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Alternative Energy & Renewable Energy Generators

Energy and Human Ecology (Page 2).

Since the international recognition of global warming and the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, attention has been drawn to alternative energy sources to reduce the consumption of carbon emitters such as coal, oil and gas. The latter have been conveniently and cheaply available in many countries including the UK, however, these sources are not only dirty but have a limited life. Consequently the logic is to develop alternative energy sources with the emphasis strictly focussed on renewable energies, accompanied by a diminishing reliance on fossil fuels.

Fledgling squatting in the eaves Spot the Dragon
Fledgling Squatting in the Eaves Spot the Dragon
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Alternative Energy Sources Index
Down Are you wondering what you can do and would like some help and information?
Also FITs and RHIs
Down to Overview of energy sources An Overview Down Biomass and Biofuels Down CHP (Cogeneration)
Down Condensing Boilers Down Fuel Cells Down Geothermal and Air-source
Down Incineration Down Liquefied Petroleum Gas Down Nuclear Power
Down Solar Energy Down Water Power Down Wind Power

If your interest is green energy suppliers (eg domestic electricity), see Page 3, 'Energy Conservation'.

If your interest is motor vehicles see the dedicated section under Energy & Ecology.
You may also find some relevant info below under the headings Biomass and Biofuels.

Wondering what you can do?
  Many of us want to tackle the energy problem in our own way. Envocare aims to provide information but technology moves so fast and commerce and the administration move the goal posts so frequently that it is difficult to stay current. Below, are a couple of leading edge energy-focused links (quite different from each other) with ideas and information on how to participate in renewable energy generation.
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    On his Alternative-Energy web site, Paul Norris is creating a personal record of two ordinary people, with modest incomes, living in a medium sized town, trying to achieve self-sufficiency in terms of their energy needs. Started late 2005 it has developed and contains a lot of down-to-earth information for householders in the UK. While Paul is mainly concerned with domestic micro-generation the site has been augmented with a section on alternative Transport which is collated by Deb. Returning to the site in Q1 2008, we are pleased to see that it has been updated and contains practical information which gladden the heart of any individual who wants to power their home with green energy (using PV batteries) and get an idea of the economics.
    The Energy Project, run by Robert Rohatensky (Regina, Canada), comprises the development, design and manufacture of a new system, SHPEGS (Solar Heat Pump Electrical Generation System), for clean, location independent and renewable electrical power generation, built from common materials.
The system design is managed in an nfp and open manner applying the same methodologies and principles that have made Linux and other Open Source Software projects such a success. So you can become involved: if you have an interest in donating some of your time and skill, the project is looking for resources that see the merit in the system and want to help.
    Energy Trace are educators who aim to provide current information about energy and its application in the world and to educate as many people as possible on the importance of energy conservation and efficiencies.
Feed-in Tariff Scheme for Renewable Electricity and Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme for Renewable Heat
You could: install Solar PV panels on your roof(s), if suitable, and benefit from the Government's Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme;
install an appropriate system which will generate heat from renewable sources and benefit from the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.
The UK Government DECC (Dept of Energy & Climate Change) announced it's final changes to the FIT scheme for renewable electricity on 1 Feb 2010. FITs came into effect on 1 April 2010. The aim is to encourage additional generation of small-scale, low-carbon electricity, particularly by individuals, householders, organisations, businesses and communities who have not traditionally been involved in the electricity market.
The RHI scheme is similar to the FITs but with important differences. The RHI is a UK government payment scheme designed to encourage people to invest in systems which generate heat from renewable sources. The three main ones being Solar thermal (not the same as Solar PV), Biomass boilers and Ground-source and water-source heat pumps. RHI is a fixed payment for the renewable heat you generate yourself; RHIs are expected to come into force in summer 2013.
Also see our section on Solar Energy (go up to the index on this page).
The DECC site describes FITs and RHIs. These will cover Wind, Solar photovoltaics (PV), Solar Thermal, Hydro, Anaerobic digestion, small scale micro-CHP. Tariffs for Biomass have been removed. FITs will guarantee a price for a fixed period and the site gives details of Tariffs.
Feed-In Tariffs is a useful site about the guaranteed payments for renewable electricity in the UK, giving information about the FITs: how they work, what systems are eligible, what changes are being contemplated, Tariff tables, how to register for FITs and much more.
Renewable Heat Incentive is an information site about the guaranteed payments for renewable heat, telling you what you need to know about the RHI: how it works, what systems are eligible, a tariff table, how to register and a lot more.
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Overview of Alternative Energy Sources
  The majority of existing fuels produce carbon compounds as a by-product of burning and it is broadly accepted that the carbon emissions contribute to global warming. A natural consequence is to seek out alternative energy and renewable energy sources which emit less carbon. See our main Reference page on Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy and other 'Clean' Energy Sources here.
The Government introduced a Renewables Obligation as part of its revised policy for new and renewable energy in the UK, increasing the use of low carbon technologies; it is the Government's main mechanism for supporting the generation of renewable electricity.
  Alternative Energy News Source is designed to help entrepreneurs who are interested in alternative energy breakthroughs, and to provide an alternative energy news source for investors and the general public.
  The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), an educational charity, works for a sustainable future, seeks co-operation between natural, technological and human worlds and developing strategies and tools to achieve this.
  Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology's (CREST) stated remit is to advance renewable energy technology to provide substantial and benign energy options, mainly through research and education.

