is not currently used on a commercial scale though the first wave farm was opened in Portugal in 2008.
Geothermal energy is the thermal energy generated and stored in the earth that verifies the temperature of the matter. This clean and sustainable type of energy is found in shallow hot ground water, hot rocks a few miles beneath the earth’s surface and in the molten magma if we go deeper. Geothermal energy produces few emissions and is consistently available for use. Technologies that make geothermal energy usable include geothermal heat pumps which take advantage of the warm ground temperature and use it to cool or heat buildings. Another use is for bathing as medium of hot water as it provides heat directly and also contains medicinal skin properties. Geothermal power plants convert hydrothermal fluids like hot water or steam accessed from deep wells to drive a turbine which then produces electricity.
Particularly in seabed, hilly areas and seashores, wind is easily available and hence it is less expensive source of energy. By utilizing the momentum and transferring it to rotor blades, energy can be produced from wind. The process of producing energy from this source does not create any type of pollution but the maintenance can produce negligible amount of water or air pollution. The usage of windmills or wind turbines to produce energy is constrained to installing them in windy areas where wind flows with high speed as otherwise wind cannot be utilized to produce energy. To generate energy, humans have been harnessing the wind since ages. But today’s modern wind turbines continue to become more productive and powerful as they supply energy to hundreds of homes than the windmills used in old days which were good enough to produce energy only for small jobs like fetching water from sea or grinding grains.
The sun is the most important source of energy. The sun rays can be used as a mean of producing the energy. Photovoltaic cells possessing the characteristic of converting heat to energy are used to generate electricity. When sun rays strike the surface of these photovoltaic cells, electric current is produced. This device is also less expensive as it is made up of silicon which is one of the most abundant elements on earth. The only limitation of using solar energy or solar panels or photovoltaic cells is that they can produce electric current only in the day, when bright sunlight is available in abundance. Installing photovoltaic cells or solar panels hence cannot produce energy in rainy or snowy seasons.
Biomass power is the electricity generated from biomass and is obtained from wood, crops, harvest residues, urban refuse and industrial wastes known as biomass. It is one of the important sources of renewable energy and serves as an essential part of waste management process. Pulp and paper industries in United States are prominent generators of biomass. Obtaining power from biomass substances is more cost-effective than that of obtaining it from wind using wind turbines or windmills or any other source as it requires less investment. Crops, woody plants, grass absorb carbon dioxide during their growth and emit same amount of carbon dioxide when processed to generate electricity. This recycling of atmospheric carbon may reduce global warming.