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Renewable Energy Facts

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Below are some Renewable Energy facts that you might find interesting. We would also like to hear from you if you have additional facts that we have not included. You can submit your entires at the foot of this email. In the meantime, here are the facts you were looking for..

 SOLAR

  1. If it could be properly harnessed, enough sunlight falls on the earth in just one hour to meet world energy demands for a whole year
  2. Ever the innovator, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 for his ground-breaking experiments with solar power and photovoltaics
  3. A world record was set in 1990 when a solar-powered aircraft flew across the USA in 21 stages, using no fuel at all
  4. About half of worldwide production of solar panels is consumed by Japan. Their purpose is mostly for grid connected residential applications
  5. The sun is 109 times bigger than the Earth. The sun’s radius being 696,000km and the Earth’s radius 6, 376km
  6. The sun’s average surface temperature is 5700 C. The Earth’s average temperature is 20 C. And we are worrying about global warming of some 3C!
  7. Solar radiation of about 19% is absorbed by the atmosphere, and clouds reflect a further 35% of the total solar energy. Therefore solar energy received a sea level is much less. Its peak power is generally accepted to be 1,020 W/m²
  8. Solar cells have about a 15% efficiency rate in converting that energy. Therefore solar panels deliver only 19 to 56 W/m² or 0.45-1.35 kWh/m²/day of that average power. But that does not make solar energy inefficient!
  9. The average solar energy falling on Australia is equivalent to about 15.000 (fifteen thousand!) times the nation’s present total energy use. At 15% conversion rate that is still more than 2000 times the present need, providing we could capture it all
  10. Africa’s Sahara desert, assuming 15% efficient solar cells, could generate more than 450 tarawatt (TW) per year. Current annual global energy consumption, including fossil and renewable sources is about 13 TW
  11. It only takes 1% of the earth's deserts solar energy to provide more electricity than is currently produced by fossil fuels

WIND

  1. The largest wind turbine in the world, located in Hawaii, stands 20 storeys tall and has blades the length of a football pitch
  2. One wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes
  3. An average wind speed of just 14mph is needed to convert wind energy into electricity; that shouldn't be too hard to come by most countries!
  4. There is evidence that wind energy was used to propel boats along the Nile as early as 5000BC
  5. The earliest known windmills were in Persia (Iran) and looked like large paddle wheels
  6. In 200BC people in China and the Middle East used windmills to pump water and grind grain
  7. The UK is the windiest country in Europe, so much so that they could power the whole country several times over using wind energy
  8. Wind is the fastest growing energy source worldwide
  9. Below 8-10 mph wind speed, wind turbines do not generate power and have to cut out for safety reasons above 56 mph
  10. In 2007 it was estimated that only 1 - 2% of the worlds energy supply comes from a renewable wind energy source
  11. In recent years wind energy has provided for over 20% of the power consumption of Denmark, providing energy for a large number of homes and businesses throughout the country each year.
  12. As of 2005, wind energy has successfully provided for roughly 1% of the world’s energy needs, with the United States being the third largest wind energy producing country in the world and Germany holding steady as the leader in renewable energy sources.
  13. Experts estimate that in the United States alone if the 10 windiest states were to fully utilize their available wind sources the energy produced could offset the entire coal-based power production facilities currently being used and replace them entirely.
  14. If properly developed, wind power could successfully reduce carbon emissions in the US by at least one third every year and help realize a global carbon dioxide reduction of 4% yearly.
  15. When power provides excellent supplement all income as well, as a landowner with a single utility-scale turbine installed on their property could realize financial gains above at least $2000 a year.
  16. Developing and maintaining a wind turbine power generator is also an excellent source for jobs and has helped provide income for thousands of families in rural areas that may not necessarily be available otherwise.
  17. A basic wind energy generator can be developed at home with basic materials that may be available at your house for a relatively cheap price, allowing for affordable energy production with significantly little cost – something that may not be available in other forms of energy production.
  18. It is estimated that if offshore energy farms were to be developed to feed power directly back into local power grids then the entire energy needs of countries such as the United States could easily be covered as offshore wind energy generators can produce energy at roughly 7 times the efficiency of their onshore variants. 
  19. In order to replace all energy consumption needs of the world with wind power production approximately 13% of all land will need to be developed for wind energy purposes, assuming the placement of six large wind power generators per square kilometer in any given area 80 meters above sea level in order to maximize wind energy potential. This can of course be lowered if we were to rely upon offshore wind energy production facilities as well as onshore ones. 
  20. As further developments in wind energy production continue to drive down the costs necessary to establish wind energy producers and other developments come about, such as the implementation of vertical axis wind turbines over the traditional horizontal axis wind turbines, wind power is becoming increasingly common even in cities where generators can be found on the tops of some skyscrapers and high-rises residential buildings alike.

WATER

  1. Water as a renewable energy power source has been grinding grain for over 2000 years.
  2. Water is the most commonly used renewable energy resource, providing enough power to meet the needs of 28.3 million people

GEOTHERMAL

  1. In the Philippines, geothermal power provides 18% of their energy thanks to the presence of volcanoes.
  2. The geothermal energy from the core of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than in others. Where hot underground steam or water can be tapped and brought to the surface it can be used to generate electricity
  3. Those clever old Romans not only gave us the modern drainage system and many of our roads, they were also among the first to use geothermal energy to heat houses

BIOENERGY

  1. 125 years ago biomass was providing up to 90% of our energy needs through the use of wood
  2. Liquid biofuels account for around 2% of road transport fuels worldwide but growth rates and future potential are significant
  3. Woody biomass includes forest products and short rotation coppice (such as willow which are quick to grow and therefore easy to sustain)
  4. Non-woody biomass includes animal waste, industrial and biodegradable municipal products from food processing and high energy crops such as rape, sugar cane and Maize
  5. 40,000 head of cattle can produce enough manure feedstock to generate 5 MW of electricity through biogas.
  6. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than normal gasoline.
  7. Biodiesel can be made with waste oil from restaurant deep fryers.
  8. The main byproduct of biodiesel is glycerine which has over 1,500 applications including food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
  9. Ethanol has been used as a motor fuel in North America since the early 1900s. Ethanol gas blends were used in several states during the Second World War.

Please submit your own facts so that we can add them to our growing list. The easiest way of doing this is to look below and enter your submission in the 'add your comments' box. Your fact could even be featured across the site in our 'fact of the week' feature! We will credit your name and company if you are successful. Thanks in advance and we look forward to reading your submissions.

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Subscribe to comments feed Comments (3 posted):

Adrian Akau on 21/09/2010
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"The largest wind turbine in the world, located in Hawaii, stands 20 storeys tall and has blades the length of a football pitch."

Fact: this wind turbine has been dismantled.
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Joe Faust on 17/02/2010
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All coal and oil energy could be replaced by using working kites at sea to 1. tug ships 2. Make and compress hydrogen delivered to ports around the world.
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Felix Rielly on 06/10/2009
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Energy fact 'America accounts for over a quarter of world energy consumption with only 5% of the global population'
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