Steps to be taken to resolve energy crisis
(a)Wind Energy :
In India, the wind power is of great significance as there are large coastal, hill and desert areas where wind energy can be usefully exploited for generation of electricity and water pumping.
The harnessing technology of wind energy is simple. The strike of the blowing wind on a specially designed blades of a windmill's rotor causes it to rotate. This rotation, which is the mechanical energy, when coupled to a turbine, drives the power generator. The wind energy thus delivers on the spot small quantities of energy. The Indian subcontinent is a high wind zone with energy potential estimated at about 20,000 MW. Wind farms are already located in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.
Advantages of wind power : i.Power generation is cheaper. Power is procured at 40 paise per unit ii. free from pollution and environmental degradation, iii. Since generation is continuous unlike in diesel power, investment is never idle.
(b) Geothermal Energy
Geothermal energy is fast emerging as a significant source of electricity in several island nations, mainly in the Indian oceans and the Pacific regions. Geothermal plants make use of naturally heated steam drawn to the surface through a series of boreholes.
Hot Rocks for energy generation
The Hot Dry Rock (HDR) technology is especially suitable for countries like India, where the geological pattern favours easy exploitation of this source. Tapping of energy involves drilling of holes several km deep into the earth where the temperature of rocks ranges form 200 - 250 oC. Water is pumped into these bore holes and allowed to circulate through the source rock's fracture net work, which may have fissures barely a few millimeter wide. This water is then ejected under pressure from a second hole in the form of steam. The steam is used to power turbines for electricity generation, after which it is condensed back to water that can be used again.
(c) Mini hydel generation
Energy generation from small water source is probably the most cheapest and reliable of all renewable energy sources. It can be harnessed conveniently from nearby canal or stream in a most environmentally benign manner. Nature has been very generous and bounteous in providing a vast hydro electric potential to the Indian subcontinent.
(d) Ocean energy
The various methods of extracting energy from oceans are as follows.
1.Ocean winds, 2.Ocean waves, 3.Ocean tides, 4.Ocean currents, 5.Ocean geothermal, 6.Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), 7.Salinity gradient and 8.Bioconversion of sea weeds.
India's first power plant generating electricity from ocean energy is commissioned at Vizhinjam fishing harbour in Kerala to provide energy of 150 MW in a year.
(e) Solar energy:
Solar energy is another energy source. Each year the earth receives from the sun an enormous total of 5 x 10 20 k.cals of energy. Solar energy, which is the primary source of all energy forms on the earth, is the renewable form of energy.
Advantages of solar energy:
(a) Solar energy is a kind of universal, decentralized and non-polluting energy (b) it helps considerably in maintaining the ecological balance through the process of photosynthesis and green house effect. (c) it has none of the disadvantages found in the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas.
(f) Nuclear energy :
Nuclear energy is the only energy source, known to be economically feasible in the present and for the near future. It can replace fossil fuels. In nuclear fission, a heavy atom splits under neutron bombardment into smaller fragments, with the evolution of huge amount of energy. In spite of this advantage the problem of disposal of nuclear wastes remains.
Nuclear fusion is expected to be an ideal energy source for the future. In nuclear fusion, light nuclei such as deuterium (21H) and tritium (31H) combine to form heavier stable nuclei.
Moreover, the products of fusion are not radioactive and so safety hazards associated with fission reactors are greatly reduced. The light isotopes needed for fusion are sufficiently common to supply all of our energy needs for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the above fusion reaction has not been perfected to sustain flow of energy.
(g) Bio gas or Gobar gas:
Gobar gas plants are based on anaerobic fermentation of organic wastes in the absence of air. Through gaseous stage the heating efficiency of the cattle dung increased production by about 20%. There is a production of an organic manure which is about 43% better than dry cattle dung itself. This manure can also reduce pressure on naptha-based fertilizers. It has been estimated that 10m3 of biogas has energy equivalent of 6.0 m3 of natural gas, 3.6 litres of butane, 7.0 litres of gasoline or 6.1 litres of diesel fuel.
(h) Hydrogen - Source of power for future
The hydrogen has been found to be a good choice among all the alternative fuel options. It can be produced in virtually unlimited quantities with on hand production technologies. It has been established that hydrogen can meet all the energy needs of human society, including power generation more efficiently and more economically than petro fuels, and with total compatibility with the environment. In addition, hydrogen is non-toxic, reasonably safe to handle, distribute and use as a fuel. Hydrogen has the highest mass energy content - its heat of combustion per unit weight is about 2.5 times that of hydrocarbon fuel, 4.5 times that of ethanol and 6.0 times that of methanol. Its thermodynamic energy conversion efficiency of 30-35% is greater than that of gasoline (20-25%).