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Our energy heritage

Work and Energy

- Work done by a force = force x displacement =
- SI Unit : Nm = joule (J)

- Energy: a thermodynamic quantity equivalent to the capacity of a physical system to do

work and produce change.
- SI Unit : Nm = joule (J)
- Unit of electrical energy is kilowatt-hour (kW.h)
- One kW.h = 3,600,000 J (3600 kJ or 3.6 MJ)

Law of conservation of energy

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed from one form to another.


- Heat Engines, such as the internal combustion engine used in cars, or the Steam engine
(Heat Mechanical energy)
- Ocean Thermal energy (Heat Electricity)
- Hydroelectric dams(Gravitational potential energy electricity)
- Electric Generator (Kinetic Energy or Mechanical Work Electricity)
- Fuel Cells (Chemical energy Electricity)

Mechanical energy
- Kinetic energy: is the energy associated with the motion of a body
o translational KE: = 2 2
o Rotational KE: = 2
- Potential energy
o Gravitational: The energy possessed by a body by virtue of its height is known as
gravitational potential energy, U. =
o elastic potential energy

- power: Rate of doing work or rate of consumption of energy

- Average power: =
- SI Unit of power: Watt, 1W = 1 J/s.
- Alternative unit of Power, 1 horsepower = 746 W

Energy Conversion Efficiency: It is defined as the effectiveness of converting from one form of input
energy to a more useful form.


Energy landscape
Present Energy utilization
- Total world energy consumption:
o 2008: 505 quadrillion Btu
o 2020: 619 quadrillion Btu
o 2035: 770 quadrillion Btu
- Bottom Line: World energy consumption will increase by 53% from 2008-2035.
- By 2035: The energy consumption share of OECD countries is expected to increase only by
- Non-OECD countries energy use is expected to grow by 85% from 2007 to 2035.
- Energy use in Non OECD emerging countries is growing @ 2.3 % per annum. This is due to
the growing economies of these countries.
- China and India are the non-OECD fastest growing economies.

- There is strong correlation between standard of living per capita (per head of population)
and the energy consumption per capita.
- Graph shows a large spread in energy consumption per capita between different highly
developed countries.
- Less developed countries will increase their GDP and energy consumption per capita.
Further the population also increases there by increasing energy consumption.
- In more developed countries, the population is roughly constant and they are increasing
their energy efficiency-leading to decrease in energy consumption.

Energy supply
- Share of coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro and others have increased and oil has decreased
- Overall TPES has increased by 122% in 40 years
- Total primary energy supply by America and Europe has increased nominally
- Total primary energy supply by Asia has increased by a good amount
- Most of the energy currently used in the world comes from fossil fuels.
- Fossil fuels: Coal, oil and gas: 81% of the total energy is supplied from non-renewable
- By 2030: Share of oil is expected to decline to 32%
- : Share of coal is expected to grow to 28%

Fossil fuel
- Coal
o Coal is a burnable carbonaceous rock that contains large amount of carbon
o Composition of Coal: Main ingredient is Carbon
o Additional ingredients are hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen, water and ash forming
o Its greater carbon content and more impurities lead to more carbon di oxide and
greater air pollution on burning.
o Primary use: Energy resource for electricity production
o In the absence of legislation, US, China and India may turn to coal in place of more
expensive fuels.
o United States produces 18% of the worlds coal annually. Coal is more plentiful than
oil and natural gas.
o Limitation: Its solid form causes difficulties in extraction, transportation and use.
- Crude oil:
o Naturally occurring flammable liquid: They are found beneath the earth's surface.
o They are composed of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular
weights, and other organic compounds,
o Biggest reserve: Middle east: 56% of the World share
o The price of oil may vary due to:
Low Oil Price : Assumes greater competition and international cooperation
in both consuming and producing nations.
Reference case: Current practices, politics, levels of access and economics
decides the trend.
High Oil Price case: Assumption is a rebound in world oil prices due to
economic growth and long-term restrictions on conventional liquid
- Natural gas:
o mixture of gases formed from the fossil remains of ancient plants and animals
buried deep in the earth. The main ingredient in natural gas is methane
o Used to heat buildings, cook food, dry clothes, heat water, power generation and
o Compressed natural gas is a cleaner alternative to other automobile fuels such as
gasoline (petrol) and diesel
o More efficient than oil and coal and less carbon intensive.

Transition to clean energy

1. Most of the worlds population is extremely energy poor. About 2.5 billion people, have no
access to electricity. For example India, with over 1 billion people, it implies a twenty-fold
increase in per capita energy use.
2. Depleting oil needs to be replaced by other energy resources. In the future, well have to
create our new energy carriers, be they chemical batteries or oil-substitutes like methanol or
3. Growing human population, the impacts of climate change and other forms of
environmental damage is escalating future demands for clean energy.
4. Fossil fuels cannot meet energy requirement forever
a. Oil and gas reserves will become scarce in human life time.
b. Oil reserves will last for next 40 years.
c. Gas reserves will last for 60 years.
d. Coal reserves will last for next 133 years.
5. Excessive usage of fossil fuels: CO2 and other pollutants emission Implication: enhanced
greenhouse effect by earths atmosphere

Global warming
- Curves show a steep rise in temperature since 1970: This Rise is called GLOBAL WARMING.
- Over 20th Century, average global temperature rose by 0.6+0.20C
- IPCC(International Panel of climate change prediction): 1.4-5.80C rise in global temperature
between 1990 and 2100.

Effects of global warming

- Global sea level is rising at an average rate of 1.7 mm per year over past 100 years.
- This increase is due mainly to thermal expansion and contributions from melting alpine
glaciers, and does not include any potential contributions from melting ice sheets in
Greenland or Antarctica
- Increase in glacial melting, the size and number of glacial lakes, and ground instabilities in
permafrost areas and change in Arctic/Antarctic ecosystem.
- Increased spring runoff and peak discharge in snow-fed rivers, warming of lakes and rivers.
- Earlier timing of spring events, such as leaf unfolding, bird migration, egg-laying.
- Poleward and upward shift in range of plant and animal species.

- Immediate steps taken to reduce CO2 emission will take more than a century to see its
elimination from the atmosphere due to its slow removal time from the atmosphere.
- Figure shows that the damage is already done. Even if CO2 emission peak declines, effects
on CO2 concentration, temperature and sea level rise will continue.

- To address daunting challenges, we need to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy

Clean energy
Clean energy technologies refer to those technologies that will either replace existing supply of fossil
fuels or use energy more efficiently and judiciously thereby minimizing environmental pollution.


Renewable Non-renewable
1. Ocean energy (marine currents and 1. Nuclear energy
2. waves)
3. Solar energy
4. Hydro energy
5. Wind energy
6. Biomass
7. Geothermal energy Commented [JXP1]: Why is this non-renewable
Hydropower has main contribution towards global electricity consumption

Renewable energy policies continue to be the main driver behind renewable energy growth. By early
2011, around 119 countries had some type of policy target or renewable support policy at national
level, doubling from 55 countries in early 2005.

Important clean energy systems are: Modern renewables and traditional biomass

- Renewable energy supplied an estimated 16% of global energy consumption.

- Solar PV received recognition, thanks to its declining cost.
- Hydropower has main contribution towards global electricity consumption
- Emerging and developing economies increase share of Policies, Investment, Supply and Use
in renewables.
- Renewable energy policies continue to be the main driver behind renewable energy growth
Singapores energy industry
- Singapore is One of the top oil refining centres in the world.
- Singapore is the worlds busiest marine bunkering centre.
- 80 per cent of Singapores electricity is produced from piped natural gas imported from
Malaysia and Indonesia.
- Singapore also imports all of its crude oil.
- Singapore is a net importer of energy
- Between 2009-2018, demand of electricity is expected to increase at an annual rate of
between 2.5-3.0 %
- Oil Industry contributes to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP).
- Oil storage facilities are under operation on Jurong Island.
- Singapore relies heavily on import of fuels to ensure a secure, reliable and diversified
- supply of competitively-priced energy.

Liquefied natural gas

- To meet the demand and diversify the sources, liquification of natural gas is an appropriate
- It decreases the volume of the fuel and makes it easy to transport and store.
- The liquefaction technique will expand the pool of natural gas suppliers for Singapore.
- Singapore has constructed an LNG terminal located on a 30-hectare site at Jurong Island.

Solar energy
- Solar energy: Singapore is located on the tropical sunbelt and there is a good potential to
harness the solar energy for power generation.
- Solar Photovoltaic systems have been incorporated in various pilot projects led by Housing
and Development Board (HDB).
- Till June 2009, 31 commercial and 9 house hold solar PV installations have been connected
to the grid in Singapore.

- Biofuels are a wide range of fuels which are in some way derived from biomass. These
include solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases.
- Singapore has signed agreements for the development of biofuel technologies with foreign

Thermal energy
Heat and temperature
- If any substance of mass m absorbs heat (Q), it will:
a. Increase in temperature Q=mc T
b. Change state at constant temperature (solid to liquid at the melting point, liquid to
gas at the boiling point) Q=mL

Modes of heat transfer

- Conduction is the transfer of heat energy within a body due to random motion of molecules.
- Conduction takes place in all forms of matter, viz. solids, liquids and gases.
- It does not require any bulk motion of matter particles.
- In solids, it is due to the combination of vibrations of the molecules thereby transporting
heat energy from one molecule to the other.
- In gases and liquids, conduction is due to the collisions and diffusion of the molecules during
their random motion.

- Heat transfer due to bulk motion of a fluid (liquid or gas) is known as convection.
- It cannot take place in solids since the molecules in a solid are not free to move in the body
of the solid.

- Radiative heat transfer is the transport of heat energy by electromagnetic waves.
- Unlike conduction and convection which needs a medium, heat can be transferred by
radiation through vacuum.
- Energy radiated per second per unit area( Power per unit area), Pe is given by Stefans
Boltzmanns Law: = 4
- T: absolute surface temperature of radiation emitting body
- =emissivity of the surface, its value lies between 0 and 1 depending on the nature of the
- =Stefans Boltzmanns constant=5.67x 10-8 Wm-2K-4
- Energy absorbed per second per unit area (Power per unit area), Pa is : = 04
- Net rate of emission per unit area per second is : = ( 4 04 )
- A surface that absorbs all radiations falling on it is known as black body.

Laws of thermodynamics
First law of thermodynamics
It is the law of conservation of energy applied to a thermodynamic system.

The difference between the heat input Q and the work done by the system W is equal to the change
in internal energy U of the thermodynamic system

Second law of thermodynamics

Q2 > 0 <1

Above Eqn is the one of the statements of second law of thermodynamics.

Different statements of the second law are:

1. No system operating in a closed cycle can convert all the heat absorbed from a heat
reservoir in to work.
2. Heat always flows spontaneously from a body at a higher temperature to a body at a lower
3. In any process, Entropy of the universe( system+surroundings) always increases .

Power plants
1. Upon absorption of heat: Rise in temperature of the fluid and change of state.
2. Laws of thermodynamics
3. Heat exchange with the environment due to the temperature difference.

Types of power plants

1. Steam Power Plants: Uses steam as the fuel. Operating temperature is low.

2. Gas Power Plant: Uses gas (natural gas) as the fuel. Operating temperature is high.

Steam power plant

- The working fluid (water) undergoes a phase change at different stages in a closed cycle and
is reused in subsequent cycles.


1. Compression: work done (Wcom) on the system to compress cold water to high pressure
2. Boiling: Heat Q1 added to the system to convert cold water into steam.
3. Turbine Rotation: Work Wt done by the system (steam) on the turbine blades.
4. Condensation: Hear Q2 lost from the system to the environment in converting steam back to
cold water.

After each complete cycle the working fluid has the same energy U as it had in the beginning of the
cycle. Hence, U=0.

A perfect system:

1. No heat loss in the condenser and the heat input in the boiler.
2. Entire heat supplied to the system will be used to do useful work (not possible).
- This heat increases the disorder (ENTROPY) of the steam.
- As a result, working substance rejects some heat to the environment to reduce the disorder
of the fluid back to the original value.
- Amount of heat rejected depends on the temperature of the condenser.
- Since Q2 is always positive <1
- There is always an upper limit to the efficiency of a thermal power plant and the wasted
thermal energy heats the external environment.
Thermal properties of water and steam
- In a conventional thermal power plant: Working fluid is water
- At various stages of cycle: Water changes its phase from water to a two phase mixture of
water and steam to dry steam to water.
- A convenient representation for describing operation of thermal power plant: T-S diagram

Rankine cycle
Salient features of Rankine Cycle without reheat

1. Compressor increases the pressure of the water

adiabatically before entering the boiler(ef).
(high pressure makes water harder to boil.
Hence the water absorbs more heat before
boiling improving the efficiency of the
2. Boiler has three sections
a. Economizer (fa): Water is heated at
high pressure until it starts boiling.
b. Evaporator(ab): Two phase mixture of
water and steam is heated at constant
pressure until all the water is converted
into dry steam.
c. Superheater (bc): Dry steam is then
heated at constant pressure in
3. Dry steam enters the turbine at high pressure
and rotates the turbine, thereby doing work (cd).
4. On leaving the turbine, wet steam enters the condenser. Here, all the steam is converted
into water (de) before entering the compressor.

- A pressure drop through the boiler due to frictional losses.
- Unable to completely eliminate the formation of water droplets in stage (cd). wet steam not
only affects heat transfer efficiency. The droplets hit the turbine with high momentum and
damage its blades.
Rankine cycle with reheat
This steam power plant has two-three turbines: High pressure (HP), Intermediate pressure(IP) and
low pressure (LP) turbines.

- Steam is reheated several times before entering the condenser.

- After the steam leaves the (HP), it is reheated and goes to (IP), followed by second reheating
and turning (LP).

- Overall efficiency is increased. Higher the operating temperature of super heater, higher will
be the efficiency.
- Problem of water droplets formation is decreased.
- Practically achieved efficiency: 40-45%

Practical Limitation
- Highest temperature of the super heater is 6500C.
- Metal fatigue puts a limitation beyond this.

Gas turbines and Brayton cycle

- Uses gas instead of water
- Achievable temperature: 1300C
- Turbine blades are covered with ceramic coating of low thermal conductivity to avoid
metallurgical damage of blades.
- The blade assembly is water cooled, to keep their temperature low.
- Condenser is not needed: Direct impact is cost reduction.
- Working substance is replenished with successive cycles.


1. COMPRESSION:(a) Air enters the compressor at atmospheric pressure and it is compressed

to 10-20 bar(b).
2. COMBUSTION: Air is mixed with fuel and produces hot gases(c).
3. TURBINE: These hot gases rotate the turbine leading to electricity production. The exhaust
gases are vented to atmosphere.

Simple gas turbines, =40%

Advantage: Low capital cost devices, can be set-up quickly.

Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT)

- Net effect is a single cycle operating between the upper temperature of Brayton cycle and
the lower temperature of Rankine cycle.
- =60%
- >60% is also achievable
- Condenser in the steam power cycle is operated at a temperature higher than that of a
conventional steam plant.
- Waste heat from the condenser maybe used for district heating in local community.
- =80%
- The cost involved is high: Finds application in industrial complexes or densely populated
urban areas.
Wind energy
Solar radiation: The ultimate source of all energy including wind energy.

1-2% of incident solar power is converted into wind.

WIND Pattern over a day: During day: Land is more warm than sea: Wind flows from sea to Land

During Night: Sea is warmer than land: Wind flows from land to sea.

Available wind power is ~109MW which is 100 times the total Global power usage.

Limitation: It is Diffuse resource: Only a fraction of it could be harnessed.

