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From a simple observation a now renowned Japanese inventor named Akinori Ito has produced a one of a kind technology that allows us to convert plastic into oil.
The growing cause of plastic pollution has affected not only living organisms but the majority of the planet. It has taken up too much space and accumulates at a very rapid pace. With the population constantly growing and the demand for plastic consumption tops, more and more evidence of climate change us not only seen but experienced as well.
The general public is not aware that most of the plastic materials that they use us made up of 98% petroleum products that is converted back into oil. Oil that is extracted from used plastics is used as an alternative for fossil fuel energy generation, power for our cars and other means of transportation. With millions of plastic waste produced every year, most of it is floating in the great Pacific Gyre that kills albatross, seagulls and marine life by indigestion and suffocation. Imagine saving money if you could convert these plastic materials into alternative oil at the same time saving the environment?
How is it achieved?
The conversion of plastic to oil involves a process called thermal degradation wherein extreme heat is applied to plastic which is feed stock to the innovation made by Mr. Ito. The gas that is produced from this process do not escape the chamber, it is redirected into a cylinder filled with water. Water and gas then co-mingles thus producing alternative oil derived from plastic. The oil is then separated from the water residue.
Depending on the feedstock, plastic may produce heavy oil, gasoline, kerosene and diesel. All these types of oil are the used for our cars, energy generating turbines and heaters for our homes. With millions of tons of plastics produced, millions of tons of oil are just sitting in our sanitary landfills waiting to be found. Buried treasures are found in places and forms that you would never think of it possess. The art of renewable energy just keeps on expanding. Companies are starting to invest in the technology of Mr. Ito to help their cities lessen the growing pile of plastic waste.
The “going green” campaign is now becoming more popular each day. Many are government officials are now focusing on the environment and concerned individuals are also adapting small changes to accommodate the green life. With the widespread green campaigns here and there, it goes as no surprise that big companies are now putting an effort to “go green”. Many of these big companies are committed to make changes for the better and nowadays, these modifications that happened are part of the sustainability that these organizations are going after. In this article, we have listed 10 big companies that have committed themselves to “going green”.
NASCAR is a 63-year old company which is family run and privately held company, it is considered to be the number one spectator sport in the United States of America. Today it has significantly made “green” changes that have remarkably set standards in the sports industry. All these started when they hired Dr. Mike Lynch, who has a 20-year professional experience in strategic planning which is directed to environmental health and technology in big companies. He is now the head of the NASCAR Green Innovation.
The NASCAR Green Innovation is the program of the company which revolves around emissions, energy and waste. The program was carefully planned in order to accommodate the changes in the organization that will not only benefit the people but most importantly, the environment. The whole program is focused on the value of sustainability that is related to the preservation of the environment. The NASCAR Green Innovation does not only tackle the environmental issues related to the sport but also the important message that is sent across the fans and the sports industry.
One of the notable changes that have emerged from the NASCAR Green Innovation is the “corn-fueled” cars. From gasoline, the cars are now using a biofuel called Sunoco’s Green E15. The Sunoco’s Green E15 is a blend of fuel which has 15 percent ethanol. Ethanol is a clean, home-grown type of fuel which is a practical replacement of gasoline. Since the use of E15, the emissions produced during a race were reduced to 59 percent. The teams participating in the race has also mentioned that Sunoco’s Green E15 has increased the horsepower by 6 to 8 pecent. Such use of the ethanol fuel blend benefitted the environment and the American economy.
Another important contribution that NASCAR has made is their recycling program. This program is a successful joint venture by NASCAR and its sponsors. The company is working with Coca-Cola, Office Depot, Coors Light, Goodyear, Liberty Tires Recycling and UPS. The first successful recycling program that NASCAR had was in partnership with Coca-Cola, in the year 2008 in the Sprint Cup Series LifeLock400 weekend. In this event alone, the two companies were able to collect 15.3 tons of plastic, aluminium and cardboard.
The expansion of the NASCAR recycling program in cooperation with their sponsors aims to collect and recycle more types of materials. Office Depot is leading the ink and toner cartridge recycling at track. Coca-Cola and Coors Light are handling the recycling platform at the Chicagoland Campgrounds, for such areas contribute a third of the total wastes collected during a race. UPS is also playing a major role in the program by piloting the cardboard recycling because 50 percent of the recyclable materials collected is composed of cardboard and paper. Goodyear and Liberty Tire Recyling are also pitching in on the green intiative of NASCAR by managing the tire recycling.
NASCAR is not stopping there; they also have the Clean Air program which focused on lowering emissions by means of tree planting. In every race, there are green flags which drop whenever the emissions produced increase. For every green flag that drops, 10 trees are planted. The tree planting move that NASCAR had included has intensified their goal of neutralizing carbon emissions.
Coca-Cola is an American multinational softdrink and beverage company who started with their flagship product, Coca-Cola in 1886. The company has grown to be one of the biggest companies in the whole world since then. It is one of the companies that have not only participated in different “green projects” but have made their own “going green” initiatives as part of their corporate structure. The program they have includes taking care of the sustainability of the company, people and the environment.
The key points that the company has include community water stewardship, energy efficiency & climate protection and sustainable packaging. The company uses the “three R” principle in each of these points. They have managed to create different sets of the three R value in each of these key values so as to fit their going green corporate program. The principles they have were formulated based on the company’s structure and operations.
Community Water Stewardship is reinforced by reduce, recycle and replenish values. Coca-Cola’s products uses water and their operations involved water for cleaning bottles and their whole facility. The company is a firm believer that they have a responsibility to the environment and the community. In turn, their facilities all over the world make sure that the water they have used is treated correctly. That way, the environment is safe when the water is returned. The company also is working with the communities near their plants to make sure that the people have enough safe drinking water
For energy efficiency and climate protection, Coca-Cola has reduce, refrigeration and refuel for its values. Coca-Cola has 900 manufacturing and bottling facilities all over the world. All these facilities are equipped with systems that have improved and minimized the emissions produced during the manufacturing of Coca-Cola products. Aside from this, their delivery fleet follow a strict system that includes optimal delivery routes and minimal stopovers to improve fuel efficiency. The company is now also testing electric-powered delivery trucks that will be used in the future.
