IF PETROLEUM WERE TO BE EXHAUSTED IN NIGERIA TOMORROW, HOW WOULD YOU AS A MECHANICAL ENGINEER GENERATE/DEVELOP AN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE FOR THE COUNTRY BY NAME: OGUNLOWO IBRAHIM ADEBOWALE
First and foremost, energy can be define as the ability to do work. The energy can take a wide variety of forms such as thermal, light (radiant), mechanical, electrical, chemical, and nuclear energy. These sources are divided into two groups, renewable (an energy source that we can use over and over again) and the nonrenewable/conventional energy source (an energy source that we are using up and cannot recreate in a short period of time). Renewable energy sources include solar energy (which comes from the sun and can be turned into electricity and heat), wind energy, geothermal energy (from inside the earth), biomass from plants, and hydropower from water are also renewable energy sources.
Secondly, as a mechanical engineer to develop an alternative energy source in the country, this can is done by getting back to our renewable energy source. Wind energy is the use of air flow through wind turbines to mechanical power generator for electricity these can be accomplished by using large wind turbine usually consisting of propellers, the turbine connected to a generator to generate electricity This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity to power homes, businesses, schools, and the like, as the wind passes the turbine it moves the blades, which spins the shaft.
In 2014, wind turbines in the United States generated about 4% of total U.S. electricity generation. Although this is a small share of the country’s total electricity production, it was equal to the electricity use of about 17 million U.S. households in 2013.The amount of electricity generated from wind has grown significantly in recent years. Electricity generation from wind in the United States increased from about 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2000, to about 182 billion kWh in 2014.
Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth’s surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth’s terrain, bodies of water, and vegetative cover. This wind flow, or motion energy, when “harvested” by modern wind turbines, can be used to generate electricity, Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity.
Furthermore, modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups; the horizontal-axis variety, like the traditional farm windmills used for pumping water, and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor. Most large modern wind turbines are horizontal-axis turbine whose components includes: blade or rotor, which converts the energy in the wind to rotational shaft energy, a drive train, usually including a gearbox and a generator; a tower that supports the rotor and drive train; and other equipment, including controls, electrical cables, ground support equipment, and interconnection equipment.
Wind turbines are available in a variety of sizes, and therefore power ratings. The largest machine has blades that span more than the length of a football field, stands 20 building stories high, and produces enough electricity to power 1,400 homes. A small home-sized wind machine has rotors between 8 and 25 feet in diameter and stands upwards of 30 feet and can supply the power needs of an all-electric home or small business. Utility-scale turbines range in size from 50 to 750 kilowatts. Single small turbines, below 50 kilowatts, are used for homes, telecommunications dishes, or water pumping.
Additionally, Wind costs are much more competitive with other generating technologies because there is no fuel to purchase and minimal operating expenses. The cost of wind power has decreased dramatically in the past 10 years, the technology requires a higher initial investment than fossil-fueled generators. It has fewer environmental impacts than many other energy sources, it does not release emissions that can pollute the air or water and they do not require water for cooling, Wind turbines may also reduce the amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels, which reduces the total amount of air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, also reduce water used for electricity generation.
Wind turbines have some negative impacts on the environment, modern wind turbines are large machines, and some people do not like the visual impact they have on the landscape. A small number of wind turbines have also caught fire, and some have leaked lubricating fluids, but these are rare occurrences. Some people do not like the sound that wind turbine blades make. Some types of wind turbines and wind projects cause bird and bat deaths. These deaths may contribute to declines in the population of species also affected by other human-related impacts.
Conclusively, investing on wind energy will increase the economy of the country and brings about greater return on investment, states where wind is inevitable should be visited in order to get a specific wind energy station across the country. As a mechanical engineer, my alternative energy source for this country is wind energy, if petroleum were to be exhausted tomorrow.
OGUNLOWO IBRAHIM ADEBOWALE, FROM LAGOS STATE POLYTECHNIC IS THE WINNER OF THE ESSAY COMPETITION ORGANISED BY THE NIGERIAN INSITITUTION OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS.