Renewable energy sources

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The most common renewable energy sources include hydropower as well as tidal and wave water, energy generated from biofuels, biogas and biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy and wind energy.

Geothermal power

Geothermal energy is the energy harvested from rocks and groundwater. Against the background of the above mentioned types of renewable energies, geothermal energy stands out as the most stable and relatively the least burdensome for the natural environment.

The source of geothermal energy is the interior of the Earth with a temperature of approximately 5400 °C, generating a heat flow towards the surface. The power of the heat reaching the surface of the Earth amounts to approximately 46 TW. Hence, the mean geothermal stream density is equal to approximately 0.063 W/m2, and the mean temperature gradient amounts to approximately 25 K/km.

As regards the management of geothermal energy sources, there is a standard division into high-temperature geothermal energy (also high-enthalpy – see Figure below) and low-temperature geothermal energy (low-enthalpy).

Wind power

Wind Energy is one of the forms of solar energy. It is assumed that approx. 2% of the energy radiated by the sun is converted into the kinetic energy of the wind, of which 30% accounts for the energy of immediately adjacent to the surface of the globe (wind energy potential is estimated at about 40 TW). Wind power as well as the energy directly derived from the sun, are successfully harvested to generate electricity.

How does a solar collector work?

Vacuum solar collector absorbs solar radiation through absorption layers installed in each tube. Pressure-tight capillary placed inside the tube, filled with a medium with low boiling temperature, absorbs thermal energy and heats the solar fluid circulating in the installation. The hot coolant passes to the coils, located in the water tank, thus heating the water. Finally, the cooled heating medium returns to the solar collector and the cycle is repeated.

Prospects for Poland

In 2008 Poland became the seventh-largest solar energy market in the EU. In addition, national manufacturers of solar collectors export more than 50% of their devices abroad. This is what accounts for the distinctiveness of solar energy harvesting among other renewable energy technologies where most devices are usually imported from foreign manufacturers and there are cases when no domestic manufacturers exist.