A hybrid system is a mix of different sources of renewable energy, which work together, and thus generate electricity.
Imagine having a system that harnesses both solar energy and wind energy. During the day, solar panels collect sunlight and convert into electricity, feeding your home or workplace. But what happens when the sun goes down or there are cloudy days? This is where wind power comes in.
What are renewable energies?
Renewable energy, also known as clean or green energyare sources of energy that are obtained from inexhaustible or renewable natural resources continuously in a short term.
These energy sources are a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, since they do not produce greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the main characteristics of renewable energies is that they are natural resources Virtually unlimited, which means they won’t run out over time.
In addition to its unlimited availability, renewable energy has a number of key benefits:
- Environmental sustainability: they do not emit greenhouse gases. By reducing emissions, they help mitigate climate change and preserve air and water quality.
- Energy diversification: By becoming less dependent on fossil fuels, countries can reduce their dependence on imported energy, increasing their energy security.
- Economic benefits: the renewable energy industry creates local jobs for the management of these. Also, in the long run, renewables tend to have more stable and predictable generation costs compared to fossil fuels, which can lead to economic savings and more stable energy prices.
- Energy access: These sources give remote or developing towns the opportunity to access electricity.
Types of renewable energy and their level of efficiency
Among the main sources of renewable energy we have the following:
- Solar energy: Solar energy is obtained from the sun and is converted into electricity through solar panels or into heat through solar collectors.
- Wind power: Wind energy is generated by means of the wind through generators or mills. These transform the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity, being one of the most widespread and visible renewable energy sources in the world.
- Hydroelectric power: Hydroelectric power is obtained from the flow of water in rivers or reservoirs. By building dams, a height difference is created that allows electricity to be generated through hydraulic turbines. This type of energy has been widely used on a large scale and has great potential in areas with large rivers.
- Biomass Energy: Biomass energy is obtained from organic matter, such as forest residues, agricultural waste or urban solid waste. These materials are burned or undergo fermentation processes to generate heat, electricity or biogas.
- Geothermal energy: Geothermal energy takes advantage of the Earth’s internal heat. It is obtained by extracting steam or hot water from thermal reservoirs.
How does a hybrid system using renewable energy work?
First of all, a hybrid energy system uses multiple sources of renewable energy, such as energy obtained from the air, sun, water. These sources may vary depending on the location and available resources.
Each renewable energy source has its specific way of capturing energy. For example, solar panels capture solar radiation and convert it into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. Air generators, on the other hand, take advantage of the energy of the movement of the wind to rotate the blades and generate electricity using a generator.
Once renewable energy has been captured, it is converted into the form of energy needed for use. For example, the electricity generated can be used directly to power devices or stored in batteries.
The key to a hybrid system lies in its ability to efficiently manage and combine different energy sources. This is achieved through an intelligent control system that constantly monitors energy production and demand. This control system optimizes the distribution and use of fonts of renewable energy, as well as storage, ensuring a stable and reliable supply.
In addition, hybrid systems often have energy storage systems. These systems make it possible to store excess energy produced at times of high generation for later use when demand is higher or when renewable energy sources are not available. Batteries are one of the most common methods of energy storage in hybrid systems.
How to take advantage of solar energy, air and heat in hybrid systems?
Solar energy, air and heat are fundamental in the construction of hybrid systems and offer significant benefits in terms of sustainability and performance. Let’s see how they are used:
Solar energy is one of the most abundant and widely available sources of renewable energy. It is obtained from the sun through solar panelswhich capture solar radiation and convert it into electricity through the photovoltaic effect.
In hybrid systems, solar energy can play a key role in the electricity generationespecially during the day and in areas with good solar radiation.
In addition, hybrid systems can combine solar energy with other renewable sources to balance production and ensure a continuous supply.
The wind power it can supplement solar power in hybrid systems, as wind generation is often highest at night or on cloudy days when solar generation may be reduced.
As with solar energy, wind energy can be stored for use when wind conditions are favorable or it can combine with other energy sources to meet energy demand.
Heat energy, also known as thermal energy, can be harnessed in a variety of ways in hybrid systems. A common way to harness this energy is through solar thermal energy systemswhich use solar collectors to capture the sun’s heat and heat a fluid, such as water or air.
This heat can be used directly to heat spaces, water or industrial processes, or it can be convert into electricity using technologies such as steam turbines or Stirling engines.
The combination of the solar, air and heat energy in hybrid systems allows for greater diversification of energy sources, which in turn increases the resilience and reliability of the energy supply.
How to generate electricity with solar panels and solar energy?
Panels are also called photovoltaic modulesare essential to take solar energy and convert it into electricity in the following way:
- Solar energy collection: solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, made mostly of silicon. These cells are capable of capturing solar radiation and converting it into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. When sunlight reaches the photovoltaic cell, the photons activate the electrons, which are found in the conducting material, thus generating electric current.
- Conversion into electricity: The electrical current generated by the cells is a direct current (DC) current, which is not suitable for home use or most electrical devices. Therefore, it is necessary to convert this current into alternating current (AC) using a device called an inverter. The inverter transforms it into AC, which is used in homes and in the electrical network.
- Use and storage of generated electricity: This electricity, which is produced by solar panels, can be used to power a home or office. However, the generation of solar electricity is not constant, since it depends on the availability of sunlight. Therefore, it is common to use batteries to store excess electricity generated.
- Connection to the electric grid: Solar systems can also be connected to the conventional electrical grid. If they produce more energy than they consume, it goes back to the electricity grid. This connection to the grid helps to maximize the use of solar energy and make the most of its potential.
How to generate energy for a hybrid electric vehicle?
In a hybrid electric vehicle, power generation occurs through the combination of an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors. Then, by means of a generator in the engine, converts mechanical energy into electricity by means of electromagnetic induction.
The energy stored in the battery is used to power the vehicle’s electric motors, which are used at low speeds, starts, etc. The use of electric motors reduces the reliance on internal combustion engine and, in some cases, it allows driving in fully electric mode, with zero emissions.
In addition, hybrid electric vehicles have a special braking system. When the driver applies the brakes, the kinetic energy of the vehicle is converted into electrical energy instead of dissipating as heat. This regenerated energy is redirected and stored in the battery for later use, helping to improve efficiency and increase vehicle range.
How to operate a heating system with heat pumps?
Heat pumps are efficient and sustainable heating systems. They work by extracting heat from the outside air or the ground and transferring it to the interior of the building.
- Operating principle: heat pumps use a reverse refrigeration cycle to transfer heat. A refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside, compresses to increase its temperature, and then releases the heat inside the building.
- Operating modes: heat pumps can operate in heating and cooling mode. In heating mode, they draw heat from outside to heat the inside. In cooling mode, they reverse the process to cool the interior by releasing heat to the exterior.
- Advantages: The heat pump is efficient, respectful of the environment and versatile. They take advantage of environmental heat instead of using fossil fuels, reducing emissions. Additionally, they can provide both heating and cooling and can help reduce energy costs in the long run.
Why is the hybrid system the most efficient and sustainable energy system?
The hybrid system is characterized by its great efficiency and sustainability. This is due to its ability to combine multiple power sourcessuch as renewable energy and fossil fuels, to maximize overall performance.
This system uses several sources of energy, all renewable and sustainableso it produces energy in a more efficient way and reduces the waste of resources.
In addition to its efficiency, the hybrid system stands out for its focus on environmental sustainability. Using renewable energy helps to decrease the pollution and dependence on fossil fuels.
This contributes to the climate change mitigation and promotes a transition towards a cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy matrix.