The past century, witnessed the indiscriminate
exploitation of conventional energy resources such as
fossil fuel, coal etc., which damaged environment, polluted
atmosphere and contaminated water, land and air, the
essential elements of all living beings.
This has in turn led to many problems being faced today
such as ozone depletion and global warming. The alarming
exploitation of non renewable sources has caused
depletion of precious resources.
Hence we have to find out an alternate viable source of
energy eliminating the hazard’s of non-renewable energy
Renewable energy is ultimate answer and our
energy and research are to be routed in harnessing
the renewable energy resources for sustaining the
Non Conventional Energy
Therefore, alternative sources of energy have become very
important and relevant to today’s world. These sources, such
as the sun and wind, can never be exhausted and therefore
renewable. They cause less emission and are available
The renewable energy while harnessing reduce chemical,
radioactive, and thermal pollution in the environment. They
stand out as a viable source of clean and limitless energy.
These are also known as non-conventional sources of energy.
They are non polluting, clean and conducive to environment
and for the sustenance of human beings.
Under the category of renewable energy / non-
conventional energy the predominant sources are
sun, wind, water, agricultural residues, firewood and
A race is going on throughout the world in
harnessing the renewable energy resources. Many of
the technologically advanced countries have made
rapid strides in this area and we have to gear our
efforts to harness renewable energy to supplement
our ever increasing energy requirements..
1 China 797.4 687.1 73.2 34 3
2 United States 520.1 325.1 119.7 56.7 1.81 17.0
3 Brazil 459.2 424.3 2.71 32.2 0.0002
4 Canada 399.1 372.6 19.7 6.4 0.43
5 India 162 131 26 4 1
The chart furnished below shows
where we are standing in harnessing
the renewable source of energy
From the chart it is evident that though we are
having potential of producing 5000 trillion kWh/year
under solar energy alone our performance is only 1
TW-h/year which is very dismal.
Solar energy is the most readily available source of
energy. It does not belong to anybody and is,
therefore, free. It is also the most important of the
non-conventional sources of energy because it is
non-polluting and, therefore, helps in lessening the
In the next few years it is expected that millions of
households in the world will be using solar energy as
the trends in USA and Japan show. In India too, the
Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and
the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources are
formulating a programme to have solar energy in
more than a million households in the next few
years. However, the people’s initiative is essential if
the programme is to be successful.
Our country is geographically located in such a place
where solar energy can be harnessed throughout the
year. Thanks to the present efforts and importance
extended by the government in boosting the generation
of solar and wind energy.
The financial incentives and other infrastructure
facilities extended by the government in enhancing the
production of renewable energy is indeed a right
direction and worthy. Our zone, having abundant solar
energy and is most suitable for harnessing solar energy
for a number of applications.
Biomass is a renewable energy
resource derived from the
carbonaceous waste of various
human and natural activities. It is
derived from numerous sources,
including the by-products from
the timber industry, agricultural
crops, raw material from the
forest, major parts of household
waste and wood.
Biomass does not add carbon dioxide to the
atmosphere as it absorbs the same amount of carbon
in growing as it releases when consumed as a fuel.
Its advantage is that it can be used to generate
electricity with the same equipment or power plants
that are now burning fossil fuels. Biomass is an
important source of energy and the most important
fuel worldwide after coal, oil and natural gas.
Traditional use of biomass is more than its use in
modern application. In the developed world biomass
is again becoming important for applications such as
combined heat and power generation. In addition,
biomass energy is gaining significance as a source of
clean heat for domestic heating and community
heating applications. In fact in countries like Finland,
USA and Sweden the per capita biomass energy used
is higher than it is in India, China or in Asia.
Biomass fuels used in India account for about one
third of the total fuel used in the country, being the
most important fuel used in over 90% of the rural
households and about 15% of the urban households.
Scientists are trying to explore the advantages of biomass energy as an
alternative energy source as it is renewable and free from net CO2
(carbon dioxide) emissions, and is abundantly available on earth in the
form of agricultural residue, city garbage, cattle dung, firewood, etc.
Bio-energy, in the form of biogas, which is derived from biomass, is
expected to become one of the key energy resources for global
At present, biogas technology provides an alternative source of energy
in rural India for cooking. It is particularly useful for village households
that have their own cattle. Through a simple process cattle dung is used
to produce a gas, which serves as fuel for cooking. The residual dung is
used as manure.
Biogas plants have been set up in many areas and are becoming
very popular. Using local resources, namely cattle waste and other
organic wastes, energy and manure are derived. A mini biogas
digester has recently been designed and developed, and is being
in-field tested for domestic lighting.
