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Non-traditional Renewable Sources of Energy
It is known that much is being done in the world today for the development of non-traditional sources of energy. Without them the Earth cannot support its present population of 5 billion people and probably 8 billion people in the 21-st century.
Now we are using traditional power sources, that is, oil, natural gas, coal and water power with the consumption of more than 50 billion barrels per year. It is evident that these sources arc not unlimited.
That is why it is so important to use such renewable sources of energy as the sun, wind, geothcrmal energy and others. Research is being carried out in these fields.
One of the most promising (ïåðñïåêòèâíûé) research is the development of power stations with direct transformation of solar energy into electricity on the basis of photocffect. It was Russia that was the first in the world to develop and test a photoelectric battery of 32,000 volts and effective area of only 0.5 sq.m., which made it possible to concentrate solar radiation. This idea is now being intensively developed in many countries.
However, the efficiency of a solar power station is considerably reduced because of the limited time of its work during the year. But it is possible to improve the efficiently of solar power station by developing different combinations of solar power stations and traditional ones-thermal, atomic and hydraulic. Today some engineers are working at the problem of developing electric power stations with the use of a thermal-chemical cycle. It will operate on products of the transformation of solar energy, whereas the “solar” chemical reactor uses CO2 and water steam of thermal power station. The result is that we have a closed cycle.
In Kamchatka there are geothermal power stations operating on hot water-steam mixture from the depths of about a kilometer. In some projects the warmth of mountains at a depth of four-five km will heat water.
It is planned that plants working on the energy of the solar heat provided by the sun will be built on a larger scale.
That different wind energy plants are being developing is also well known. These energy plants can be small (of several kilowatts) and large powerful systems.
It is important that all these advances in developing new sources of energy and improving the old ones help to solve the energy problem as a whole and they do not have negative effects on the environment.