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This paper looks at alternative sources of energy in general, and the solar energy in particular. The paper also looks at the use and development of solar energy in UAE, focusing on the use and development of solar energy in UAE by the company known as MASDAR.
Solar Energy is one of the most effective and affordable alternative sources of energy. Alternative source of energy refers to any energy source that is not based on fossil fuel; any energy source that is not derived from the fossil fuel. Some of the common sources of alternative energy include: solar energy, geothermal energy, Wind energy, Nuclear energy, Hydrogen energy, and Biofuel and Ethanol sources of energy. This paper looks at the alternative sources of energy in general, and focuses on the Solar Energy as one of the most effective, affordable, and cheap alternative source of energy. The paper also looks at the use and development of solar energy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially, by the company called MASDAR, based in the UAE.
As we have just seen, alternative source of energy is any energy source that does not use fossil fuel in generating energy (Alternative Energy, Web). There are a number of advantages of using alternative source of energy in comparison to using the fossil fuel source of energy. One of the advantages of using the alternative source of energy is that the alternative source of energy reduces the usage of fossil fuel source of energy and therefore preserves and prevents the fossil fuels from being depleted. With the emergence of many and powerful industries in the modern world, coupled with the increase of the number and usage of vehicles, aeroplanes, and ships, which all depend on fossil based fuels, the fossil fuel source of energy is indeed at the danger of being depleted. Depletion of the fossil fuel source of energy, without an effective alternative source of energy would indeed be a great obstacle in the industrial development in the modern world. For this reason, research on and usage of alternative source of energy are becoming quite common in the modern world.
The second major advantage of using the alternative source of energy is that many alternative sources of energy are quite friendly to the environment, i.e. many alternative sources of energy do not release toxic chemicals to our environment. Fossil based sources of energy are well known for releasing greenhouse gases, Carbon Dioxide gas, in the environment, thus leading to the global warming (Alternative Energy, Web). Global warming threatens to make our world inhabitable and so there is an urgent need to develop alternative sources of energy that do not cause any threat to our very own existence. Many alternative sources of energy therefore help us to get the energy that we need in our various activities without causing any harm to our environment.
The third major advantage of using alternative source of energy is that, the alternative source of energy is quite cheap and affordable in comparison to the fossil fuel based sources of energy (Alternative Energy, Web). The cost of the fossil based fuels is increasing each year in many countries around the world that do not produce the fossil fuels. Different governments are using a lot of money on fossil fuels as source of energy. Also, many poor people are not able to afford the fossil fuels because of the astronomical costs associated with them. On the other hand, alternative sources of energy like the solar energy and the biogas are quite cheap and affordable to almost everybody. The alternative sources of energy, therefore, are quite cheap and affordable; alternative sources of energy ensure that almost everybody has access to power. The alternative sources of energy therefore spurs economic growth of a country through making cheap power available to all people, including the poor people.
Having looked at the main advantages of alternative sources of energy, let us now look at some of the common alternative sources of energy. There are indeed many alternative sources of energy, but in this paper, we are going to look briefly only at some of the common alternative sources of energy.
Wind energy refers to the generation of electricity from the wind energy through the use of wind turbines. The wind turbine is made up of three propellers-like blades known as a rotor. The rotor then is attached to a very tall tower, which looks like a very tall poll. The tower is supposed to be tall because, normally, winds are stronger higher from the ground (Wind Power: Renewable Energy, Web). When the wind blows, the tower captures the wind to produce kinetic energy; the wind makes the rotor to spin, and as the rotor spins, the movements of the spinning blades give power to generator that produces the kinetic energy. The generated kinetic power is then converted into electric power by magnets in the wind turbine.
One of the main advantages of wind power is that it is a clean source of energy that does not cause any harm to the environment. Wind power also is quite affordable and cheap, in comparison to the fossil fuels. Wind energy also is quite effective, reliable and can be sustained over a very long time. Wind energy therefore is one of the best alternative sources of energy.
Just like the wind energy, Biogas is also a renewable source of energy- Biogas is generated from natural resources. Biogas as an alternative source of energy involves breakdown of organic materials in absence of oxygen to produce a gas that can be used as a source of energy (Biogas, Web). Some of the organic materials that can be used in the production of Biogas include animal waste, sewage waste, and green organic matter waste. Some of the gases that are produced in Biogas include: Methane, hydrogen, and Carbon monoxide. All these three gases are combustible, and so they are commonly used in heating purposes, for instance in cooking.
Biogas as an alternative source of energy is environmentally friendly; Biogas technology does not cause harm to the environment. The other main advantage of Biogas technology is that it is quite affordable and cheap. This is because Biogas production involves mainly use of waste materials such as animal waste and sewage waste. Biogas therefore is a very affordable and effective alternative source of energy.
