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What's Your Favorite Renewable Energy

Displaying poll results.
Wind power
  2427 votes / 9%
Hydropower
  3340 votes / 12%
Solar energy
  9376 votes / 34%
Geothermal energy
  4669 votes / 17%
Hamster Power
  6998 votes / 26%
26810 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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What's Your Favorite Renewable Energy

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  • All of the above? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @07:55PM (#36136214)

    No one type works for every area. They need to work in tandem if they're ever going to replace coal.

    • Re:All of the above? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ZigiSamblak (745960) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @07:57PM (#36136218)
      Isn't that the same as the "solar energy" option?
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Indeed, although most of those options really need to be augmented by hydrogen fuel cells or some other means of storing the extra for periods when the main source isn't cooperating.

        • by Robert Zenz (1680268) on Monday May 16, 2011 @05:06AM (#36138390) Homepage

          ...when the main source isn't cooperating.

          Then treat your hamster better!

          • by mcavic (2007672)

            when the main source isn't cooperating

            That's what I like about hydro power. If you have a big enough body of water, it always cooperates. And you can even dial it back to save water when the power demand is lower.

          • Here is a link to an actual Hamster Powered Lightlight . . .
            http://otherpower.com/hamster.html [otherpower.com]
      • Re:All of the above? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Eevee (535658) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @09:16PM (#36136680)
        Not geothermal. That's a mix of the energy from the Earth's original formation as planetesimals coalesced together and internal radioactive decay.
        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          I thought that heat is also thanks to tidal forces. For example the volcanic activity in Jupiter's moon Io is caused by tidal forces. Or is that negligible in case of the Earth.

          • by arisvega (1414195)
            I would assume that the heat would be negligible compared to Io- but tidal energy can be extracted from the ocean; at some spots of the globe, especially where the tide is intense, a turbine can tap a fraction of that energy and convert it to electricity.
        • Dude, if you're going to talk about it make sure you know what you are talking about: Geothermal Heat [wikipedia.org]
      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        Geothermal is latent heat from the formation of Earth, heat from radioactive decay, and heat from tidal stretching by the Moon. Similarly, ocean hydropower typically comes from tidal forces.
    • You're right... what would we do with out all of the hamsters!

    • I'd rather have them work in parallel. If they are in tandem, failure in one will result in failure in all, like those old Christmas lights where one burnt out bulb causes the whole string to fail..

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      These are all the boring ones, lets invest all the solar panels and turbines money into a giant solar radiation antenna in deep space; a Tesla style earths magnetic field dynamo; or potential zero point energy generator http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect [wikipedia.org] (if you had a way to capture the energy of such small movements).
      • Re:All of the above? (Score:5, Informative)

        by wagnerrp (1305589) on Monday May 16, 2011 @10:36AM (#36140058)

        These are all the boring ones, lets invest all the solar panels and turbines money into a giant solar radiation antenna in deep space;

        Great. When you solve the (not insurmountable) problems of launching such huge mass into geostationary orbit, construction and maintenance on something the order of hundreds of square kilometers in space, focused transmission over distances of 40Mm, you'll be a billionaire.

        a Tesla style earths magnetic field dynamo

        You can't extract energy from a static magnetic field. You can only extract energy from an object moving through a static magnetic field, in which case you are extracting it from the kinetic energy of the object itself.

        or potential zero point energy generator http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect [wikipedia.org] (if you had a way to capture the energy of such small movements).

        Zero-point energy is the lowest possible potential. While not devoid of energy entirely, by definition, you cannot extract any further energy. There is no lower potential you can reduce it to. Think of the Casimir effect as a static pressure source. At the nanoscale, it will act as a force pushing two plates together. That force is a potential, which can be extracted as the plates move together. Once touching, they have reached the lowest possible potential, and energy must be applied back to the system to pull the plates apart.

        Pseudoscience buzzwords do not make an energy source.

  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @08:03PM (#36136244)

    Solar is swell, but it's not portable except as electricity, and batteries introduce all sorts of problems.

    Hydrogen is easily produced by the same power sources that feed batteries, is unquestionably portable (and that technology will be viable in cars soon if not already), and when burned produces only water.

    Go hydrogen!

    • Re:Hydrogen (Score:5, Informative)

      by spud603 (832173) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @08:15PM (#36136298)
      wait, what?
      Hydrogen in this context is pretty much just a battery right? It's not an energy 'source' (not a lot of naturally recurring hydrogen, and in that case it is not renewable).
      So what's your favorite renewable source to produce the hydrogen? Why not use solar to split water?

      Your comment seems to treat solar power and hydrogen as somehow exclusive, rather than as different parts of the energy production chain.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      It burns clean all-right but has a lot of problems.

