Альтернативная энергетика

IX Международный конкурс научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
Старт в науке

Альтернативная энергетика

Мукаева А.С. 1
1МАОУ "Гимназия №2"
Королёва Л.Д. 1
1МАОУ "Гимназия №2"
Автор работы награжден дипломом победителя III степени
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Introduction

64% of the electricity we need comes from burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. These resources pollute and are not renewable, so once we have burned them all up, there will be no more. This means that the world must find and use alternative sources of energy. This alternative energy needs to use no fuel and create no waste or pollution.

People have already found a lot of different ways to get alternative energy. Such as wind energy, solar energy, hydroelectric energy and others. However, they do not use it as widely as they should.

Practical use of my work: learn more about sources of alternative energy and test some of them

Object of the research: sources of alternative energy.

Subject of the research: the use of different sources of alternative energy

Aim of the research: finding out how useful are different sources of alternative energy

Tasks:

Find information about energy production

Find out which sources of alternative energy are the most useful

Try some of the methods

Compare methods and offer how to introduce these methods to people

Hypothesis: Alternative energy is an essential part of our future

Analytical methods: searching, inquiry, comparisons, modeling.

Chapter 1

The world’s most used renewable power sources [1]

Hydropower

Hydropower is the most widely-used renewable power source, with the global hydroelectric installed capacity exceeding 1,295GW, accounting for more than 18% of the world’s total installed power generation capacity and more than 54% of the global renewable power generation capacity.

The most common method of hydropower generation involves construction of dams on rivers and releasing water from the reservoir to drive turbines. Pumped-storage type plants represent another method of hydroelectricity generation.

China has the biggest hydroelectric generation capacity in the world and hosts the world’s largest hydropower plant, the Three Gorges (22.5GW). The nation accounted for approximately 40% of the total hydroelectric capacity added in the world in 2018. Brazil, the US, Canada, and Russia also have some of the biggest hydropower installations in the world.

Hydropower projects have, however, become controversial during recent years due to the environmental and social impacts related to bio-diversity and human resettlement.

Wind energy

Wind turbines work on a simple principle: instead of using electricity to make wind—like a fan—wind turbines use wind to make electricity. Wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator, which creates electricity.

Wind is the second most widely used renewable energy source, as global installed wind power capacity exceeded 563GW in 2018, accounting for approximately 24% of the world’s total renewable energy generation capacity.

China, with an installed capacity of more than 184GW, is the biggest wind energy generator in the world, followed by the US (94GW by the end of 2018). More than half of the 49GW wind power capacity added worldwide in 2018 was in China (20GW) and the US (7GW).

Germany, Spain, India, the UK, Italy, France, Brazil, Canada, and Portugal are the other major wind power-producing countries, which together with China and the US, account for more than 85% of total wind power-producing capacity in the world.

The 8GW Jiuquan Wind Power Base in China currently ranks as the biggest onshore wind farm in the world, while the 659MW Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm located in the Irish Sea, UK, is the biggest offshore wind farm.

Solar energy [2]

The sun has produced energy for billions of years. Solar energy is the solar radiation that reaches the earth.

Solar energy can be converted directly or indirectly into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity. The major drawbacks (problems, or issues to overcome) of solar energy are: (1) the intermittent and variable manner in which it arrives at the earth’s surface and, (2) the large area required to collect it at a useful rate.

Solar energy is used for heating water for domestic use, space heating of buildings, drying agricultural products, and generating electrical energy.

In the 1830s, the British astronomer John Herschel used a solar collector box to cook food during an expedition to Africa. Now, people are trying to use the sun’s energy for lots of things.

Bio-power

Bio-power is the fourth biggest renewable power source after hydro, wind and solar. The world’s net electricity production capacity from bio-mass currently exceeds 117GW, while global bio-power generation increased from 317TWh in 2010 to more than 495TWh in 2018.

Modern biomass, especially biofuels and wood pellets, are increasingly being used for heat and power generation, alongside traditional biomass sources such as agricultural by-products.

The US, Brazil, China, India, Germany, and Sweden are currently the leading bio-power generators in the world. China, India, and the UK accounted for more than half of the world’s total bioenergy capacity expansion in 2018.

The 740MW Ironbridge power plant located in Severn Gorge, UK, is the world’s biggest biomass fuelled power plant, while the 140MW Vaskiluodon Voima plant in Finland is the biggest biogas plant in the world.

Geothermal power [3]

Geothermal power (from the Greek roots "geo", meaning earth, and "therme", meaning heat) is energy generated by heat stored in the earth, or the collection of absorbed heat derived from underground, in the atmosphere and oceans.

Global geothermal power generation capacity exceeded 13.2GW in 2018 making it the fifth-biggest renewable source for electricity generation. Geothermal electricity generation exceeded 85TWh in 2018.