Indian sugar mills are rapidly turning to bagasse, the leftover of
cane after it is crushed and its juice extracted, to generate
electricity. This is mainly being done to clean up the environment,
cut down power costs and earn additional revenue. According to
current estimates, about 3500 MW of power can be generated
from bagasse in the existing 430 sugar mills in the country. Around
270 MW of power has already been commissioned and more is
Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert
the chemical energy of a fuel directly and very
efficiently into electricity (DC) and heat, thus doing
away with combustion. The most suitable fuel for
such cells is hydrogen or a mixture of compounds
containing hydrogen. A fuel cell consists of an
electrolyte sandwiched between two electrodes.
Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen
over the other, and they react electrochemically to
generate electricity, water, and heat.
Though fuel cells have been used in space flights and
combined supplies of heat and power, electric vehicles
are the best option available to dramatically reduce urban
air pollution. Compared to vehicles powered by the
internal combustion engine, fuel-cell powered vehicles
have very high energy conversion efficiency, (almost
double that of currently used engines) and near-zero
pollution, CO2 and water vapour being the only emissions.
Fuel-cell-powered EV's (electric vehicles) score over
battery operated EV's in terms of increased efficiency and
easier and faster refueling.
Fuel cells for power generation – India has a large
gap between the demand for and supply of power.
Conventional large-scale power plants use non-
renewable fuels with significant adverse ecological
and environmental impacts. Fuel cell systems are
excellent candidates for small-scale decentralized
The energy in the flowing water can be used to
produce electricity. Waves result from the
interaction of the wind with the surface of the sea
and represent a transfer of energy from the wind to
the sea. Energy can be extracted from tides by
creating a reservoir or basin behind a barrage and
then passing tidal waters through turbines in the
barrage to generate electricity.
New environmental laws affected by the danger of global
warming have made energy from small hydropower plants
more relevant. These small hydropower plants can serve the
energy needs of remote rural areas independently. The real
challenge in a remote area lies in successful marketing of the
energy and recovering the dues. Local industries should be
encouraged to use this electricity for sustainable development.
It is a technology with enormous potential, which could exploit
the water resources to supply energy to remote rural areas
with little access to conventional energy sources. It also
eliminates most of the negative environmental effects
associated with large hydro projects.
We live between two great sources of energy, the
hot rocks beneath the surface of the earth and the
sun in the sky. Our ancestors knew the value of
geothermal energy; they bathed and cooked in hot
springs. Today we have recognized that this resource
has potential for much broader application
In India, Northwestern Himalayas and the western coast
are considered geothermal areas. The Geological Survey
of India has already identified more than 350 hot spring
sites, which can be explored as areas to tap geothermal
energy. Satellites like the IRS-1 have played an important
role, through infrared photographs of the ground, in
locating geothermal areas. The Puga valley in the Ladakh
region has the most promising geothermal field. An
experimental 1-kW generator is already in operation in
this area. It is being used mainly for poultry farming,
mushroom cultivation, and pashmina-wool processing, all
of which need higher temperature.
Wind energy is the kinetic energy associated
with the movement of atmospheric air.
India ranks 5th in the world with a total wind
power capacity and our present utilization is
only 26 TW-h/year. We are having vast stretch
of sea shore on both sides where wind is
blowing throughout the year which has to be
harnessed to our advantage. The present
increasing utilization of wind energy is highly
supplementing our energy requirements.
Five nations – Germany, USA, Denmark, Spain and India –
account for 80% of the world’s installed wind energy
capacity. Wind energy continues to be the fastest
growing renewable energy source with worldwide wind
power installed capacity is ever increasing.
We have to accelerate the pace of growth in utilizing wind
energy which is cheaper and technologically more
feasible. It is worth while to mention here that our state is
taking a leading role in utilizing wind energy. Hence
Indigenous research has to be encouraged for cost
effective utilization of wind energy.
The other forms of renewable energy is also to be
encouraged to supplement the total energy
requirements and for the benefit of our farming
community. India is heavily depending on agriculture
and utilization of energy from bio waste locally will
go a long way in enhancing the agricultural
production and improving the quality of life of our
With this I conclude that renewable energy is the
ultimate energy for sustaining human life in this
planet. I exhort the technocrats and scientists of our
nation to channelize their research and effort in this
Many of the present problems such as wastage in
transmission, energy loss, grid interactive and
efficient power management is another area where
we have to concentrate for energy saving and
We may even find out the possibilities of combining
the difference sources of renewable energy into a
hybrid energy which will be cost effective in
generation & transmission. When such energy is
generated in each establishment indigenously that
will meet the energy requirements independently
without depending on external sources such as EB
and other conventional energy generating units.