      First of all to get any decent amount of energy stored you have to liquefy it, which is far from trivial for hydrogen. Low temperatures and very high pressures are involved.

      Those problems of course are worse when trying to transport it.

      It's destructive to your tank walls: hydrogen fatigue. The hydrogen molecules are so small they are happily absorbed by metal tanks walls, and weaken the metal in the process. Oh and don't think plastic liners will do: the

      • First of all to get any decent amount of energy stored you have to liquefy it

        The Hydrogen Fuel Cell cars already on the road would seem to disagree with you. Hydrogen fuel cells don't use liquid hydrogen.

        It's destructive to your tank walls: hydrogen fatigue. The hydrogen molecules are so small they are happily absorbed by metal tanks walls, and weaken the metal in the process. Oh and don't think plastic liners will do: the hydrogen simply diffuses through.

        This is only a chemical engineering issue and since we already have hydrogen tanks, it's been solved.

        And all in all it's not that safe due to the storage conditions. If a tank fails (overheating, fatigue, external impact) the explosion will be devastating.

        I assume you're talking about the liquid to gas explosion? See above, we don't need liquid hydrogen.

        Finally to convert electrical energy into chemical energy into heat energy into motion energy is not exactly efficient, especially the heat conversion is very lossy. So other techniques for energy recovery are needed.

        Solar + Water = hydrogen + oxygen -> hydrogen + oxygen = water + energy.

        Where is the chemical energy? We aren't talking batteries here.

        Likewise, heat? perhaps some he

  • I'm dutch. I wanted to click "solar power", but my mouse went to "wind mills". Hmm.

    • by scsirob (246572)

      I'm Dutch too. I own a small plane. I invite you to fly with me across The Netherlands and look at the mess our current windmills make of the landscape. All that for a mere 4% of our power system. Now multiply by 25 and ask yourself if that's the environment you want to live in.

      • I'm Dutch too. I own a small plane. I invite you to fly with me across The Netherlands and look at the mess our current windmills make of the landscape. All that for a mere 4% of our power system. Now multiply by 25 and ask yourself if that's the environment you want to live in.

        Ya want yer power, ya picks yer mess.

  • by no known priors (1948918) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @10:11PM (#36136936)

    Burning [wikipedia.org] wood or crop waste is a renewable option.
    Tidal power [wikipedia.org] is a perfectly good energy source as well.

    I personally agree with one of the commentators above, all (or most) of the above should be an option. It depends on local conditions to a large degree. In the northern and southern most parts of the globe, solar power is not feasible for much of the year. In deserts hydro is unlikely to provide enough power. And I don't think I've ever even seen a hamster.

    I'm currently in Japan, and the government is going on about increasing the use of solar and wind and other such. But I've never heard mention of geothermal power. Japan is in an excellent location for this, what with being on the border of three different continental plates and all. You'd think that in a country that has so many hot springs, the government would realize that it's possible to get power from the same source.

    (Also, don't you love the misuse of words. Renewable, meaning it can be replaced (Wikipedia says "naturally replenished"), right? Except when it comes to energy, apparently. Because I can't see us replacing the sun when it runs out. I also have the same problem with the word "reclaimed" in relation to "reclaiming" swamps and other wetlands. The term really should just be "claimed".)

    • Energy doesn't have to be sustainable past the point where everybody is dead, so the sun running out isn't a big deal from a renewable energy standpoint.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      By the time the sun runs out it must have been replaced long time, or mankind is gone. This as the sun in a later stage of its life will swell to a red giant, and becoming bigger than the orbit of our planet.

      So for mankind to survive that (if we manage to survive that long to begin with) space colonisation is a necessity. We're already quite close to having enough tech to colonise the solar system (not bad considering the first time we reached space was less than 70 years ago - the German V2 missiles), so

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Now surviving the Big Crunch (the opposite event of the Big Bang), that's a whole different matter.

        Well, we have the Multivac [multivax.com] to solve that little problem.

    • by jonescb (1888008)

      Renewable refers to "renewable on a human timescale". Coal is "renewable" you wait millions of years for it to form. The kind of renewable we talk about are things that will replenish within the lifetime of an average human like trees or crops.

    • by Ogive17 (691899)

      The ground in Japan is very unstable, I don't think running pipes deep underground is going to be very viable. A medium sized earthquake could rupture everything.

  • by Scoldog (875927) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @10:42PM (#36137084)
    Darwin spinning in his grave.
  • Is it anywhere near as efficient as the others? No. Is it the cleanest? After factoring in food and bedding, no. Is it even feasible, wide-scale? No.

    But the poll asked which is my favorite, and just for sheer hilarity and awesomeness, hamster it is.

