Fossil fuels remain to be the primary source of energy. But, in recent decades, nations have made significant steps towards reducing the dominance by investing in renewable energy projects.
Since fossil fuels pose a threat to the environment and human health, the move is a step towards creating a sustainable future. Things like solar energy and wind power can unlock sustainability in our communities.
These are some of the most interesting and cool renewable energy projects in the world.
6 Most Interesting Renewable Energy Projects in the World
It is not yet clear whether renewable energy will be able to replace fossil fuels in the coming decades.
However, there are six exciting renewable energy projects that can be found across the world that shows why renewables are the future of energy. Be sure to check out our guide to the 5 major types of renewable energy to learn more.
The six projects are:
- The Tengger Desert Solar Park
- China’s solar highway
- The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
- The Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project
- The Hornsdale Power Reserve
- The Hydropanel Project on Atauro Island
1. Tengger Desert Solar Park
The solar park is located in Zhongwei, Ningxia province in China and is the largest solar project in the world. But what makes the solar park one of the most significant and interesting renewable energy projects?
First, the project covers an area of approximately 17 square miles, which is equivalent to 43 square kilometers. This is one of the most massive lands set aside for a renewable energy project by a country.
Image Credit: MEEE Services
The size of the geographical area occupied by the project is an indication of China’s commitment. It shows that the nation has decided to invest in renewable energy to benefit the current and future generations.
Secondly, Tengger Desert Solar Park has about 25 individual solar power plants. This makes make it one of the largest solar farms in the world. Each of these plants contributes to the overall generating capacity of the whole project.
Thirdly, the Park has a generating capacity of 1.5 GW. It is the largest amount of power produced by a single solar project in any part of the world. The energy has played a significant role in increasing China’s share of renewable energy. It has also helped turn the nation into the largest producer of solar energy.
Currently, China surpasses countries such as the U.S and Germany in the total amount of solar power generated each year.
The size of the project is proof that China is slowly shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It is also an indication that solar power is only going to continue to grow in popularity in the coming decades.
2. China’s Solar Highway
China’s solar highway is a project located in Jinan, Shandong province. It is proof that the nation is leading the way in the shift to clean energy.
The solar highway is precisely what the name suggests. The road is made up of solar panels instead of asphalt, which is the widely used construction material. The modules are spread throughout a one-kilometer stretch.
The design helps the road to harvest solar energy, something that was unimaginable a few years ago.
Image Credit: Sputnik
The solar panels used differs from the standard rooftop modules since they are made of a complex polymer. The surface of the road is covered with a transparent concrete that is stronger than asphalt. This is meant to protect the panels from the weight of the passing vehicles.
It is estimated that the solar highway can generate up to 1GWh in a year. The capacity is enough to power the neighboring homes.
It can also be used to provide power to electrical equipment on the highway, such as street lights and cameras.
The number of electric cars is growing at a significant rate. China hopes that the project will be expanded in the future. This will allow it to generate enough power for use by charging stations that will be located near the highway.
The solar highway project is an indication that the world is seeking new ways of harnessing renewable energy.
China is likely to build similar roads in the future, something that will inspire more nations to do the same. The result will be an increase in the share of renewable energy, which will reduce the demand for fossil fuels.
See Related: Interesting Solar Powered Inventions
3. Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is currently the largest solar thermal plant in the world. The facility is located in Mojave Desert, California, and has a generating capacity of 392 MW. The project consists of three different plants, each with a tower that is surrounded by panels.
The project stands out because it taps into another potential of solar energy that is yet to be exploited fully. The world is accustomed to generating electricity through solar panels. The power is then used for various purposes in the domestic, commercial, and industrial sectors.
However, the Ivanpah solar thermal project adopts a different mechanism.
Image Credit: Environmental Justice Atlas
Instead of the panels generating electricity, they concentrate the energy from the sun and direct it to the towers. The concentrated solar energy is then used to heat water within the towers, thereby turning it into steam.
The steam is responsible for driving turbines that are connected to generators, and which are responsible for generating electricity.
The project stands out among other thermal projects since the panels are computer-controlled. This ensures that the solar modules direct the heat from the sun into towers located higher above the ground for most of the day.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is proof of the many potentials of solar energy. It shows that people from across the world are finding new ways of harnessing power from the sun.
The practice is proof that the sun will become a vital source of energy in the coming years.
See Related: Best Solar Panels – What is Best for You?
4. Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project
The Murchison Renewable Energy Project was unveiled in 2019 by Hydrogen Renewables Australia in partnership with Siemens and will be located in Kalbarri. Despite being in the early stages, the project is proof that renewables are the future of energy.
What makes the project interesting is how it seeks to provide renewable energy. The facility will use an advanced electrolyzer technology that will convert solar and wind energy into renewable hydrogen.
