As the world moves towards taking concrete measures to check the dual scourges of escalating carbon emissions and global warming, using sustainable sources of energy has become imperative to succeed in the mission.
Sustainable sources of energy are those sources of energy which can be renewed easily. The most prevalent among these are solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy.
Let us understand a few things about hydro energy, its working and more. Read on to find out-
What is Hydro Energy?
The kinetic energy possessed by flowing water is called hydro energy.
Hydro energy is indirectly a source of energy dependant on the sun. Solar energy is responsible for the water cycle in nature. Water in ocean, rivers, lakes, etc. absorbs solar energy and it then evaporates to form clouds. The clouds move due to air currents and ultimately water comes back on earth in the form of rain and snow.
Since ancient times, man has been utilizing the energy of flowing water in rivers for rotating the wheels of water mill used to drive the flour mill in remote hilly areas and for transporting heavy logs of wood from forests in hilly areas to downstream areas in planes.
Today, man has found a way to harness the energy present in flowing water to generate electrical energy in order to power his industries, homes and appliances.
Production of Electricity from Hydro Energy-
The most important use of hydro energy is to convert it into electrical energy by using a turbine. The electricity so obtained is called hydroelectric power.
The flowing water of river is collected in a dam at high altitude. The water stored in the dam has potential energy. When water from the dam falls on the water turbine, the potential energy of the water stored in the dam changes into kinetic energy and this kinetic energy of water is transferred to the blades of turbine as rotational kinetic energy. The turbine is connected to a powerful generator. As the turbine rotates, it rotates the armature of the generator (or dynamo) in the magnetic field between the pole pieces N and S of a strong magnet, due to which an alternating e.m.f is produced between the terminals. Such a mini hydroelectric power plant can be constructed on the rivers in hilly areas across a small dam of a height of 10m.
At present in India we are generating hydro-electricity which is only 23 % of the total electricity generated by us.
Advantages of using hydro energy-
• It does not produce any environmental pollution.
• It is a cheap source of energy.
• It is a renewable source of energy.
• The dams constructed over rivers help us in irrigation and control of floods in rivers.
Disadvantages of using hydro energy-
• Flowing water is not available everywhere.
• Due to the construction of dams over the rivers, plants and animals of that place get destroyed or killed.
• The ecological balance in the downstream areas of rivers gets disturbed.
Countries That Top the List in Hydro Energy Use-
Many countries of the world are now turning to hydro energy as a source of cheap and renewable energy. China tops the world in the generation of electricity from hydro energy. Many European countries such as Albania, Norway, Switzerland, France and Austria lead the world in hydroelectric power production.
Brazil, Paraguay, Canada, USA, New Zealand, India, Nepal, Russia, Japan and Venezuela are the other countries that lead in the production of hydroelectricity. Paraguay meets 100% of its energy requirements with hydroelectricity alone.