22 July 2017

Various Forms of Renewable Energy

Future Tech Lab (FTL) is launching IoT and digital transformation services for the renewable energy market. In this blog, our hardware engineer Debayan Paul writes about various forms of renewable energy. In future blogs we will outline our Paradise Cloud Platform based solutions for renewable energy market. If you are curious, contact Soumya Kanti Datta to know more.


The year 1973 brought an end to the era of secure and cheap oil. In October of that year, OPEC (Organization of Petrol Exporting Countries) put an embargo on oil production and started the oil-pricing control strategy. Oil prices skyrocketed causing a severe energy crisis all over the world which also resulted in spiraling price rise of various commercial energy resources, further leading to global inflation. The government of all countries took this matter very seriously, and for the first time, an imminent need for developing alternative energy sources was felt. Alternate energy sources were given serious consideration, and huge funds were allocated for the development of these resources. Thus, the year 1973 is considered as the year of the first ‘Oil Shock’. In the same decade, one more ‘Oil Shock’ jolted the world in 1979, which further expedited the focusing of attention on alternate energy sources.

Various forms of Renewable Energy

Solar Energy: -  The Sun radiates energy uniformly in all directions in the form of electromagnetic waves. Solar energy can be utilized directly in two ways, either by collecting and converting it directly to electrical energy using the Photovoltaic system or by collecting the radiant heat and using it in a thermal system. The solar radiation received on the surface of the earth on a bright sunny day at noon is approximately 1 kW/sq m. The earth continuously intercepts solar power of 178 billion MW, which is about 10,000 times the world’s energy demand.

Fig. 1 - Solar Photovoltaic Panel

Fig. 2 - Solar Thermal Parabolic Trough
Wind Energy: - Wind energy is the kinetic energy associated with movement of large masses of air where these motions result from uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, creating temperature and pressure differences. Wind energy is harnessed as mechanical energy with the aid of a wind turbine which could be further utilized for operating farm appliances and water pumping or could be converted into electrical power using an aero-generator. The power available in the winds flowing over the earth surface is estimated to be 1.6x107MW, which is more than the present energy requirement of the world.
Fig. 3 - Horizontal Axis Wind turbine

Fig. 4 - Offshore Wind Turbine

Hydroelectric Energy: - Hydropower or water power is derived from the potential energy of falling energy or fast running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower from many kinds of watermills has been used as a renewable energy source for irrigation and operation of various mechanical devices. Primary hydropower generating methods include conventional dams, pumped-storage, run-of-the-river and micro hydroelectric plants.

Fig. 5 - Hydroelectric Power Plant

Biomass Energy: - Biomass is a generic term for living material- plants, animals, fungi, bacteria. The earth’s biomass represents an enormous store of energy which is also a potential non-exhaustible resource. Biomass energy harnessing mainly involves transformation of crude biomass into intermediate bio-fuels such as methane, ethanol, producer gas by chemical or biological processes.

Geothermal Energy: - Geothermal energy is derived from huge amounts of stored thermal energy in the interior of the earth, through its economic recovery on the surface of the earth is not feasible everywhere. Though the Geothermal energy is restricted to some specific geographical area, it is useful for number of applications like direct heat use and electrical power generation harvesting the high temperature.

Ocean Energy: -  Oceans cover about 71% of the earth’s surface. They receive, store and dissipate energy through various physical processes. As per present technological status, recoverable energy in oceans exists mainly in the form of waves, tidal and temperature difference (between surface and deep layers).  Tidal energy is a form of hydro power that converts ocean tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. Other two forms are still in its nascent stages.

India Energy Status: -
India is presently the world’s fourth largest economy as far as Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms as concerned and the fifth largest energy consumer in all over the world. However, due to its enormous population of approximately 1.3 billion, the per-capita consumption of most energy related products is extremely low as per the world standard. It roughly stands around to be a very modest 530 Kg of Oil Equivalent (kgoe), while the world average is approximately 1800 kgoe. India currently has stupendous prospects in the field of sustainable energy, especially in Solar, Hydel, Biomass and Wind Power generation. A current worldwide share of sustainable energy generation by region is given below.

Fig. 6 - Proportion of renewable power generation by region (in Million kgoe and %)

References: -
Images are taken from www.google.co.in

Other Sources
  1. Non-Conventional Energy Resources by B.H.Khan
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/mar/03/1970s-oil-price-shock
  4. https://www.slideshare.net/MisterKhan/ppt-on-present-energy-scenario