EDITION: June - July '06


It is time to change our energy consuming habits.

Since humans discovered how to obtain energy from burning fossil fuels, their indiscriminate use has increased exponentially, exhausting world supplies and causing an enormous amount of accumulated atmospheric pollution which threatens our very existence on the planet. With the end of the supply now clearly in sight and the problems of global climate change becoming such an important issue, it is time to change our energy consuming habits and make a rapid transition towards both renewable and non-polluting alternatives.
Since the late 1950’s, isolated pioneers have been experimenting with various clean energy systems, but due to the lack of any real investment, progress has been very slow. However, because of an ever increasing demand and the obvious need to find a quick solution, the technical advances in sustainable energy production are at last being taken seriously by both large industries and world governments.
On our planet, sunlight is so far the most abundant form of natural energy. In modern times, solar collectors and modules have been designed to capture some of the Sun’s energy and convert it into more usable forms such as heat or electricity, which are the two most important types of energy we consume.
Here are a few of the many different methods of obtaining clean and renewable energy available today:
Solar Photovoltaic Energy: A clean, quiet, and reliable energy source that uses solar panels to directly convert sunlight into electricity. These systems often use batteries to store the collected electrical energy.

Solar Thermal Energy: Using solar collectors, the sunlight is directly converted into heat. Solar water systems can save 50% or more on the energy bill for domestic hot water production.
Wind Energy: Wind has been used by humans for thousands of years, first to carry ships across oceans and, later, to pump water and grind grain. More recently, wind is being harnessed on a large scale as a clean, safe source of energy for generating electricity all around the world.
Hydro-electric energy: Today, the energy from falling water is used mainly to drive electrical generators at hydro-electric dams. As long as snow and rainfall can fill streams and rivers, moving water can be a renewable source of energy.
Geo-thermal Energy: Geo-thermal heat has been used to heat homes and businesses on a commercial scale since the 1920’s. In most cases, communities take advantage of

naturally occurring geysers, hot springs, and steam vents for domestic heating and in some cases to turn high-speed turbines that drive generators to produce electricity.
Ground Source Heat Pumps: This works the same way as your refrigerator, using a compressor, lengths of sealed tubing for gathering and dispersing heat, and a gas called the refrigerant. An essential part of the heat pump system is the network of tubes buried deep in the ground near the home, where it can be used to cool the house in summertime and warm it in the wintertime.

Biomass Energy: The term “biomass” refers to any form of plant or animal tissue. The energy stored in biomass can be released by burning the material directly, or by feeding it to micro-organisms that use it to make “biogas”, a form of natural gas. Energy from biomass is used around the world, for everything from cooking and heating to generating electricity and driving motor vehicles.
Wave Energy: Waves, particularly those of large amplitude, contain enormous amounts of energy. It is estimated that if less than 0.1% of the total energy contained within the world’s oceans and seas was harnessed it would supply our entire global energy needs.

Tidal Energy: Changes in sea level can be used to generate electricity by building a dam across a coastal bay or estuary with large differences between low and high tides. Holes at the bottom of the dam cause water to rush past turbines at great speed, generating electricity.•