Alternative Sources of Electrical Power

 

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The poor and unpredictable supply of electricity in Nigeria has made no significant improvement over the years. That’s why many Nigerians have resorted to the use of generators for backup.

Though generator sets are the most common alternative to the stagnant national power supply, there are other options that are better and more effective.

We have carried out thorough research, and based on amount of power generated, pollution, reliability, safety and cost effectiveness, these alternative sources of electrical power are the best you can go for.

SOLAR POWER SYSTEM

This system involves the use of an equipment to tap energy from the sun. It converts the tapped energy into usable electrical power and uses it to feed appliances.

Concentrating Power Technology and Photovoltaic Technology are the two methods of converting the sun’s power to electricity. We’ll focus on the photovoltaic technology because it is more common, less complicated and easier to work with.

Photovoltaic technology

China started using this method, and it has since spread to many other counties, including Nigeria. You don’t pay for the sun’s free and inexhaustible energy, so the potential here is limitless.

Photovoltaic technology works by the use of solar cells. These solar cells are exposed to the sun and when sun rays fall on them, electrons get excited and begin to move. This movement of elections then produce electricity for use.

These solar cells I’ve been mentioning are what make up the photovoltaic plate—or solar panels as they are more commonly known.

The solar cells are made of Silicon (a semiconductor material). So the electrons therein are what get energized into movement and electricity generation.

If you want to use this method, you can buy solar panels here and hire an Engineer to fix it for you.

ELECTRICAL POWER INVERTER

This is an electronic device that converts stored energy to the form that can be used to power up electronic appliances.

Unlike the generator that causes noise and air pollution, the power inverter works without emitting any fumes and you will hardly hear noise from it.

The inverter does not generate electricity on its own, the power it gives out is produced by a DC source. The DC (direct current) source here is a battery, which you have to charge well to really enjoy your inverter. It determines how long the inverter runs and the amount of power your appliances get at a given time.

The inverter works by using the energy you have fed the battery to power up your appliances. The more load you give the inverter, the shorter it will run. You can install more batteries for longer running time and more power.

Power inverters come in different prices depending on their capacity. An average inverter can power up to five bulbs, two fans, and two television sets.

A higher quality can power much more than that. It can light up to eight bulbs and also power your air conditioner.

It all depends on the amount of money you have and how well you charge your batteries. You can check out some inverters here and see the one you can afford.

PIEZOELECTRIC HARVESTING TECHNOLOGY

This is about generating electricity from movement, like dancing. The main equipment needed here are piezoelectric crystals.

When you attach these crystals to the floor of the place you are moving, the mechanical stress will cause an electric potential to appear on the piezoelectric crystals.

The accumulated electrical energy is then used to power appliances at home or in the office.

These crystals are just batteries that get charged with mechanical stress.

Since this technology is not so common here, you will need the help of an Engineer to get it working. Piezoelectric crystals can be bought from aliexpress.

WIND POWER

Like solar power, wind is a free and renewable form of energy. To tap its power, you will need a wind turbine which is the main equipment in this system that converts the kinetic energy from wind movement into electricity.

The wind turbine has blades that turn with the wind. As the blades turn, the kinetic energy of the wind causes rotary motion which powers the generator to give electricity.

You have to place the turbine at the highest part of a your building because wind gets stronger with height. The length of the turbine tower also plays a major role.

To set up this system in your home, you’ll need an electrician to help with the wiring, connection to power grid, grounding, etc.

You don’t need to have a fortune before installing a wind power system in your home. You can buy turbines for about N,350,000 and get uninterrupted supply of electricity for a long time. It’s worth the cost.

HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER

If you live in an environment blessed with a stream or river, you already have half of what you need to generate electricity with this system.

You will need to buy a water turbine; it is the equipment that is turned by the flow of water in the stream. The kinetic energy is then converted into mechanical energy, and this mechanical energy is fed to the generator which converts it into electricity.

Hydro power technology is one of the two methods used to generate the electrical power distributed across Nigeria, but this is a far smaller scale.

A lot of money will be needed for the turbine, generator, plumbing services and overall installation cost, but it is worth it since a reliable source of power will be generated.

This kind of project is best carried out by a group of families in a community because the water belongs to everyone. It will also bring down the financial weight of the entire set up.

TIDAL POWER

This method can be likened to hydro power because moving water bodies form the source of tidal energy. But here, the source of water has to be bigger than just a river or lake, tidal power only works with oceans or seas.

Since the earth is always moving, it affects the balance of the oceans by causing a rise and fall of sea levels. This change in water levels is what is converted into electricity in this system.

So, if you live around a beach and can find a way to harness the ocean’s tides for personal use, you are on your way to experiencing stable power supply.

The ocean’s currents are massive, and tides are more predictable than the sun or wind —which makes it a better source of generating electricity because it is more consistent.

You will need a tidal turbine. It is similar to the one used for harnessing wind power, but much stronger. It is placed under water and when the currents turn the tidal turbine blades, a generator that is connected to your power grid is activated and this leads to production of electricity.

BIOMASS POWER (THE USE OF WASTE PRODUCTS)

One can’t help but wonder why biomass is not common in Nigeria. We have so much waste littering the streets and polluting the environment while we endure insufficient power supply.

You’ll need a waste-to-energy plant to convert waste materials into electricity. This plant will burn the waste, and the burning fuel will vaporize water into steam.

This steam then drives a turbine and gives it enough power to activate an electric generator, which then produces electricity.

All plants burn different materials, but a waste-to-energy plant is the most useful to the environment. Waste weighing about one ton is enough to power an entire household for a full month.

In Nigeria where we continue to battle heaps of dirt, this is a good way to kill two birds with one stone.

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

There’s heat under the earth, and tapping from this geothermal energy is also an effective way to power up your home.

About three types of powerplant are used to generate electricity through this source, and a steam turbine is the principal equipment in all of them.

Dry steam power-plant

This method is used to generate power by drawing out steam from cracks made on the ground. This steam is hot enough (at least 150°C)to power a turbine which produces electricity by activating an electrical generator.

Flash steam power plants

This is the most common power plant type. A flash stream uses water of at least 182°C. The water is vaporized into steam, which powers up the turbine and generator to bring about electrical power.

The vaporization occurs inside a flash tank, which reduces the pressure of hot water.

Binary cycle power plants

Here, the heat of the system’s reservoir fluid turns the working water into steam. And as you already know, this steam powers a turbine that causes a generator to give out electricity.

A noticeable advantage of this powerplant is that it can work with water temperature as low as 57°C.

You’ll spend a lot of money and time on this project, but all these expenses are usually at the beginning. When you successfully set it up, the amount of power generated will be worth more than your effort.

1 Comment

  1. Among the major battles facing Nigeria right now is the epileptic power supply and this is as a result of the low voltage of electricity generated in the country.

    These alternatives will definately help to lower the dependence on the electricity generated in the country.

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