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Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Nature/Renewable Energy

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Renewable Energy
General Conference


Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2014



Earning this honor meets a requirement for:

1. What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy whose origins are continually and naturally replenished without human intervention. Examples of renewable energy sources include sunlight, wind, and waves.

2. Why is renewable energy important?

As the demand for energy resources continues to climb, mankind is faced with the dilemma of depleting the earth's resources to meet the demand. With the discovery of processes designed to harness clean and renewable energy, depletion of such resources will not be an issue, since they are naturally replenished. In addition, these processes have much less of an environmental impact than conventional methods used to harness resources such as oil.

3. Describe how each of the following sources is used as a renewable source of energy. Draw an illustration depicting the usage of at least 3 of these renewable sources of energy.

a. Wind Power

Wind Power is energy that has been converted from the natural movement of wind by the use of devices such as wind turbines. It is clean, largely available, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions.

b. Bioenergy

Bioenergy is biomass energy, which is energy from organic matter. Wood, plants, even the fumes from landfills can be used as a biomass energy source. Ethanol is a fuel made from corn, sugar cane and other sources used in auto and jet fuel.

c. Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is energy that is created and stored in the earth. It can be used for heating for large areas, mineral recovery, and industrial process heating.

d. Hydropower

Hydropower is energy that is comes from falling water. Most commonly electricity from dams or run of the river generation turbines is created. Other uses are irrigation and (in pioneer times) falling water was directly harnessed with water wheels for the operation of gristmills and sawmills.

e. Ocean Energy

Ocean Energy is energy that is comes from the ocean, which can be responsible for two types of energy: mechanical energy from the tides and waves, and thermal energy from the heat of the sun. It can be used for generating electricity.

f. Solar Power

Solar Power is light and heat that is derived from the sun and collected through solar panels. It can be used to generate electricity for a variety of useful applications.

4. Individually or as a group, discuss some of the earliest forms of renewable energy. Are there energy forms that might have been used before sin? By Noah? By the patriarchs?

The earliest form of renewable energy was probably the burning of biomass in the form of wood and dried animal dung. The fuel could be stored, and energy was available for immediate use, but the energy could not be kept in storage for afterwards.

Some people believe that the pre-flood culture had advanced technologies. Out of place artifacts like machined balls and gold chains inside coal suggest this. Consider how much knowledge a person living hundreds of years and so close to God's perfect creation of Adam and Eve could amass and what they could create with that knowledge. The world had one language as well, and many overlapping generations, facilitating communication.

Additional references are available from the Bible which can provide further insight into this. For example, the sun, the movement of water through rivers, etc.

5. Individually or as a group, show at least five important events in the history of renewable energy through:
a. Presentation
b. Video
c. Interactive game
d. Speech
e. Display

For this requirement, you will need to research the history of renewable energy, and then present your findings using one of the techniques listed in the requirement.

Prior to the development of coal in the mid 19th century, nearly all energy used was renewable. Almost without a doubt the oldest known use of renewable energy, in the form of traditional biomass to fuel fires, dates from the beginning of history.

Probably the second oldest usage of renewable energy is harnessing the wind in order to drive ships over water. This practice can be traced back to ships on the Nile.

The primary sources of traditional renewable energy were human labor, animal power, water power, wind, in grain crushing windmills, and firewood, a traditional biomass. A graph of energy use in the United States up until 1900 shows oil and natural gas with about the same importance in 1900 as wind and solar played in 2010.

By 1873, concerns of running out of coal prompted experiments with using solar energy. Development of solar engines continued until the outbreak of World War I. The importance of solar energy was recognized in a 1911 Scientific American article: "in the far distant future, natural fuels having been exhausted [solar power] will remain as the only means of existence of the human race".

The theory of peak oil was published in 1956. In the 1970s environmentalists promoted the development of renewable energy both as a replacement for the eventual depletion of oil, as well as for an escape from dependence on oil, and the first electricity generating wind turbines appeared. Solar had long been used for heating and cooling, but solar panels were too costly to build solar farms until 1980.

6. Discover the source of most reusable energy.

The source of most renewable energy comes from the sun.

7. What are some commercial and industrial uses of renewable energy?

Renewable energy such as solar energy can be used to supply power larger communities through a solar power station. Tanks of molten salt can be used to store the energy harnessed from the sun for the purpose of generating electricity during cloud cover, or through the night. Renewable energy can also be used for agricultural purposes, providing social services, education, and health care.

Fuel made from bio sources like corn is now a common ingredient in automotive fuel.

Hydro electric power (electricity) is a renewable energy used everywhere the grid goes.

8. Why have many governments invested in renewable energy sources? Be able to cite at least two examples.

There are positive incentives for governments to invest in renewable energy sources.

The Overall Impact on the Planet

Most sources of renewable energy pose no noxious by-products (the main exception being the burning of biomass). As a result, there is less pollution, waste, and less of a threat concerning extremely destructive natural disasters.

The reality of global warming has also become a considerable factor with regard to the harmful effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) on the balance of the planet’s ecosystem. The less CO2, the better of our planet would be.

The Failure of its Technology More Minimized

The technology used to harness energy from renewable resources is essentially stable. As a result, insurance companies are more inclined to issue warranties for performance of panels and turbines for 20 years or more. Once these items are installed, they can be relied upon to start working straight away and not stop for years.

9. What are some of the issues facing the use of renewable energy? What are some of the advantages and potential disadvantages of moving away from fossil fuel energy sources to renewable energy?

Although renewable energy has many advantages with regard to its environmental impact, there are concerns that must be considered as well. The ability to supply energy to meet the demand may pose a problem. Providing renewable energy requires designing and building equipment that will harness and extract it once found. The entire manufacturing process must be considered as well.

The general population has grown accustomed to current resources such as oil for heating. As such, although the development of an cleaner, alternative means that present less of an environmental impact may not gain the momentum desired. Some renewable resources have not been around long and tested long enough for individuals to give up what they are comfortable with for something that may be cleaner.  

10. Individually or as a group, build, not from a kit, a device to harness some form of renewable energy. These devices may include:
a. Potato clock
b. Solar or wind powered motor
c. Hydropower lift
d. Your choice.

Note: Internet search engines provide tons of information when you type one of the sources of renewable power and “science experiment.” Thus for hydropower you would search for “hydropower science experiment.”

11. Brainstorm a list of at least four Biblical texts/stories that illustrate the use of renewable energy.

Wind - to move ships through the waters.

Jonah 1:4 (KJV)
“But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”

In Job, Satan used a wind power for evil.

Job 1:19 (KJV)
“And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.”

Biomass - from firewood

Leviticus 1:6-8 (KJV)
“And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: And the priests, Aaron's sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar.”

1 Kings 17:10-12 (KJV)
“And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”

So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

2 Kings 1:12 (KJV)
“And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.”