In all corners of the globe alternative sources of energy are gaining currency. Enormous resources are being committed to develop the alternative energy sources both at commercial and household levels. The future of this sector however lies on training and information dissemination to the future generation. Schools have been setting up various type of alternative energy sources both for learning purposes and catering for their energy needs. Depending on the needs and circumstances schools can initiate any of the following -
1. Biogas. It is a gas that is produced when organic materials such as manure or plant remains are biologically broken down in the absence of oxygen. This process takes place in a bio-digester. From the bio-digester the gas is routed to various usage points with pipes. The gas can be used for heating cooking and lighting. The bio-digester accounts for the bulk of the cost of a biogas unit. A single unit producing four hours worth of gas can cost a hundred dollars while a bigger unit suitable for a school heating and cooking needs can cost up to 2000 dollars. Some schools in developing countries have opted for biogas in place of firewood as a source of energy. It is easy to operate and students can collect manure and plant remains to feed it into the bio-digester.
2. Solar energy. Heating requirements are essential in a school set up. The cost of heating can be enormous and alternative energy sources such as solar panel is a cheaper option. A solar system consists of solar panels. The solar panels harness the sun’s rays and convert it into electrical energy that can be used to power most of the basic electrical appliance. In a school set up solar energy is useful for heating. Rechargeable battery can be added to store power for lighting long after the sun light is gone. Apart from occasional cleaning of the panels to remove dust solar units have little maintenance cost.
3. Wind Energy. By use of rotating blades kinetic energy is converted into electric power. With sufficient energy of about 13 miles per hour the unit can produce from 50 to 300 watts. Apart from noise resulting from the movements of the turbines the energy produced is clean and free from any pollution. This form of energy can be used for school lighting needs.
Apart from the above initiatives schools can establish forums through which students can learn more about alternative energy. Introducing subjects dealing with conservation issues in the school curriculums is beneficial. Students can be organized into clubs with conservation and alternative energy source as being the main topics of discussion.