Uses Of Wind Energy Today

George asks…

Why don’t Japan use geothermal energy as they are situated on the ring of fire?

Windmill Farms answers:

Well, you have an idea there. Actually, they are already using some geothermal energy but it’s pretty minuscule. Japan has in the last 2 years been making plans to expand in this area.

Here are some articles on some of the ideas:

Volcanic Japan could be geothermal energy leader: US expert
A prominent US environmentalist said Wednesday Japan should focus on developing geothermal energy, saying the volcanic island-nation could become the global leader in the field. “Japan could make geothermal energy the centre of its new energy economy just as the US or China will make wind the centre of theirs,” Lester Brown, president of the US-based Earth Policy Institute, told a news conference.
“There are no leaders in the world today in this field. There is no industrial country in the world that now has a well established geothermal industry” Brown said at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan.
Japan, located at the crossroads of four tectonic plates and on what is known as the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and dotted with volcanoes…

Http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/volcanic-japan-could-be-geothermal-energy-leader-us-expert-1986368.html

Japan taps into power of volcanoes with geothermal energy plants
Japan has announced plans to build its first new geothermal power stations in nearly two decades in a bid to tap the nation’s domestic energy sources. Jan 2009

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/geothermalenergy/4117746/Japan-taps-into-power-of-volcanoes-with-geothermal-energy-plants.html

In 1950 coal supplied half of Japan’s energy needs, hydroelectricity one-third, and oil the rest. In 1988 oil provided Japan with 57.3% of energy needs, coal 18.1%, natural gas 10.1%, nuclear power 9.0%, hydroelectic power 4.6%, geothermal power 0.1%, and 1.3% came from other sources.

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_Japan

Japan should Use geothermal energy as an Alternative Energy Resource
By Anney on October 31st, 2010

http://www.puregreenenvironment.com/?p=88

Modern day Beppu Japan uses geothermal water and heat in buildings and factories and has 4,000 hot springs and bathing facilities that attract 12 million tourists a year.

Http://geothermal.marin.org/geopresentation/sld076.htm

Japan is one of the most distinguished volcanic countries in the world, and geothermal energy is its precious domestic energy. And as it emits very little CO2, it is also regarded as an effective means to deal with global warming issues as well as wind and small-to-medium scale hydroelectric power. However, geothermal energy has some difficult tasks. The initial investment cost is huge, and some measures are indispensable for preservation of natural scenery around the development site, and guarantee of the hot-spring utilization without any influence.

In Japan, actual survey for geothermal energy resources has begun around 1950, and the first geothermal power station started its operation in 1966. After 35 years, 16 geothermal power plants in the 14 geothermal power station sites (excluding small power generation facilities for household use) are currently operating in Japan. Total authorized rated output reaches 530 MW, or 0.2% of the whole Japanese power capacity of 250 GW. Actual power output of the geothermal power for FY 1999 was 3,440 GWh, and this is account for 0.3% of 1,000 TWh, the whole power output in Japan. Japanese geothermal power generation capacity accounts for 6% in the world and ranks sixth, following USA, the Philippines, Italy, Mexico and Indonesia.

Besides power generation, heat of geothermal energy itself is directly used. Heat of hot spring is utilized as heat source of air conditioning, greenhouses, fish culturing, thawing on road, and hot water supply for some facilities including swimming pool. Total amount of direct heat consumption in Japan reaches 1,000 TJ. Recently, sub-underground heat, which maintains even temperature throughout the year, is drawing public attention as a stable heat source. The sub-underground heat is utilized with geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump for air conditioning. In Japan, seasonal variations in temperature are marked, and constant heat demands exist throughout the year. Further, heat use is considered as an effective measure to mitigate heat island phenomena in the urban area.

Http://www.nef.or.jp/english/new/pre_geo.html

Hope this helps!

Mark asks…

Why can’t solar and wind energy be stored in hydrogen?

One of the problems with solar/wind energy is that there is no easy way to store the energy produced. This means expensive, environment-destroying transmission lines have to be built from a solar / wind farm to the destination where the energy will ultimately be used. The opposite is true for nuclear, coal, & gas. Simply don’t burn the fuel, and it will remain unused indefinitely. You can store it as long as you want to and move it from place to place and release the energy to do work only when you need to.

So yeah… unfortunately wind and solar farms generate energy that has to be used immediately. You can store small amounts in traditional batteries, but there is no way you can store enough to power a whole city for a year.

Here’s my idea: Use the electrical energy from wind and solar farms to break up water via hydrolysis into oxygen and hydrogen. Release the oxygen into the air (I’m sure no one will complain that we’re “polluting” the air with life-giving oxygen!) and store the hydrogen. Yes, it’s a flammable gas but with today‘s technology and safety devices, it can be safely stored and transported. Then, whenever you need energy, simply burn the hydrogen. Those of you who have taken Chem 101 know that the only “waste” product from burning hydrogen is 100% pure water.

It’s a win-win environmentally and energy-storage wise. There’s no need for toxic chemicals in batteries to store energy, and there’s no need to burn anything that creates smoke or other toxic waste products or pollution.