Sustainable Packaging is also part of their green footprints. Since 1969, Coca-Cola has been designing their packaging so that it can be a valuable resource for future use. Their cans contain aluminum and more than 50 percent of it can be recycled. The company also has the life-cycle management system which is a great defining factor in sustaining the use of high value recyclable materials and reusable packaging. Coca-Cola is also one of the companies which have visions of zero waste, founded on their packaging’s design. Along with this vision is a present investment on recovery programs for reuse of their packaging materials.
Starbucks is an internationally-known coffeehouse franchise and is included in the list of the big companies which have realized their way to “going green”. Starbucks’s own “bean-to-cup” is a series of environmental activities which is rooted in their whole supply chain. Their commitment to go green was inspired by the importance of the environment to their customers and the direct effect on the planet. The supply chain is very important in all companies and Starbucks believes that in order to end in the right path, they should start in the correct way.
The “bean-to-cup” initiative aims to minimize Starbucks’s environmental footprint. This program is composed of seven important steps in the supply chain.
- Bean- Conservation
– Since 1998, Starbucks has partnered with Conservation International (CI) which entails the encouragement of the use of ecologically-sound growing practices that makes sure that the biodiversity and economic opportunities of coffee farmers are protected.
- Harvest- Coffee Buying Guidelines (C.A.F.E. Practices)
– The C.A.F.E Practices is the name of the coffee buying guidelines of Starbucks. It stands for Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices, it rewards the coffee farmers who meet the firm quality, economic and social standards of the company.
- Storage- Burlap Bag Recycling
– Burlap bags are course-fabric bags of woven flax, jute or hemp fibers. This type of bag is used to transport unroasted coffee beans from its country of origin. The burlap bags can be recycled and reused by other industries such as the furniture, carpet and agricultural industries.
- Roasting- Environmental Management
– The quality of taste that the type of coffee has is enhanced through the right roasting process. Starbucks roasting plants have state-of-the-art systems that control the flow of smoke and even the smell from the whole facility.
- Starbucks Support Center- Packaging and Paper Purchases
– There are three R’s that Starbucks considers when they make their purchasing decisions. These are recyclability, reusability and recycled content. As a result, they have set a standard target of 30 percent post-consumer content in all their purchases related to paper.
- Retail- Store Design
– Starbucks coffee shops differ in design but there are a lot of things in common in all of them. One of which is environment-friendly elements and materials. The big coffee house franchise is continuing to look for ways to incorporate these essentials in their retail stores.
- Cup- Reusing and Recycling
– This is one of the known environmental-phase in the supply chain because it involves the customers. Starbucks is promoting the use of mugs owned by the customers. In order to reinforce this, the retail stores offer a discount of $0.10 to customers who come in and use their own cups. This does not only provide a more personalized service but it also reduces pounds of paper waste ending in landfills. Starbucks is also donating spent coffee grounds to customers, parks, schools and nurseries as nitrogen-rich garden compost. This donation is part of their reduce campaign.
- TESLA MOTORS
Tesla Motors is company that exists to prove that speed and power need not be compromised in environmental-friendly cars. It is an endeavour funded by former executives of PayPal and Google. The company is known to offer cars that have the curb appeal that will get anyone’s attention and are powered by electricity. The cars that they offer definitely fit the mean machine category without the unkind greenhouse gas emission.
The Tesla Motors is a company that build its cars around the driver. They make sure that the vehicle provides the comfort and the speed required by the driver. The electric-powered cars they manufacture can go from 0-60 in just 3.9 seconds with its electric charge. This is already equivalent to 256 MPG. A Tesla Motors car does not only emission-free but it also helps the owner save on petrol costs. With the fast-paced lifestyle that many people have nowadays, time is valuable. An electric car also eliminates the time spent on going to gasoline station as well as regular maintenance.
Since the cars by Tesla Motors run on electricity, these cars do not have tailpipes. Thus, the elimination of carbon footprint present in vehicles that run using gasoline. In fact many countries now recognize the benefits of electric-powered cars. For regular vehicles contribute to global warming daily. Using an electric car also has its perks, for example in the United States; the government is offering $7,500 tax credit for Tesla purchases.
Electricity is generated through many ways and most of the amount supplied to households is from green energy sources. Petrol on the other hand is considered a limited resource. With demands rising for vehicle use alone, people are not certain on how long the supply will last. Statistics show that the United States is retaining 2 percent of the world’s petroleum supply; however, 25 percent of it is consumed. This is why Tesla Motors is offering an option to reduce the dependence on fuel. When this happens, the economy also gets stronger.
- SC JOHNSON
SC Johnson is an internationally-known family-owned company that offers household products such as Windex. “Going green” for most people includes knowing what is inside the product that they are using in their homes. SC Johnson has established its green initiatives through the value of transparency. They educate consumers about what is inside their products in order to promote awareness that their products have little impact on the environment.
All companies, depending on the products and services that they offer have legal and regulatory requirements to meet. SC Johnson is a company that does not only follow these but they go beyond them in order to promote a better environment. The company conducts studies and researches in order to replace less desirable ingredients they use in their products with the ones which are better for the environment and the consumer’s health. The Greenlist Process even made SC Johnson’s products better.
Greenlist Process is a system that ranks the company’s impact on the environment by evaluating the raw materials used in the products. As a result the company dropped the use of 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from the Windex product line. They also slashed 4 million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride from the Saran Wrap, which has proven to be harmful to the environment when it seeps into landfills. Another change that they have adapted is the use of green energy for their plants and facilities.
