Have you ever wondered what is electricity? In modern times electricity has become a necessity rather than the luxury that it once was. Even though we typically hear about the “invention” of electricity dating back to 600 BCE it is more accurate to say that electricity has always existed but was discovered and further explored by humans around that time, to develop into what we know as electricity today. With most day-to-day life operations requiring electricity it has become a crucial part of human life, but what is electricity exactly, where does it come from, and how can you get the best deal on electricity for your business?
What is electricity?
Electricity is one of our most widely used forms of energy. Electricity is produced by charged particles (such electrons or protons) found in nature. The electricity that we use is a secondary energy source because we get it by converting primary sources of energy into electrical power.
You might remember the whole Benjamin Franklin and the kite thing; it is often mistaken as the beginnings of human contact with electricity, but as previously mentioned the discovery of electricity dates all the way back to 600 BCE. Later, scientists and inventors like Franklin, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla continued to study the principles of electricity, and their contributions left us with the knowledge and use of it that we have today.
Getting back on track, let’s look into what primary electricity sources we have available, here is where electricity comes from:
Fossil Fuels: That includes coal, natural gas and petroleum
This has been one of the natural resources that humankind has used the most to produce electricity. Fossil fuels are remains of dead plants and animals, that over millions of years have been transformed into petroleum, coal, and natural gas. To get these to transform into electricity, fossil fuels go through thermal generation, this means they are burnt to generate electricity.
Unfortunately, fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource, they will eventually run out. They are also a big contributor to climate change, water pollution and to the destruction of local ecosystems. Fossil fuels emit harmful gases that harm the environment, and it is for all these reasons that more and more people are looking for alternatives hence the shift towards the use of greener primary resources for energy production.
Now for a carbon-free option, we also have nuclear energy. For nuclear energy to produce the electricity we consume, a process called nuclear fission needs to occur. In a nuclear power plant, nuclear fission reactors are responsible for the production of electricity, in these reactors heat that turns into energy is produced. The heat produces steam which turns giant turbines which power generators that produce electricity.
Nuclear energy is both non-renewable and renewable. Sounds weird we know, but the thing is that while the energy itself is renewable (it comes from atoms), the fuel required to power the nuclear reactors is not. Nuclear energy is clean, meaning it does not produce pollution nor release greenhouse gases, making it a much more sustainable option than fossil fuels.
Green/renewable energy sources
Last but definitely not least, we have green energy, or renewable energy sources. This includes any type of energy that can be collected from natural resources that are naturally replenished over time. Sources such as sunlight, wind and even the movement of water can be transformed into electricity through processes that do not cause pollution nor release greenhouse gases, but the extra bonus that they are renewable hence not running out on us.
- Solar energy: Heat, light and solar energy are harnessed using different technologies to be transformed into electricity.
- Wind power: Air flow can be used to power wind turbines. A wind turbine transforms wind kinetic energy into electrical energy.
- Hydropower: The movement of water, mostly from dams and rivers, can generate electricity through hydropower plants. The movement of water rotates the blades of a turbine, which then spines a generator that generates electrical energy.
- Bioenergy: In power plants, organic material is used as fuel that is then utilized to generate electricity. Bionergy has risen in popularity due to being both a sustainable and renewable energy source. Plant and animal waste, for example, can be used to generate electricity.
Green Star Solutions
That is a lot of info to take in, we know. Our energy brokers at Green Star Solutions can help you find the most reliable electricity supplier at the most affordable rates for your business. We are energy experts, so we can take the stress of choosing the right supplier for your needs out of your hands, while also helping you make an informed decision. Oh yes, and we do all this at no cost to you. So get on the phone with one of our experts and let’s get you some energy.