Introduction to Various Sources of Renewable/Sustainable Energy Technologies

By Aminu Owonikoko

The use of energy is pivotal in achieving the interwoven environmental, social and economic objectives of renewable development of human race (Jose Goldenberg, 2000). If these pertinent objectives have to be achieved, the types of energy the world manufacture and the various routes that we employ to utilize them will have to be different and altered. Otherwise, the damage to the environment will escalate, the growth in the world economy will be shambled and inequity may accelerate.

World Energy Council opined that the world would be reliant on non-sustainable energy for decades to come. Both developed and developing countries are certain to expand their use of non-sustainable energy (fossil fuels). Yet, there will be strong resistance to this expansion if the non-sustainable energy community cannot demonstrate that it can be accomplished in a manner that reduces environmental degradation.

Sustainable energy sources have been pertinent for humans since the inception of civilization. Sustainable energy technologies use facilities that are not conventionally subject to erosion. The energy that reaches the earth’s surface from the solar radiation is about 1000 times more than all the world’s energy requirements.

Examples of other sustainable energy sources are itemized and succinctly described below apart from Biomass (i.e. Energy from Biomass) which has been addressed in the previous BOSS Newspaper:

1.      Solar Energy – Energy from the sun

2.      Wind Energy – Energy from the wind

3.      Tidal Energy – Energy from the tidal waves

4.      Hydro Energy – Energy from the hydro

5.      Wave Energy – Energy from the wave

6.      Geothermal Energy – Energy from underground hole

1. Solar energy technologies have enormous potential. The energy from the sun cannot wear out and is void of environmental pollution. The light and heat that is emitted from the solar energy reaches the surface of the earth free without any stress.

2. Energy from wind is widely available and is popular with other sources of sustainable power but is broadly spread and diffuse. Before the industrial revolution, energy from wind is globally employed as a source of energy, but because of non-similarity in reliability and cost, wind energy was replaced by fossil fuels.

3. Tidal energy systems has been used to generate electric power as a result of rising and falling tides similar to the way employed in hydroelectric energy station. That is, there is need in transforming the tidal energy to electricity which is synonymous to the approach or system employed in energy station of hydroelectric. Most important thing is a dam across estuary. Constructing dams is an exorbitant operation. The most excellent tidal stations are those areas where the lengths of the dam that are not necessary are minimized especially when the bay has a small opening.

4. Hydro energy is generated from falling water. In the global world today hydro energy is the major channel of sustainable energy. Earth’s water cycle can be sourced in many approaches. Conventionally, the usual variety of hydroelectric station store water in a reservoir via the employment of a dam on a river. In order to generate electric power from hydro energy water is expelled from the flows of reservoir via turbine, rotating the turbine, which subsequently generate power by switches on a generator. It is not compulsory that the dam should be large what really pertinent is how the water in the river would be channelled via turbine. Furthermore minute duct/passage to channel the water in the river via a turbine have employed by some hydro energy systems.

5. Wave energy gets its power from wind on the sea. The wind that blows across the sea cause ocean waves. Wave energy plants are very scarce simply because it is difficult to harness wave energy and change it into electric power. However it requires huge amount and it is not cost effective. Although they are strong and fierce channel of energy. The most effective way of producing power from waves is by the usage of pool ( that is, pool of swimming water) whereby air is forced in and out of a chamber beside the pool, which enables the water outside rise and fall making waves (i.e. it performs in similitude to reverse in pool wave machine). Although there are a lot of approaches of doing it.

6. The energy that comes from heat inside the earth is known as geothermal energy. Characteristically, geothermal energy underutilized a power and heat facility that is enormous, home grown, pure and dependable. Facilities of geothermal rank from hot water to ground shallow and down deep to the extreme temperatures of molten rock and even rock several miles below the earth’s surface. Geothermal energy systems can be divided into three parts namely the technology of heat pumps, technology of use-direct applications and the technology of power plants.


Jose Goldemberg, 2000 World Energy Assessment. United Nations Development Programme and World Energy Council.

Aminu Owonikoko MPhil (UK), MSc (UK), B.Tech (Nigeria) Reverse Innovation, Business Process and Manufacturing Excellence Consultant @ Muniowo Agro Nigeria Limited (RC818651) in Partnership with Ajax Equipment Ltd (www.ajax.co.uk) Mobile Phone No: 08166329954 E-mail: owonikokoak@yahoo.com

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