We hear a lot about clean energy, biofuels, also about the price of oil, the increases in the receipt of light. But do we really know where the energy comes from and if it is more or less polluting? To begin with, we can talk about two types of energy, depending on their origin: renewable and non-renewable energies. When they are obtained from natural sources, a priori inexhaustible and that are capable of regenerating by natural means, they are called renewable energies, such as solar, wind and hydraulic. Conversely, non-renewable energies are those that are found in limited quantities and come from nuclear fuels or fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas. If we do a bit of history, we will discover that since ancient times, renewables constituted an important part of the energy used by man. Good examples of this are sailing, windmills and water mills, which took advantage of natural resources to generate energy. It was with the invention of the steam engine, and with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution when the thermal and electric motors were increasingly used, in an era of still little consumption, which did not foresee a depletion of the sources, nor other environmental problems that later arose. We will know a little more in detail what they are and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of energy.
Dirt energies are those whose reserves are limited and are exhausted with use. They come from nuclear energy and fossil fuels, that is, from oil, natural gas and coal. When dealing with non-renewable resources, their main disadvantage is that they will be exhausted in the medium term, and it may take millions of years to have them back. In addition, given that their reserves are limited and decreasing, their extraction costs are increasingly higher, something that ends up affecting the pockets of all citizens, and is one of the reasons why in Spain we pay more and more for the light. One more disadvantage: combustion is the way to obtain energy from oil, coal and gas, that is, these fossils are burned to produce heat and movement, which produces the emission of greenhouse gases that pollute the atmosphere, along with pollutant discharges that cause serious alterations in the forest, agricultural ecosystems and also rivers in the areas of energy production.
For their part, nuclear power plants emit minimal amounts of pollutants into the air. Its drawbacks are generating radioactive waste, produced in the nuclear fission process, which are very dangerous, apart from running the risk of producing serious environmental catastrophes.
Renewable energies are those that are obtained from natural resources that can be accessed permanently, and that have a zero environmental impact on the emission of greenhouse gases. Among them, are the wind (from the wind), geothermal (from the heat of the Earth), hydroelectric or hydroelectric (of rivers and freshwater currents), tidal (takes advantage of the tides of seas and oceans), solar (from solar rays), wave energy (obtained from mechanical energy generated by the movement of waves), in addition to biomass and biofuels, to which we will devote a special section. Wind power is inexhaustible, clean and free. Its main drawback is its discontinuity, since there is not always wind, and to cause changes in the environmental landscape due to the installation of wind turbine towers in a certain landscape. Solar energy is also clean and free, but its disadvantage is that it is intermittent since it reduces its power on cloudy days.
Another important handicap is that, for its transformation into electrical energy, a high-cost technology is needed. The energy coming from the water is also almost infinite and ecological, but among its drawbacks are periods of drought and that the creation of reservoirs causes a high environmental impact.
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