Solar and wind energy will provide the necessary power to electrolyzers, which will be responsible for extracting hydrogen from water. The combined solar and wind farm that will be powering the facility will have a capacity of 5 GW. This means that the facility will be able to produce large amounts of renewable hydrogen each day.
The Murchison Renewable Energy Project aims to provide renewable hydrogen for the local and international markets. Once it is complete, the facility will be supplying hydrogen units that will be used for various purposes.
For instance, it will provide fuel for transportation and the production of electricity. It will also be used to give heat for use in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
The nature of the hydrogen project is proof that there will be increased use of renewable energy in the future. Nations across the world will no longer rely on fossil fuels to produce hydrogen whose demand continues to grow.
Furthermore, the project sets the way for other countries to start exporting solar and wind energy as renewable hydrogen. This will increase the use of clean energy across the world, even by those that are yet to embrace renewables.
5. Hornsdale Power Reserve
Image Credit: ABC News
Found in South Australia, the Hornsdale Power Reserve is a great achievement and qualifies as one of the influential renewable energy projects. It is proof that renewables can replace fossil fuels in the future.
So, what is the Hornsdale Power Reserve, and why is it an exciting renewable energy project?
It is an energy storage system located next to the Hornsdale Wind Farm and is also connected to the grid. The project was carried out by Tesla. Its goal was to stabilize the power in the network, something that it has already achieved.
The project is made up of the largest lithium-ion batteries in the world. Currently, the storage batteries provide 100 MW emergency power backup.
There are plans to expand it in the future, which means that it will be able to provide more electricity.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve project is unique for one main reason. It provides the means of storing large amounts of renewable energy for later use, which is a great achievement. But why is this important?
Renewables sources such as solar and wind are efficient for limited hours of the day. This is one of the main factors that have hindered the growth of renewable energy. Thus, being able to store large amounts of power generated when renewable systems are operating at their fullest is crucial.
Since the Hornsdale project has already provided a solution, it is certain that renewables will continue to grow in popularity. This is because it will be possible and easy for solar and wind power plants to store energy in large quantities.
Countries will, therefore, not be required to use fossil fuels when renewable systems are not able to generate enough power.
See Related: Solar Gadgets for Your Home
6. Hydropanel Project in Atauro Island
Clean drinking water remains to be a scarce commodity in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries. But, renewable energy is providing a solution, as can be seen through the hydropanel project on Atauro Island, near East Timor.
Image Credit: Zero Mass Water
The project is a demonstration of the possible benefits of solar energy. It reveals how communities that find it difficult to access non-bottled clean drinking water can address the issue.
The hydropanel plant in the Island now provides more than 10,000 liters of drinking water each month.
But what are hydropanels, and how do they work?
Hydropanels are a type of advanced solar panels that can harness solar energy and also extract water from the air. They are designed in a way that there is a standard solar module in the middle flanked by two hydropanels.
Hydropanels can generate heat and, at the same time, absorb water vapor from the atmosphere using solar energy. The absorbed moisture is led to a reservoir tank within the hydropanel where it is mineralized.
From the reservoir, the water is ready for drinking. It is then directed to taps or even a refrigerator located within a house or office building.
Each hydropanel can produce up to ten liters of water per day. Therefore, installing more hydropanels means that more safe and clean drinking water is produced within a short period.
The hydropanel project is a sign that the world will embrace renewable energy more, heading into the future.
Similar projects across the globe will offer a solution to the drinking water crisis faced by many communities.
This will then contribute to a sustainable future for all, which is the focus of sustainable development goals.
Conclusion on Interesting Renewable Energy Projects
Six renewable energy projects around the world show why renewables are the future and not fossil fuels.
The Tengger Desert Solar Park illustrate China and the world’s commitment to investing in solar energy. It also shows that solar power has the ability to meet a nation’s energy requirements.
The Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project reveals how solar and wind power can be stored in the form of renewable hydrogen. This makes it possible to export renewable energy.
China’s solar highway reveals how the nation is trying new ways of harnessing solar energy. The practice will continue in the coming decades as more countries uncover new ways of harnessing renewable energy.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is evidence that solar thermal can also be an effective way of producing electricity. Thus, heading into the future, solar thermal will also become popular, just like solar photovoltaics.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve project establishes a new way of storing large quantities of renewable energy. It offers a solution to one of the problems associated with renewables.
The hydropanel project in Atauro Island demonstrates how renewable energy can address the drinking water crisis faced by many communities. It shows that in addition to generating electricity, solar energy can also be used to produce clean water.
The six projects are proof that renewable energy is only going to grow in popularity as time progresses. This will decrease the use of harmful and unclean fossil fuels.
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