Wind patterns
Highest intensity of SOLAR RADIATION at equator causes warm air to rise up and cooler air to flow in
from north and south.

Wind varies both with time and location.

Other effects: like varying effect of oceans, surface friction, large scale eddy motions and seasonal

Coriolis Force
- Earths rotations determine the places of high and low wind.
- Wind moving north or south will have a component of velocity towards east to an observer
in space.
- The eastward component of wind velocity increases with increase in distance from the
equator, as the distance to the earths axis decreases
- At 30 latitude, wind flow becomes unstable and north-south motion of the wind dissipates.
- In northern hemisphere, the sinking air at 30 latitude gives rise to northeast trade winds
and westerly wind belt.
- Westerly wind belt prevails over Europe.

Sites with strong wind

- North America was found to have the greatest wind power potential.
- Some of the strongest winds were observed in Northern Europe, along the North Sea.
- Southern tip of South America and the Australian island of Tasmania also recorded
significant and sustained strong winds at the turbine blade height.
- In North America, the most consistent winds were found in the Great Lakes region and from
ocean breezes along the eastern, western and southern coasts
Wind classification

Class 4, with wind speed ~7.0 m/s is considered as the threshold limit

for economic viability of the wind turbines.

Kinetic energy and power of wind

For a wind speed u and air density , the energy density (E, kinetic energy per unit volume) of wind

is given by:

The volume of the wind flowing per second across a cross sectional area A = uA.

Wind power, P is the wind energy over an area A per second

Factors affecting wind turbine efficiency

1. Doubling the wind speed results in 8-fold increase in the power available in the wind
2. Doubling the blade diameter increases power by a factor of 4.
3. The wind speed increases with increase in height above the ground, hence, much more
power is available at higher elevations. In day time, the variation follows the 1/7th power
law, which predicts that wind speed rises proportionally to the seventh root of altitude.
4. Horizontal axis wind turbines are found better than the vertical axis turbines
5. Turbines should have yaw mechanism (direction of turbine facing the direction of incident
6. Aerofoil shape: ensures good lift force. Pitch mechanism to tilt it in the direction of the wind
7. Longer blades: more power can be harnessed (PAR2)
8. Number of blades: 3
Types of wind turbines
Horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT)
- The turbine consists of a tower. An enclosure called NACELLE is
mounted atop the tower.
- Nacelle houses bearings for turbine shaft, gear box and the
- Turbine blades generally 2 or 3 in number are mounted on the
- The turbine blades are of the shape of aerofoil.
- The aerofoil shape provides lift force to rotate the turbine.
- YAW CONTROL is the drive mechanism which orients the nacelle in
the direction of the incident wind.

Upwind Design: Wind strikes the blades before reaching the tower. (more

Downwind design:

- Wind strikes the blades after passing over the tower.

- Thus, wind always keeps the blades away from the tower.
- In this case presence of tower causes wind shadowing effect on the blades.
- It causes the blades flexing and therefore more fatigue in blades, leading to their early
- Reduces output power and increases blade noise

Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT)

Driving force: Lift force/drag force, depending on the

blade design

- Torque is maximum when the blades are moving

across the wind.
- Torque is minimum when the blades are moving
along the direction of the wind.
- In this particular design, cables are required to
support the top, this limits its height and the advantage
of stronger winds at higher altitudes.

Advantages of VAWT over HAWT

- VAWT do not require any yaw mechanism.

- Gear box and generator are situated at ground level, maintenance is easy.

Limitations of VAWT over HAWT

- VAWT are proven to be less cost effective over HAWT.

Turbine blades
Rotation of turbine blades is based on the principle of lift force and drag force

- For small angle of attack, the pressure distribution on the upper side of aerofoil is
significantly lower than that of the lower side, resulting in a net lift and drag force on the

A good blade design is the one which maximizes the lift force and minimizes the drag force.

As the wind flows through the turbine, part of the kinetic energy of the wind is transferred to the
turbine. This causes the turbine to rotate. In this process the wind slows down


- Originally blades were made of wood, aluminium and steel.

- Nowadays, fibre glass and other composite materials are used due to their high strength,
stiffness and low density.
- Blades are quite long. The study of their fatigue properties is needed since they have to
rotate for years together (typically 30 years).
- Fatigue causes the blades to bend permanently and finally break.

Tip Speed Ratio (TSR)--This is defined as the ratio of the speed of rotation of the outer tip of the
blade and the speed of the incident wind.

- The rotor efficiency is a function of the tip speed ratio as shown in figure.
- TSR is a measure of rotations per minute of the rotor.

Number of blades:

- For electricity generation: The tip speed of the blades is very high and the turbulence caused
by one blade on another can significantly reduce the overall efficiency.
- The fewer the number of blades, the better it is.
- Most new turbines have three blades: They run smoother than 2 blade turbines because the
impact of tower interference and the variation of wind speed with height are more evenly
transferred from rotors to drive the shaft.

Maximum power extraction efficiency

Using concepts of mechanics and fluid dynamics, Power extracted Pext, is given by

- Betz limit: Maximum theoretical efficiency of the rotor is called Betz Limit.
- According to Betz's law, no turbine can capture more than 16/27 (59.3%) of the kinetic
energy in wind.
- Betz limit is achievable when the rotor slows down the wind speed by two- thirds. i.e. ratio
of downstream to upstream wind: 1/3. Speed of incident wind decreases by 2/3

Capacity factor
- The actual energy delivered and the deliverable energy at the rated power differ from each
- The ratio of the annual energy yield to that which would be produced at the rated power is
called capacity factor (CF).
- actual energy produced per unit time/ energy suggested by manufacturer per unit of
- It is typically~ 1/3 (30%) for modern wind turbines.
- Wind plants installed in Class-4 and Class-5 sites, result in CFs of roughly 30% - 40%.
- Comparison of capacity factor: Coal plants operate with CF of 80%-90%.

CF is affected by wind speed

- Vc: cut in wind speed, Vr: rated wind speed, Vf: furling or cut-out wind speed
- Below the cut in wind speed vc, the turbine is not turned on since the power generated is
insufficient to offset generator losses.
- Above vc, the output power increases as cube of wind speed, till wind speed vR, when the
output power is same as the rated power, PR.
- Above vR, the pitch of the turbine blades is reduced to shed some of the wind, to prevent
the generator from overpowering.
- At vF, the cut off wind speed or furling, the winds are just high and too dangerous, so the
turbine shuts down.

- CF is very low if a lot of wind is below the cut in wind speed.

- At very high wind speed, the value CF attains is nearly constant.
- In the range of wind speeds between the above limits of speed, the variation of CF is almost
- Thus, once the design specifications of actual turbines are known, the energy delivered by
the turbine increase linearly with average wind speed.

Applications based on the output power

1. Large turbines are connected to the national electricity grid for power production (Capacity>
150 kW).
2. Intermediate size wind turbines find applications in hybrid energy systems: wind turbine
generators could be connected to other energy sources such as photovoltaics/hydro/diesel
used in small remote grids (size range, 10 kW-150 kW size range).
3. Small standalone turbines (<10 kW) are used for battery charging, water pumping, heating
etc. For battery charging, the size range, 25-150 Watt is sufficient (i.e., blades with 0.5m-1.5
m diameter). Around 200,000 small battery charging wind turbines are now in use.

Wind farms
- A wind farm constitutes a group of wind turbines located close at a place.
- These are used to produce electric power. Individual turbines are interconnected with a
medium voltage (usually 34.5 kV) power collection system and communications network.
- At a substation, this medium-voltage electrical current is increased in voltage with a
transformer for connection to the high voltage transmission system.
- A large wind farm may consist of a few dozen to several hundred individual wind turbines,
and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines
may be used for agricultural or other purposes.

Wind farm classification based on location

- Onshore, nearshore and offshore are the most widely used classification of wind farms by
location. There are also aerial turbines.
- Each class of turbines has unique design characteristics intended to suit their specific
- The size of a turbine will influence its power generating capacity. The smaller turbines, which
produce under 50 kilowatts, are most commonly used to power water pumps,
telecommunication dishes, and homes.
- A 5-15 kilowatt turbine should suffice the need of home that uses under 10,000 kilowatt
hours of electricity per year. This type of system will cost between $6,000-$22,000 to install.
- A hybrid wind system uses smaller turbines in combination with photovoltaic systems,
rechargeable deep-cycle batteries, and diesel generators to provide storable, on-demand
power in remote, off-the-grid locations.
- Classification:
o Onshore: more than 3km inland
o Nearshore: less than 3km inland or less than 10km away from land
o Offshore: more than 10km away from land

Onshore wind farms

- Onshore wind turbines are installed in hilly or mountainous regions on ridge lines generally
three kilometres or more inland from the nearest shoreline.
- This is done to exploit the topographic acceleration of the wind due to its passage over the
- The additional wind speeds gained in this way contributes significantly towards
enhancement in the amount of energy produced by the turbines.
- Hence, due care needs to be taken in deciding the location of the turbines since shifting of
locations even by 30 metres can cause two folds increase in the power output.

Near shore Wind Farms

- Near shore turbine installations are on land within three kilometres of a shoreline or, on
water within ten kilometres of land.
- These areas are good sites for turbine installation, because of high wind speeds produced by
convection due to differential heating of land and sea each day.
- Wind speeds in these zones share the characteristics of both onshore and offshore wind.
- The province of Ontario in Canada is pursuing several proposed near shore locations in the
Great Lakes fresh water -Hence, no problem of corrosion of towers.

Offshore wind farms

Offshore wind power development zones are generally considered to be ten kilometres or more
from land.
- The United Kingdom plans to use offshore wind turbines to generate enough power to light
every home in the U.K. by 2020.
- Denmark has many offshore windfarms


- Offshore wind turbines are less obtrusive than turbines on land, as their apparent size and
noise is mitigated by large distance from habitation.
- The average wind speed is usually considerably higher and stable over open water of the
- Capacity factors (utilisation rates) are considerably higher than for onshore and nearshore
- Wind turbines in offshore farms can also be bigger in size than those located on land
because it is easier to transport very large turbine components by sea.


- Compared to onshore wind towers, off shore winds tower is more complex and costly to
install and maintain.
- Corroding of Offshore towers due to saltwater environment also enhances maintenance
- Offshore foundations for towers are more expensive than the onshore foundations.
- Repair and maintenance of Offshore Turbines are usually costlier than those of the onshore
turbines. Hence, for a desired power production, it is preferred to reduce the number of
wind turbines by installing the largest available units.

Offshore windfarm technology

Existing offshore technology: Fixed-bottom, foundation-based tower technology

In areas with extended shallow continental shelves, water not deeper than 40 m (130 feet), windy
but without Category 4 or higher storms, fixed-bottom turbines are now available and in use as well.

Offshore fixed-bottom towers are generally taller than onshore towers once their submerged height
is included.

Future technology:

- A floating wind turbine is an offshore wind turbine mounted on a floating structure that
allows the turbine to generate electricity in water depths where bottom-mounted towers
are not feasible.
- Floating wind parks are wind farms that site several floating wind turbines closely together
to take advantage of common infrastructure such as power transmission facilities.
- The electricity generated is transmitted to onshore places through undersea cables.
- The initial capital cost of floating turbines is competitive with bottom-mounted, near-shore
wind turbines.

Economics of wind power

The cost of the new turbines is decreasing due to:

- Cost of a rotor is roughly proportional to its diameter but power delivered is proportional to
the square of diameter.
- Taller towers reach in higher winds which increases energy faster than the tower cost.
- Planning, permitting, site preparation, and installation costs dont increase much when size
- Servicing large turbines is not much different from servicing small ones and newer turbines
are designed to need less servicing in the first place.
- Wind power plants can be installed rapidly. Example: 50 MW power plant can be in
operation in less than a year from signing the contract.
- All these factors have contributed towards reduction in the capital costs for US projects by
85% in the last two decades.

Environmental impact
- Atmospheric emission: No direct atmospheric emissions are caused by the operation of wind
- Energy balance: Energy invested in production, installation, operation and maintenance of a
typical wind turbine has a payback time of less than half a year of its operation.
- Land use: Wind farms have the advantage of dual land use. 99% of the area occupied by a
wind farm can be used for agriculture. As a thumb rule wind farms require 0.08-0.13
km2/MW (8-13 MW/km2).
- Noise emission: Noise produced by wind turbines is composed of a mechanical component
and an aerodynamic component. For rotor diameters up to 20 m, mechanical component
dominates while for larger rotors, aero dynamic component dominates.
- Visual Impact: The modern wind turbines with hub height greater than 40m and blade
length greater than 20m have a visual impact, which mainly is the effect of moving shadows
of the rotor blades.
- Interference with electromagnetic communication systems: The wind turbines can reflect
electromagnetic waves, which will be scattered and diffracted. As a result, the
telecommunication links are disturbed.
- Safety of personnel: Accidents with wind turbines involving humans are extremely rare.
- Impact on birds: Birds mortality due to wind turbines is only a fraction of the overall birds

Wind technology in Singapore

- Limitations in land area, Singapore cannot replicate application of wind power in terms of
large wind farms. other countries'
- Singapore does not have abundant winds except in the coastal areas and offshore islands
(average wind speed is usually lower than 3.3 m/s)
- There is no grid-tied installation functioning on wind energy in the country at present.
However, Singapore can look into micro-wind technology (which can generate electricity
with wind speeds of less than 2m/s)
Solar power
- The sun radiates energy at the rate of 3.9 x 1026W (watts)
- The fusion reactions in the solar core take place because of the very high temperatures
(108K ) in this region of the Sun.
- Solar radiation received at the top of earths atmosphere comprises :
o Ultraviolet (UV) radiation: 9%
o Visible radiation: 40%
o Infra-Red (IR) radiation: 51%
- Roughly half of it reaches the surface of earth.
- Much of the UV is absorbed by Oxygen, Nitrogen and Ozone in upper part of earths
- Some of the infrared rays are also absorbed by water vapours, carbon dioxide and methane
in the lower atmosphere.

Diffuse and direct solar radiation

As solar radiation passes through the atmosphere, part of the radiation is absorbed, scattered and
reflected by the following:

- Air molecules
- Water vapour
- Clouds
- Dust
- Pollutants

The above component is called diffuse solar radiation or diffuse insolation.

The solar radiation that reaches the earth's surface without being diffused is called direct solar
radiation or direct insolation.

The sum of the diffuse and direct solar radiation forms global insolation.

Diffuse component depends on the clarity of the sky. Atmospheric conditions can reduce direct
beam radiation by 10% on clear, dry days and by 100% during thick cloudy days.

Total Incident solar radiation is distributed as follows:

- 30% is reflected back to space by atmosphere, clouds and earths surface. This component is
called albedo.
- 19% is absorbed by atmosphere and clouds.
- Remaining 51% of the incident radiation is absorbed by earths surface.

The relatively constant temperature of earth is the energy balance between the incoming and
outgoing radiations.

Amount of sunlight collected also depends on changes in the radiant intensity of the sun. The suns
irradiance will be higher on a dry still day compared to a windy humid day.

Intensity of sunlight increases with higher altitude.

Harnessing solar energy

- No deadly radioactive waste
- Free-Renewable Fuel
- Already heating Earth (No added Heat)
- Dependable-Sustained Clean Energy Natural Power

The range of solar technologies can be split into three categories:

(i) Solar thermal devices for direct heat applications.

(ii) Concentrating solar power (CSP) thermal devices which use heat for electricity production in
a steam turbine.
(iii) Photovoltaic devices that produce electricity directly from solar radiation (PV).

