We are already aware of the importance of renewable energy in today’s world. The supply of energy through conventional means does not cover up the demand for it, because of which taking help of renewable sources such as wind, tides etc to generate renewable energy became a need rather than an option.
But do you know the origins of these renewable energies? How the human race came to know about them and who discovered them?
Lets look at the seven most interesting historic facts about renewable energy.
1. Egyptians were the first to use wind energy
Egyptian boatThe Egyptian sail boat using wind energy to move
Humans started using wind energy thousands of years ago. One would be surprised to know that the Egyptians were the first one to use this energy. So, how did they use it? Lets go back to 3200 BC and see the scenario. After finding it hard to use man power always to row the boat, Egyptians thought of building a boat which can replace the man power.
They thought of wind energy as the most suitable energy to replace man power. Thus, they invented the sail boats which used the wind power to give the boats the drive and power to move them ahead.
2. Sicily was saved with the help of energy
Burning Roman shipSicily was saved by burning the Roman ships using sun’s rays
It is not a surprising thing to hear that a place was saved from invasion with the help of a huge army. But what if you hear that the largest island in Mediterranean sea, named Sicily was saved from the invasion of Romans with the help of energy. But how?
In 213 BC, Archimedes, a well known mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer, used a very unusual plan to save Sicily from the Romans. He used the mirrors as weapons to focus and reflect the sun’s energy straight onto the Roman ships, which set the ships on fire and Sicily was saved.
3. The windmill invention
Ancient wind mill used to grind materials such as plants.
The windmill was already in use in around 200 BC. The wind turbine power was used in China to grind various materials such as plants. Though their design was a little different from what we see now.
The image clearly shows the wind turbine design which they used to grind the material. Today, windmills and turbines serve the purpose of generating renewable energy.
4. The debut of hydropower
Water wheelWater turbine used hydropower to grind wheat into flour
It is not that the usage of hydropower has started some decades ago. It was used some time in the BC era. The water was then used to turn large wheel, which were further used to grind wheat into flour.
Inspired from the same mechanism, we generate renewable energy from the moving water.
5. The first solar – powered water heater
ClimaxAn ad of the "Climax" – the first solar powered water heater
It is thought that the solar power has been developed recently. But actually it is not like that. In 1391, Clarence Kemp ( also named as "the father of solar energy in the U.S.") invented the first solar water heater which used sun’s rays to heat up the water. Clarence named his invention the "Climax".
But how it originated? In the 1300s many people secured hot bath water with the help of a wood stove in which water was heated vie a coiled pipe that passed through the stove. Kemp thought it unpleasant to heat up the stove even during hot summers. So, he thought of inventing something which can use the hot summer to heat up the water.
The "Climax" consists of three tanks which are mounted in a frame under a glass in such a manner so that the sun rays help in heating the water in those tanks. Kemp also ensured that the tanks he used were insulated so that they did not lose heat.
Today’s modern solar water heaters follow Clarence’s basic design of solar powered water heater.
6. The conspicuous hydropower
Hydropower dam25% of US’s electricity was generated through hydropower in 1920s
The hydropower was a conspicuous energy source back in the 1920s. Which means, large amount of energy was produced through hydropower. About 25 % of all the United States’ electricity was earlier generated from hydropower. But with the emergence of various other alternative sources of energy – both conventional and non – conventional, usage of hyrdopower has become significantly low.
7. Discovery of photovoltaic
Solar cellsSolar cells use photovoltaic effect discovered by Edmond Becquerel in 1839
The photovoltaic was discovered by Edmond Becquerel in 1839. Edmond Becquerel, French physicist had studied the solar spectrum, magnetism, electricity and optics. He had discovered that when the sunlight is absorbed by some material or article, they can be used to produce electricity.
Today, Becquerel’s photovoltaic concept is what is used in the solar cells to produce electricity.