I’m sure I’m not the first one to think of this. So my question is… why isn’t my idea being implemented on a mass scale? What’s wrong with it?

Windmill Farms answers:

The problem is that there is little widespread dependency on wind and solar power, and is largely used for specific, small scale applications where nearly all of the power gained is utilised as a ‘top up’ to conventional power sources. This means there is little to no surplus in energy gains, and if there is then it is unlikely that the facilities would be available (or affordable) due to its limited usage.

The current profitability of wind and solar power is low enough as it is, and it is highly unlikely that small, renewable energy companies, while having to compete with large and well established fossil fuel companies, will be able to afford the facilities for cost effective hydrogen production and storage on a large enough scale. Most renewable energy companies are still fighting to regain the costs of initial project developments; it’s unlikely there will even be a surplus to convert to hydrogen in many cases as these companies are selling all the energy they can at the rate they can supply it.

Chris asks…

Why can’t solar and wind energy be stored in hydrogen?

One of the problems with solar/wind energy is that there is no easy way to store the energy produced. This means expensive, environment-destroying transmission lines have to be built from a solar / wind farm to the destination where the energy will ultimately be used. The opposite is true for nuclear, coal, & gas. Simply don’t burn the fuel, and it will remain unused indefinitely. You can store it as long as you want to and move it from place to place and release the energy to do work only when you need to.

So yeah… unfortunately wind and solar farms generate energy that has to be used immediately. You can store small amounts in traditional batteries, but there is no way you can store enough to power a whole city for a year.

Here’s my idea: Use the electrical energy from wind and solar farms to break up water via hydrolysis into oxygen and hydrogen. Release the oxygen into the air (I’m sure no one will complain that we’re “polluting” the air with life-giving oxygen!) and store the hydrogen. Yes, it’s a flammable gas but with today‘s technology and safety devices, it can be safely stored and transported. Then, whenever you need energy, simply burn the hydrogen. Those of you who have taken Chem 101 know that the only “waste” product from burning hydrogen is 100% pure water.

It’s a win-win environmentally and energy-storage wise. There’s no need for toxic chemicals in batteries to store energy, and there’s no need to burn anything that creates smoke or other toxic waste products or pollution.

I’m sure I’m not the first one to think of this. So my question is… why isn’t my idea being implemented on a mass scale? What’s wrong with it?

Windmill Farms answers:

It is an issue of energy density. Power per kilogram of fuel. Hydrogen is so light and fluffy, it is hard to compress it enough to make that energy density anywhere close to that of gasoline or diesel fuel. By the time you do get it compressed enough, now you have to cryogenically cool it, or it is at too high a pressure. All this compressing and cooling takes energy and equipment you just don’t need with other energy sources. Ultimately, it takes more energy than it is worth to make it economical.

Now, if you can figure out some kind of molecular sponge to absorb the hydrogen and then release it on demand at a high density, then you’ve got a game changing technology. People are working on this right now.

Linda asks…

Why are Scientists Looking to use Wind Energy instead of Water Energy?

Science Test.

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind is in abundant supply and can be accessed virtually anywhere in the world.

Water – that is, usable water – is getting in shorter and shorter supply. 96% of the world’s water is found in the oceans and is highly saline (salty).

Ground water, fresh water lakes, and rivers account for another 3.5% approx. Ultimately 99.5% of all the water on earth is not easily available for human and animal consumption.

The World Health Organization (info on their website) sees a coming crisis in the world’s access to usable, drinkable, potable water. It is one of the greatest needs currently for third world nations… And then there’s all that watering of golf course greens… (I digress… I love golf – it’s a guilty pleasure as an environmentalist!)

So – even though there are about 6.1 Billion people on the planet (and growing) – there are already over 1 Billion without access to potable water meaning dealing with diarrhea, schistosomiasis, or trachoma, or infestation with ascaris, guinea worm, or hookworm… All associated with poor drinking water and inadequate sanitation.

Wind power is the cleanest energy to produce and the only quibble some may have is the death of birds from the windmills – BUT – there are far more deaths in one country from powerlines than there would be if the whole world full of the wind turbines required.

See below for an AMAZING, comprehensive study as to why Wind turbines are best and Ethanol is worse than the gasoline of today. I am now a Wind-Energy convert and have ditched my prior long-standing preference for Ethanol and bio-diesel fuels. I hope this study gets the attention it deserves because Ethanol will be a bigger air polluter than gasoline.

Again, wind turbines = the cleanest energy possible without the misperceived fears that nuclear energy can convey.

Donald asks…

How does Wind, Solar, hydro, Bio power, and Geothermal used today?

How can these energy sources be used??
What are some current examples of its usage??

Windmill Farms answers:

This is a very broad question. The broad answer is they all are used to generate electricity. In turn, this electricity is fed to the grid to supply homes, businesses and industries. One thing to note, depending on the state, these sources are considered renewable and some percentage of all the power used in a state may be required to be from these sources.
As far as examples, there are power plants that use these sources. California has at least one example of each kind of power plant.

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