Solar heating systems

- Solar cookers, solar furnaces, solar steam boilers
1. Active solar systems: the solar heated fluid is circulated by a fan or pump.
a. Example: Heating of Swimming Pools, Domestic water heating Systems
b. Most common use of solar heating systems today is to provide hot water for
domestic purposes (DHW) or for swimming pools.
c. DWH Collectors operate at temperatures varying from 60-820C.
2. Passive solar systems: Uses no external power but allows the fluid heated by the sun to
circulate by natural means
a. Example: Passive space heating in buildings

Other applications: There are a variety of uses for this energy, such as hydrogen fuel production,
foundry applications and high temperature materials testing.

Solar cookers
The basic purpose of a solar box cooker is to heat things up -cook food, purify water, and sterilize

- The interior of the box is heated by the energy of the sun. Sunlight, both direct and
reflected, enters the solar box through the glass or plastic top.
- Single or multiple reflectors bounce additional sunlight through the glass and into the solar
box. This additional input of solar energy results in higher cooker temperatures.
- The temperature inside the box rises until the heat loss of the cooker is equal to the solar
heat gain
- Heating of the pots inside the box is done by direct absorption and by convection.

Solar water heating systems

- Solar water heating systems use the sun's energy to heat water in liquid-based solar
- These are usually used along with conventional water heaters.
- Solar collectors for these systems are typically 36 m2 in area.
- A typical solar water heating system can meet approx. 50% of the water heating
requirements in a home.

There are two types of solar water heating systems:

- (i) Active, which have circulating pumps.

- (ii) Passive, which are based on natural convection.
Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors.

- The storage tanks are well insulated.

- Types of solar collectors:
o Flat plate collectors (active)
o Batch collectors (passive)
o Excavated tube solar collectors (active)

Flat plate collector

- It has thin flat metal plate, painted black, to absorb suns radiation.
- Absorber plate is in contact with fluid tubes. Fluids absorb heat and circulated by a pump to
take away heat.
- In an air based collector the circulating fluid is air, whereas in a liquid based collector it is
usually water.
- This set up is covered with one or two sheets of glazing.
- Achievable temperature is 30-70C (86-158F)

Passive Batch Solar Water Heater

- Also known as a bread box system or integral collector storage system,


- This solar collector consisting of one or more storage tanks placed inside an insulated box
that has a glazed side facing the sun.
- A batch collector Is mounted on the ground or on the roof of the building.
- Choice of materials for surfaces on the tank(s): The surfaces of the tank should have good
absorbers of solar infrared radiation and inhibit radiative loss.
- On an area basis, batch collector systems are less costly than glazed flat-plate collectors but
energy delivered per year by them is less .


- Cold water enters a pipe and can either enter a solar storage/ backup water heater tank or
the batch collector, depending on which bypass valve is open.
- Water, upon entering the tank, Is heated in it.
- Hot water from the batch collector is carried into the solar storage/backup water heater and
thence to the house .

Evacuated tube collectors

- This type of solar collector can achieve high temperatures in the range 77C to 177C and
under the clear sky conditions and proper orientation, work very efficiently.
- Evacuated-tube collectors are, however, quite expensive, with unit area costs about twice
that of flat-plate collectors.
- They are well-suited to commercial and industrial heating applications and also for cooling
- They can also be an effective alternative to flat-plate collectors for domestic space heating,
especially in regions where it is often cloudy.

- An evacuated-tube collector consists of parallel rows of evacuated glass tubes connected to
a header pipe. This eliminate heat loss through convection and radiation.
- A highly selective absorption coating is applied to the inner tube.
- The heat gained is conducted by special aluminium lamellas into copper tubes.
- The water is circulated through the inner tubes and gets heated and sent to the header pipe.
- The collector header consists of two copper pipes. The lower pipe brings liquid into the
collector, the upper pipe takes the warmed up liquid from the collector.

Passive Solar Space Heating System

- The house itself acts as the solar collector and the storage facility.
- Heat energy flow is by natural means. No need of pumps and fans.
- Sunlight enter through the sun facing window and is stored in.
- Principle of passive solar heating is that the amount of thermal energy transmitted in the
house from the south facing window during a clear day is more than the thermal energy loss
from house over 24 hours period.
- This is achieved by enhancing thermal mass i.e., using such materials which have high heat
absorption capacity. Ex: Concrete, water and stone.

To improve efficiency:

1. Maximising solar heat gain: It depends on:

(a) The solar radiation available at the location of the building.

(b) Orientation of the building (South facing windows). ( the sun rises in the east and sets in the
west, the side of the building that is utilized for solar gain needs to be facing the south to
take maximum advantage of the suns potential energy.)
(c) The characteristics of the collection areas (their solar transmittance/absorption and heat

2. Minimising heat losses

Heat losses may be minimised by following methods:

(a) Applying thermal insulation of high quality.

(b) avoiding thermal bridges.
(c) providing air tightness.
(d) installing multiple-glazed windows.

These methods help to reduce heat transmission and air in filtration which are the main avenues for
heat transport through the building envelope (physical separator between the interior and exterior
of a building)

3 types of passive systems

1. Direct gain
2. Indirect gain (Trombe wall)
- System collects and stores heat in one part of the house and uses natural heat
transfer (conduction and convection) to distribute the heat to the rest of the house.
- A massive concrete wall is placed 10cm behind the glass area.
- Solar radiations are absorbed by the wall, which reradiates heat in the space
between glass and wall and heats up the air.
Warm air rises and circulates in the room through vents and is replaced by cooler air
from the bottom.
3. Attached solar greenhouse
- Greenhouse is attached on the south side of the house.
- It acts as extended thermal wall.
- Serve dual purpose (food production and space heating)

Passive cooling
1. Minimizing solar heat gain by

(a) Increasing the building mass.

(b) Increasing thermal protection.
(e) Air tightness of the building.
(c) Reflective coating (white) on exposed surfaces.
(d) Curtailing solar radiations using shading devices.

2. Removing unwanted heat

(a) Use of technologies for cooling of buildings.

(b) Unwanted heat in hot and dry climates could be removed by:

(i) evaporative cooling

(ii) Nocturnal ventilation
(iii) in hot humid climate, a thermo-active ceiling could be installed (see figure), which would
however need a pump. BUT as no energy for cooling is required, such systems are
usually classed as passive cooling.
(iv) By providing adequate cross ventilation on buildings.

Solar Thermal Power Plants

- Power plants use a curved, mirrored troughs (collectors) which reflects the direct solar
radiation onto glass tubes containing a fluid running along the length of the trough and
positioned at the focal point of the reflectors.
- The hot fluid is transported to a turbine where about a third of the heat is converted into
- The fluid (also called heat transfer fluid) becomes very hot. Common fluids are synthetic oil,
molten salt and water.
- Eurotrough reflector: The focus pipe has flexible pipes on the ends to allow rotary motion to
track the sun, while the absorber pipe is kept at the focus.

Solar power tower

- SOLAR POWER TOWERS capture and focus the sun's thermal energy with thousands of
tracking mirrors (called heliostats) in roughly a two square mile field.
- A tower is located in the centre of the heliostat field.
- The heliostats focus concentrated sunlight on a receiver which is mounted atop of the
- Within the receiver the concentrated sunlight heats molten salt to over 550C.
- The heated molten salt then flows into a thermal storage tank where it is stored,
maintaining 98% thermal efficiency, and eventually pumped to a steam generator.
- The steam drives a standard turbine to generate electricity. This process, also known as the
"Rankine cycle is similar to a standard coal-fired power plant.
Solar Photovoltaics
Photovoltaic (PV) systems (solar cells) convert solar energy directly into electricity.

Nature of light
Light exhibits wave nature, i.e., it shows the property of rectilinear propagation, interference and

Like any wave, the velocity of light c, wavelength and frequency v are related as c=v c=3x108m/s
in vacuum

Light also exhibited particle nature, i.e., experiment of photoelectric effect suggested that light could
be considered as composed of fast moving particles called photons. Each photon possesses and

energy E given by = =
h(Planks constant)=6.6310-34 Js

Energy bands
- When an electron breaks loose and becomes a conduction electron, a hole is also created
- Energy states of Si atom expand into energy bands of Si crystal
- The lower bands are filled and higher bands are empty in a semiconductor
- The highest filled band is the valence band Ev
- The lowest empty band is the conduction band Ec
- Ev and Ec are separated by the band gap energy Eg

Semiconductors, insulators and conductors

Conductors: conduction band is half-filled

Semiconductors: small bandgap

Insulators: large bandgap

Types of semiconductors
Type of semiconductors:

- Intrinsic semiconductors (pure semiconductors)

- Extrinsic semiconductors (doped semiconductors)

Intrinsic semiconductor
- Pure semiconductor (intrinsic): contains the right number of electrons to fill valence band,
therefore, conduction band is empty.
- Because electrons in full valence cannot move at absolute zero, the pure semiconductor acts
like an insulator.

Extrinsic semiconductor
- As (arsenic), a Group V element, introduces conduction electrons and creates N-type silicon
and is called a donor
- B (Boron), a Group III element, introduces holes and creates P-type silicon and is called an
- Donors and acceptors are known as dopants

- prevailing charge carrier in n-type: electrons
- prevailing charge carrier in p-type: holes

p-n junctions
- When a p-n junction is formed, some of the free electrons in the n-region diffuse across the
junction and combine with holes to form negative ions.
- In so doing they leave behind positive ions at the donor impurity sites.
- A space charge builds up, creating a depletion region which inhibits any further electron
transfer unless it is helped by putting a forward bias on the junction.

Electric current in p-n junction under external bias

Under forward biased conditions, the direction of positive charge flow (opposite to the direction of
electrons flow) is from p to n side.

If V is the forward bias voltage, the total forward current I is = ( 1)

Where VT= kT/e= 0.026V at room temperature

Generation of electron-hole pair with light

- Photon is absorbed by the electron in the valance band, and it is shifted to the CB.
- This process empties energy level in the previously filled valance band. Therefore a hole
(with positive charge numerically equal to the charge on an electron) is left behind in VB.
- This creates an electron-hole pair.
- The energy of photon required for the transfer of electron from VB to CB must be at least
equal to the width of the energy gap between the two bands (Eg).
- Thus, only a part of solar energy is utilized by the solar cells.
- The photon flux converted by a solar cell is about 2/3 of total flux.

Principle of solar cell

- When light strikes a shallow p-n junction, electron and hole pairs are created in the junction
by photoelectric effect.
- These charges are separated by potential barrier at the junction.
- When n and p sides of the solar cell are connected by an external circuit, the electrons will
flow in the outer circuit from n-side, through a load into the p-side.

The direction of current in the outer circuit, is opposite to the direction of flow of electrons. Thus,
current flows from p side to n side.
IV graph of a solar cell

ISC: max. current when there is no load

Imp: current at max power

VOC: max. voltage when there is no current

Vmp: Voltage at max power

FF defines how close the I-V characteristics are to a rectangle. Good solar cells have FF>0.7.

Typically, FF lies between 0.75-0.85.

Materials for solar cells

Types of silicon

1. Polycrystalline
2. Amorphous
3. Crystalline

Crystalline & Polycrystalline Amorphous

Advantages - High Efficiency (14-22%) - High absorption (doesnt need a
- Established technology (The lot of material)
leader) - Established technology
- Stable - Ease of integration into buildings
- Excellent ecological balance.
- Cheaper than the glass, metal, or
plastic used for depositing
amorphous silicon there on
- Can be rolled into sheets
Disadvantages - Expensive production - Only moderate stabilized
- Low absorption coefficient efficiency 7-10%
- Large amount of highly purified - Instability-It degrades when light
feedstock hits it

Design of commercial solar cells

Thin top layer is made of n-type silicon about 1m thick.

On this layer a thin conducting grid is attached , arranged as fingers

to avoid blocking out too much of light. These fingers are the
connected to bus bar.

Fingers are covered by antireflection coating (ARC) to minimize light

reflection from top surface. ARC is made with thin layer of dielectric

The bottom p layer of silicon is about 400m thick.

Metal contact is attached at the bottom.

Power losses in solar cells

- Out of 100% Incident solar radiation on a solar cell, photons with energy less that the band
gap is 23%, so they cannot produce power. 30% goes in the form of heat and so only 47% is
useful for interacting with solar cell.
- Not all electron hole-pairs produced by incident photons are collected by field across the
junction about 10% recombine.
- Collection efficiency
- Incomplete absorption
- A potentially large loss (~40% ) from the surface of silicon can be reduced by using
antireflective coatings.
- Top contact shading
- Series resistance losses
- Fill factor

Band gap and Efficiency of Solar Cells

- Efficiency depends on band gap: Smaller band gap Increase photo current.
- But this decreases maximum output voltage as eVoc<Eg
- An optimum band gap is 1.4 eV.
- Semiconductors which have this band gap are: GaAs, CdTe: Potential candidates as solar
cells under new technology.
- Other potential solar cell technologies: Multilayer thin film solar cells, electrochemical solar
cells, organic semiconductor solar cells, Thermo-photovoltaic solar cells.
Angle of incidence

- A solar collector receives maximum radiation, Smax, when the incoming sunlight has normal
incidence to the collectors surface as shown in Figure on left.
- When light is incident on a collector with a non-zero incident angle, the amount of energy
collected is reduced by a factor equal to the cosine of the incident angle.
- A collector positioned horizontally flat with sunlight falling on the collector at an incident
angle of A where the collected energy is equal to SmaxCos(A).

Solar panels
Solar panels are made by connecting single unit solar cells in series.

- SOLAR PANELS WITH BATTERY: Solar panels are often used with battery storage. This allows
operation of equipment at night also.
- Solar panels can provide power in remote locations: Example telecommunication equipment
and lighting, small electronic devices.
- Solar home systems, supplying small amounts of energy in off grid household. These
comprise one or several PV modules mounted onto a suitable support structure.
- SOLAR PANELS WITHOUT BATTERY: Solar panels without battery include applications for
water pumping. In this case water reservoir itself provides storage.
- STAND ALONE HYBRID SYSTEMS: A hybrid system is a standalone system used in
combination with another power source. The other power source could be used as back-up
power generator.
- OTHER APPLICATIONS: parking meters, emergency telephones, temporary traffic signs, and
remote guard posts & signals.
- GRID CONNECTED SYSTEMS: Here the PV power generator feeds the grid via an inverter.
Grid connected systems normally do not include batteries.
- Where an AC power is required, an inverter is used that converts the DC power to AC power.
- Applications of Solar Panels
- SOLAR POWER SATELLITES: Design studies of large solar power collection satellites have
been conducted for decades.
- TRANSPORT: PV has traditionally been used for electric power in space. PV is rarely used to
provide motive power in transport applications, but is being used increasingly to provide
auxiliary power in boats and cars. A self-contained solar vehicle would have limited power
and low utility, but a solar charged vehicle would allow use of solar power for
transportation. Solar-powered cars and aeroplanes (SOLARIMPULSE) have been

Economics of photovoltaics
- The cost of solar panels has decreased over the years.
- Besides the cost, location also matters. In addition to a place being sunny, it is important
whether there is electricity grid or not.
- For locations that are far from grid, the cost of solar power is 0.5 of any other technology.
This has resulted in a good market of solar PV systems for remote areas.
- Total Global market share of Solar Photovoltaics is:
o Remote Industrial: 22%
o Remote Domestic: 17%
o Grid Connected Applications: 59%
o Small Items (calculators): 2%
Environmental impacts of solar photovoltaic technology
- Solar PV power in operation produces no pollutants and in particular no greenhouse gases.
- It is visually unobtrusive and there are no moving parts, which reduces maintenance and
noise pollution.
- This technology is ideal for distributed power generation not requiring a grid.
- In production some hazardous materials like Cd and As are used but the quantities are small.
- Solar energy falling on earth is used, no additional energy is needed for operation.
Hydro Power
70% of the earths surface is covered by water water is the biggest reserve on earth

the water cycle ensures that we never run out of water

the energy is not very intermittent

Power generation from water is possible via three different ways:

1. Hydro Power: An Established technology

2. Tidal Power
3. Wave Power
4. Ocean Thermal Energy

History of hydro power

Water wheels
- Hydro Power is harnessed into more useful form using water wheels.
- A Water wheel is the simplest and oldest device which converts the kinetic energy of flowing
water into useful forms of work.
- Applications of waterwheels include grinding grains and pumping water.
- The Romans were known to use waterwheels extensively in mining projects. Enormous
Roman-era waterwheels are found in places like modern-day Spain.

