Published on January 25, 2008
Alternate Energy Sources for the 21st Century: Alternate Energy Sources for the 21st Century Mike Ewert Houston Renewable Energy Group Problem & Opportunity: Problem & Opportunity Several Problems Air & water pollution Health effects of pollution Oil depletion/ imports Global warming from CO2 One Solution Renewable energy sources cause minimal pollution, don’t cause global warming and are locally available Pollution: Pollution US power plants emit 18 million tons of SO2 per year + NOx, particulates, carbon monoxide, mercury and lead Energy production & use also contribute to Water pollution Houston has been in violation of federal air quality standards since they began in the 1970’s The Houston/Galveston area must be in compliance by 2007 because we were designated as a "severe" ozone area. Some Energy Statistics: Some Energy Statistics The US uses ¼ of the world’s energy The US pays more than $5 billion for imported oil each month Global Warming: Global Warming Throughout history, the earth has been much colder, and at times warmer, than it is now But climate change is occurring 100’s of times faster than these natural changes CO2, CH4, N2O, O3 and soot all cause warming Global average air temperature has risen 1°F in the past 50 years But, this has already resulted in melting ice sheets, migration of animals and more severe weather What’s the Alternative?And what’s the hold up?: What’s the Alternative? And what’s the hold up? Renewable energy generally cost more than conventional fossil fuel energy systems Solar 11 - 40 ¢/kWh depending on the technology Wind 5 - 15 ¢/kWh from large wind turbines But what if you consider the big picture? There are lots of Alternatives: There are lots of Alternatives Nuclear Hydroelectric Wind Solar Wave Tidal Geothermal Bio-mass Helium 3 (from the moon) Wind: Wind Wind turbines – modern windmills have become quite efficient and cost effective in windy areas Solar Electric: Solar Electric Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels generate electricity directly from sunlight with special materials Solar electricity can also be generated from the sun’s heat instead of burning fossil fuels Solar Thermal: Solar Thermal Heat from the sun can be used to heat water, houses, pools, in industry and to generate electricity Passive Solar: Passive Solar Uses sun angles, shading and thermal storage Daylighting is using natural sunlight instead of electric lights Solar Cookers: Solar Cookers Many different designs Can improve health & reduce deforestation in developing countries Solar Cars?: Solar Cars? Hybrid and Electric cars are coming Why not solar charge them? Water EnergyHydro-electric, wave, tide: Water Energy Hydro-electric, wave, tide Geothermal & Bio-mass: Geothermal & Bio-mass A Future Hydrogen Economy?: A Future Hydrogen Economy? Solar energy can split water into hydrogen & oxygen A fuel cell can make electricity from hydrogen and oxygen, making water A completely clean, renewable cycle 2 Last Thoughts: 2 Last Thoughts ELECTRIC CHOICE You now have a choice of electric providers in Texas Providers must provide an electricity facts label, so the source is something you can consider www.powertochoose.com It has been estimated that we can improve the way we use energy by a factor of 4!