Since the dawn of time, business and industries have grown manifold. Primarily after automation and innovative practices being adopted by industrialists, it has led to such an increment in business practices. This is because of the fact that one most important resource to run an industry or business has become readily available and in abundance, i.e. Electricity. With power plants constructed in many parts of the world, it’s no doubt that we can harness more than we ever could.
Established wind turbines, hydroelectric power plants, thermal power plants, geothermal power plants, nuclear power plants and solar farms fuel the earth as we know it. Some renewable and some non-renewable, all of them are used to provide seamless and streamline the flow of electric current.
It’s because of Benjamin Franklin and his kite experiment that we are now much efficient and functional than the human species ever was.
Why is so much electricity needed?
To cut the chase, every equipment, gadget, and tool runs on electricity. If not all then more than a 90% equipment do. In today’s era, you won’t find a single place without a tool/gadget which doesn’t run on electricity. Electricity comes with its own perks.
Advantages of Electricity over Fossil Fuels –
- It’s cheaper.
- Way less messy.
- Readily available.
- Easy to generate.
- It has the least carbon footprint.
The only drawback to electricity is that it can’t be stored that easily. Batteries which can store such large amount of electricity are still in the developing stage.
As of now, turbines converting kinetic energy into electrical energy run constantly to provide a steady flow of electricity to households and industries. But before we dig in into how we can generate free electricity we need to look deeper into the workings of a ‘Dynamo’. A Dynamo is nothing but a rotating device which converts rotational energy into electrical energy via magnetic induction.
In short, magnets rotate around copper coils which due to induction lead to the generation of electricity.
The polarity of the magnets makes the electrons run in the copper coil generating electricity.
This is the fundamental part of any power plant and is used in all turbine technologies.
Tesla has made a giant leap and proving to be a pioneer in renewable electricity. Its Hybrid Cars which run fully on charged batteries and its Powerwall Module which provide power to a regular household are living proof of its innovation. A Tesla Powerwall can generate 20-40 kWh of electricity which is sufficient for a household.
What are the current methods of generating electricity?
Electricity is generated in two ways
Conventional current productions are for large-scale usage, this is where wind farms and power plants come into play, whereas Unconventional is for limited usage and usually cater to a smaller chunk of individuals (personal or household usage).
We shall be focusing on the Unconventional production of electricity.
Namely, Solar, Wind and Some other unconventional ways.
The Sun is a million miles away but it serves enough to generate electricity worldwide. With the population outburst, it is essential that we look up and strive to generate electricity. Solar panels have become fairly cheaper over the course of time. Installing a few solar panels on rooftops can be easily done to ensure there is a constant flow of electricity. LED lights have also evolved throughout the years. They consume less and give more. A well-structured electric grid for a simple household will cost less than Rs. 10,000.
Another abundance is free wind. Houses built near open lands with limited sunlight can avail this option. Where a few windmills can be installed to cater to 3-4 households. Just the rotating blades are enough to drive the turbine/dynamo to generate enough electricity. Windmills are not an old concept. Windmills are being used for centuries as grinding mills and water pumps. Just the synergy of dynamos in the windmill can lead to achieving all the tasks and more.
Other Unconventional Ways –
- Piezoelectricity – As the world’s human population approaches a whopping 7 billion, using the kinetic energy of human movement can possibly be a great source of generating power. Piezoelectricity is the attribute of some materials to generate electricity after the application of mechanical stress. By devising pavements made of piezoelectric material along busy walking paths or even in our shoes, electricity can be generated with or steps. This is fairly a new concept and is still under development but when it’s potential is fully recognized it can lead to making humans moving power plants.
- Human sewage – There are strategies already underway to drive public buses in Oslo, Norway, with human sewage. Electricity can also be generated from sewage using fuel cells where microbes act as small units of power generators. Utilizing a bio-electrochemical system that drives a current by translating bacterial interaction. Finally, the sewage can also be used later as a fertilizer.
As a whole, these new techniques can easily cut the scarcity of electricity in these demanding times. With the ever-growing population, the pollution seems to rise too. It’s just a matter of time we learn to adapt these renewable energy sources if we want to live in a pollution, free and safe environment. What are you doing to make the world a better place?