The ocean can be harnessed to convert the energy of ocean waves and tides into electricity or other useful forms of power. However, a number of technical, economic and environmental barriers remain and, as a result, ocean energy is currently not a widely exploited energy source.
There is decades of research on this type of renewable energy and to date only large scale projects are giving results. The biggest detractor is the uncertainty of the waves and weather.
Geothermal energy can be generated from heat beneath the earth’s surface or from heat in the atmosphere and oceans. Geothermal energy can be captured from naturally occurring underground steam to produce electricity. Another way in this category is by heating and cooling achieved by temperature differential between outside air and the ground or groundwater (heat pump). In other words, if there is a differential in temperature, the difference can either heat or cool a gas like a fridge or air conditioner.
This heat pump technology is usually combined with hot water heating or cooling and can be large or small. Large-scale applications are more for electrical power generation.
Solar energy is energy from the sun in the form of heat and light. The sun’s energy can be used to provide lighting and heat for buildings and to produce electricity. It is also considered a part of hydroelectricity as the sun’s actions on water cause evaporation and rain to fill reservoirs.
Historically, solar energy has been harnessed through passive solar systems. Solar energy can be harnessed only during the day and only if the sunlight.
Today, two active solar technologies that involve electrical or mechanical equipment are becoming more common. First, solar collectors or panels are used to heat water or ventilation air for use in buildings. Second, solar photovoltaic technology uses solar cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Off-grid or grid-tie systems can use battery storage to alleviate the shortfall of darkness interfering in the production of energy. There are other ways to ‘store’ the energy by pumping water to a tank above a micro-hydro generator for later use. Even compressed air can run a back-up generator!
The kinetic energy in wind can be converted into useful forms of energy such as mechanical energy or electricity. For centuries, wind energy has been harnessed for sailing ships, to turn mills, and to pump water. Today, wind is used more and more to generate electricity. Turbines with large propellers on ‘wind farms’ that are located prime wind corridors and are tied to existing electrical grids. Wind energy is captured only when the wind speed is sufficient to move the turbine blades, but not in high winds when the turbine might be damaged if operated.
Canada has large areas with excellent wind resources and therefore a significant potential for the expansion of wind-generated power. Some of the highest quality areas are offshore and along coastlines. For more local and homestead uses, a wind turbine is an excellent addition to a PV (solar panel) system. For example, BC’s coastal climate sees more wind and rain than sunny days. Although solar panels will generate some power in cloudy weather, wind turbines are perfect for those story days.
Hydroelectricity is the most common form of renewable energy produced in Canada. The flow of water in rivers produces kinetic energy that can be transformed into usable electric energy.
Prior to the invention of electricity, waterwheels created mechanical power for milling grain, sawing, and for irrigation.
To produce hydroelectricity, water flow is directed to spin a turbine, which is connected to an electric generator and this action generates electricity.
The amount of energy produced from flowing water depends on the amount and speed of the water. Systems Solar works with micro-hydro power designs. This can be as small as a english muffin or even more substantial depending on the need. For example, water flowing through a water-main can power a beacon (to ensure water supply at night) or charge station for your phone or other device.
As described by the National Research Council of Canada, “renewable energy is energy derived from natural processes that are replenished at a rate that is equal to or faster than the rate at which they are consumed. There are various forms of renewable energy, deriving directly or indirectly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. They include energy generated from solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources, solid biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels. Biomass, however, is a renewable resource only if its rate of consumption does not exceed its rate of regeneration.”
So this means in simple terms the energy created does not exceed the consumption. Systems Solar works primarily in micro-hydro, wind, solar photo-voltaic (PV), and thermal.
Energy-producing technologies and equipment have been developed over time to take advantage of these natural resources. So ‘usable’ energy can be produced in the form of electricity, industrial heat, thermal energy for a number of uses.
With its large landmass and diversified geography, Canada has an abundance of renewable resources that can be used to produce energy. Canada is a world leader in the production and use of energy from renewable resources. Renewable energy resources currently provide 18.9 per cent of Canada’s total primary energy supply.
There’s a lot of talk about rising levels of carbon dioxide these days. So let’s take a quick look at its deadly cousin.
One of the most prominent factors that no one seems to be talking about in climate change is the incredible increase of carbon monoxide (CO) and decrease of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere in recent years.
Recent studies have found that our atmosphere has the highest amount of carbon monoxide levels in the last 800,000 years and averaging around 411 Parts per Million (ppm). Three years ago, the average levels were 208 ppm, which equates to a 68% increase in just a mere three years. This increase has been documented in the past, however it would taken over 250 years to change this much.
Before 1990, CO levels increased an average of a 0.5% or less increase per year. Since 1990 the average annual rise is 2% or higher. This means that since 1990 there has been more than a 56% increase in carbon monoxide levels.
Next time you consider burning, which is pretty much anything, please remember the carbon monoxide it produces. This can be your vehicle, a woodstove fire, or even electricity that is generated by coal, oil, or natural gas.
Alternative products are renewable technologies like wind and solar panel electric as well as hydrogen fuelled catalytic convertors that produce water as a by-product.
There is a need to educate society in the ways of reducing our destruction of the planet. We cannot continue to dig and pump up fossil fuels to power our society. Given the fact that we reject nearly 60 percent of the energy to produce what we use is just downright reckless.
We have to start to utilize a more wholistic approach to our energy use. For example, waste heat recovery, emissions recovery and so forth.
The chart below from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory shows how much energy is rejected in the USA. It is terrible to see how we as an advanced species to allow this much energy (aka HEAT) to be sent off into oceans, lakes and the atmosphere.
The chart clearly shows that we, based on these US figures, are not doing it correctly. Transportation and electrical generation wastes such a great deal of energy. There are obvious ways to reduce these numbers and this is what we do at Systems Solar. We look at your consumption and find ways to reduce the wasted or rejected energy in your home or business. When we consult, we can offer ways to reduce loss, reduce usage, or how to produce energy to reduce your overall costs of energy.
Remember, it is more than just a ‘log’ that you burn, it is also the energy required to feed the person who chopped the tree, it is also the fuel to move it and so forth!
We released our company logo a short while ago. It is simple and succinct. Not to much flash and basic black & white. Our logo says a lot more than meets the eye.
black and white: When it comes to saving our environment there is no grey area there. We must make every effort to save our ecosystem. It also represents night and day. What we deal with in our solutions.
the circle: The circle besides its mathematical meaning can also denote unity, oneness, and completion. Additionally a circle with a dot in the centre is the astronomical symbol for the sun.
the mobius strip: The mobius strip means infinity. The sun gives us an endless supply of energy. Energy to grow, to create oxygen from photosynthesis. It is an endless supply of life-giving force. The mobius also looks like a propeller, and in doing so, it denotes our work with wind turbines as part of our solar solutions.
the lightning bolt: The lightning bolt denotes the power we harness from the sun and the energy we use. It also symbolizes strength and conviction of our organization.