Water mills
Water mills use the flow of water to rotate a large wheel. A shaft connected to the wheel axle
transmits the energy from the water through a system of gears and cogs to operate machinery.


- Grist Mills or corn mills, grind grains into flour.

- Saw Mills cut timber into lumber.
- Bark Mills strip bark from trees or ground it to powder for use in tanneries.
- Spoke Mills turn lumber into spokes for carriage wheels.
- Cotton Mills usually power a water wheel at the beginning of the industrial revolution.
- Bobbin Mills made wooden bobbins for the cotton and other textile industries.
- Carpet Mills for making rugs were sometimes water-powered.

Ancient applications:
- Textile Mills for weaving cloths were also water-powered .
- Powder Mills for making gunpowder - black powder or smokeless powder were usually
- Iron Mills, also known as furnaces and forges, and tin plate works were water powered.
- Blade Mills were used for sharpening newly made blades.
- Slitting mills were used for slitting bars of iron into rods, which were then made into nails.
- Rolling mills shaped metal by passing it between rollers.
- Smelt Mills were used to smelt the Lead prior to the introduction of the cupola (a
reverberatory furnace).
- Paper Mills used water not only for motive power, but also required it in large quantities in
the manufacturing process.

Modern applications

- By the early 20th century, the water wheel was incorporated in the design and development
of water turbine for the generation of electricity.
- This resulted in availability of cheap electrical energy.
- This made the watermills obsolete in developed countries.
- However, in some developing countries watermills are still in use for grinding grains.
- The number of such machines in operation in Nepal and India are 25,000 and 200,000

Three gorges dam

- Location: Yangtze river in China
- Cost: $24-billion
- Power capacity: Twenty-six turbines are meant to produce18,000 MW
- Dimensions: 2.3 kilometers long and 185 meters tall
- The dam's 660-kilometer-long) reservoir will flood about 632 square kilometers of land

- Boost Yangtze river trade

- Block garbage from going into the sea
- Control flooding downstream
- Produces large amounts of power


- 1.3 million people displaced

- drop in delta sediment

Types of water wheels

Name Description Advantages Disadvantages
Undershot A vertically-mounted water cheapest 1. least efficient
Water wheel rotated by striking 2. can only be used
Wheel water on paddles or blades at where the water
the bottom of the wheel flow rate is high.
3. derive no advantage
from the water
head. They are
therefore, most
suited to shallow
streams in the flat
Overshot - A vertically-mounted water The overshot design can
Water wheel rotated by falling use all the water flow
Wheel water striking paddles or for power production
blades near the top of the and does not require
wheel. rapid flow of water.
- It has the water channelled (1) The force of the
to the wheel slightly to one flowing water partially
side at the top in the transferred to the
direction of rotation. wheel.
- The water collects in the (2) The weight of the
buckets on that side of the water descending in the
wheel, making it heavier wheel's buckets also
than the other "empty" imparts additional
side. energy.
- The difference in weight
on the two sides of the
wheel turns the wheel.
- After about one quarter
rotation of wheel, the
buckets get inverted and
the water flows out into
the tail-water.
Backshot The water is introduced just 1. technique
water behind the apex of the wheel. particularly suitable
wheels Entire amount of the for streams that
potential energy released by experience extreme
the falling water is harnessed seasonal variations
as the water descends the in flow, and reduces
back of the wheel. the need for
A backshot wheel continues complex sluice and
to function until the water in tail race Commented [Office2]: ???
the wheel pit rises well above configurations
the height of the axle, when 2. A backshot wheel
any other overshot wheel will may also gain power
be stopped or even from the water's
destroyed. current past the
bottom of the
wheel, and not just
the weight of the
water falling in the
wheel's buckets.

Types of hydro power technologies

1. Hydroelectric Power from Dams
2. Run of The River Plants (diversion)
3. Pumped Storage Technology
4. Damless Hydro Power
Principle of hydroelectric power plant
- Hydroelectric power is the production of electricity by using the gravitational force of falling
potential rotational
kinetic energy electrical
energy of kinetic energy
of water energy
water of turbine
- Hydroelectric power is the most widely used form of renewable and clean energy .
- Hydro power contributes about 20% to the world's electricity and accounts for over 63% of
the electricity harnessed from renewable sources.
- A breakthrough in hydropower generation occurred with the advent of Fourneyrons

Power output
Usually hydro electricity comes from dammed water which is released to drive a water turbine and

- Head (h)=Vertical distance between the turbine and water surface in the reservoir.
- =Efficiency of the turbine.
- Q=Volume of water flowing per second on the turbine.
- Potential energy per unit volume of water =gh

Potential energy per unit mass of water falling on turbine per (revise it) second= Qgh

Power output, P=EfficiencyEnergy/Time

- To obtain very high head, water is routed through a large pipe/
- channel called a penstock
- the head can be controlled by controlling the amount of water passing through the plant
- The choice of design of Hydroelectric power plant depends on the site at which the plant is
intended to be put up and desired values of Q and h.

Water turbine
The water turbine was developed in the nineteenth century and was widely used for supply of
industrial power prior to electrical grids.

- As water sources vary, water turbines have been designed to suit the different locations.
- Selection depends on head height and desired running speed of the generator.
- All turbines have a power-speed characteristic. They will tend to run most efficiently at a
particular speed, head and flow combination.
- They are classified by the way of operating and can be either impulse or reaction turbines.

High head Medium head Low head

Impulse turbines Pelton Cross-flow Cross-flow
Turgo Multi-jet
Reaction turbines Francis Propeller

Type Description Advantages Disadvantages

Impulse In an Impulse turbine, the - Impulse turbines - unsuitable for
turbine: blades are fixed to a rotating are usually cheaper low-head sites
pelton wheel . than reaction because of their low
turbine Each blade rotates in air turbines. There is speeds.
except the time when it is in no need for a
line with the high speed jet specialist pressure
of water. casing, nor for
- Impulse turbines
are generally more
suitable for micro-
hydro applications.
- Greater tolerance
of sand and other
particles in the
- Better access to
working parts.
- Easier to fabricate
and maintain.
Reaction - The rotating element - Reaction turbines These are more
turbine (called `runner') of a rotate faster than expensive than
reaction turbine is fully impulse turbines impulse turbines
immersed in water and is given the same because of the need
enclosed in a pressure head and flow of specialist
casing. The runner conditions. pressure casing and
blades are profiled so carefully engineered
that pressure differences - A reaction turbine clearances.
across them impose lift can often be
forces, like those on coupled directly to
aircraft wings, which an alternator
cause the runner to without requiring a
rotate. speed-increasing
- The spiral casing drive system.
(volute)is tapered to - Significant cost
distribute water savings are made in
uniformly around the eliminating the
entire perimeter of the drive and the
runner. maintenance of the
- The guide vanes feed the hydro unit is very
water into the runner at much simpler.
the correct angle. - High energy
- The runner blades direct conversion
the water to exit axially suitable for
from the centre of the microhydro projects
- The water imparts most
of its energy to the
runner before leaving
the turbine.

Advantages of hydroelectric power plants

- Hydro power is considered to be a clean, renewable source of energy.
- It emits a very low level of greenhouse gases in comparison to fossil fuelled plants.
- Hydro power has a low operating cost and can be highly automated.
- Plant life is long, ~40 years before major refurbishment.
- Power is generally available on demand as the flow of water can be controlled.

Limitations of hydroelectric power plants

- Capital cost is high and pay back time is very long.
- Serious social issues are to be addressed while deciding the site; mainly the displacement of
- Dams can block fish passage to spawning grounds. Many plants now have measures in place
to help reduce this impact.
- The diversion of water can impact stream flow, or even cause a river to dry out. This leads to
degradation of both aquatic and streamside habitats.
- Hydroelectric plants can also have an impact on water quality by lowering the amount of
dissolved oxygen in the water. In the reservoir, sediments and nutrients can build up and the
reduced water flow can create undesirable growth and spread of algae and aquatic weeds.

Run of the river plants

- Hydroelectric plants with no dam or reservoir capacity are called run-of-the-river plants, as
they do not store water.
- Run of the river hydro usually involves a low level diversion weir or a stream bed intake and
is usually located on a fast flowing, non seasonal stream or river.
- In run of river systems, running water is diverted from a flowing river and guided down a
channel, or penstock, which leads to a generating house. There the force of the moving
water spins a turbine and drives a generator. The water is fed back into the main river
further downstream.
- The difference between run-of-river and large hydropower is that run of river systems do
not dam the river to create a water reservoir.
- Because they can't store water they usually generate much less power than hydroelectric
- They minimize the impact on the environment.
Pumped storage hydroelectricity
- This type of hydroelectric power generation is used by some power plants for load
- The method stores energy in the form of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to
a higher elevation.
- Low-cost off-peak electric power is used to run the pumps.
- During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines.
- Although the losses of the pumping process makes the plant a net consumer of energy
overall, the system increases revenue by selling more electricity during periods of peak
demand, when electricity prices are highest.
- Pumped storage is the largest-capacity form of grid energy storage now available.

Damless hydro
Damless hydro is a less common type of hydro scheme. It uses the kinetic energy in flowing water to
create electricity. This method is being regarded as quite important as the future for hydroelectric
power from river systems.

Damless hydro is a relatively new technology based on capturing kinetic energy in rivers, spillways,
and channels, without the need to build dams.

A series of turbines can be used as the river progresses.

These systems require little to no maintenance. The initial setup cost and environmental impact is
minimal in comparison to the cost of building dams.

- There is no risk of flash flooding caused by a breached dam, and no risks of accidents caused
during construction of a dam. The environmental benefits speak for themselves:
- No flooding of large catchment areas, hence in no effect on the natural ecosystem in the
river valley.
- No silt accumulation in the dam basin. No need for fish ladders.
- No additional greenhouse gases (Dams create greenhouse gases).

Status of hydropower
- Hydropower is currently being utilised in some 150 countries, utilising 11,000 stations with
around 27,000 generating units.
- Global installed capacity estimates from different sources range from 860GW to 950GW.
- Europe has the highest installed capacity (~260GW).
- Eastern Asia, lead by China, is rapidly developing its hydro resources and is expected to
become the region with the greatest level of deployment within the next two to three years.
- South America, lead by Brazil, is also developing rapidly.
- Africa remains the region with the poorest ratio of deployment to potential.
- China is driving the development of the resource.
- Europe and North America, despite their existing levels of hydropower deployment, are
continuing to develop substantial new hydropower capacity.
- The North American region, for example, has more than 19GW of development under
planning, of which some 11GW is identified in Canada.
Ocean Energy Systems
- The oceans cover a little more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface. They form the world's
largest solar energy collectors and energy storage systems.
- On an average day, 60 million square kilometres (23 million square miles) of tropical seas
absorb an amount of solar radiation with heat content equal to that of about 250 billion
barrels of oil.
- The significance of the magnitude of this energy can be easily understood by the fact that
even less than 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) of this stored solar energy when converted
into electric power, would supply more than 20 times the total amount of electricity
consumed in the United States on any given day.

Based on its source, the ocean energy can be divided into the following categories:

1. Tidal Energy: Gravitational fields of the sun and moon are the contributors to
formation of tides and the energy contained therein.
2. Ocean Wave Energy: Wind blowing over the ocean surface drags water with it and
produce ocean waves.
3. Ocean Thermal Energy: This is the component of energy received by sea directly
from the sun.

Tidal energy
What are tides?
- Tides are periodic rise and fall of large bodies of sea water.
- Tides are caused by the gravitational interaction between the Earth and the Moon. The
gravitational attraction of the moon causes the oceans to bulge out in the direction of the
- Another bulge occurs on the opposite side, since the Earth is also being pulled toward the
moon (and away from the water on the far side).
- During this process, earth is also rotating. Hence, the two tides are formed everyday.
- The low and high tides occur simultaneously at two places located at longitudes differing by
about 90.
- At a given longitude the interval between two high tides is approximately 12 hrs and 25

Suns interaction with tides

Spring tides
- Spring tides are especially strong tides (they have nothing to do with the season Spring).
- They occur when Earth, Sun, and Moon are in a straight line.
- In such a situation, the gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun jointly contribute to the
formation of tides.
- Spring tides occur during the full moon and the new moon.

Proxigean spring tides

- The Proxigean Spring Tide is a rare and unusually high tide.

- This type of tide occurs when the moon is both unusually close to the Earth (at its closest
perigee, called the proxigee) and in the New Moon phase (when the Moon is between the
Sun and the Earth).
- The proxigean spring tide occurs at the most once every 1.5 years.

Neap tides
- Neap tides are especially weak tides.
- They occur when the gravitational forces of the Moon and the Sun are perpendicular to one
another (with respect to the Earth).
- Neap tides occur during quarter moons.

Tidal range
- The difference between the height of a high tide and a low tide is called the tidal range.
- Mid Ocean tidal range is 0.5 m-1.0 m.
- In the restricted passages between the islands and straits, the tidal range is significantly
enhanced. As an example it is ~12 m in Bristol Channel (UK).

Sites with large tidal ranges

Country Site Mean Tidal Range (m)

Argentina Golfo Nuevo 3.7
Canada Cobequid 12.4
India Gulf of Khambat 7.0
Russia Mezen 6.7
Russia Penzhinsk 11.4
UK Severn 7.0
Tidal barrages
- A huge dam (called a "barrage") is built across a river estuary.
- During high tide, when the level of water in the sea is high, sea-water flows into the
reservoir of the barrage and rotates the turbine blades and also the shaft which in turn
generate electricity.
- During low tide the above process is reversed. The sea-water stored in the barrage reservoir
is allowed to flow out into the sea. This flowing water also turns the turbines and generates
- Thus, as the sea-water flows in and out of the tidal barrage during high and low tides, the
turbine rotates continuously to generate electricity.

Total mass m of water in the tidal basin of area A above the water level h is given by


Height of centre of mass(m) = h/2

Work done in raising the water from sea level to the top of the tidal basin = mgh/2=gAh2/2
is the density of water = 1025 kg/m3 (seawater varies between 1021 and 1030 kg/m3)
g is the acceleration due to the Earths gravity= 9.81 m/s2
T=Tidal period = Time interval between two successive high tides (or low tides)
The above work done is stored in the form of potential energy of water which is used to
drive the turbine.

factor of 2 since within T, there is high tide and a low tide which drives the turbine

advantages of tidal power

1. Once tidal barrage is built, tidal power is free.
2. It needs no fuel.
3. It produces no greenhouse gases or other waste.
4. Tides are totally predictable.
5. It produces electricity reliably. Not expensive to maintain.
6. Offshore turbines are not ruinously expensive to build and do not cause a large
environmental impact.

