No doubt, as fossil and nuclear fuel are considered more and more dirtier and untrustable, there is a growing demand for greener and safer renewable energy sources. Sun, wind, water, biomass, waves and tides, and the heat of the soil all can provide colorful alternatives to the non-renewable energy.
The following collection showcases some of the most amazing renewable energy projects and prototypes from the past few decades, including probably quite a few you have never heard of before.
Located in the Mojave Desert 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is an operational solar thermal power project. The facility has a capacity of 392 megawatts gross, using concentrated solar power (CSP). It deploys 173,500 heliostat mirrors spread over approximately 3,500 acres, focusing solar energy on boilers located atop three solar power towers, generating steam to turn a conventional steam turbine. The project – constructed by Bechtel, owned by NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource Energy – is currently the largest solar thermal plant in operation in the world.
Aerial view of the solar plant of Ouarzazate, central Morocco. The world’s biggest solar plant using photovoltaics (PV), takes advantage of the Sahara sunshine.
Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP
AGL’s Docklands office
Solar panels are seen on the rooftop at AGL Energy’s Docklands office, in Melbourne, Australia. The rooftop solar system covers 20,000 square metres and generates an estimated 110,000 kWh of electricity a year.
Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
This is the 102-acre, 15-megawatt Solar Array II Generating Station at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. Coupled with the 13.2-megawatt Nellis Solar Star project completed in 2007, Nellis has the largest solar photovoltaic system in the Department of Defense. During daylight hours the two solar fields combined provide almost all of the base’s energy needs or about 42 percent of its overall electricity requirements. Power from the array that is not used will go to the NV Energy grid and back into the local community.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Photovoltaic cells cover the 426 square metre on the 70 m high southern facade of an apartment house in Berlin, Germany. The photovoltaic cells replace the conventional facade slabs and produce around 25.000 kWh of solar-generated electricity a year which is fed into the public grid and then set off against the energy consumption of the twin towers. This helps to reduce the operating costs charged to residents.
Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
The PS10 solar power plant at Sanlucar la Mayor outside Seville, Spain was the first commercial solar tower in the world, built by the Spanish company Solucar (Abengoa). It can provide electricity for up to 6,000 homes.
Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Small family hydropower
The Schneider family (founders of Natel Energy) installed a new small hydropower plant on an existing, previously unpowered irrigation canal in Madras, Oregon. The plant produces electricity by the Schneider Linear Hydro Engine, and this first-of-its-kind project was soon purchased by Apple Inc. to help power one of its data centers.
Photo: Natel Energy
ICE geothermal power plant
The cooling towers for a geothermal power plant run by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). The power company has managed to produce all of the electricity for the nation from renewable energy sources for more than 80 days straight in 2015, with the use of hydroelectric power plants and a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal energy.
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Onshore wind farms
In 2015, the wind industry installed more electricity-generating capacity than any other energy source in America. The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm (below) is one of three major wind farms in California, consists more than 3,000 wind turbines, delivering 615 MW of renewable electricity.
Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Offshore wind farms
Europe is the world’s leader in building wind farms close to its shores. The London Array is the world’s largest offshore wind farm, and it started operating on April 8, 2013, about twenty kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Kent and Essex, England. It has a maximum generating power of 630 megawatts (MW) provided by 175 turbines, enough to supply up to 500,000 homes.
Photo: London Array
Photo: NASA Earth Observatory
The AK-1000 is one of the largest tidal energy turbines in the world, developed by Atlantis Resources. It is seventy three feet tall and weighs one hundred and thirty tons, and being tested off the shores of Orkney, Scotland. Once completed, the MeyGen project–the world’s largest tidal stream project, an array of 269 AK-1000–is expected to deliver up to 398 megawatts of power, enough energy to power 200,000 homes or up to half of Scotland.
Photo: Atlantis Resources Corporation
Heat from the deep
Geothermal energy plants tap deep underground heat, such as the Salton Sea Power Station in Calipatria, California, located on the southern San Andreas Fault. The plant is located over the Salton Sea Geothermal Field where temperatures measured in wells drilled for geothermal brines reach 360 degrees Celsius at depths of 1,500 to 2,500 meters.
Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station (NGPS) is the second largest geothermal power station in Iceland, located near Thingvellir and the Hengill Volcano. The station produces approximately 120 MW of electrical power, and delivers around 1,100 litres (290 US gal) of hot water (82-85 °C) per second.
The Krafla Power Station is a 60-megawatt (MW) geothermal power station located near the Krafla Volcano in Iceland, drawing heat from more than 30 boreholes.
Energy from sewage
A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented the pilot project, which went into operation in 2014, together with Microsoft and FuelCell Energy.
Pelamis Wave Energy Converter
Developed by the Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter is a technology that uses the motion of ocean surface waves to create electricity. The snake-like machine is made up of connected sections which flex and bend as waves pass, and the motion generates electricity. The world’s first offshore wave machine generated electricity when it was first connected to the UK grid in 2004. The company is now focusing its efforts on the new P2 machine, which is being tested in Orkney in Scotland since 2010.
Photo: Pelamis Wave Power
Ocean Renewable Power Company’s TidGen Power System is designed to generate emission-free electricity at tidal and deep river sites. The four-turbine unit is secured to the ocean floor using either a fixed bottom support frame or a buoyant tensioned mooring system, determined by actual site conditions. Depending on the peak current velocity at the site, the nameplate capacity of the TidGen turbines can be as much as 600 kW.
SeaGen is the world’s first commercial power plant to generate electricity from tidal energy. Commissioned in 2008, the 1.2 MW plant is located in a strait in the natural harbor Strangford Lough, in the Irish Sea, and can provide around 1,500 households with electricity. This power is generated by two large underwater rotors driven by the strong water currents for up to 20 hours a day at high and low tide.
Azura is a wave power device currently being tested in at the US Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Unlike other wave energy technologies, Azura extracts energy from both the vertical and horizontal motion of the wave, and it can generate 20 kilowatts of power.
Four WindSide WS-4B vertical-axis wind turbines with helical Savonius rotor at the Da Jinshan Radar Station, China. The 4B is well suited for multi-unit installations in heavy wind environments in remote locations or offshore where a moderate-level of electrical output is required.
Egg-beaters of a new era
Darrieus-type vertical axis wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm, Diablo Range in Northern California, which is one of the earliest wind farms in the United States. The wind farm is composed of almost 5 thousand relatively small wind turbines of various type, with a capacity of 576 megawatts (MW), producing about 125 MW on average and 1.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) yearly.
Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock
The year of the corkscrew
This compact wind turbine was designed by Cleveland State University for the Cleveland Indians, and was generating electricity atop Progressive Field from 2012 to 2013. The 40-foot-high, 18-foot-wide helix turbine served test purposes, using five off-the-shelf small wind turbines placed inside the grooves of the wind-deflecting corkscrew shape, made of hard plastic, that boosts the power of low wind speeds.
Photo: Amy Sancetta/AP
Photo: Mark Duncan/AP
Top photo: Figures from Anthony Gormley’s art installation ‘Another Place’ stand in front of the turbines of the new Burbo Bank off shore wind farm in the mouth of the River Mersey (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
source: gizmodo.com by Attila Nagy