The SC Johnson facilities used fossil fuel before; however, their commitment to go green resulted in replacing coal with garbage, waste palm shells and wind power. They have cut the greenhouse emissions that they were producing. One of the projects that resulted from this is the Clean Gusts of Green Energy. This project successfully secured a wind power source that supplied the half of the electricity needed to run the Bay City, Michigan Factory. This facility is the home of Ziploc production. It was also the first factory in the area to use wind power.
Another project they had was the From Landfill Trash to Energy Treasure. This took place in Racine, Wisconsin. SC Johnson was able to build their first cogeneration turbine. This powered their largest global factory, Waxdale plant. This is the plant where their famous products like Windex, Glade and Scrubbing Bubbles are made. The plant uses landfill gas to generate electricity and steam for operations. This is also a project that made the company less-dependent on charcoal to generate electricity for the whole plant.
SC Johnson’s third project is Power from Waste Palm Shells. The waste of the palm oil industry in Medan, Indonesia were again, put to good use. The company have launched a biomass initiative that used palm shells in the factory as fuel source. They serve as good fuel with only little impact on the environment. The factory in Medan formerly used diesel. In replacing diesel with the palm shells, the company was able to cut 80 percent of diesel use. 15 percent of the greenhouse emissions were also slashed.
Ford, a known car company is included in the list of companies who are promoting recycling and the use of green energy. Although vehicles are blamed for contributing to the greenhouse emissions, Ford has been conducting studies and making changes in their processes in order to produce a greener car. The company has invested in renewable energy to power their facilities and had worked on mechanical enhancements on their vehicles to achieve improved fuel economy.
One of the news-worthy stories about Ford is the investment on wind turbines for their Dagenham Diesel Centre in Essex. This project is called Ecotricity. This is considered a breakthrough in the car-manufacturing industry for this is one of the first expanded car-production facilities that use renewable energy for power. Ford is currently working on the third wind turbine. The first two turbines generate 5.92 million units of electricity per year and when the third one is done, the three is expected to produce 11.4 million units.
As part of the green initiative that Ford has, the Dagenham Diesel Centre is powered by a type of green energy which is wind power. It goes as no surprise as well that this is the place where the “greenest” Ford engines are assembled. An example of this is an engine that returns over 76 MPG. The rising demand for fuel-efficient green engines has prompted the company to add another wind turbine.
Aside from renewable sources, Ford is also committed to recycling. The 2011 Ford Explorer model is the perfect example of recyclable materials put into good use. 85 percent of the vehicle’s interior is made of recyclable materials. It is composed of 25 percent recycled fiber. The recycled fiber is used in the seat upholstery, bolster and carpet. The 40 percent is made of polyurethane foam found in the seat cushions and seatbacks. The leftover steel from the F150 production is also used in the noise-dampening fender baffles.
This 2011 model of Ford Explorer is a sustainable product that the company has come up with. It comes with an engine that has better fuel efficiency, recycled materials in the interior and other parts. This will be the perfect vehicle for those who are looking for the “green” package for a car. Aside from these, Ford has also come up with other ways in reducing the Carbon Dioxide emissions. This is a win-win opportunity for Ford because they earn from the vehicle that they have produced and assembled while helping the environment by reducing the waste that usually end up in landfills.
Ford has been using virgin steel and this has resulted to increased carbon footprint. In the new strategy that they have come up with, the company will reduce the use of virgin fiber by 119 tons. As a result, there will also be a decrease of the same amount in carbon dioxide emissions. The virgin fiber will be replaced by recycled fiber. This is considered beneficial for there will be a drop of 20 percent in energy use. There will aslo be a decrease in carbon dioxide output and waste eradication by 14 and 17 percent respectively.
Dell is a known computer company which has been offering computing solutions for years now. With the dynamic technology present today, computers and gadgets come and go. Unfortunately, computer equipment is among the things that are considered hard to dispose. In fact, many people do not know how and where to dispose of their old computer. This is why Dell is stepping up, to provide assistance and promote awareness about computer equipment recycling. Dell is the creator of the “no computer should go to waste” recycling program.
The “no computer should go to waste” recycling program allows customers to return Dell computers for free. However, since equipment disposal is quite intimidating, the company went as far as accepting old computers from other manufacturers. This recycling program collect monitors, towers, printers and other computer equipment. These are all part of the e-waste or electronic waste category.
Dell is a big company that believes in five key points that revolve on choices that involve technology.
- Green is about Possibility. It’s about finding a better way
Dell is reminding the people that there is no need to sacrifice cost, performance or reliability when an opportunity to make greener choices arise. The company is offering useful products and services that address environmental concerns. There will always be better ideas, as well as better means to use available resources like time and money.
- Leaders in recycling
Only 18 percent of annually generated electronic waste is being recycled and the other 82 percent end up in landfills. In response to this, Dell is offering people easier ways and options in lessening the number of e-waste that end up in landfills. Dell is presenting the 2 sides of smart energy use, these are conservation and renewable energy purchases.
- How much energy do we use and what types
An estimated 812.4 million kilowatt hours has been used in the fiscal year 2011. 83 percent of which is purchases. In heating water, warming and cooling buildings, as well as cooking food, Dell uses natural gas, propane and cooking gas. Diesel fuel is present for power backup and fire booster generators only.
- Reducing energy consumption
The availability of green energy provides another power option that can be used in equipment, working spaces and fixtures.
- Renewable power purchases
Greenhouse emissions are reduced by energy efficiency; however, this does not completely eradicate them. 8 Dell global facilities are ran on 100 percent non-fossil fuel. Dell is one of the top purchasers of renewable energy according to the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership.