Disadvantages of tidal power

1. Once tidal barrage is built, tidal power is free.
2. It needs no fuel. It produces no greenhouse gases or other waste.
3. Tides are totally predictable. It produces electricity reliably. Not expensive to maintain.
4. Offshore turbines are not ruinously expensive to build and do not cause a large
environmental impact.
5. The barrages act as a major blockage to navigation and require the installation of locks to
allow navigation to pass through.
6. The water quality in the basin is altered since the natural flushing of silt and pollution is
impeded, affecting fish and bird life.
7. There is also an economic drawback associated with the tidal barrages. It involves the large
capital cost, long construction period and intermittent operation. This issue could be
addressed by building tidal lagoons.

Wave power
- Wave power varies considerably in different parts of the world, and wave energy cant be
harnessed effectively everywhere.
- Wave-power rich areas of the world include the western coasts of Scotland,
- Northern Canada, Southern Africa, Australia, and the North-Western coasts of the United

Important questions:

- What Are Ocean Currents or Ocean waves?

- How are they produced? Properties of Ocean Waves?
- Methods of harnessing Ocean Wave Energy?
- Advantages and Concerns of Ocean Wave Energy?

Ocean currents
An ocean current is defined as the horizontal movement of seawater in the ocean.

Some of the factors affecting the movement of ocean currents are:

- intensity of solar radiation

- air temperature
- wind speed and direction
- the gravitational pull of sun and moon.


- Unequal heating of the earth and sea water due to the solar radiation falling thereon causes
the atmospheric air to move from above the sea towards the land.
- This fast moving air over the sea surface imparts momentum to the top surface layer of the
sea water. In this process the water at the surface is dragged along the wind.
- Heating of the ocean also alters the density of the ocean surface directly by changing its
temperature and/or its salinity.

- Coriolis force acting due to the rotation of earth deviates the flow of ocean currents.
- This force makes the water move towards right in Northern Hemisphere and towards left in
the Southern Hemisphere.
- It exists because the ocean water is affected by friction with the Earth only at the seafloor,
and because the eastward linear velocity of the earth decreases from a maximum at the
equator to zero at the poles (but the rotational velocity does not change).
- The ocean currents carry immense amount of energy which is directly related to the density
of water. Many Asian, European and North American countries have recently undertaken
R&D studies on problems related to utilization of energy from ocean waves.

Characteristics of ocean waves

Strong wind blowing for a long time over a large distance results in the formation of a large wave.

- A waves highest point is called its crest. The low point between two crests is called a trough.
- The vertical distance between crest and trough is called the wave height.
- The distance between two crests is called the wavelength and it is usually measured either
from one crest to the next or from one trough to the next.
- Some waves are larger than average and others are smaller than average. On an average, a
wave that is about double the size of the others is formed about once in every hour.

Over deep water, the energy in a wave moves forward, but the water does not. The water moves up
and down in circles. (transverse waves)

Motion of a particle in an ocean wave.

A - At deep water. The orbital motion of fluid particles

decreases rapidly with increasing depth below the surface.

B - At shallow water (ocean floor is now at B). The elliptical

movement of a fluid particle flattens with increasing depth.

1 - Direction of propagation of wave.

2 - Wave crest.

3 - Wave trough.

Wave energy technology

Oscillating water column devices
- The base of the device is open to the sea.
- During the propagation of the wave, its crests and troughs pass alternately over the base of
the device. As a result the water is pushed up and down alternately.
- Thus, the air in the column above the water surface moves up and down in phase with the
incident crests and troughs . The movement of the air and rotate the blades of the turbine.
- Speed of the air is increased by reducing the cross- sectional area of the air column.
- Electricity is then brought ashore through an undersea cable. The technology is unusual
among wave energy systems because all the moving parts are located above the water line.
Buoyant moored device
- This type of device floats on the surface of the water or below it. It is moored to the seabed
by either a taught or loose mooring system. An example of this type of device is the
Edinburgh or Salter Duck.
- Ducks rotate independently about a long linkage.
- The front edge of the duck matches the wave particle motion.
- The device requires a water depth of at least 80 metres and uses a system of weights and
floats to give almost constant tension in the mooring cables.

Hinged Contour Device: Pelamis

- It is semi submerged serpentine construction consisting of series of cylindrical hinged
segments that are pointed towards the incident wave.
- This type of device follows the motion of the waves; it creates power using the motion at the
joints. It is commonly moored slackly to hold it in place.
- As the Pelamis moves with the waves, the segments rock back and forth and the relative
motion between adjacent segments activates hydraulic pumps which drives electricity
- A 750kW device would be 150m long and 3.5m in diameter and comprise five sections.

Archimedes Wave Swing

- submerged device
- The wave action powers the floater which moves up and down, generating a reciprocating
- When the wave crest approaches, pressure on the top of the floater increases, which pushes
mechanism inside the cylinder downwards, compressing the gas within the cylinder to
balance the pressure.
- When the wave trough passes over the floater, the reverse process takes place, moving the
floater upwards and decompressing the gas inside the cylinder.
- This reciprocating motion generated by the floater is converted into electricity by means of a
hydraulic system or a motor-generator set.
- Having only one moving part makes the system is more reliable with less need of
Reliable - AWS is reliable due to its simple arrangement and less moving parts.

- It is submerged atleast 6 meter below the sea surface and is thus not affected by high
- This reduces the mooring cost and risk of damage.

Advantages and limitations of wave power


- Wave Power doesnt generate harmful greenhouse gases.

- The global potential for wave power is very large: 1-10 TW


- Opposition to shore-based sites could be an issue in areas of scenic beauty.

- Noise generated by air turbines of oscillating water column is unacceptable.
- The visual impact is much less significant for off-shore devices but providing cables for
electricity transmission to the shore adds to the cost.
- Main challenge is to reduce the capital cost of construction of the system to make electricity
available at a competitive price.
- Another challenge is to withstand extreme weather conditions at sea.
- Moving to shore based and near shore devices reduces the risk but the power available is
less than that available at offshore places.
- Niche market for wave power is limited to remote areas where electricity supply by other
sources is either unavailable or expensive.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)

- OTEC process uses the heat energy stored in the Oceans to generate electricity.
- OTEC systems works best when the temperature difference between the warmer, top layer
of the ocean and the colder, deep ocean water is about 20C.
- These conditions exist in tropical coastal areas, lying between the Tropic of Capricorn and
the Tropic of Cancer.
- To bring the cold water to the surface, OTEC plants require an expensive, large diameter
intake pipe, which is submerged a mile or more deep into the oceans.
- Earlier OTEC systems had an overall efficiency of only 1 to 3% (the theoretical maximum
efficiency lies between 6 and 7%).
Ocean water temperature variation with depth
Findings of some of temperature distribution of
seawater measured in vertical direction in tropical
and subtropical zones are shown in Fig.

It is observed that sea water temperature in the

surface layer is around 20~30C, while in the layer
at about 700 m depth the water temperature is

Operating principle of OTEC

Ocean thermal energy conversion systems (OTEC)
make use of the different high and low
temperatures that exists in deep and shallow
water to the process of rotation of turbine.

The heat cycle suitable for OTEC is the Rankine Cycle using a low-pressure turbine. The OTEC
Systems are of three types: (i)closed-cycle (ii) open-cycle (iii) hybrid cycle.

The main components of the systems are : a feed pump, an evaporator, a turbine and a condenser.

It may be emphasized that in all of the three cycles, it is necessary to reach up to a sea depth where
water is cool enough to condense the working fluid. The desired depth is 1,000 meters (3,200 feet),
where the temperature of water is approximately 4C.

Closed cycle:

- In this system ammonia is used a working fluid. On its passage through the evaporator,
ammonia absorbs heat from the hot sea water and gets evaporated.
- Then the vaporized ammonia passes over the turbine causes it to rotate and generate
- The fluid exhausted from the turbine is cooled down and reliquefied in the condenser by
cold seawater present at a greater depth.
- By repeating this cycle, power can be generated without assistance of any extra fuel.

Open cycle:

- In the open-cycle system, warm surface water is introduced into a vacuum chamber where it
is flash-vaporized.
- The water vapor so formed drives a turbine to generate electricity.
- The remaining water vapor (essentially distilled water) is condensed using cold water.
- The condensed water can either return back to the ocean or be collected for the production
of potable water.

Hybrid cycle (HC) :

- A HC system possesses combination of the characteristics of the closed cycle and the open
- Such a system has great potential for applications requiring higher efficiencies for the co-
production of energy and potable water.
Multiple industrial complex with OTEC
Apart from generation of electricity, the potential of deep ocean water (DOW) has been explored
and has several other applications. Some of the utilizations already in practice are:

- Helps produce fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol.

- Extracting lithium chloride dissolved in seawater is one of considerable method of industrial
lithium production.
- Produces base load electrical energy.
- Produces desalinated water for industrial, agricultural, and residential uses.

- Provides air-conditioning for buildings and moderate-temperature refrigeration. The

temperature of depth cold water after utilization for OTEC is still low; e.g. the temperature is
around 10C. It is cold enough to use as chilling source of air cool conditioning. Such air
conditioning system requires much less energy than that is needed by ordinary electrical
refrigeration method. It means that OTEC makes electricity demand decrease ecologically.
- DOW is rich in mineral. It is possible to produce Mineral water as by-product of the OTEC.
Providing with ion- exchanger and mineralizer, a part of desalinated water comes more
valuable as an industrial product.
- The characteristics of DOW are cold, pure and nutrient. These characteristics can be used
effectively to aquaculture by getting rapid growth and less disease.
- Is a resource for on-shore and near-shore mariculture operations.
- Food, Cosmetics, Medical Science, etc. : Due to surpassing characteristics DOW draws
attention in the various fields of industry and science.
- Hydrogen Production: "Offshore Hydrogen Production" by OTEC: Completely clean hydrogen
is produced by using only natural renewable energy.
advantages and limitations of OTEC

1. Clean and renewable (solar source energy).

2. Stable throughout a moment, a day and a year.
3. Huge amount but low-density energy.
4. We can assess the value of an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant and continued
OTEC development by both its economic and noneconomic benefits.
5. Enhances energy independence and energy security.
6. Has potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from burning fossil fuels.


OTEC involve transportation large amounts of water. This brings up three important concerns:

(1) Marine organisms entrainment and impingement through the water current;
(2) The effect of chemicals used to reduce/control biofouling buildup inside the seawater pipes
and heat exchangers;
(3) The effect known as upwelling, or rise of the deep cold water to the surface.

All three problems can be controlled and mitigated during system design and/or through preventive
measures during operation.
Biomass energy
- Biomass refers to plant and animal derived materials such as straw, logs, dung and crop
- These are used directly or indirectly as fuel which are called as BIO FUELS.
- The attraction of bio mass is that, it is carbon neutral.
o The amount of CO2 released in the combustion of bio fuels has been previously
removed from the atmosphere when CO2 was converted by photosynthesis into
making the plant material.
o In photosynthesis, CO2 and water are converted into oxygen and carbohydrate.
o CO2 + H2O + h O2 + [CH2O] where h are Sunlight photons and [CH2O] is
o In photosynthesis a minimum number of 8 photons each with energy ~1.8eV( 14.4
eV in all) are needed to produce one O2 molecule and one C atom fixed in
carbohydrate that stores ~4.8 eV of energy.
o A rough estimate of the overall efficiency of the photosynthesis process is only 0.5 %
- Examples of bio energy crops:
- Hybrid Poplar - Corn
- Corn Stover - Soybeans
- Wood Chips - Sorghum
- Sawdust Municipal Solid Waste - Sugar Cane Bagasse
- Switchgrass
- Biomass is the only renewable source of carbon based fuels and chemicals.
- A variety of fuels can be made from biomass resources including the liquid fuels such as,
ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, and gaseous fuels such as hydrogen and methane.
- Biofuels are primarily used to fuel vehicles, but can also fuel engines or fuel cells for
electricity generation.

Liquid biofuel yields

- In Europe, the annual yield of bioethanol from sugar beet is ~4.5 ton ha-1 and from wheat 2.1
ton ha-1, while in US from switch grass it is ~2.8 ton ha-1.
- In Europe Biodiesel comes from rapeseed and the annual yield is ~1.3 ton ha-1. Higher yields
(2.3-3 ton ha-1) are obtained from the Jatropha plant whose seeds have an oil content of
- The annual biodiesesl yield from Palm trees is ~4-6 ton ha-1. The production of Palm oil is
currently concentrated in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Potential and use

- The mass of plants and animals produced on land each year is about 4x1011 ton and contains
1.5 x 1011 ton of carbon. An average of ~7.5 MJ kg-1 is stored in biomass making the annual
amount of terrestrial bioenergy stored equal to ~3 x 1015 MJ.
- This energy is many times the global power usage.
- The current use of Biomass energy is mainly (70%) for residential cooking and heating in the
developing countries in the form of burning wood, dung and plant residues.
- The production of temperate cereals such as wheat, maize, sugar, rice etc yield residues
which are used as biofuels. Example: bagasse, the residue from sugarcane, is used in sugar
factories as a fuel for producing electricity and hot water.
- Energy is produced from two main sources of Biofuels:
1. Agricultural and Municipal Waste
2. Energy Crops
- These have low energy content per kilogram compared with fossil fuel and relatively low
density making them bulky and expensive to transport.
- Due to this reason bioenergy production is currently often combined with crop production
or as useful way of disposing organic waste, both municipal and agricultural.

Energy generation from biomass

Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass:

1. Direct Combustion
2. Gasification
3. Pyrolysis
Biochemical Conversion Processes
1. Anaerobic Digestion
2. Fermentation
3. Extraction (from seeds)

Biomass direct combustion

- Biomass direct combustion involves burning the solid biomass and production of thermal
- This thermal energy can be used for power production in any given power plant.
- Biomass when heated in absence of oxygen or in a reduced supply of oxygen, gasifies to a
mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen forming synthesis gas or syngas.
- Gaseous fuels mix with oxygen more easily than liquid fuels.
- Syngas, therefore, inherently burns more efficiently and cleanly than the solid biomass from
which it is made.
- Biomass gasification can thus improve the efficiency of large- scale biomass power facilities.
- Like natural gas, syngas can also be burned in gas turbines, a more efficient electrical
generation technology than steam
- boilers whose operation is based on burning of solid biomass and fossil fuels.

Example: McNeil Generating Station biomass gasifier

- 200 tons of wood chips daily

- Forest thinnings; wood pallets
- Converted to gas at ~1000 C
- Combined cycle gas turbine
- 8MW power output

liquefied by pyrolysis
- Solid biomass can be liquefied by pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, or other
thermochemical technologies. Pyrolysis and gasification are related processes of heating
with limited oxygen.
- Bio-material is heated under the following conditions:
o Temperature: 500-1300C
o Pressure 50-150 atmospheres
o Carefully controlled air supply
- Pyrolysis oil or other thermochemically-derived biomass liquids can be used directly as fuel.
Further, these oils also holds great promise as platform intermediates for production of
high-value chemicals and materials.
- Up to 75% of biomass are converted to liquid which are usable in engines, turbines and

Anaerobic digestion
- Anaerobic Digestion is the decomposition of organic matter in the absence of air by bacteria.
- Bacteria break down the organic matter and produces a gas consisting of methane (65%)
and carbon dioxide (35%) with traces of other gases.
- Anaerobic digestion occurs naturally and it takes place in landfill sites over a period of years,
with methane production occurring after 10 years.
- In digesters where temperature is kept at 30-60 0C, the methane production occurs within a
few weeks.

