kilowatt per year which is more than the entire output of available fossil fuels in the country.
Solar energy can be utilised in a number of ways. It may be utilised by converting it into
electrical energy by photovoltaic cells or by converting it into heat energy for using in solar
water heaters or solar cooker.
It is a clean and non-polluting source of energy.
It is a never ending source.
Can be used in remote locations which have not been electrified.
Solar cells are long lasting and have low maintenance costs.
Solar energy cannot be produced during night.
Energy production gets low when weather is cloudy.
Solar cells initially require high investment.
Solar cells are not very effective in production of electrical energy. The most effective
photovoltaic cells convert not more 20% of the energy they receive.
Use of solar concentrators- A solar concentrator is a device through which sun rays
can be concentrated over a specific area. By using solar concentrators, output can be
increased by upto 50%.
Use of a newer, effective technology- Currently, traditional crystalline silicon cells
are used for production of electricity which have an efficiency of about 20%.
Scientists have already found a much more effective substitute to it. Multi junction
gallium arsenal cells have achieved efficiencies upto 43.5%.
Use of tubular batteries instead of lead acid batteries- Lead acid batteries are the most
commonly used batteries. They last about 3-4 years and require regular maintenance.
`Solar', Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India. Available on
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Last visited: 15-02-17.
On the other hand, tubular batteries last for about 7-8 years and are more efficient
than lead acid batteries.
In this way, one of the major disadvantages of solar energy
i.e. it cannot be produced at night, can be negated to a great extent.
Biomass refers to organic matter derived from plants or other livings organisms. Since India
is an agricultural country, it is available in abundance. Energy from biomass can be used
either directly, by burning it or by converting it into more efficient forms such as biogas or
bio-fuel. Majority of rural households use biomass to cater their energy needs. Some of the
forms in which biomass can be used are discussed below.
Use of biogas (commonly referred as gobar gas in India) is a sole technology which can
completely overtake the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). It is produced by breakdown
of organic material such as agricultural wastes, sewage, cowdung, etc, in the absence of
oxygen. It chiefly contains methane which has high calorific value. It can be used for cooking
or for making electricity from a heat engine.
Advance methods have shown that methane
content can be increased upto 80-90% which is currently 40%.
Conversion of biomass to biogas has an advantage in the sense that biogas produces very
little carbon dioxide while burning and the remains can be used as manure.
Biomass can be used to produce biodiesel which can replace conventional fuels to a certain
extent. Biomass can be converted to transportation fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. It can
be produced from crops such as sugarcane and corn.
There are several companies which
collect used cooking oil from restaurants and convert it to biodiesel.
Last visited: 16-02-17.
"Biogas & Engines". ,
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Richards, B.; Herndon, F. G.; Jewell, W. J.; Cummings, R. J.; White, T. E. (1994). "In situ methane enrichment in
methanogenic energy crop digesters". Biomass and Bioenergy. 6 (4): 275274
Energy Kids. Eia.doe.gov. Last visited: 22-02-17.
"Types of Biofuels: Ethanol, Biodiesel, Biobutanol | Renewable Energy". Energy Digital. Last visited: 22-02-
One of the major problems of biomass is that it is seasonal. For example, biomass will
be abundantly available during harvesting season whereas there will shortage during
It is less efficient as compared to conventional fuels.
Biodiesel cannot be used in normal vehicles such as bikes, etc.
Lack of technological know-how for harnessing biomass energy.
Government should provide subsidies to those who are willing to set a gobar gas plant
like provides subsidies to people installing solar water heaters, etc.
Research and development should be encouraged in this field so as to increase its
efficiency and reduce initial investment.
Awareness programs should be organized in remote areas so that people are
encouraged to switch to biogas.
It may sound shocking but water can be a potential source of energy. Not just for production
of hydroelectricity but also by using water directly as an element of production. Water is
made up of hydrogen and oxygen and the "hydrogen" part can be used as a fuel. Hydrogen
releases tremendous amount of energy per mole while burning. A major advantage of using
hydrogen as a fuel is that it does not produce any kind of pollution. It produces water on
burning. Many countries have claimed to have manufactured hydrogen power vehicles which
run on water.
One of the major challenges is that more energy is consumed in separating hydrogen
from oxygen than it is gained from burning hydrogen. Since water is a highly stable
compound, a large amount is required to break water into its constituent elements.
Thus, an energy deficit is created during the entire which makes unfeasible.
It is very difficult to store hydrogen and since hydrogen is high inflammable, it has to
be stored with great caution.
Certain techniques for separating hydrogen from water have been developed which
seem to be promising. For example, a scientific process called artificial
photosynthesis has been developed for separating hydrogen from water by using
sunlight. This process is inspired by photosynthesis which occurs naturally. In this
process, an artificial leaf device is submerged in an aqueous solution which, when
illuminated with a light source, forms hydrogen gas bubbles.
Further techniques can be developed in future if government encourages research and
development in this field.
Waste-to-energy process been has been quite popular in a few developed countries for
production of energy. In this process, energy is produced either in form of electricity or in
form of heat. Some of the processes for producing energy from wastes are discussed below.
Incineration is one of the processes where there is thermal treatment of waste. It involves
combustion of waste to produce energy. This process is widely used in European countries
for production of electricity. India also has a fully functional incineration plant at Delhi.
It is a process which involves treatment of waste material at high temperatures (upto 700
degree Celsius) with controlled amount of hydrogen and steam. The mixture formed after the
completion of this process is a fuel.
These processes can be used to avert the dangers of open dumping and land filling of
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Thermal Gasification of Biomass, International Energy Agency Task 33,
. Available at
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Excerpt out of 8 pages
- Quote paper
- Abhinav Mishra (Author), 2017, Analysis of renewable energies in India, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/373939