Renewable Energy Sources for Cars and Homes Renewable Energy Sources for Cars and Homes
Living the green dream often involves replacing ordinary electrical sources with renewable energy sources such as solar power and water power. Renewable energy sources for homes and cars are being improved on all the time, so that in the near future, it should be possible to live a normal, technologically capable life, entirely powered by renewable energy.
Renewable Energy Sources for Homes
Probably the best-known renewable energy source is the solar panel. It can be used to for heating homes and water, and for creating electricity to cook, give light, or power computers. At the moment, most domestic solar panels are rather weak, and take up a large amount of room.
Wind power is another source of energy. It is generally considered to be the most technologically advanced form of domestic renewable energy sources, although the wind turbine generally needs a wide space in order to provide enough electricity to power a house. Solar panels and wind turbines are generally used in combination to provide electricity to a home throughout the year.
One of the most costly, but effective, forms of renewable energy sources for the home is the geothermal power supply. Geothermal heaters use warmth from the earth itself to provide electricity to homes. This is sometimes used in combination with a biomass heater, where natural fuels such as wood or charcoal, are burned to provide energy. These machines are cleaner than gas or petrochemical powered electricity, and while expensive, can be easily installed. The government has also begun offering tax benefits to those who have some form of renewable energy sources fitted to their home.
Renewable Energy Sources for Cars
Cars are sources for greenhouse gasses such as carbon monoxide and ozone (caused when fumes from the car exhaust are heated by sunlight). They are also one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels. Concern about the environmental impact of cars has lead some green designers to create cars that use renewable energy sources. Electric cars have been around for a few years now, and car manufacturers are working on them all the time to extend their range. Some electric cars such as the Mitsubishi iMiEV car can go for 144 km, and recharges the battery in 7 hours: meaning that it can be driven to and from work, and then charged overnight.
Solar powered cars are also being researched: recent technology has improved the number of solar powered cars being driven, although they do not currently go very far. Most cars at the moment which use solar power are in fact hybrid cars, that run on a combination of electricity produced by solar panels, and gasoline.
Another renewable energy source for cars, still in the developmental stage, is the hydrogen car. These use hydrogen, either from methane, or by water, as the main source of power. The current move is to combine fuel cells and electric motors, rather than an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen fuel cells are still rather expensive: but technology is likely to make these kinds of cars available to the general public in the next 10 to 15 years.