- Anaerobic digestion is widely used in Asian villages where the biogas is used for heating and


Anaerobic digesters
- Anaerobic digesters are animal waste tanks or storage ponds sealed with covers that trap
the biogas produced in a digester, creating a sort of biogas plant.
- The biogas is then pulled out from the digester by providing a slight vacuum on a pipe with a
gas pump or blower.
- Biogas, which contains 60% 80% methane, is used to produce energy.
- Methane can power a generator to produce electricity.
- The methane gas can also be used for direct heat application, such as operating a boiler or
space heater, as well as chilling and refrigeration equipment.

- Carbohydrate portion of biomass is converted into sugar and subsequently into ethanol in a
fermentation process is known as bioethanol .
- Fermentation is carried out by yeast or bacteria. Thus the carbohydrate is converted into to
ethanol and CO2.
- As the heat released is small, nearly all the energy contained in the sugar is stored in the
- Ethanol, derived from starch crops such as corn, is the most widely used biofuel today with
current capacity of 1.8 billion gallons per year.
- Ethanol produced from cellulosic biomass is currently the subject of extensive research,
development and demonstration efforts.

- Diesel oil can be derived from any fossil fuel or any vegetable oil. When it is derived from
vegetable oil, it is known as biodiesel.
- Biodiesel synthesis involves the reaction of oil with either methanol or ethanol using sodium
hydroxide or potassium hydroxide as a catalyst and formation of ethyl or methyl esters.
- This process is known as trans esterification.
- The efficiency of the process is high (>97%)
- requirement of the alcohol is about 10% of the weight of vegetable oil. Commented [Office3]: rephrase

Environmental impact of biomass

- Biomass is a carbon-neutral source of energy provided the biocrop is replanted.

- Biomass is also a sustainable source of energy as long as the land quality is maintained
- Irrigation, fertilizers, harvesting and processing of the biomass consume energy which is
derived from fossil fuels, The carbon emissions associated with theses processes are a small
fraction of those given off by the fossil fuels producing the same amount of energy.
- Biomass combustion generally produces low emissions. The combustion of wood gives much
less SO2 less than emitted by coal. Hence there will be less acid rain.


- Large areas of energy crops may reduce biodiversity.

Economics and potential of biomass

- Sustainable Development: Biomass technologies discourage the use of fossil fuels and help
us to adopt sustainable energy production.
- Energy Security: As a domestic energy source, biomass can substantially reduce dependence
on imported crude oil. Biomass is more evenly distributed over the earth's surface than
other finite energy sources and therefore provides opportunities for local, regional, and
national energy self-sufficiency.
- Rural Economic Growth: Producing biomass and using agricultural residues for biomass
technologies will stimulate rural development efforts in farming, forestry, and associated
service industries by creating new products, markets, and jobs.
- Land Use: The lands must be used in balanced ways, supporting agricultural and forestry
production, environmental preservation, human and wildlife habitats, as well as biomass
- Combustion and gasification of biomass is the most economical competitive use of biomass,
with gasification having greater potential with its use in high temperature gas turbines.
- In Europe biomass combustion and gasification could provide up to ~15% of the projected
demand for electricity by 2020.
- Europe has promoted biofuels as a way of reducing its greenhouse gas emission. Biodiesel is
Europes main biofuel and tax exemptions and national targets are increasing its demand.
- Since the energy density of biocrops is low and the cost of transportation is high, hence
small bioplants near the biofarms are more economical.
- As the cost of non-biomass energy rises, different biomass supplies become increasingly

Future of biomass technology

- Biomass has the potential to provide 10-20% of the primary energy needs of developed
countries and a large percentage in developing countries where there is lot of scope of
improvement in Biomass Technology.
- Unlike other renewable technologies, biomass can be stored.
- Biomass can provide energy security and, if used for liquid biofuel production, can reduce
dependence on foreign imports.
- Its development aids rural economics and its use locally avoids high transport costs.
- The introduction of tax incentive and in particular a percentage share of energy production
has helped the development of Biomass Technology.
- Genetic engineering of Bioenergy crops may increase yield and allow more harvests per
year. However, with present technology the potential contribution from biomass to
projected global energy needs would appear to be limited to 20-30%.
Geothermal energy
- geothermal energy: energy extracted from heat stored in the earth.
- The geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet, from radioactive
decay of minerals, from volcanic activity and from solar energy absorbed by the surface.

Source of geothermal energy

- Heat Flows outward from the Earths Interior
- The Curst insulates us from Earths interior
- The Mantle is semi-molten, the outer core is
liquid and the inner core is solid
- Earth's core maintains temperatures in excess
of 5000 K. It is due to the gradual radioactive
decay of elements present in the earths core.
- Heat energy continuously flows from hot core
by -Conduction & Convection.
- Mean heat flux reaching at earth's surface -
Dissipates to the atmosphere and space. -
Tends to be strongest along tectonic plate
- Volcanic activity transports hot material to
near the surface -Only a small fraction of
molten rock actually reaches surface. -Most
is left at depths of 5-20 km beneath the
- Hydrological convection forms high temperature geothermal systems at shallow depths of

Geothermal sites
Name Phases Description
Hot gushes of hot water As molten materials deep in the earth cool down, they
springs that are found on the give off water vapor and carbon dioxide.
land surface. This hot vapor then find its way upward through the
cracks in the rocks, cooling as it goes, until it condenses to
become water.
This water may be pure and clear, but it is rich in mineral
salts dissolved from the rocks it has passed through on its
way to the surface.
These hot springs can be found in Japan, New Zealand,
Kenya and Iceland.
Fumaroles vents from which Fumaroles may occur along tiny cracks or long fissures, in
volcanic gas escapes chaotic clusters or fields, and on the surfaces of lava flows
into the atmosphere. and thick deposits of pyroclastic flows.
They may persist for decades or centuries if they are
above a persistent heat source (active Magma chamber)
or disappear within weeks to months if they occur atop a
fresh volcanic deposit that quickly cools.
The temperatures of volcanic gases escaping from it is
70C - 100C or more.
In some cases they are hidden in the ground and can be
broken into.
The gases are dangerous and a gas- mask is often needed.
They are always a sign of active volcanism.
Geysers A geyser is a type of hot The formation of geysers requires a favourable
spring that erupts hydrogeology which exists in only a few places on Earth,
periodically, ejecting a and so they are fairly rare phenomena. About 1000 exist
column of hot water worldwide, with about half of these in Yellowstone
and steam into the air. National Park, USA.
Geyser eruptive activity may change or cease due to
ongoing mineral deposition within the geyser plumbing,
exchange of functions with nearby hot springs, earthquake
influences, and human intervention
Extracting geothermal energy
- Three types of geothermal power plant technologies are in use to convert hydrothermal
fluid energy into electricity.
- The type of conversion depends on the state of the fluid (whether steam or water) and its

The conversion technologies are:

1. Dry Steam System: Dry steam power plants use the steam from the geothermal reservoir as
it comes from wells, and route it directly through turbine/generator units to produce
2. Flash System: Flash steam plants are the most common type of geothermal power
generation plants in operation today. They use water at temperatures greater than 182C
that is pumped under high pressure to the generation equipment at the surface.
3. Binary Cycle System: Binary cycle geothermal power generation plants differ from Dry Steam
and Flash Steam systems in the way that the water or steam from the geothermal reservoir
never comes in contact with the turbine/generator units.
Dry steam power plants
- Dry steam extracted from natural reservoir:
o 180-225C
o 4-8 MPa
o 200 km/hr (100+ mph)
- Steam is used to drive a turbo-generator
- Steam is condensed and pumped back into the ground
- Energy generation = 1 kWh per 6.5 kg of steam


- The dry steam power plants are suitable where the geothermal steam is not mixed with
- Production wells are drilled down to the aquifer and the superheated, pressurised steam
(180-350C) is brought to the surface at high speeds, and passed through a steam turbine to
generate electricity.
- The steam is passed through a condenser to convert it to water. This improves the efficiency
of the turbine and avoids the environmental problems associated with the direct release of
steam into the atmosphere.
- The waste water is then reinjected into the field via reinjection wells.
- The waste heat is vented through cooling towers. The energy conversion efficiencies are
low, around 30% .

- The efficiency and economics of dry steam plants are affected by the presence of non-
condensable gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. The pressure of these
gases reduces the efficiency of the turbines. In addition to this, the removal of the gases for
environmental considerations also adds to the cost of operation.
- Dry steam power plants are the simplest and most economical technology, and therefore
are widespread.
- The United States and Italy have the largest dry steam geothermal resources, but these
resources are also found in Indonesia, Japan and Mexico.

Single flash steam power plants

- Single flash steam technology is used where the hydrothermal resource is in a liquid form.
- The fluid is sprayed into a flash tank, causing it to vaporise (or flash) rapidly to steam.
- The steam is then passed through a turbine coupled to a generator as for dry steam plants.
- To prevent the geothermal fluid flashing inside the well, the well is kept under high pressure.
- The major part of the geothermal fluid does not flash. This fluid is reinjected into the
reservoir or used in a local direct heat application.
- Alternatively, if the fluid left in the tank has a sufficiently high temperature, it can be
passed into a second tank, where a pressure drop induces further flashing to steam.
- This steam, together with the exhaust from the principal turbine, is used to drive a
second turbine or the second stage of the principal turbine to generate additional
electricity. Commented [Office4]: is it still a single flash steam
power plant?

1. Steam with water extracted from ground

2. Pressure of mixture drops at surface and more water flashes to steam
3. Steam separated from water
4. Steam drives a turbine
5. Turbine drives an electric generator
6. Generate electricity between 5 and 100MW
7. Use 6 to 9 tonnes of steam per hour

Double flash power plants

- Similar to single flash operation
- Unflashed liquid flows to low-pressure tank flashes to steam
- Steam drives a second-stage turbine
- Also uses exhaust from first turbine
- Increases output 20-25% for 5% increase in plant costs

Binary cycle power plant

- Geothermal resource with low temperatures (100 and 150C) can be used.
- Working liquids with boiling points less than that of water such as iso-butane, iso-pentane
are used to form vapour to operate the turbine.
- Vapour used to drive turbine is condensed and recycled continuously.
- Typically 7 to 12 % efficient

- Binary cycle power plants are used where the geothermal resource is not hot enough to
efficiently produce steam, or where the resource contains too many chemical impurities to
allow flashing.
- Further, the fluid remaining in the tank of flash steam plants can also be utilised in binary
cycle plants (eg Kawerau, New Zealand).
- In the binary cycle process, the geothermal fluid is passed through a heat exchanger. The
secondary fluid , which has a lower boiling point than water (eg isobutane or pentane), is
vaporised, and expanded through a turbine to generate electricity. The secondary fluid also
known as working fluid is condensed and recycled for another cycle. All of the geothermal
fluid is reinjected into the ground in a closed- cycle system.


- Binary cycle power plants can achieve higher efficiencies than flash steam plants, and they
allow the utilisation of lower temperature resources.
- Corrosion problems are avoided.

- Binary cycle plants are more expensive, and large pumps are required which consume a
significant percentage of the power output of the plants.

Geothermal heat pump (GHP)

The GHP can transfer heat in two ways:

- During the winter, heat is withdrawn from the earth and fed into the building;
- In the summer, heat is removed from the building and stored under-ground.

In some GHP systems heat is removed from shallow ground by means of an antifreeze/water
solution circulating in plastic pipe loops (either inserted in vertical wells less than 200 m deep which
are then backfilled or buried horizontally in the ground).

In other GHP systems flow of water produced from a shallow borehole through the heat pump,
discharges the water either in another well or at surface. The heat pump unit is located inside the
building and is coupled either with a low-temperature floor or wall heating net or with a fan
delivering hot and cold air. Commented [Office5]: ??????

- Environmentally very attractive
- Low CO2 emissions
- Attractive energy source in right locations
- Unlike solar and wind energy, geothermal energy is always available, 365 days a year
- Likely to remain an adjunct to other larger energy sources
- Part of a portfolio of energy technologies
- Exploration risks and up-front capital costs remain a barrier

Technological issues:

- Geothermal fluids can be corrosive Contain gases such as hydrogen sulphide Corrosion,
- Requires careful selection of materials and diligent operating procedures
- Typical capacity factors of 85-95%

Environmental issues:

Land Water
- Vegetation loss - Hydrothermal eruptions
- Soil erosion - Lower water table
- Landslides - Subsidence: Sinking of ground to lower
Air level- affects builiding foundations.
- Slight air heating Noise
- Local fogging Benign overall
Ground -
- Reservoir cooling
- Seismicity (tremors)

- geothermal sites are capable of providing heat for many decades, eventually specific
locations may cool down.
- Heat depleted as ground cools
- Not steady-state
- Earths core does not replenish heat to crust quickly enough

1. Temperature and depth of resource:
- A shallow resource means minimum drilling costs. High temperatures (high enthalpies) mean
higher energy capacity.
2. Type of resource (steam, liquid, mix):
- A dry steam resource is generally less expensive to develop as reinjection pipelines,
separators and reinjection wells are not required
3. Available volume of resource
4. Chemistry of resource :
- A resource with high salinity fluids, high silica concentrations, high gas content, or acidic
fluids can pose technical problems which may be costly to overcome.
5. Permeability of rock formations:
- A highly permeable resource means higher well productivity, and therefore fewer wells
required to provide the steam for the power plant.
- Size and technology of plant:
- As with most types of power plant, large power plants are generally cheaper in terms of
- Infrastructure (roads, transmission lines) development considerations.
- Costs of geothermal energy is highly variable from site to site.
- The cost of drilling boreholes to depths of several kilometers is very high and nature of rock
formation and rock temperature are unknown in advance.

The initial capital cost is high but the operating cost is low because the fuel is free.

Present implementation of geothermal power generation

1. World production of 8 GW 2.7 GW in US
2. The Geyers (US) is worlds largest site Produces 2 GW
3. Other attractive sites
o Rift region of Kenya, Iceland, Italy, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia,
Phillippines, Indonesia, Japan
Nuclear energy
- Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom.
1. Fission is a process in which a nucleus with a large mass number splits into two nuclei, which
have smaller mass numbers.
- neutrons are usually released when fission takes place
- fission of a nucleus may be spontaneous, that is, it may happen at random due to internal
processes within the nucleus
- fission can also be induced by bombarding a nucleus with a neutron. Induced fission is used
to generate nuclear power and for weapons
- the products formed during fission gain kinetic energy. It is this energy that is harnessed in
nuclear power stations
2. Fusion is a process in which two nuclei combine to form a nucleus of larger mass number.
- Fusion is the main nuclear process that occurs in the Sun and other stars.
- The products of fusion reactions also gain kinetic energy that can be harnessed.

Binding energy and stability of nucleus Commented [Office6]: refer to pc1144 notes and add on
- Nucleus of an atom consists of positively charged protons and neutrons (called nucleons).
Nucleons are bound together by short range attractive forces called nuclear forces.
- The mass of a nucleus is less than the sum of masses of its nucleons. This mass difference
known as mass defect provides the binding energy to hold the nucleons together in the
nucleus of the atom.
- The mass energy relationship is given by E=Mc2 .

Where, E= Binding Energy. M=Mass of the nucleons (Protons+Neutrons) - Mass of the

nucleus c=Speed of light in vacuum.

- Thus, Binding Energy needed to break the nucleus into its constituent nucleons determines
whether a nucleus is stable or unstable.
- The nuclear force between the nucleons is short range and attractive, unless the separation
between the nucleons is very small.
- Nucleons are therefore on average the same distance apart and interact primarily with their Commented [Office7]: ???
nearest neighbours.
- The total binding energy per nucleon in a nucleus, is roughly constant for nucleus with
number of nucleons more than 12. This is maximum near Fe with nucleons ~56
- The binding energy curve is obtained by dividing the total nuclear binding energy by the
number of nucleons.
- =

Nuclear fission
- low-energy (slow, or thermal) neutrons are able to cause fission only in those isotopes of
uranium and plutonium whose nuclei contain odd numbers of neutrons (e.g. U-233, U-235,
and Pu-239).
- Bombardment of Uranium by slow moving neutrons results in splitting of the nucleus into
two smaller nuclei along with emission of neutrons and huge amount of energy. This process
is known as Nuclear Fission.
- The smaller nuclei are of Ba and Kr and each reaction release of three more neutrons.