Hydrogen gas has a lot of energy and has been is used in various ways as an alternative source of energy. But Hydrogen doesn’t exist in the atmosphere in isolated state; Hydrogen always exists in combined forms with other elements. To obtain Hydrogen therefore, in its pure form, we have to separate Hydrogen from its compounds (Wise, n.d). For instance, Hydrogen is obtained from the hydrocarbons through a process known as reforming. The reforming process involves application of heat to separate Hydrogen from the hydrocarbons. Hydrogen also is obtained from water through a process known as electrolysis. This process involves the use of an electric current to separate water into it constitutive elements of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Hydrogen is used in various engines as a source of energy, for instance NASA uses Hydrogen as a source of energy to propel space shuttles.
On the environment, the use of Hydrogen as a source of energy has absolutely no known harmful effects. Hydrogen also is high in energy and is used in high energy-driven engines; this therefore shows that hydrogen is a quite effective source of energy.
Having looked at the above three alternative sources of energy, let us now look in details at the fourth alternative source of energy, and the most commonly used alternative source of energy i.e., the solar energy. We will also look at the use and development of solar energy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially by the company known as MASDAR.
Solar energy can be defined as the harnessing of solar and using the energy as a source of energy/power for various activities (Solar Energy. Web). Solar energy technology involves harnessing of solar light or heat and converting that solar energy to another form of energy that is usable. There are two main ways of harnessing solar energy. In the first way, known as the Photovoltaic, the sun’s light is harnessed and converted to electricity. The conversion of solar energy into electric energy involves the use of a Photovoltaic (PV); this technology involves the use of semi conductors to convert sun radiations into electric energy. In the second way of harnessing the solar energy, the solar energy is harnessed and used for either cooling or heating. In this second method of harnessing solar energy, the solar energy is not converted into electric energy.
Use of solar energy as an alternative source of energy has various advantages and the following are the main advantages of using solar energy as an alternative source of energy. These advantages also can account for the widespread use of solar energy in many countries around the world.
Among the many available alternative sources of energy, solar energy production is among the cheapest alternative sources of energy. The only costs associated with the solar energy involve the purchase and the installation of solar panel. Thereafter, no other expenses will be incurred since the solar panel will be harnessing the solar energy from the sun. This makes solar energy quite affordable to many people. This means that the use of solar energy drastically cuts down the expenses associated with the use of fossil fuel based sources of energy.
Unlike the fossil fuels that are exhaustible, solar energy offers an infinite source of energy. This is because solar energy is renewable and uses the sun as the main source of energy. Through the use of solar power, we are therefore able to avert the threat posed by the depletion of fossil based sources of energy.
The use of solar energy is quite friendly to the environment and does not cause any major harm to the environment. The use of solar energy produces only negligible amount of green house gases, and this therefore means that the use of solar energy technology doesn’t lead to the thinning of the ozone layer which causes the global warming.
Unlike some of the alternative sources of energy that produces only a small scale amount of energy, solar energy technology is quite effective and is able to produce large scale energy. With the use of proper and powerful solar panels, one can get a lot of energy that they can use for various purposes.
The United Arab Emirates is one of the countries in the world where solar energy is commonly used. Some big industries in the United Arab Emirates are run through the use of solar energy. Besides wide use of solar energy, the UAE also specializes in large scale production of solar panel. The AEA is one of the main suppliers of solar panels in the world (Solar Energy in UAE, Web.)
According to experts, although the UAE is widely using solar energy and producing solar panels at a large scale level, the UAE still has a lot of potential for solar energy. According to an expert study carried out this year on UAE potential for solar energy, the experts found out that the UAE has the potential of achieving 100 gigawatts, by the year 2030. This therefore shows that the UAE has massive potential for solar energy (Solar Energy in UAE, Web.).
According to the research carried out by the experts, it was also found that UAE had the most ambitious and advanced programme for the solar energy. The main ambition on solar energy in UAE is carried out by the MASDAR Company as we shall see later. In the study, the experts also learnt that in the region, UAE is the hub of solar technology; the neighbouring countries of UAE went to UAE to learn more on solar technology and also to purchase the most advanced and sophisticated tools for alternative sources of energy(Solar Energy in UAE, Web.).
The success of solar energy development and usage in UAE can be attributed to the efforts of MASDAR Company. The MASDAR Company specializes in solar energy as we shall see below.
The main mission of MASDAR is to produce commercially viable alternative sources of energy. The company therefore specializes on production and research on commercial viable alternative sources of energy) Masdar. Web).But, although the company is based in UAE, MASDAR is a supplier of alternative sources of energy in different parts of the world. For efficiency in running and to be able to effectively achieve its goals, MASDAR Company is broadly organized around three units: MASDAR clean energy, MASDAR city, and, MASDAR capital.
MASDAR energy unit deals with large scale projects on clean energy. These projects aim at production of large scale instruments of clean energy such as wind turbines and powerful solar panels. MASDAR energy unit also specializes in building plants for the production of these large scale tools of clean energy production.
MASDAR city is an ambitious project in UAE to build a clean city that runs only on solar energy. The city is already built, but it’s not yet complete. The city has powerful solar panels that are used to harness energy from the sun.
MASDAR capital specializes in commercialization of clean energy products. The MASDAR capital also funds research on the clean energy products. The research is carried out by the MASDAR Institute of Science and Technology.
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