The Low-Impact Living Initiative (LILI), a non-profit organisation based in Bucks UK, offers residential courses on practical environmental practices. Subjects include, alternative energies but there are other topics as well.

  The independent, UK, Network for Alternative Technology and Technology Assessment (NATTA) publishes a bimonthly journal, "RENEW" covering topical UK and world news and developments in the area of renewables and sustainable energy. Renew is now offered to NATTA members on-line, in PDF format in colour. NATTA was set up in 1976, with its base at the Open University, it is now independent of the OU.
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Overview continued
  The National Energy Foundation (NEF) is an independent educational charity, based at Milton Keynes. It works for more efficient, innovative, safe and sustainable use and production of energy, increasing public awareness of energy. The site gives much information and advice about the NEF and better use of energy.
  The NEF's National Energy Centre is intended to be a focus for Sustainable Use of Energy in the UK. The building was designed to show that high energy efficiency can be integral to a building without extra costs.
  NEF Renewable Energy is a main feature of NEF web site providing information for the home and schools, including Act on CO2 at Home, Act on CO2 when travelling, a Carbon Workout to Calculate your Carbon Footprint and Eco Jargon Busting.
  The Open University (OU) Energy & Environment Research Unit (EERU) site is an informative source on renewable energy, to see their 'Energy, A Beginners Guide: NATTA’s guide to how to get to grips with energy issues', click on the ball.
  Reegle is an information gateway for renewable energy and energy efficiency. It includes a search engine for documents and other information.
  Renewable Energy Association represents British renewable energy producers and promotes the use of sustainable energy in the UK; it provides services for its members, businesses, consumers, farmers and landowners, students and researchers.
  Stewart King Environmental Engineers Ltd, a Scottish firm, operate a comprehensive service to help businesses and consumers to save energy and save money. They have an awareness of many of the alternative energy sources shown on this page and a visit to their site is recommended.
  The Low Carbon Partnership (TLCP), a consortium of experienced UK renewable energy companies, at the forefront of the small-scale renewable energy industry. TLCP delivers renewable energy systems to the public and charitable sectors at subsidised prices, working with schools, universities, hospitals, councils, museums, libraries and charities.
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Biomass and other Biofuels
  Biomass fuels are traditionally derived from young plants which are harvested and suitably processed. The concept becomes attractive only when the plants are replaced at a rate equal to the rate at which they are harvested. For a brief discussion of biomass see our Reference page on Biomass and Coppicing for Cheap, Renewable Energy.
Ethanol and methanol can be biofuels (they can also be produced from fossil fuels but that negates the green benefits). Not intended for drinking but primarily to power motor vehicles in place of the conventional fuels. To learn more see our Reference page on Ethanol and Methanol as fuel for motor vehicles.
Biodiesel is an important renewable fuel which has application in the context of motor vehicles. For more information see our Reference page on Biodiesel Fuel.
An important caveat: it has become increasingly clear that there are major downsides to the use of biofuels. The problem lies with the enormous size of the demand for energy. The disadvantages include deforestation (loss of carbon sinks and risks of environmental catastrophes), loss of arable land (hence food), reducing biodiversity (extinction of flora and fauna) and social disruption. Even organic waste removal can deplete the land of essential fertilisers. However there are instances where waste can be put to beneficial use; for example agricultural waste that otherwise may be burnt, oils and fats from cooking that currently go into landfill, sawmill, building and municipal waste etc. Grasses and wood are also abundant and place less stress on food sources but new developments are needed to produce improved yields. Therefore it seems to be realistic that, on environmental grounds, at the moment (Q2 2008), the use of bio-energy can only contribute modestly to the reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Nevertheless this modest contribution can be valuable in the context of the diverse use of true renewables and there is the potential for substantial expansion in the future.

    For more detail on the use of ethanol, methanol and biodiesel in motor vehicles, see our Motor Vehicles page.
  Biomass Energy Research Association (BERA) is an association of biofuels researchers, companies and advocates that promotes education and research on renewable biomass energy and waste-to-energy systems.
  CAT have installed a Woodchip Boiler which uses surplus brash from nearby tree-felling as its fuel and provides about 80% of central heating and hot water load of their buildings.
  Dry Fermentation has a web site, created and maintained by a team of consultants dedicated to green energy creation, specifically by a dry fermentation process for converting biomass to biogas.
  EcoGen are specialists who develop and support clean, renewable energy projects. EcoGen Consultants Ltd offer support services for renewable initiatives mainly in the areas of wind, solar and biomass energies.
  Green Fuels Ltd, formerly The British Association for Biofuels and Oils (BABFO), design and manufacture affordable biodiesel processing equipment that produces fuel for small-scale, domestic and commercial usage.
  JS Power Limited supplies generators and UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) systems for both prime and standby applications. Recently they have been focusing on designing and supplying generators in their Eco-Gen range that are more eco-friendly and run on 100% Bio Diesel.
  NEF Renewables run a Wood Fuel Information Service, aiming to encourage use of wood as a heating fuel by supporting suppliers of sustainable wood fuel and promoting efficient, clean burning appliances. It provides information and advice about the best way to buy, store and burn wood. The newsletter GoodWood is published quarterly.
  PelHeat aim to promote the use of all biomass, including energy crops and waste biomass. They explain the advantages of biomass and pellets and provide affordable small scale mobile and stationary pellet production units.
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Page Originated: 21 July, 2001  Last amended: 3 May, 2013