Chain reaction
- More neutrons (2 3) are released during each fission process.
- These neutrons could cause further fission of other nuclei if absorbed.
- It could cause a chain reaction either uncontrolled (atomic bomb) or in a controlled
manner where it proceeds slowly.
- Whether a chain reaction occurs or not, depends on the relative probability of neutron-
induced fission compared to neutron loss.

- The main reactions of neutron with Uranium are scattering, capture and induced fission. It
depends on the energy of incident neutron.
- The dominant causes of neutron loss are neutron capture followed by gamma rays emission.
- Natural Uranium has 99.28% of 238 U and 0.72% of 235 U. The average number of neutrons
emitted per fission is 2.4 and their energies range between ~0-10 MeV.
- In natural uranium, these neutrons are most likely scattered off 238 U and it is only when
their energy is less than 5 MeV that neutron-induced fission of 235 U is more likely to occur.
Thus the chain reaction dies off.
- To sustain a chain reaction, either, the 235 U proportion should be increased: Enrichment or
the capture by 238 U should be decreased.
- Addition of nuclei with a low atomic number, called moderators, changes the energy of
neutrons which suffer elastic/inelastic collision with moderators and helps in sustaining
chain reaction with neutrons with energy as low as 0.05 eV.
- Neutrons with theses energies are called thermal neutrons and they are at the same
temperature as Uranium fuel.

Nuclear fuels
- Most reactors use 235U as the fuel for fission as it readily undergoes fission after absorbing
a neutron. However, natural uranium contains only 0.7% 235U and 99.3% 238U. 238U can
absorb the neutrons and fission but cannot sustain the chain reaction.

- Thus, to sustain the chain reaction it is necessary to increase the concentration of (or enrich)
235U. This can not be done chemically (same element) and instead makes use of the small
mass difference between 235U and 238U, e.g., in a high-speed centrifuge,

- Alternatively, a different fuel such as plutonium-239 could be used. This does not occur
naturally and need to be produced in a breeder reactor through the following reaction

Thermal nuclear reactor design

Out of a total of 439 Nuclear Reactors in 2003, 263 were pressurized light water reactors (PWR).

1. Fuel Rods: Uranium is the basic fuel

2. Chemically Inert Fluid
3. Moderator: Material in the core which slows down the neutrons released from fission so
that they cause more fission. It is usually water, but may be heavy water or graphite
4. Control Rods: these are made with neutron-absorbing material such as cadmium, hafnium or
boron, and are inserted or withdrawn from the core to control the rate of reaction, or to halt
5. Heat Exchangers: A fluid circulating through the core so as to transfer the heat from it

- The fuel is in the form of rods which allows for easy refuelling.
- The rods are immersed in a chemically inert fluid such as water, CO2 or He which is heated.
- The control rods are located above the core, their depth of insertion controls the reaction.
- Energy released from the nuclear fission reaction heats up the fluid.
- The hot fluid is pumped through the primary loop and releases its heat to the heat
exchanger, and the steam produced drives the turbine.
- The fuel rods are surrounded by the moderator which helps in inducing chain reaction.
- Neutrons from fissions have energy ~ 1 MeV, while the 235U are more likely to absorb
thermal neutrons (< 1 eV).
- They are slowed down by moderators (made of carbon, helium or heavy water).
- Hydrogen nuclei (protons) in normal water would be ideal in terms of taking away the excess
KE through collision, but will also absorb neutrons to form deuterium.
- Primary Loop: The energy from the fission is used to heat the water surrounding the reactor
core. The pressure in the reactor core is high, 15 Mpa and it keeps water in liquid phase at a
temperature of 315C. This in turn heats the water in the steam generator through a heat
exchanger. The neutrons in the reactor core makes the water in primary loop as radioactive
water. But this is not in direct contact with the turbine and rest of the electricity-generating
- Secondary Loop: The water in the secondary loop is at a relatively low pressure of 5 Mpa.
Steam is formed due to the heating from the water in the primary loop. It drives the turbine
to generate electricity (similar to a conventional generator). Unused steam is cooled at the
steam condenser and pumped back to the steam generator.
- Over a long period, the high neutron flux causes embrittlement of the reactor vessel as the
metal becomes less ductile and this affects the lifetime of the reactor.
- Corrosion in the steam generating tubes must also be monitored.

Reactor control

- As the fuel is burnt, the number of neutrons start to decrease. Thus to maintain the nuclear
reaction, the control rods are inserted or removed from the core to maintain the reaction.
- Control can also be maintained by altering the absorption of coolant by adding a chemical
containing a nucleus with a large neutron absorption property. Example boric acid in water
can absorb neutrons.
- Another method to control the reaction is to use burnable poisons. Examples are Gd2O3 or
Er2O3 and are included in fuel rods.

- The PWR was initially developed for submarines since, unlike internal combustion engines,
nuclear-powered submarines do not need oxygen and can remain underwater for much
longer time.
- The heat from the reactor produces steam to drive a turbine and the relative compact core
proved a cost effective design that could be scaled up to 1GW.

Fission products:
- During the operation of a reactor, there is a build up of fission products within fuel rods.
Some are very long lived actinides arising through successive neutron capture reaction on
- When the amount of fissile material in fuel rod is insufficient to maintain the controlled
chain reaction, the rod is removed and the remaining fissile material is extracted chemically.
- It is reutilized in new fuel and the waste products are separated for storage.
- The presence of these actinides means that the waste must be stored safely for many
thousand years.
- The spent fuel is first stored on site for several years to allow the intense short-lived activity
to decay. There it is kept in storage pools to remove the heat and prevent the radiation.
- The spent fuel is reprocessed to recover the Uranium and plutonium. The residue is
immobilized by incorporating in borosilicate glass.
- This spent fuel can then be placed in a corrosion-resistant can and stored in an underground

Radiation effects

- Radiation affects tissues as it causes ionization, which breaks molecules apart and gives rise
to free radicals, which can damage cells. The scale of effect depends on the energy
deposited per unit mass of tissue, the dose of the radiation, and on the type of radiation.
- Charged particles, such as -particles cause relatively more damage than -rays or electrons
depositing the same energy since their energy loss per unit length is higher.

Safety of nuclear power

There is considerable public concern over the use of nuclear power due to three serious accidents.

1. In 1952 there was a fire at a gas-cooled graphite-moderated reactor at Windscale in the UK.
2. In 1979 there was an accident in a PWR at Three Miles Island in Pennsylvania in the USA.
This was caused by both mechanical and human failures, resulting in a 20% core meltdown
but only a small release of radioactivity.
3. In 1986, there was an uncontrolled reactor power increase in a water cooled graphite
moderated reactor at Chernobyl in the Ukraine, causing a steam explosion and huge release
of radioactivity.
4. The Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster has 5 nuclear reactors burning, 2 in partial meltdown
and 3 in full meltdown- and they've ALL been uncontrollably burning since March 11th . Its
been over 3 months and this nuclear disaster remains completely out of control.

In the USA there have been almost 3000 reactor years of operation during which time there has
been only one serious accident.

Economics of nuclear power

- New reactor designs with both passive and active safety features will reduce this accident
- Improvements are done in training and instilling the importance safety at work.
- Nuclear reactor plants require large capital costs and those operating today were originally
state-owned or run by regulated utility monopolies. Most of the financial burden is absorbed
by the state-frame work.
- Although capital cost is high, but operational cost is low.
- There are other factors such as reduction in CO2 content as a result of usage of nuclear
power which give an upper hand to Nuclear Power Plants in comparison to fossil fuel based
power plants.

Environmental impact of nuclear power

- The principal environmental advantage of nuclear power is the very small amount of CO2
emission. This makes it very good energy resource in light of global warming.
- Main environmental considerations are related to location of nuclear reactors. These
include, the seismology, risk of flooding, meteorology, geology and population distribution in
the area of reactor.
- Other matters of consideration are the effects of thermal discharge to the environment and
in particular the storage and disposal of nuclear waste.

Outlook of nuclear power

- The production of electricity from nuclear power has been increasing steadily but its share of
the total world production has been decreasing slightly since 1990.
- New nuclear projects are promoted in countries China, India, Japan, Korea and Russia.
- Nuclear energy is a highly compact fuel resource with a high energy density that can be
easily stockpiled. As there are diversified sources of supply, it is unlikely that the supply of
fuel would be interrupted, making this a very secure energy resource.
- In 2005, 28% of Germanys electricity was provided by nuclear power. But, they have
decided to phase out all their nuclear reactors by 2025 and replace them by Renewable
energy resources.
- The desire of both a secure energy supply and a reduction in global carbon emission is
causing nations to re-evaluate nuclear power as a source of carbon free electricity.
- Currently there are plans to expand nuclear power in India, China, Korea, Japan and Russia
but the economic benefits are unattractive in the short term, except when the oil and
natural gas prices are high.
- More standardization and simplicity of design will improve the competitiveness of nuclear
power and the inclusion of both passive and active safety systems will reduce the likelihood
of accidents.

- Fusion power is the power generated by nuclear fusion reactions. In this type of reaction,
two light nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus accompanied by the release of large
amount of energy.
- Most designs for fusion power plants are based on the use of fusion reactions to produce
heat which is used to operate a steam turbine for generation of electricity.
- The basic concept behind any fusion reaction is to bring two or more atoms close enough
together so that the nuclear force in their nuclei will pull them together into one larger
atom. If two light nuclei fuse, they will generally form a single nucleus with a slightly smaller
mass than the sum of their original masses.

Conditions for fusion power generation

1. Very high temperatures (~106K) must be attained so that kinetic energies of the nuclei will
be enough to overcome their electrostatic repulsion. At high temperatures gas molecules
decomposes into positive nuclei and free electrons. This ionised gas with equal number of
positive and negative charges is called plasma. Examples: Sun and fluorescent tubes.
2. Confinement of plasma is difficult. As the temperature of the gas increases, its volume or its
pressure both must increase. So the gas must be confined to a fixed volume to allow the
nuclei to come close enough to fuse.
3. The fusion energy released must be converted into a useful form, such as electricity.

Outlook of fusion
Despite decades of research, we're still a long way from replicating the proton- proton fusion
reaction that powers the sun.

Fusion power has always seemed thirty or forty years away. Producing commercial power from
fusion is highly challenging, because it requires solving fundamental problems of science and

The potential technological problems include:

- Achieving temperatures several time that at the core of the sun,

- Creation of uniform magnetic fields around 100,000 times stronger than that of the earth.
- Achieving densities of laser fusion pellets a thousand times that of a normal solid,
- Focussing of laser beam to within millionths of an inch.
- The radiation and heat damage to the chamber walls. The fast neutrons from the fusion
reactor can lead to metal fatigue and embrittlement.

The advantages of fusion power include:

1. Infinite fuel supply

2. Higher thermal efficiency
3. Few radioactive waste problems 4. No global warming.

Although the technological issues are met individually in the lab framework, but not all at once.

The outlook continues to be optimistic and the vision is to have first commercial fusion reactor in 30-
40 years time.
Energy storage devices
Need for energy storage devices
- Solar power & wind power is an intermittent energy source, meaning that solar power and
wind is not available at all times, and is normally supplemented by storage or another
energy source
- Under circumstances of peak power consumption, load shedding is done to meet the grid
power supply. Under these condition one may like to switch to storage power supply.
- From very small devices such as wrist watches to sophisticated devices such as powering of
space shuttles rely on power storage devices.

Energy storage systems

1. Fuel Cells
2. Hydrogen production and Storage
3. Li-ion batteries

Fuel cells
- A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts the fuel into an electric current.
Electricity is generated through chemical reactions between the fuel and an oxidant.
- The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of the cell while the
electrolyte remains within it.
- Fuel cells consume reactant from an external source, which must be replenished .
- Many combinations of fuels and oxidants are possible. A hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen as
its fuel and oxygen (usually from air) as its oxidant. Other fuels include hydrocarbons and
alcohols. Other oxidants include chlorine and chlorine dioxide.
- Fuel cells are available in a number of varieties. However the way of their functioning is
almost identical.
- Each type of Fuel cell consists of 3 parts : (1) An anode (2) An electrolyte, and (3) A cathode.
- The most common fuel used in the cells is hydrogen.
- The anode catalyst is usually made up of very fine platinum powder. The anode catalyst,
accelerates up the dissociation of the fuel into electrons and ions.
- The cathode catalyst is often made up of nickel which converts the ions into the waste
chemicals like water or carbon dioxide
- A typical fuel cell produces a voltage from 0.6 V to 0.7 V at full rated load

Performance and efficiency of fuel cell

- Energy conversion of a fuel cell may be represented as : Chemical energy of fuel = Electrical
energy + Heat energy
- The input energy is the energy produced during reactions at the electrodes.
- The above energy balance could be explained using the first and second laws of

1. Stationary power includes any application in which the fuel cells are operated at a fixed location,
either for primary or for backup power, or for combined heat and power generation(CHP).

2. Transportation applications include motive power for cars, buses and other fuel cell vehicles (FCV)
and auxiliary power units (APUs) for highway and off-road vehicles, as well as specialty vehicles.

Types of fuel cells

1. Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)
2. Alkaline Fuel Cell (AFC)
3. Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cells (PAFC)
4. Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells (MCFC)
5. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC)

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)

- Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells are
also called proton exchange membrane fuel cells.
- These cells use a solid polymer as an electrolyte and
porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum
- H2: Fed on Anode
- Air (O2): Fed on Cathode Commented [Office8]: show reaction at anode and
- Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells operate at cathode
relatively low temperatures, around 80C.
- It deliver high-power density and offer the advantages
of low weight and volume, compared with other fuel
- PEM fuel cells are used primarily for transportation
applications such as cars and buses and some
stationary applications due to their fast startup time,
low sensitivity to orientation, and favourable power-to-weight ratio.
- It requires a noble-metal catalyst (typically platinum) to separate the hydrogen's electrons
and protons, adding to system cost.
- A limitation is hydrogen storage. Most fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) powered by pure hydrogen
must store the hydrogen on-board as a compressed gas in pressurized tanks. Due to the low-
energy density of hydrogen, it is difficult to store enough hydrogen on-board to allow
vehicles to travel the same distance as gasoline-powered vehicles before refuelling, 300400

Alkaline Fuel Cell

These fuel cells use solution of potassium hydroxide in
water as the electrolyte and can use a variety of non-
precious metals as a catalyst at the anode and

At anode, hydrogen is oxidized according to the


producing water and releasing two electrons. The

electrons flow through an external circuit and return to
the cathode, reducing oxygen in the reaction:

producing hydroxide ions. Combined reaction products are water molecule electricity and heat.