- CONTINENTAL AIRLINES
Unknown to many, airplanes just like the passenger types also produce emissions because they are also using the fuel to fly. Continental Airlines on the other hand have dedicated its efforts and assets in “going green”. Their efforts in becoming more environment-friendly can be seen through the past decade. The famous airline company has spent over $16 billion in replacing their whole fleet or airplanes by energy-efficient ones. This is part of their commitment to cut down the emissions produced by the airplanes.
Aside from this, the company also invested in “winglets” which slashed 5 percent of the emissions produced by the 737 and 757 Boeing model aircrafts. Since the company had started early in effecting changes, the nitride oxide emissions in the Continental Airlines Houston hub were gradually reduced to a total of 75 percent from the year 2000. The efforts of the Continental Airlines were slow efforts but had definitely reaped good results.
It can also be noted that the big airline company have 13 full-time environmentalists who are helping the company in its continuous efforts of going green. These dedicated environmentalists are pairing up with engine manufacturers in order to come up with “greener” ones, as well as more efficient company operation systems. Continental Airlines is a big company that is going after the sustainability of going green.
Another project that the company has, in partnership with GE Aviation plan is the use of biofuel for airplanes. This is in relation to the continuous efforts of the aviation industry to look for alternative fuel sources which do not produce harmful carbon footprints. This is part of the Eco-skies program that has that is targeting the use of the cleaner type of fuel such as the biofuel. Aside from this, the company has also practiced the waste minimization programs in the air during flights, on the grounds at their airports and facilities.
- BANK OF AMERICA
The Bank of America is one of the leading financial institutions in the United States. Because of the businesses operations include finances and monetary transactions, tons of papers are used by the institution. However, the Bank of America has committed to going green by reducing their use of paper and through the recycling program that they have. The company believes that they can provide eco-friendly services that can coincide with business growth.
Before the issue of pollution and global warming has taken their spots under the limelight, Bank of America has already started with their green efforts. From the year 2000 to 2005, the company was successful in reducing their paper use by 32 percent. They were successful in this green initiative as well as with the growth of their client base. There was an increase of 24 percent in their client base.
The company is also known for the success of its own recycling program. This program is directed at their commitment toward sustainable business. This commitment has been with the company for 20 years now. They have transitioned gradually as a part of the environmentally suitable economy. Bank of America believes that a business’ success depends on its ability to adapt to the challenge of the global climate change and its related issues of energy, forests, water and biodiversity.
Aside from their “reduce and recycle” programs, the company is also playing its part in lending and investing in companies that are tackling the use of renewable sources of energy. This act does not only create jobs but it also promises a “green” return of investment. Bank of America is also a participant in natural resource conservation in order to help communities become energy efficient. They are also offering environmental-friendly services such as home energy credit mortgage.
- HEWLETT PACKARD
Since the technology that we have today entails the growing number of electronic waste that ends up in landfills, HP or Hewlett Packard is also offering a hand in dealing with this problem. They have committed themselves in handling the proper disposal and recycling or e-waste. Electronic waste needs special attention when it comes to its proper disposal. This is why HP has pledged to help the community by accepting old computers.
The HP alone manufactures computers and other equipment that is 100 percent recyclable. They have invested in research and studies that have enabled them to produce such environment-friendly products. This is another reason why they have participated in the e-waste recycling initiative. In fact, the company has been doing so since 1987. They are promoting helpful options that will help reduce the e-waste for the environment. This also benefits the customers by making it easier for them to participate in the whole program.
HP is accepting all brands of computer equipment for recycling. The HP trade-in program is offering users an chance to capture the fair market value of aging technology and upgrade to the lasts technology that the company is offering. HP on the other hand will make the most out of the equipment they receive by refurbishing and selling the equipment. Some of this refurbished equipment is donated to the less fortunate who are in need of computers. They make sure that all data is erased in the process to protect former owners.
Hewlett Packard is also responsible in handling their own wastes for their processes and systems are motivated by the design which salvage and recycle excess materials. It is also said that companies who manufacture computers that do not abide by green initiatives make it hard for the recycling process. Part of their green initiatives is knowing where the materials come from. This is also the reason why the company has reduced the use of plastic in their products.
These are the companies that have put special “green” efforts in adapting positive changes. They have a good understanding of sustainable business changes that do not only guarantee the return of investment but they also have little or no impact on the environment at all. This list is only a glimpse of the big company operations. This list of companies prove that there is money in going green.
Nuclear energy or power comes from the fission of Uranium atoms. The fission process takes place at the power plant where it creates heat. With the energy produced, nuclear power plants contribute as much as 6% of the world’s energy which is also equivalent to at least 13% of electricity worldwide. While the tides use force and the wind uses its velocity to produce energy, nuclear power relies on units of mass to be converted into units of energy. A couple of the popular countries generating nuclear power and supplying electricity are the United States and France. However, there is a debate going about the disadvantages that nuclear power is presenting. Either way, let us check on the advantages, disadvantages and the factors that will make it a green energy.
The discovery of the radioactive elements, such as radium which produces energy has gone a long way back in the early twentieth century. This discovery was based on the mass-energy equivalence principle which states that the mass of the body is a measure of its energy content. According to Einstein, the radioactive material such as radium is a test of theory. It also included the fact that a large amount of energy is released due to the half-life or the length of time when a substance undergo decay to decrease by half. As per a radium atom, there is great energy released and because of its half-life only a small fraction decays over the experimentally measurable time. The discovery of the nucleus was made after. This resulted to the discovery that from the mass difference, the binding energy can be calculated. The mass equivalence formula is stated as the total mass of protons and neutron’s separate weights subtracted from the atomic nuclei mass, the value derived is the atomic nucleus’ available binding energy. This is the same formula used to compute the energy released in a nuclear reaction, which is the difference of the total nuclei‘s mass that enter and exit the whole reaction.
