What is the meaning of non-conventional energy sources?
First let us understand the word, 'conventional' term. Conventional means 'traditional' or 'usual way of doing'. Fuels that we normally use daily are called 'conventional fuels' and the sources of it called 'conventional energy sources'. These include petrol, diesel, crude oil, gas etc. Non-conventional energy sources are also called renewable energy sources due to their infinite amount of energy source and can be re-use it again while petrol, diesel, and gas once consumed cannot be use again. so, conventional energy sources are called non-renewable energy sources. And the fuels which are not traditionally used are called, 'Nonconventional energy sources', While non-conventional energy sources are,
- Solar energy,
- Wind energy,
- Tidal energy,
- Geothermal energy
Solar energy is widely used renewable energy sources in the world nowadays due to an infinite amount of source. i.e. Sun. Nowadays, each country encourages the use of solar energy by giving subsidies. One can use a solar cooker, solar water heating system on the terrace and can use solar street light which can store the solar energy in DC battery and can be used during night hours. Recent research will give us the power to drive the car by Solar. The solar refrigerator can also be one of the technical application of solar technology. There will be many customers of solar technologies once it got cheaper. One can use the solar energy by use of photovoltaic cells which are made up of semiconductor materials. The main disadvantage of solar technology is high initial cost and one need to dependent on sunlight every time. Let us hope for new research in the solar area.
Everyone might be aware of Wind and its power during the wind storm condition due to high wind velocity which is nothing but high kinetic energy. If this energy can be transformed to rotational/mechanical energy, we can use it for generating the electricity by coupling the windmill/turbine to the generator. Thus, one need high wind velocity area where one can set up windmill/turbine. Normally the wind at high altitude possess more energy compared to ground level, this is why wind turbine are built to very high height. The reason is wind power is consistent and uniform at high altitude and wind power is directly proportional to the third power of wind speed. At the end of the year 2012, the world has 282,482 MW total wind power capacity. Normally one cannot say wind power is consistent because of an inconsistency of wind/air velocity. Thus one need to think about the energy storage device for wind power too.
Tides have a high potential of energy and when it is redirected to get power output, it serves as one of the nonconventional energy sources. We can install the water turbine that runs due to tidal energy. Thus, natural energy is used for mankind. Canada, China, Russia, France, South Korea and United Kingdom (UK) are countries have installed Tidal Power Plant (TPP) which use the tidal energy and convert it to electrical energy.
The heat energy that is obtained from the earth's core in form of very hot steam is called geothermal energy. Earth's core generates the high-energy due to radioactive decay and heats the underground water. This hot water ultimately forms the steam and exit at earth's surface. We can use this energy of steam to run the turbine which ultimately runs the generator to produce electricity. USA, Philippines, Mexico, New Zealand, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Italy and many more countries are using the geothermal energy to get the power from it.
Thus, in order to save our earth from the ill effects of conventional energy sources, we can switch to non-conventional sources which are abundant in nature and do not harm the nature. But the only disadvantage of nonconventional energy sources is high initial cost.
Nowadays, various engineering colleges and private institutes are doing research in this nonconventional field. Final year students are now encouraged to do research or project work in this area.