- Alkaline fuel cells (AFCs) were one of the first fuel cell technologies developed with
efficiency of 60% and they were the first type widely used in the U.S. space program to
produce electrical energy and water on-board spacecrafts.
- New AFC designs operate at lower temperatures varying from ~23C to 70C
- AFC stacks have been shown to maintain sufficiently stable operation for more than 8,000
operating hours.
- The disadvantage of this fuel cell is its poor resistance to poisoning by carbon dioxide (CO2)
and affecting cells life. In fact, even a small amount of CO2 in air can affect its operation,
making it necessary to purify both the hydrogen and oxygen used in the cell. This purification
process is costly.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

- The cell is consists of two porous electrodes which sandwich an electrolyte.
- Air flows along the cathode. When an oxygen molecule from air comes in contact with
cathode-electrolyte interface, it catalytically acquires four electrons from the cathode and
splits into two oxygen ions.
- 2-
- O2 + 4e 2O
- The oxygen ions diffuse into the electrolyte material and migrate to the other side of the cell
where they encounter the anode.
- The oxygen ions encounter the fuel at the anode/electrolyte interface and react catalytically,
giving off water, carbon dioxide, heat, and -- most importantly -- electrons.
- The electrons transport through the anode to the external circuit and back to the cathode,
providing a source of useful electrical energy in an external circuit.
- Electrolyte: Ceramic material,
Yttrium-doped zirconium oxide
(YSZ) is the potential electrolyte in
SOFCs because of its sufficient
ionic conductivity, chemical
stability, and mechanical strength.
The only drawback of stabilized
YSZ is the low ionic conductivity in
the lower cell operation
temperature regime, below about
750 C.
- Cathode: The oxidant gas is air or
oxygen at the SOFC cathode. Calcium or Strontium substituted Lanthanum manganite has
good electronic conduction, porosity, thermal stability and thermal expansion match to YSZ.
- Anode: Nickel-YSZ composites are the most commonly used anode materials for SOFCs.
Nickel is an excellent catalyst for fuel oxidation. YSZ in the anode constrains nickel
aggregation, decreases the effective thermal expansion coefficient bringing it closer to that
of the electrolyte, and provides better adhesion of the anode with the electrolyte.

Design configurations
Two design configurations for SOFCs have emerged:

A planar design: In the planar design, the components are assembled in flat stacks, with air and fuel
flowing through channels built into the cathode and anode.

A tubular design: In the tubular design, components are assembled in the form of a hollow tube,
with the cell constructed in layers around a tubular cathode. Air flows through the inside of the tube
and fuel flows around the exterior.

Hydrogen production and storage

- Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of feedstocks. These include fossil resources such
as natural gas and coal and also renewable resources such as biomass and water with input
from renewable energy sources (e.g. sunlight, wind, wave or hydro-power).
- The technologies for hydrogen production include reforming of natural gas; gasification of
coal and biomass; and the splitting of water by water-electrolysis, photo-electrolysis, photo-
biological production and high temperature decomposition.
- Each technology is in a different stage of development and offers unique opportunities and
- Water electrolysis and natural gas reforming are the technologies of choice in the current
and near term. These are proven technologies usable in the early phases of building a
hydrogen infrastructure for the transport sector.

Sources of hydrogen

Production from natural gas:

Hydrogen can currently be produced from natural gas by means of three different chemical

1. Steam reforming (steam methane reforming SMR).

2. Partial oxidation (POX).
3. Autothermal reforming (ATR).
1. Steam Methane Reforming: Steam reforming involves the endothermic conversion of
methane and water vapour into hydrogen and carbon monoxide (Eqn. 1). The heat is often
supplied from the combustion of some of the methane feed-gas. The process typically
occurs at temperatures of 700 to 850 C and pressures of 3 to 25 bar (mm of Hg). The
product gas contains approximately 12 % CO, which can be further converted toCO2

2. Partial oxidation of natural gas:

- Partial oxidation of natural gas is the process whereby partial combustion of methane with
oxygen gas yields carbon monoxide and hydrogen ( Eqn 3).
- CH4 + 1/2O2 CO + 2H2 + heat (3)
- The above reaction is exothermic and heat is generated. Hence no external heating is
required and comparatively more compact design of reactor is feasible. The CO produced is
further converted to H2 as described in equation (2).

3. Autothermal reforming

- Autothermal reforming is a combination of both steam reforming (Eqn. 1) and partial

oxidation (Eqn. 3).
- The total reaction is exothermic, and so it releases heat.
- The outlet temperature from the reactor is in the range of 950 to 1100C, and the gas
pressure can be as high as 100 bar. Again, the CO produced is converted to H2 through the
water-gas shift reaction (Eqn. 2).

Production from coal

- Hydrogen is produced from coal through gasification process. A typical reaction for the
process is represented by equation (4), wherein carbon is converted to carbon monoxide
and hydrogen.
- C(s) + H O + heat CO + H (4)
2 2
- This reaction is endothermic hence additional heat is required for carrying out the hydrogen
production process. The CO is further converted to CO and H through the reaction,
2 2
described in equation (2).
- Hydrogen production from coal is commercially mature, but it is more complex than the
production of hydrogen from natural gas. The cost of the hydrogen produced is also higher.

Production from splitting of water

Hydrogen can be produced from the splitting of water through various processes. These are:

1. Water electrolysis
2. Photo-electrolysis
3. Photo-biological production
4. High-temperature water decomposition. Commented [Office9]: more details on the other
Water electrolysis
Water electrolysis is the process whereby water is split into hydrogen and oxygen through the
application of electrical energy, as in equation (5).

H2O + electricity H2 + 1/2O2 (5)

Future potential costs for electrolytic hydrogen are presented in Figure, where the possibilities to
considerably reduce the production cost are evident.

Hydrogen Storage Systems

- Hydrogen storage can be considered for onboard vehicular, portable, stationary, bulk, and
transport applications, i.e. for fuel cell or ICE/electric hybrid vehicles.
Gaseous hydrogen
- The most common method to store hydrogen in gaseous form is in steel tanks, although
lightweight composite tanks designed to endure higher pressures are also becoming more
and more common.
- Cryogas, gaseous hydrogen cooled to near cryogenic temperatures, is another alternative
that can be used to increase the volumetric energy density of gaseous hydrogen.
- A more novel method to store hydrogen gas at high pressures is to use glass microspheres.
- Two of the most promising methods to store hydrogen gas under high pressure:
1. Composite tanks
2. Glass microspheres.

Composite tanks
- Design of composite hydrogen Storage Tank.
- There are several advantages with such composite tanks.
- Their low weight meets key targets, and the tanks are already commercially available, well-
engineered and safety- tested.
- Composite tanks require no internal heat exchange and may be usable for cryogas.
- Their main disadvantages are the large physical volume required (which does not meet
- There are also some safety issues that still have not been resolved, such as the problem of
rapid loss of H2 in an accident.
Commented [Office10]: what are the features of the

Glass Microspheres for Hydrogen Storage

- The basic concept for hydrogen gas storage in glass microspheres can be described in three
- Charging, filling and discharging.
- First, hollow glass spheres are filled with H2 at high pressure (350-700 bar) and high
temperature (300 C) by permeation in a high- pressure vessel.
- Next, the microspheres are cooled down to room temperature and transferred to the low-
pressure vehicle tank.
- Finally, the microspheres are heated to 200- 300 C for controlled release of H2 to run the

- The main problem with glass microspheres is the inherently low achievable volumetric
density and the high pressure requirement for filling.
- The glass microspheres slowly leak hydrogen at ambient temperatures.
- Another challenge is the need to supply heat at temperatures higher than those available
from the PEM fuel cell (70-80 C). The required high temperature (300 C) also makes rapid
response-control difficult.

- Glass microspheres have the potential to be inherently safe as they store H2 at a
relatively low pressure onboard and are suitable for conformable tanks.
- This allows for low container costs.

Liquid hydrogen
The three most promising methods are:

1. Cryogenic Hydrogen

2. Hydrogen as a constituent in NaBH4 solutions.

3. Hydrogen as a constituent in Rechargeable organic liquids. Commented [Office11]: more details for these

The most common way to store hydrogen in a liquid form is to cool it down to cryogenic
temperatures ( 253 C).

Cryogenic liquid hydrogen (LH2)

- Cryogenic hydrogen, usually simply referred to as liquid hydrogen (LH2), has a density of 70.8
kg/m3 at normal boiling point (253 C).
- The main advantage with LH2 is the high storage density that can be reached at relatively
low pressures.
- The theoretical gravimetric density of LH2 is 100%, but only 20 wt. % H2 of this can be
achieved in practical hydrogen storage systems today. This means that liquid hydrogen has a
much better energy density than the pressurised gas solutions. Commented [Office12]: ?????
- About 30-40% of the energy is lost when LH2 is produced.
- Main disadvantage with LH2 is the boil-off loss during dormancy, and requirement of super-
insulated cryogenic containers for storage.
- Liquid hydrogen has been demonstrated in commercial vehicles (particularly by BMW), and
in the future it could also be co-utilized as aircraft fuel, since it provides the best weight
advantage of any H2 storage.

Solid hydrogen
Storage of hydrogen in solid materials has the potential to become a safe and efficient way to store
energy, both for stationary and mobile applications.

There are four main groups of solid materials suitable for this purpose:

1. Carbon and other high surface area materials

2. H2O -reactive chemical hydrides
3. Thermal chemical hydrides
4. Rechargeable hydrides

Carbon and other high surface area materials

Carbon-based materials (nanotubes and graphite nanofibers)

- Carbon-based materials, such as nanotubes and graphite nanofibers, have received a lot of
attention in the research community and in the public press over the last decade.
- Pure H2 molecular physisorption has been clearly demonstrated, but is useful only at
cryogenic temperatures (up to 6 wt.% H2), and extremely high surface area carbons are
- Pure atomic H-chemisorption has been demonstrated to 8 wt.% H2, but the covalent-bound
H is liberated only at impractically high temperatures (above 400 C).
- Room temperature adsorption up to a few wt.% H2 is occasionally reported, but has not
been reproducible.

Rechargeable hydrides
- The two main reversible hydriding reactions in
rechargeable metal hydride batteries are shown in
- From this it becomes clear that the complex
hydrides provide the hope for the future,
particularly the non-transition metal types such as
borohydrides, alanates and amides Commented [Office13]: reactions in gas phase and
- electrochemical reaction

Comparison between various storage techniques

- Comparisons between the three basic storage options shows that the potential advantages
of solid H2-storage compared to gaseous and liquid hydrogen storage are:
o Lower volume.
o Lower pressure (greater energy efficiency).
o Higher purity H2 output.
- Compressed gas and liquid storage are the most commercially viable options today, but
completely cost-effective storage systems have yet to be developed.
- The safety aspects with all storage options, particularly the novel hydride storage options,
must not be underestimated. Commented [Office14]: ?????

- A battery is a device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy.
- A battery is composed of two electrodes (cathode and anode) and an ionically conductive
material called electrolyte.
- When these electrodes are connected by means of an external load or device, electrons
spontaneously flow from negative to more positive potential and ions migrate through the
electrolyte maintaining the charge balance, and electrical energy can be trapped by the
external circuit.
- Two or more electrochemical cells can be connected in series or parallel combination to
form a battery depending up on the required energy and voltage.
Battery characteristics
- A batterys characteristics depend upon the internal chemistry, current drain and
- The amount of energy per unit mass or volume (Watt. hours/kg or Watt. hours/litre) that a
battery can deliver depends significantly on the cells voltage and capacity, which are
dependent on the chemistry of the system.
- Another important parameter is power which depends partly on the batterys engineering
but crucially on the used chemicals in that battery.
- Based on the usage and principle of operation, batteries are categorized mainly in two
groups, namely primary (disposable) and secondary (rechargeable) and manufactured in
various shapes and sizes according to usage.

Primary batteries (disposable)

- Primary batteries are manufactured to be used once only because its active material
(chemicals) is consumed in a single discharge via an irreversible electrochemical reaction.
- These batteries are:
o usually of low price
o easy to carry because of light-weight
o exhibit high energy density at low to moderate discharge
o require minimum maintenance and are easy to use.
- The most common primary cells that are being used commercially, Zinc-MnO2 (1.5 V) and Li-
MnO2 (3.0 V).
- Depending upon their usage, different shape and sizes are available in market like, button
and coin cells are widely used in watches, calculators, CD players and other portable

- Primary batteries have created many environmental concerns, mainly toxic metal pollution.
Secondary batteries (Rechargeable)
- These can be re-charged by applying the electrical current, which reverses the chemical
reactions that occur during its use and regenerate its active material for further use. These
batteries are also known as storage batteries or accumulators.
- Therefore, the rechargeable batteries are considered an eco- friendly alternative to the
primary batteries as far as metal pollution is concerned.
- Many reclamation companies recycle batteries to reduce the number of batteries going in to

Characteristics of secondary batteries

- Energy densities
o Gravimetric (Wh/kg) lighter weight
o Volumetric (Wh/l) smaller size
- Optimised Speck battery Commented [Office15]: ????
- Power (W)
o Potential (V)
o Current (I)
- Effects available capacity
- Recharge conditions and limits cell protection
- Fabrication of micro-batteries

Types of secondary batteries

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd)

- 1.2V, 400 Cycles

- Inexpensive Simple charging
- low energy density Memory effect
- high self discharge (20% month)
- Toxic

Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)

- 1.2V, 600 Cycles

- Simple to charge,
- High self discharge (30% month)
- reduced memory effect Less-toxic

Silver Zinc (AgZn)

- 1.5V, 300 Cycles

- Low energy density Very difficult to recharge

Lithium Ion (Li-ion) based

- 3.5V, 2000+ Cycles
- Higher energy density No memory effect Low self discharge
- Lower toxicity More expensive More complex charging
- Continuous current limited to 1.5C

Lithium ion batteries

- Rechargeable LIBs involve a reversible insertion/extraction of Li ions (guest species) in
to/from a host electrode material during discharge/charge.
- The Li intake/uptake process happening with a flow of ions through the electrolyte is
accompanied by a redox (reduction/oxidation) reaction of the host matrix assisted with a
flow of electrons through the external circuit.
- In the commercial LIBs, Li-containing metal oxides (LiCoO2, LiNiO2, LiMn2O4, and LiFePO4) are
employed as cathodes (positive electrode).
- Graphitic carbons (MCMB: mesocarbon microbeads) or amorphous Sn-Co-C composite are
used as anodes (negative electrode).
- The electrolyte allows the flow of Li-ions between the electrodes but prevents the electron
flow. Due to the reversible motion of Li-ions between cathode and anode through
electrolyte, the LIBs are also known as rocking chair, swing and shuttle-cock batteries.

Electrode redox reactions on charge:

- + -
Cathode oxidation : LiCoO2 Li1-xCoO2 + xLi + xe
+ -
- Anode reduction : xLi + xe + C LiC
6 6

Reverse reaction during discharging


- Wide variety of shapes and sizes efficiently fitting the devices they power. Much lighter than
other energy-equivalent secondary batteries.
- High open circuit voltage in comparison to aqueous batteries (such as lead acid, nickel-metal
hydride and nickel-cadmium).
- This is beneficial because it increases the amount of power that can be transferred at a
lower current.
- No memory effect.
- Self-discharge rate of approximately 5-10% per month, compared to over 30% per month in
common nickel metal hydride batteries


- Shelf life
o Charging forms deposits inside the electrolyte that inhibit ion transport. Over
time, the cell's capacity diminishes. The increase in internal resistance
reduces the cell's ability to deliver current. This problem is more pronounced
in high- current applications. The decrease means that older batteries do not
charge as much as new ones (charging time required decreases
- Internal resistance
o The internal resistance of lithium-ion batteries is high compared to other
rechargeable chemistries such as nickel-metal hydride and nickel-cadmium.
Internal resistance increases with both cycling and age. Rising internal
resistance causes the voltage at the terminals to drop under load, which
reduces the maximum current draw. Eventually increasing resistance means
that the battery can no longer operate for an adequate period.
- Safety Issues:
o Li-ion batteries are not as durable as nickel metal hydride or nickel- cadmium
designs and can be dangerous if mistreated. They may suffer cell rupture if
overheated or overcharged.