Though experimenter were able to come up with the idea of energy harnessed from radioactive elements, the whole concept was deemed to be impractical. This led to the discontinuation of the whole development. There had been many studies after the cessation of the project. There had been many great minds that went into its study and some took advantage of such research and experimentation for the purpose of war. In fact, the idea of the atomic bomb was taken from this whole concept. After World War II, it took a turn where it was discussed that the “atomic energy” can be used to benefit people.
It is worth-noting that it took years before electricity was produced using nuclear power. It was in the late 1940’s and 1950’s when electricity was first produced through a nuclear reactor. It was the work of the cooperation amidst the countries of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and USSR that made this possible. Nuclear power was successfully put into good use and the rich history behind it made it possible for such to be harnessed into electricity. The nuclear power will not produce electricity on its own. There is a need for a systematic processes and a well-built nuclear power plant.
The main chain of process is made up of five phases. The first one is nuclear fission. A nuclear power plant is built in the same way as the fossil fuel plants. The difference lies on the nuclear reactor where the chain reaction happens. The reactors have Uranium rods to fuel the procedure. The process includes the smashing of neutrons into the nucleus of the Uranium atoms. This results to the splitting or fission of the Uranium atoms. After the first phase, the nuclear reactors produce heat. The heat then is harvested by having water or carbon dioxide pumped through the reactor. The heat is used to heat the water to make steam, this is the second phase. When the steam is already available, the third phase happens; it turns the turbines connected to the generator. The fourth phase is when the turbines power the generators which result to the production of electricity, the final phase.
Electricity, from nuclear power is a big part of daily living, whether at home or at work. It is also considered to be under the category of green energy. It can be compared to charcoal when it comes to costs. A great amount of energy can be produced with just a small amount of Uranium. But unlike the coal, it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. A nuclear power plant does not produce smoke, carbon dioxide or any other greenhouse gas. Nuclear power is also a reliable source of energy plus the fact that it produces only little waste.
Given these advantages, there are those who are debating that it is a threat to people and the environment. Nuclear energy is indeed a source of green energy for it produces great energy but does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. The cost alone in producing electricity using nuclear power is almost the same with those fossil-fueled power plants. The need for imported fuel to produce electricity is displaced.
However, the opposition states that although there is only little waste produced by nuclear power plants, these waste materials are very dangerous considering the levels of radioactivity. In an answer to this, nuclear power plants are required to strictly follow environmental guidelines on radioactive waste materials. The nuclear waste must be buried for a long time to allow the radioactivity to decease. Aside from this, the nuclear power plant managers also make sure that the buried waste is kept safe from disasters such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes and even terrorists. These guidelines were articulated to make sure that the environment is safe for people.
Another concern mentioned by the debaters is that it is not sustainable, contrary to the idea of green energy. As an answer to this, there is a breeder reactor which is a type of a nuclear reactor which creates more fissile materials in the fuel than what is consumed. A fissile material has the capability of sustaining a chain reaction of nuclear fission. There are two types of breeder reactors; these are the fast breeder and thermal breeder.
The fast breeder reactor requires only natural or depleted uranium feedstock as fuel after the in initial plutonium fuel charge. This type of breeder reactor is capable of producing great amounts of energy while producing short-lived radioactive waste. On the other hand, the thermal breeder reactor is initially charged with enriched uranium, plutonium or mixed oxide fuel. After which, it only needs thorium as its input to the fuel cycle. The idea of the breeder reactors has made the conversion of uranium into other fuels which can produce energy as well.
The nuclear power is green energy waiting to be converted into electricity for daily use. Because it is uses radioactive elements to produce electricity, there will always be the advantages and disadvantages. As a summary, nuclear power is considered green energy because of it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect and it sustainable. The by-product of the whole process, on the other hand is being questioned. It takes great responsibility for a nuclear power plant to ensure the people’s health and the environment. Technology is what brought the world the nuclear power and technology will also be the key to discover answers for nuclear power concerns presented by many.
Hydroelectric power is a form of sustainable green energy. While in the movie Monsters Inc, the city of Monstropolis uses children’s screams to generate electricity, hydroelectric power on the other hand takes advantage of the hydrologic cycle of water to supply electricity to households. The enhancements that man has made to use the process of water cycle were a success. However, it is not enough to know that it was a successful endeavour. Let us take a look into the process, the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric energy.
The water cycle in itself is an important process. This cycle involves evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection. Evaporation happens when the sun heats up bodies of water and eventually turns it into water vapor. After water becomes vapor, it proceeds to the second phase which is condensation where it turns back into liquid because of the low temperature. As a result, clouds are formed. The third phase of precipitation happens when enough water has condensed and this can be observed when the clouds are already dark. When the clouds can no longer hold the water, it falls on the ground in the form of rain. The collection phase happens in the bodies of water and the cycles starts over again.
Now, this process is being utilized in order to have hydroelectric energy. Just like beavers who build dams to have deep still water which protects them from predators, man has made their own version of such which is designed to collect and impound the water from precipitation. The water dam has the following additional parts: intake, turbine, generator and an outflow area. From the reservoir the water goes through the intake which is secured by a control gate in order to regulate the volume of water that will flow through the penstock. The penstock is the fixture that allows the water to flow through. The turbine can be found in the penstock so that it turns when the water flows. The turbine is connected to the generator and it produces the current which is transformed into the electricity supplied to homes. After going through the penstock, the water goes to the outflow area.
The water reservoir is known to have the potential energy and when it goes through the penstock it is converted to kinetic energy because it is now in motion. The amount of electricity produced is dependent on two main factors; these are water volume and hydraulic head amount. The hydraulic head is the distance between the water surface and turbines; it is also dependent on the amount of water on the volume of water in the reservoir. There is a direct relationship between the factors and the generated electricity. It states that as the hydraulic head and the water volume increases, so does the electricity generated.