    • by aevan (903814)
      Plus after the hamsters die and are replaced, you can use the old hamsters for biomass! Not to mention could burn off the methane byproducts. Hamsters are very underrated in their potential.
  • Once manufactured wind and solar have relatively minimal environmental impact - limited to maintenance, cleaning, etc. Hydro changes the environment and both hydro and geothermal have the possibility of catastrophic failure.

    I worked in the solar industry for a while. The economic barriers to widespread deployment are almost gone, but the challenge of storage and distribution remain. Industry rules of thumb suggest that there will be no storage problem until transient renewables represent about 20% of the gr

  • by eggman9713 (714915) <{eggman97132007} {at} {mac.com}> on Monday May 16, 2011 @12:12AM (#36137448)
    Being a native of the pacific northwest, I love all the hydro power we have all over the place. Something like 80% of our fuel mix for electricity in this region is hydro. Whether hydro power is "green" is a constant debate, but by damn it's renewable. Thanks, nature!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Except we're not allowed to build any more dams, even in places that could use them. Some protected bug or fish is in the way. And not to mention the greenies wanting to tear down a few of the existing ones.

  • Veggie diesel from algae.. It even grows in salt water.. So far there doesn't appear to be any shortage of either.. but it doesn't seem to have much appeal to big agribusiness or energy producers.. too easy produce and thus presents too much competition...

    • You greatly underestimate the problems of scaling up to actual production. There are large difficulties with filtration, extraction, and maintenance once the plant has been operating for a short time - very similar to the problems with fuel cells. Agribusiness won't want to know till the rate of return exceeds conventional planting.

      Having said which - it may be in a race with thermal solar in which the winner will be the one that requires the least water input. Both in theory work best in arid regions with

  • Cowboy Neal on a bicycle generator.

    He's not renewable, well not yet. We are working on having him cloned.
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Monday May 16, 2011 @01:32AM (#36137790) Homepage Journal

    Biomass - Burning wood, alcohol, etc.
    Nuclear fission - Close the fuel cycle, and nuclear is renewable, like it was originally intended to be.
    LENR - Low Energy Nuclear Reactions - previously misnamed "cold fusion"
    Fusion - The energy source that is perpetually 20 years away.

  • Hamsters, yum!

  • Missing option (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlackPignouf (1017012)

    What about Negawatts?

  • by haeger (85819) on Monday May 16, 2011 @06:28AM (#36138676)

    It's renewable, works in most if not all currently availible ICE's so it's a great transition fuel. Fairly easy to store and transport. Easy to produce. Cheap. Local.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogas [wikipedia.org]

  • by Ihlosi (895663)
    It's basically available everywhere, and has much less correlation (in place and time) than solar power, which means that you need smaller areas than for solar power to even out the variance of each producer. Hydropower and geothermal power are nice, but only feasible if your country hit a geographical or geological jackpot.
  • ...chose wind because solar generation cuts out at night and therefore requires more energy storage.

    • Wind energy can also cut out, often for days at a time.
    • by JustNiz (692889)

      From personal experience, I've noticed even very windy days tend to go calm at night.

    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      Solar energy is at least predictable. You know when your power is going to come online, and when it will drop off. You may have reduced capacity on a cloudy day, but it will still function. Wind is inconsistent, and for the most part unpredictable. You would need just as much buffering for a wind power grid as you would for a solar power grid.
  • OK, so they're only renewable when the transformers fill them from hydroelectric dams, but still.

    When I was a kid I could never fathom why in those cartoons people were always fighting over energy. Energy is everywhere! And unlike the transformers, people can't even drink it, so they didn't really have an excuse.

  • I think new construction should eventually turn the roof into a solar panel. It is out of the way, would provide most energy needed during the day and early evening and they would last as long as conventional tar shingle roofs. I understand not every location would work great.. but even in northern climates solar would be worth it in the summer.
  • Generators breed, and you can eat the surplus generators!

  • So solar energy is renewable... I'm all in favor of a little human hubris now and then, but making the completely unfounded assumption that we'll have figured out how to renew the sun in the next 4 billion years seems kind of ambitious.

    I mean really, if your standards for calling something "renewable" are so low, why not accept that today's landfills will be the oil fields of a few million years from now and call oil renewable too?

  • And so are hydrogen and solar panels. They're all ways of capturing and concentrating solar power. Hydro has the advantage of being pre-concentrated. Wind and solar, not so much. Solar has potential if we get into space and start setting up large scale concentrative mirrors, but you can't sell that to the voters/rubes, so we're more likely to piss away precious resources going to Mars instead. While nuclear would also scale, it has been shown to have some minor disadvantages of late. Thorium nuclear plants

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

 



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