Renewable energy is used for a number of things in society.
Different types of renewable energy also work in different ways.
In the guide below, we outline each renewable energy source, what renewable energy is used for, and how each renewable energy source works.
Firstly, What Is Renewable Energy, & What Are The Different Types Of Renewable Energy?
Although bioenergy is classified as a renewable energy by some, other argue how sustainable and renewable some forms of bioenergy are compared to other forms of renewable energy like solar and wind energy for various reasons.
What Is Renewable Energy Used For?
Renewable energy is mainly used for electrical energy (hydro power is currently the leading renewable energy source for electricity generation, but solar and wind are expanding).
But, some renewable energy sources like solar thermal can also use renewable energy sources for thermal energy (to heat water for example).
How Does Solar Renewable Energy Work?
You can read about how both Solar PV (Photovoltaic), and Solar Thermal work in this guide:
How Does Wind Renewable Energy Work?
You can read about how both Onshore Wind and Offshore Wind work in this guide:
How Does Hydro Renewable Energy Work?
You can read about how Hydro Dams, Run Of River, & Pumped Storage Hydro Energy work in this guide:
How Does Geothermal Renewable Energy Work?
You can read about how geothermal renewable energy works in this guide.
How Does Bioenergy & Biomass Renewable Energy Work?
Bio energy is energy made from organic matter (it can be solid, and even sewage biomass).
The energy in solid organic matter is ‘stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy’ (wikipedia.org). This chemical energy usually comes from photosynthesis.
Traditional biomass has been used since the beginning of human time – using organic matter like wood to provide heat energy.
But, there are many forms of bioenergy and biomass in modern times that are used and converted for electrical energy, heat energy, and as biofuels for vehicles.
There are many ways to create bioenergy from biomass:
- Electrical and Heat Energy – [some of the methods used to create heat and electrical energy from biomass are conventional combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion] (energy.vic.gov.au)
- Biofuels – First generation biofuels are produced from sugar and vegetable oil. Algae biofuels are most advanced form of biofuels that produced from algae as its source of energy-rich oils (omicsonline.org). Algae production for transport fuels, requires a controlled growing environment using specific microalgae species. The algae are then processed to separate the oils which are refined into biofuels (energy.vic.gov.au).
How Does Wave Renewable Energy Work?
You can read about how wave renewable energy works in this guide.
How Does Tidal Renewable Energy Work?
You can read about how tidal renewable energy works in this guide.