One-third of the green energy generated using geothermal sources is electricity, while the remaining two-third is direct heat. The US, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, and Italy are the top five geothermal power producers in the world.

The global geothermal capacity increased by 539MW in 2018, out of which Turkey’s share was approximately 40%.

Chapter 2

After I have learnt about different sources of alternative energy I decided to test some of them.

Last summer I got an opportunity to work with special bacteria and I used it as a source of alternative energy. This bacterium is called Shewanella Oneidensis.

Shewanella oneidensis is a bacterium notable for its ability to reduce metal ions and live in environments with or without oxygen. This proteobacterium was first isolated from Lake Oneida, NY in 1988, hence its name.

S. oneidensis is a facultative bacterium, capable of surviving and proliferating in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The special interest in S. oneidensis MR-1 revolves around its behavior in an anaerobic environment contaminated by heavy metals such as iron, lead and uranium. Experiments suggest it may reduce ionic mercury to elemental mercury and ionic silver to elemental silver. Cellular respiration for these bacteria is not restricted to heavy metals though; the bacteria can also target sulfates, nitrates and chromates when grown anaerobically.

Simply put, this bacterium is able to produce energy while it is splitting metals. That is the reason why I decided to use it in my special installation which is called MFC (Microbial Fuel Cells). It is important to note that I’m not the first one who used this method.

Now I would like to explain how this mechanism works.

The MFC consists of 3 main elements: the anode chamber, the cathode chamber and the ion-selective membrane separating them, which is capable of transmitting hydrogen protons in only one direction, from the anode chamber to the cathode.

We have two chambers, first one includes anode, our bacterium and it is important to note that there is no oxygen in this chamber because our microorganisms act differently in anaerobic conditions.

We spill water in this anode chamber and Shewanella oneidensis “cleans” it while it is producing electrons. These electrons, under the influence of the difference of redox potentials, begin to move to the cathode, on which oxygen is reduced to form water. Simultaneously with the separation of electrons from the substrate, the formation of hydrogen protons occurs, which pass through the ion-selective membrane from the anode chamber to the cathode, where they combine with oxygen to form water.

Our mechanism had two benefits: firstly, it produced energy (not a lot but it was enough to charge a phone, for example) and secondly it cleaned the water (since bacterium was eating different chemistry pollutants).

This technology could be used on big factories because they spill a lot of pollutants in the rivers and other waters.

Each year, there are thousands of oil and chemical spills in coastal waters around the nation. These spills range from small ship collisions to fuel transfer mishaps to massive spill events like the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The release of oil and chemicals into our coastal waterways can kill wildlife, destroy habitat, and contaminate critical resources in the food chain. Spills can also wreak havoc on the economies of coastal communities by forcing the closure of fisheries, driving away tourists, or temporarily shutting down navigation routes. And these environmental and economic damages can linger for decades. [4]

Our mechanism will be installed on the pipes and it will clean the water and also it will produce energy for the factory.

After this experience I thought about different ways to get energy.

We see a plenty of trees everyday but the humanity doesn’t appreciate them enough, despite they produce oxygen. So, I thought that we can find a way to get more benefit from plants. We already produce energy from them but we destroy forests for that. Maybe there is a chance to produce energy from plants without tree damage.

I decided to work with tomato trees. I took a special machine called Lab Quest which can measure the energy potential and connected it to the root and to the stem. After that I checked the potential and as you can see on the schedule plants do have some energy.

The question is where does this energy come from?

During photosynthesis, water molecules under the influence of sunlight are split into hydrogen and oxygen, and many free electrons are formed. They are further used in the production of glucose, which provides plants with both food and building material.

With this technology we could make special electrical stations.

We could take a plant and connect an anode and a cathode so we could collect the energy from it. These small stations may work on farms where there are a lot of different plants.

Conclusion

People have discovered so many ways to produce energy but not all of them are good for our planet and not all of them are renewable. However, people are still mostly using traditional sources of energy and when we will be run of them it will be too late.

I have studied about lots of different sources of alternative energy and found the most productive and most common ones. Also I have even tried some of unpopular methods to produce this energy.

They are not very productive but they are easy enough and most important that they are harmless.

The next step is to spread alternative energy more widely.

Bibliography

P.S.R. Murty Electrical Power Systems / P.S.R. Murty – Butterworth-Heinemann, 2017 – 840 pages

Michael Boxwell Solar Electricity Handbook / Michael Boxwell - Greenstream Publishing, 2019 – 272 pages

Dr. Ron DiPippo Geothermal Power Generation: Developments and Innovation / Dr. Ron DiPippo - Woodhead Publishing, 2016 – 854 pages

Peter Owens Man-Made Disasters - Oil and Chemical Spills / Peter Owens - Lucent Books, 2003 – 96 pages

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