The Best Water Fuel and Water Energy Resource
Water fuel is popular because like wind, solar, and geothermal energy, there is little or no environmental impact associated with its use. Water has been used as an energy source as far back in history as the 4th Century A.D. when the Roman Empire used water wheels to power flour mills in France. There are several ways that water energy is being converted and used today.
Large scale hydroelectricity plants store a large quantity on water in a reservoir or dam. The depth of the water determines the amount of electricity that will be produced. There are gates that control the amount of water that is released from the dam at any given time depending on the desired output of electricity. Once water is released, it is routed through a penstock to a water turbine consisting of large blades and a spindle. As the water passes through the blades the spindle rotates converting the energy of the running water to rotational energy. This rotational energy is then converted to electricity by an alternator.
Micro Hydro systems work in the same way as the large hydroelectricity plants but produce energy on a smaller scale. They are typically found in remote areas and island nations where the delivery of electricity by other means can be difficult. Micro Hydro turbines can also be used by individuals as an alternative fuel source to power boats or homes located on the water.
Technologies are being utilized to harness the energy in ocean water. They include tidal power, marine current power, ocean thermal energy conversion, and wave energy. Ocean energy is popular in the UK, Ireland, Italy, the Philippines, Japan and parts of the United States.
Run of the River water power attempts to harness the power of running waters. There is little or no water storage associated with this technology. It can be used in rivers and streams that do not experience high losses of water during the dry season, as less water yields less power. This type of water power is becoming increasingly popular in Canada.