Types of Hydropower Energy
Water wheels are used to convert the energy of flowing or falling water into mechanical power or electricity. They can be used to move water and also to generate energy such as electricity.
Hydroelectricity is electricity generated by the production of power through falling or flowing water. It generally comes from the use of potential energy of dammed water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed it produces no direct waste and produces minimal greenhouse gasses. However, dams can have other effects on the environment, for example it prevents silt distribution.
Dam less Hydro was developed in an attempt to minimize this negative influence on the environment. Dam less hydro power is produce by underwater turbines that are moved by the flowing water. Some fish are still killed by the turbine propellers but the effects on the environment are minimized
Vortex Power is hydroelectricity generated by putting obstacles in oceans or other bodies of water to cause vortexes such as whirlpools. Their energy can then be tapped into a usable form.
Tidal Power harnesses energy from the tides which are caused by the Earth-Moon and Earth-Sun
gravitational pull. Tides are more predictable than wind and light, so it can potentially become
a more reliable source of renewable energy. Three types of tidal power exist:
- Barrages are basically dams that cross the full width of a tidal estuary and tap into the potential energy of the difference in height (or head) between high and low tides. They suffer from very high infrastructure costs, a worldwide shortage of viable sites, and environmental issues.
- Tidal stream systems make use of the kinetic energy of moving water to power turbines, in a similar way to windmills that use moving air. This method is becoming more popular because it is less expensive to develop and impacts the environment less.
- Tidal lagoons, are similar to barrages, but can be constructed as self contained structures, not fully across an estuary, and are claimed to incur much lower cost and impact overall. Furthermore they can be configured to generate continuously which is not the case with barrages.
Wave power harnesses the energy of ocean surface waves in order to do work such as electricity generation, water desalination and pumping water.
Osmotic Power takes advantage of the properties of osmosis, which means the movement of water between membranes. The process generally starts with two separate batches of a saltwater and a freshwater source. The energy is generated from the power that is released during when the two substances are mixed through the membrane. It can be thought of as reverse desalinization.
Marine Current Power
Marine current power harnesses kinetic energy from ocean streams such as the Gulf Stream. It also includes tidal power. If the Gulf Stream energy could be harnessed it could provide up to 35 percent of Florida’s energy needs.