Additional Resources on Biomass Energy: For more information on biomass feedstocks, see DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory Biomass Feedstock Research & Analyses Program. Biomass energy content for this section provided in part by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy.
Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels - biofuels - for our transportation needs (cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and trains). The two most common types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel.
What is Biomass? Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power. Some examples of materials that make up biomass fuels are: scrap lumber; forest debris; certain crops; manure; and; some types of waste residues.
What is coal? Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock composed mostly of carbon and hydrocarbons. Coal is made of the remains of ancient trees and plants that grew in great swampy jungles in warm, moist climates hundreds of millions of years ago.
Fossil fuels - non-renewable. In 2011 fossil fuels made up 83% of the world’s energy use. These are resources found under the ground: coal, oil and gas. In 2020 this is predicted to decrease to 76% as nuclear power, and in particular, renewable energy use increase. See World Energy (PDF) for more information.
Distributed energy resources refer to a variety of small, modular power-generating technologies that can be combined to improve the operation of the electricity delivery system. In the United States, most geothermal reservoirs are located in the western states, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Geothermal energy is the heat from the Earth. It's clean and sustainable. Resources of geothermal energy range from the shallow ground to hot water and hot rock found a few miles beneath the Earth's surface, and down even deeper to the extremely high temperatures of molten rock called magma.
Hydropower, generated mainly from hydroelectric dams, is a clean, renewable, non-emitting source of energy that provides low-cost electricity and helps reduce carbon emissions. U.S. hydroelectric generation is the second largest in the world, providing 7% of domestic electricity production and much larger percentages in the western states.
Fuel cells are a promising technology for use as a source of heat and electricity for buildings, and as an electrical power source for electric motors propelling vehicles. Fuel cells operate best on pure hydrogen. But fuels like natural gas, methanol, or even gasoline can be reformed to produce the hydrogen required for fuel cells.
But in general, hydropower is not even considered a renewable energy in most states or, for the most part, by the federal government. So it begs the question, is hydropower a renewable energy or not? The answer to that is key since it underlies policies states develop in fulfilling ambitious renewable energy goals.
Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), also known as Sustainable Natural Gas (SNG) or biomethane, is a biogas which has been upgraded to a quality similar to fossil natural gas and having a methane concentration of 90% or greater. A biogas is a gaseous form of methane obtained from biomass.
Nuclear power is presently a sustainable energy source, but could become completely renewable if the source of uranium changed from mined ore to seawater. Since U extracted is continuously replenished through geologic processes, nuclear would become as endless as solar.
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
What is Petroleum (Crude Oil)? Crude oil (a non-renewable resource) is usually found in underground areas called reservoirs. It is liquid in nature and yellowish black in color. They are composed mainly of hydrocarbons and organic compounds. They are usually discovered by oil prospecting scientists.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, the many types of renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Currently solar panels convert most of the visible light spectrum and about half of the ultraviolet and infrared light spectrum to usable solar energy. Solar energy technologies use the sun's energy and light to provide heat, light, hot water, electricity, and even cooling, for homes, businesses, and industry.
Is Solar Energy Renewable or Non-Renewable? By Richard Gaughan; Updated April 25, 2017 The concept of a renewable energy source can be broken down very simply: If using a resource today doesn't diminish the availability of that resource tomorrow, then it's renewable.
The world’s energy needs could be reduced by one-third by 2050 if individuals and corporations work to save energy now and begin relying on renewable energy sources provided by power companies and personalized adoption. Renewable energy allows you to tap into natural resources that are replenished as part of the normal life cycle.
Special buoys, turbines, and other technologies can capture the power of waves and tides and convert it into clean, pollution-free electricity. Like other renewable resources, both wave and tidal energy are variable in nature. Waves are produced by winds blowing across the surface of the ocean.
At a wave power station, the waves arriving cause the water in the chamber to rise and fall, which means that air is forced in and out of the hole in the top of the chamber. We place a turbine in this hole, which is turned by the air rushing in and out.
Wind turbines, like windmills, are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground, they can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Turbines catch the wind's energy with their propeller-like blades.