In talking about the sustainability of the hydroelectric power, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is the consistency of the output. Since the water cycle is a natural phenomenon that happens almost daily, reservoirs are easily and continuously filled with the needed volume of water for generation of electricity. This covers the peak in demands for electricity, giving another advantage. Hydroelectric dams provide the convenience of easily responding to fluctuating demands by opening or closing the control gates on command.
Another advantage has a direct impact on the countries’ economies. This is related to costs incurred by such energy harnessing. There is an elimination of fuel costs since it does not involve the use of fossil fuel such as coal, oil and natural gas. Thus, there is no need for fuel importation. Countries also save on the costs of labor, for it usually needs only a few people to operate the whole facility. When it comes to the idea of sustainable energy, low costs are important. There is no green gas emission or any other pollution produced in harnessing hydroelectric energy. This is another benefit presented by this renewable energy. This is also related to the fact that it is a source of energy is non-obtrusive.
The reservoir in the hydroelectric facility is also offering other uses. This facilitates tourism where the young and old visit to have a view and learn the benefits of using the hydroelectric green energy. There are also those hydroelectric dams which offer water sport facilities, increasing tourism in the area. Others also promote aquaculture. Some have other uses other than generating electricity. Some of these are for agricultural irrigation as well as flood prevention.
On the other side of the bridge are disadvantages. One of the shortcomings is that the initial costs of building the hydroelectric power plant are high. However, multi-use dams share costs with the agricultural and flood prevention departments of the government. In relation to building dams, another drawback of it is the difficulty of finding the right location. Wildlife habitat, fish passage and displacement of local communities may be compromised in building such a power plant. A few groups of people have been proactively promoting dam removals in order to give into healthy rives and riverside communities to be restored.
Another difficulty is the freezing of pipes in places with colder climates. This makes it hard for the easing of the whole process. The cold climate also causes problems with moving parts in the facility. This increases the rate of the wearing out of such parts. Although such wear and tear happens in both temperate and cold-climate countries.
Hydroelectric power fits the category of green energy as defined. Green energy is energy which can be generated, extracted and used without producing pollution. The good thing about this is it takes the natural process of the water cycle which is why hydroelectric energy is renewable. It goes as no surprise that many countries use it. Hydroelectric power plants contribute 20% of the electricity world-wide. This is how water’s potential energy, converted to kinetic energy that results in electricity is being utilized by many. Though it presents drawbacks, it is outweighed by the advantages presented by the hydroelectric energy. For beavers, a dam protects them from predators while for man it provides many uses. Water can be compared to the screams that are harnessed to power the city of Monstropolis. Hydroelectric power is a great factor that sustains daily activities in the lives of people.
One of the most abundant natural-occurring green energy that people have is geothermal energy. It is used in various ways and one of these is in agriculture. Just like the game Cityville in the popular social networking site, Facebook, the player will need energy in order to harvest the crops that were planted. In real world, agriculture utilizes the geothermal energy for watering and growing produce and other plants.
In order to utilize the geothermal energy available, water must be present. The water is supplied into the geothermal spring and it becomes the heating source. The result is geothermal water which is directly used in agriculture. There are several applications where the geothermal water can be used. It can be used in heating and watering the plants. However, there are three major areas in the agricultural industry where geothermal water is used wisely.
The first area is in the open field agriculture. Open fields are common all over the world and the temperate places which are fortunate enough to have access to any geothermal source are greatly benefited. Open fields in agriculture are easily subjected to the harsh weather. In order to protect plants and crops from the cold weather, geothermal water is used to keep temperatures steady. This is made possible with irrigation pipes running under the soil. This is not only intended for heating but for watering the crops as well. This prevents or keeps the damage to the crops at a minimum.
Another benefit that geothermal water offers the open field in agriculture is the sterilization of the soil. The water helps in killing fungus, pests and diseases known to plants. In the process of sterilization, very hot water is needed. There are two ways on how farmers do this. The first one is they let the heat from the pipes underground warm the soil until the pests are dead. The second one is they apply the steam directly above the soil and cover it with plastic sheets after, to keep the heat inside. These methods help prolong the growing season of the plants.
One more use of the geothermal energy is in greenhouses. Greenhouses need a constant temperature which can be maintained by the geothermal water. The constant warmth inside help plants grow faster and they become more reliable. In using the geothermal water in the greenhouse, growers have several techniques. The techniques they employ use plastic tubes, finned coils and pipes. They also use unit and soil heaters. Depending on the temperature that suits the plants, the grower combines the tools mentioned to help the crops reach its maximum start growth rate before it is transferred in the open field. The type of plants being grown may also need different requirements such as good air circulation and humidity. Aside from the open field and the greenhouses which are using geothermal water, such heat resource can also be used in drying the agricultural crops.
The industry is definitely benefited by the geothermal energy available. Such green energy makes it easier and more efficient for farmers and growers to produce quality vegetables and crops. There is no need to wait for seed germination to happen because the geothermal heat produced eases this process. Farmers are able to grow crops which are not in season and they can be sold in higher prices. This means profit for farmers and growers. The presence of such heat resource means it is easier for them to control the growing condition requirements of the plants.
However, there are also drawbacks when it comes to geothermal energy used in agriculture. The first one is that geothermal areas or water is not available in all areas. Not everyone who is part of the agricultural industry can take part in this green energy resource. In fact, there is only one or none at all in many regions all over the world. Putting and installing the geothermal water pipes can also have a dear cost, plus it will take time to do so.
If Cityville has the energy generated every 5 minutes for the player to harvest his crops, geothermal energy is readily available to use and makes it possible for farmers to grow off-season crops and maintain healthy plants. This is an important part that green energy plays in people’s lives. It does not only environment-friendly but it is also a source of sustainable livelihood that has a good impact on a region’s economy. A win-win situation indeed presented by geothermal energy in the agricultural industry.
