Physics P1 - Renewable enrgy resources.

This is a bit more information on the renewables as I thought the last revision notes didn't mention much about them.
Good luck!:)

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Wind power

  • This involves the use of wind turbines. Each wind turbine has it's own generator and when the wind turns the blades of the turbine, they make the generator turn, which - of course - produces electricity.
  • There is no pollution with wind turbines so it is good for the environment.
  • Many people argue that they are 'ugly' to look at and are noisy.
  • If it is a summer's day with no wind, the turbines won't turn, resulting in no electricity.
  • The costs of running the turbines are very low and there is only an initial cost in producing the turbines.
  • If you ever need to remove a turbine, no damage will have been made to the environment (eg, the noise will go straight away).
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Solar energy

  • Solar cells generate electricity from the sun.
  • There is no pollution from solar cells, but they require a lot of energy to be made.
  • It is not a reliable source, in winter, or at night, you might not generate any electricity.
  • They are initially expensive to produce and fit but there are no running costs.
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Hydroelectricity

  • Hydroelecric power requires a dam to be built to 'trap' the water.
  • When it rains, the water is caught by the dam and taken through the turbine.
  • There is no pollution.
  • They are more reliable than other sources of renewable energy.
  • The initial cost to build the dam is very expensive.
  • It causes a lot of flooding.
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Wave power

  • There is no pollution.
  • Intitial costs are high but there are no running costs.
  • It provides a lot of energy and can be useful on islands.
  • They are hazardous to boats.
  • They look unsightly.
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Tidal energy

  • There is no pollution.
  • The problems are that they are unsightly and they alter the habitat of the wildlife.
  • Tidal energy is reliable and it will happen twice a day.
  • The hight of the tide always changes, so lower tides will provide less energy than larger tides.
  • Initail costs are high, and the running costs are very low.
  • Tidal barrages are big dams built across river estuaries (where the deep part of the sea meets the shallow part of the sea) with turbins in them.
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Geothermal energy

  • It is only possible where hot rocks are near the surface.
  • Water is pumped in pipes down hot rocks and converts to steam to drive the generator.
  • It costs a lot to dig deep into the ground.
  • It is a slow decay of radioactive elements.
  • This only happens in a few places as it costs a lot.
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Biomass

  • Biomass is the term for anything 'organic' that is burnt to produce electricity. It can very from farm waste to specially grown forests.
  • The waste material is burnt it power stations  to drive turbines, this produces electricity. Sometimes it is fermented which produces methane or ethanol.
  • The plants that grew to produce the waste would have absorbed carbon dioxide as they were growing. When the waste is burnt, the carbon dioxide is released, so if you grow the plants at the same time as you burn them, the level of carbon dioxide stays constant.
  • Initial costs and running costs are low as the fuel burnt is generally waste.
  • It makes use of waste, which is useful for getting rid of waste from landfill sites, the downside to this is that it would release other gases that would harm the environment.
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