Renewable Resources

Renewable energy sources can be found in sunlight (solar), in the air (wind power), deep underground, in our rivers and in our oceans. These are part of the structure of the planet which means that they are continuously being renewed naturally and cannot be depleted. 

There are five types of alternative energy which is being generated and harnessed naturally (good examples are the sun and waves) which are usually the most sustainable forms of energy. 

Solar Energy 

Sunlight is a renewable source of energy and its most direct use is achieved by capturing the energy of the sun. A wide range of solar energy technologies are being incorporated to convert the sun’s light and energy into heat, hot water, electricity and illumination as well as cooling systems for industries and businesses. Photovoltaic systems use solar cells to convert sunlight into energy. 

Wind power 

Since May 2009 eighty countries have agreed to use wind power commercial. South Africa’s first commercial wind farm was established in Darling close to Cape Town in 2008. Wind flow is captured by wind turbines and converted into electricity. On a much smaller scale, windmills are used to pump water on farms. Commercial-grade wind-powered generating systems can meet the renewable energy needs of numerous organisations. 

Geothermal power – power from the Earth 

Geothermal energy is derived from the Earth’s heat which can be sourced close to the surface or from heated rock and reserves of hot water beneath the Earth’s surface. Geothermal energy can form part of a commercial utility energy solution on a large scale or can form a portion of a sustainable practice on a local level. 

Hydroelectricity 

Hydropower has been in use throughout the ages by using waterwheels. The kinetic energy of flowing rivers is captured and converted into hydroelectricity. Probably the most familiar type of hydroelectric power is generated by a system where dams are constructed to store water in reservoirs which, when released, flows through turbines to produce electricity. 

Thermal Ocean Energy and Tidal and Wave Power 

The ocean produces two kinds of energy – these are thermal ocean energy which is energy from the sun’s heat and mechanical energy from the motion of tides and waves. 

Because of a shortage of non-renewable resources, we must consider using alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar power, geothermal power, hydroelectricity, thermal ocean energy and tidal and wave power. 

How Does an Inverter Work

Benefits of Using an Inverter During Loadshedding

Having charged batteries at your disposal will prove to be indispensable when the power goes out whether you run a small business or for your home. 

These batteries will produce alternating current to power your office or home so that when the UPS is supplying energy, the batteries will pump DC through an inverter to produce alternating current (AC). 

Inverters function by using unidirectional DC power sources to mimic an alternating current power source. Electronic inverters are essentially oscillators that rapidly switch the polarity of the DC power which creates a square wave. 

Since most consumer electronics require something similar to a true sine wave, most inverters include additional components that create either a modified or pure sine wave. 

A common question asked is – what is an Inverter 

  • An inverter is an electronic device that changes direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) 
  • The input voltage, output voltage, frequency, and total power handling depends largely on the design of a specific device and the circuitry 

How does an inverter work? 

  • An inverter converts direct current (DC) from your batteries into alternating current (AC)  
  • This is done via an inverter 
  • The inverter, in turn, supplies your business or house with 110/220V alternating current 

There is a difference between AC and DC power

What is the difference between AC and DC? 

  • In direct current (DC), the electric current flows in one direction 
  • Electric charge is alternating current (AC), on the other hand, changes direction from time to time 
  • The voltage in AC circuits also periodically reverses because of the current changes direction 

You can get different types of inverters 

  • There are three types of inverters: 

Sine wave also referred to as a “true” or “pure” sine wave  

Modified sine wave 

A square wave 

When purchasing an inverter for your small business or your home, you need to ensure the current wave is as “true” or “pure” as possible. 

 

What are Vampire Appliances

It is time to slay the vampire – that is, the energy vampire. We talk about energy vampires, but what are they and how do they affect our lives?  

Vampire power is also referred to as standby power, phantom load, ghost load or leaking electricity. This is when electric power is consumed by electrical devices when they are switched off but are created to draw some power when they are in standby mode. 

Vampire appliance are appliances that use electricity even when they are “off” as these are often in standby mode such as your TV, your electric clock and anything with a timer. Furthermore, your charger for your PC or your phone are also using power even when you are not physically charging these, but they are still plugged into the wall. 

In an average home, according to the Department of Energy, vampire appliances account for as much as 10% of the energy used inside the home. 

Listed here are five of the top culprits: 

  • Household items such as microwaves, electric clocks etc 
  • Television sets – the larger the screen, the more energy is being used 
  • Computers and PC-related equipment such as modems and routers 
  • Cable and satellite TV boxes 
  • Surround sound systems 

Pin-pointing the culprits in the home: 

  • Remotes 
  • External supply devices 
  • Devices with a continuous display such as a clock 
  • If your electrical device charges batteries, then it is using power 

Slaying vampire appliances is easy – simply unplug all electronics wherever possible – these include cell phone chargers and video game systems when you are not using them. Make use of power strips that automatically turn off all appliances that are plugged into them. 

Stop wasting power simply by switching your devices off at the power point. However, for some devices with built-in internal battery, such as a phone, the standby functions can be stopped by removing the battery instead. 

 

Is Surge Protection Neccessary

Electricity moves from areas of high electric potential to areas of low electric potential, travelling from one end of a wire to the opposite end. 

There is one vital job that a surge protector needs to perform, and that is to detect any excess voltage and to then divert the excess electricity into a grounding wire; the very reason why all surge protectors are equipped with a grounding pin (the third prong on an electrical plug). Additionally, all surge protectors must be plugged into a properly grounded outlet for them to work. 

The main culprit of electrical surges are electrical devices that require plenty of power to operate, and all depending on the wiring of your home or office, you may notice at times that the lights flicker when powerful devices are turned on and off such as air conditioning units. 

If these devices are switched on, they demand plenty of power which puts a strain on the grid and can cause surges. 

Why use a surge protector and why surge protection is necessary 

  • A surge protector should be used all the time 
  • What matters most is which types of devices should be connected to a surge protector – these include costly electrical devices such as computers, music systems, computers and media centres 
  • It is often difficult to find good quality surge protection for your individual requirements, but shopping around and asking professional advice will put you in good stead 

It is important to know that surge protectors only have a limited lifespan depending on how often they are put to work. Even when the surge protector diverts a surge correctly to prevent damage to your electrical devices, the protector itself can be damaged when this process takes place. 

One of the most important features of a surge protector is an indicator light; an indicator light will let you know that your surge protector is in good working condition and if the light no longer works, then it is time to replace your surge protector. 

Surge protection is vital when it comes to protecting electrical devices as it could save your expensive equipment from damage in the long run.