Unlike the other sources of green energy which needs to be harnessed, geothermal energy is naturally occuring in the earth. Its history started in the Palaeolithic times with hot springs which were used for bathing. The heat from these springs were used as public baths which also serve as space heaters in the first century AD. The dues required by the Romans for the baths were the first commercial use for the geothermal energy. This is just a glimpse of the past related to it. There are other interesting facts about it, including an in depth look into the geothermal source as well as the pros and cons of this green energy.
Geothermal energy is naturally found stored in the earth and its primary source is the molten rock or magma which is located under the earth’s crust. The heat is produced from the radioactive decay of minerals such as uranium and potassium. Since the heat is coming from earth itself, the amount of it within a ten thousand meter-range of the earth’s surface have 50,000 times more energy compared to all the available fossil fuel and natural gas put together. And when it comes to the part of the earth’s surface which has the highest temperatures underground, these are in areas where there are active volcanoes.
The areas where the active volcanoes are found are called “hot spots”. Such hot spots are normally found in areas where the crust of the earth is very thin that it allows the heat to pass through. They are also found in tectonic plate boundaries. An example of an area on the earth where hot spots are abundant is in the Pacific Rim. Because many volcanoes are found here, it was given the title of The Ring of Fire. There are also hot spots located on tectonic plate boundaries which are seismically active. When earthquakes happen, the thin rock crust covering is broken and allows the water to mix. Hot springs and geysers occur when the water which is circulated reaches the earth’s surface.
Since geothermal power is naturally occurring it is found to be environment friendly and sustainable. These factors make it a good source of green energy. With the help of Enhanced Geothermal Systems, the energy present in the earth is converted into electricity that will be utilized by households and businesses. In transforming geothermal energy to electricity, there is a need for a well-built facility which is governed by technological advances. There are three types of power station plants for geothermal energy.
- Dry Steam Power Plant- the oldest and has the most simple of all the designs. It uses more than 150 degrees Celsius of geothermal steam that turns turbines. It uses direct steam that comes from the earth’s grounds.
- Flash Steam Power Plant- It is the most common type of geothermal power plant we have today. It uses a blast of steam to turn turbines. In order to get the flash of steam needed, high pressured hot water is pumped to the surface. The fluid temperature starts from 180 degrees Celsius.
- Binary Cycle Power Plant- It is a geothermal power plant which is the most recent development in terms of taking advantage the energy to be converted to geothermal electricity. It uses fluid temperatures which is as low as 57 degrees Celsius. Instead of using the water to turn turbines, it uses vapor from a secondary fluid which has a lower boiling point than that of water. The water pumped from the geothermal well is passed through the secondary fluid which produces vapor.
Although there are three types of geothermal power plants, it goes through the same steps of getting water and steam from the ground source, use it to turn turbines and put it back warmed. The warm water is returned to the geothermal well in order to extend the life of the spring. Geothermal sources are limited which is why it is used with care. The same reason of scarcity of geothermal areas is considered in choosing the right design of power plant to be used.
Aside from electricity, geothermal energy has other direct uses. Geothermal resources differ in temperatures for it is located in different areas. Low temperature resources can be used for district heating, a system that promotes heat generation in a centralized facility to be used for residential and commercial purposes. It can also be used for greenhouses to regulate the temperature inside in order to protect the plants. Geothermal energy is also used to heat fisheries and even remove ice on roads.
The geothermal energy itself does not require fuel, except for the pumps that get water for steam. In relation to this, it is not directly affected by the unstable oil prices and costs. However, it is not immune to high costs during the start of the power plant building. It includes drilling and exploration that may be costly. On the other hand, direct applications do not need so much money for it can use the available geothermal energy without spending too much.
It has also been said that the whole process of plant construction have an opposing impact. It can lead to earthquakes because of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is the procedure where there is proliferation of a crack in the rock layer of the earth with the use of fluid pressure. In fact, many geothermal power plant projects have been shut down because there had been many seismic events as a result of the building.
And although geothermal energy is sustainable, many question the emissions it produces. Since the heat is caused by the radioactive decay happening beneath the crust of the earth, the water that is being pumped out carry little amounts of ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen sulphide. It is a very small amount of greenhouse gases released compared to power plants using fossil fuel. While this is true, geothermal power plants have emission control systems in order to reduce the environmental impact.
Another concern that is being raised is the presence of toxic substances that precipitate during the cooling of the water. Some of these chemicals are antimony, arsenic, mercury and boron. These chemicals are known to cause harm to the environment when released. This is why the injecting back of the used geothermal water offers an advantage not only to the environment but also to the main source of the energy. This step prevents the leaking of the toxic chemicals into the surroundings.
The amount of heat which is extracted by plants and people who use it directly is just a small amount compared to the available geothermal energy present in the earth. This is why geothermal energy is considered to be sustainable. The internal heat content alone of the earth is measured to be 10 to the 31st power joules. However, the availability of heat does not mean that people can go on extraction whenever they want to. Just like the other sources of green energy, it is important to regulate such extractions to prevent exhaustion of the available natural resource.
The pros and cons are always present in the duration of the whole geothermal energy harnessing process. Most of the drawbacks were compensated by the benefits and the convenience of reversing such disadvantages. Mother Nature is truly generous for giving us what we need and in this case the heat that can be transformed into electricity, comes from the earth itself. Geothermal power is a different source of green energy but it is just like the other sources which make lives better.
Wind power is a renewable energy source that does not rely on fuel. It does not generate harmful emissions into the atmosphere that depletes our ozone layer. Despite that, there are numerous challenges faced by wind farm operators and questions that need to be address. One of these is how stable is its power supply?
Wind energy is fuel by the earth’s irregularities, providing an attainable source of electricity. It is proven that power acquired from the wind has a lesser environmental impact than those power plants run by fossil fuel. Wind energy is also a more cost efficient power source that we use today.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACED BY WIND FARMS
Although wind energy is the cleanest source of power, its construction and operation has been one of the major issues raised by locals. In a landscape view, wind turbines are clearly visible and not that intrusive however, once you get close to it you will see that a single wind turbine takes up too much space. Wind farms also possess potential risk on local ecology and the wildlife in it. Sound is also a factor that a wind farm faces today.
CONSTRUCTION OF WIND FARMS
Research shows that some of the windiest site to place wind farms are heavily protected by mountainous regions. Other large areas that are ideal for its construction are protected by conservation restriction. Wind farms constructed near the sea are costly and difficult to build however it is achievable. Wind turbines ideally need to operate in exposed sites where they could make use of the prevailing winds. These structures are massive that they invade space.
Sound emission from wind farms are divided into two categories: Mechanical and Aerodynamic sound. The earliest wind turbines have terrible insulation and design that produces ruckus. Mechanical noise created by the gear box and generator were the cause of annoying sound. The designs of the blades were also a factor on why the previous wind turbines were another source of the sound as well. Despite this, newer versions of wind farms have tried to fix these issues making sound emissions a lesser concern for the individuals living nearby.
ECOLOGY AND WILDLIFE CONCERNS
Wind farms evade so much space that it affects the ecology and wildlife in it. They cause temporary or permanent habitat loss in sandbanks, water body and land areas due to disturbance. Migratory routes are also affected by wind farms; birds and bats collide into the rotor blades injuring or killing these species unintentionally. Light emissions attract birds that subsequently increase the risk of collisions to these massive structures. Marine mammals induce permanent or temporary threshold shifts with their perceptions through the significant masking of sounds cause by construction and pile driving. Vibrations, clouding and sedimentation during wind farm construction damages fish eggs and disturb their spawning grounds.
Despite the challenges faced by wind farms, research and assessment are made to alleviate the impact on the environment. Potential problems are easily identified through the process and were given counter measures to mitigate the impact of its effects.
Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing renewable sources of energy. Its growth in the energy industry is as big as 30% annually. Its growth is said to be a result of the increasing pressure from the governments all over the world. This is focused not only on the big companies but also to individuals since everyone has an impact on the environment. Wind power is derived from the force and the velocity of winds. The turbines are specially built to convert the wind’s force to clean energy which is supplied to households through electricity. The whole process does not include the use of fossil fuel and does not emit greenhouse gases that contribute to the global warming phenomenon.
Benefiting From The Wind
Factors That Contributed To The Use Of Wind Power
- Government incentives for convert ion to solar energy usage
- The improvement of the technology in the past decade
- Increasing cost of fossil fuel. Environment Friendly source of electricity
Wind Energy In Focus
The use of wind energy is converted into mechanical energy that powers turbines which generate electricity. Power that can be converted with the use of wind turbines. Energy that can be use to power a house or grind grain and to pump water efficiently. Wind turbines are like giant version of an elise of a plane. Its main purpose is to make power out of the wind. The turbines consists of a blade converts the energy of the wind. A drive drain acts as a generator.While, the tower supports the blade and the drive drain. If you have noticed turbines are aligned together to produce bulk energy, that is distributed to a power grid and then to the consumers. Turbines actually range in size, some are as big as a 20 story building and some are as small as a basketball and can be put on top of a roof. What advantages do we get with wind powered green energy? The energy is recyclable and the supply wont go down, meaning since wind is everywhere around us. We have a stable and never ending supply. Its also a source of pollution free electricity. In the last 10 years the initial cost has drop. In China, alone they have spent more than a billion dollars in the past year setting up wind turbines around its coast. Cheaper to maintain equipment compared to using fossil fuel energy source.
The Future Of Green Technology
The 21st century, ushered in more usage of green energy source. It is projected that by the year 2050 we will be getting most of our power from sustainable, green energy sources like wind power.
We have come a long way since early man discovered fire. The curiosity to invent and discover, lead as to were we are now. The survival of the specie depends on how good we can adopt to our environment. Man has the innate ability to survive out of need and, with that need man’s civilization has greatly advance holistically with the help of science. Nanotechnology is very promising to the advancement of solar energy. In the modern day, We live a convenient life that we no longer have to make fire to keep us warm. Benjamin Franklin invented electricity that we still use to this present day, but we didn’t know what consequences it entails, that we were left with the dilemma of using conventional energy that emits harmful gases into our atmosphere, which lead to global warming. Will modern man be able to stop this on time? Is Nanotechnology the answer?
New And Improved Solar Panels
Nanotechnology gives us hope, that it will work by greatly improving the technology of solar energy. Using the smallest atom to greatly increase the efficiency of getting power out of the sun. This small machines aim is to maximize the power that we get out of the sun by accurately capturing the suns energy. Nanotechnology solar panels have multilayer that absorbs light at a wider area and also utilizing the power of the sun at different layers so with that 98 percent of the energy is used and converted to electricity. This type of solar panels securely capture the sun’s energy without having to rotate with the sun’s movement throughout the day.
New Solar Panels Benefiting Man
Nanotechnology-enabled solar panels will lower the cost of power. The usual silicone material is only placed at a single angle which is not that efficient in absorbing power from the sun and makes the cost of solar power expensive. Nanotechnology solar panels are designed that they can absorb power at any angle which will make the cost of solar energy go down tremendously. By using solar energy you can help the world by not emitting hazardous waste into the atmosphere.Doing our small part in making the world a cleaner and safer one.
Future of Solar Panels
Scientists are aiming to advance the use of solar energy, with the help of nanotechnology. The following are what we can gain from the technological improvement. To significantly minimize, the cost of electricity and deliver power and energy to mass consumption at the lowest possible cost. Generating renewable energy, that can’t harm people and the environment and electricity that can be recycled. Nanotechnology is the feature of green energy that will be accessible to everyone in the very near future.