Where we build your visions
To help you discover more about the world of renewable materials the website features a range of activities. Most of these involve student participation, and can be worked on individually, in groups or by a whole class using an interactive whiteboard. Recognising Renewables is the best place to start.
Are your denim jeans renewable or not? What about the window frames in your house, or the fuel that heats your school? Test your knowledge and learn more about renewable materials in everyday products with these three games.
Renewables Past, Present and Future
Explore the way our use of materials has changed in the last 100 years, and how it might change in the future. Discover how our choices can be affected by environmental issues as well as by price and style, and find out how renewable materials can play a role in creating a more sustainable future.
Choice and Renewables
Every time you go shopping you have a choice of products. In this game you are asked to rank the features that might influence your decision of what to buy. Do you go for the cheapest or is style more important? Do you care more about brand names or saving the planet? Make up your own mind, then see if others agree.
Careers in Renewables
Renewable materials are moving fast, and impacting on most areas of our lives. This selection of video clips offers a taste of the career opportunities available in the renewable world.
Margaret Debating Renewables
In this activity you will be asked whether you agree or disagree with a statement about renewables. Only the total vote is displayed — individual decisions are private. Next you will investigate the statements by research and discussion, then vote again to see if your opinions change when you know more about the subject.
News and Updates
Let’s take a look at what problems diesel cars face going forward. If you are an owner of a new diesel car, you will be facing a higher first year road tax. Some believe that this is the beginning of the end to diesel car production. This is just one of many challenges in recent years that diesel cars will face from the UK authorities.
Many cities across Europe are also considering a ban on older car models that use this fuel type. The UK Government has proposed new legislation that means councils can apply a diesel surcharge for ageing vehicles. There will also be specific charging zones. These changes come on the back of falling sales of new diesel vehicles within the UK. New car registrations for diesel vehicles in February 2018 account for 35% of the motor trader market, in February 2012, this figure was more than 50%. Diesel fuel is still chosen by more than 12 million British citizens, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is pushing to defend the fuel type.
Diesel engines have had a challenging few years to say the least. Many associate the decline to the Volkswagen scandal of 2015, which affected millions of vehicles and made headlines around the world. The UK Government has played a prominent role in previously promoting the fuel type as well as becoming an impeding obstacle in recent years.
Why did the UK Government choose to promote diesel?
This question goes back more than two decades. The UK was one of 192 countries that elected to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. This was an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a 12.5% average compared to 1990 levels, this goal was to be achieved by 2012. To fulfil the Kyoto agreement requirements, a reduction in Carbon dioxide (CO2) was required. New vehicle tax rates were introduced that favoured diesel in 2001, which have lower CO2 emissions in comparison to petrol. This meant that sales of massive fleets of efficient diesel vehicles grew exponentially as more car manufacturers came on board. More than one third of vehicles in the UK today run on diesel, this is four times more than there were in early 2000.
During this time, there was scepticism about the fuel type. Scientists were aware that diesel may be ‘dirty’ in this period. This is because of higher levels of nitrogen oxide emissions. Medical advisers were well aware of the health risks that come with nitrogen oxide (NOx), but car manufacturers lead them to believe that a converter would alleviate any potential problems. Unfortunately, manufacturers only had to pass lenient lab tests. This meant that car companies could meet different nitrogen oxide laboratory test targets within the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), the situation was different when the vehicles were on the roads.
Diesel car pollution
Over the last decade, studies have shown that diesel cars cause more pollution that far exceed the lab test results in comparison to driving conditions in a real world scenario. A report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) explains that some diesel cars were actually exceeding the legal pollution limit by 25 times on the road. The Royal College of Physicians in the UK have linked poor air quality to an estimated 40,000+ premature deaths per year, as well as costing the economy an estimated £20 billion per year. However, the most conclusive report emerged in 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) discovered that Volkswagen intentionally cheated the emission tests, finding that diesel models were polluting the environment up to 40 times above the legal limit. VW Group faced billions of dollars in US lawsuits, which lead to them recalling an estimated 11 million vehicles worldwide, more than 1.2 million of these were from the UK. This scandal kickstarted a number of policy changes. The UK Government and many other countries across Europe have reversed course on promoting diesel fuel. Some European cities are planning measures to ban diesel cars. It is important to remember that not every diesel vehicle is as ‘dirty’. The latest Euro 6 diesels are considered to have the cleanest diesel engines according to the SMMT.
It is unlikely that there will be a diesel ban in the UK. It is expected that many cities will apply charging zones that will place limits on older petrol and diesel engines from entering during these time periods. This legislation has already begun in London. The recent toxicity (T-Charge) and the congestion charge amount to £21.50 for anyone visiting in an older vehicle. Some councils within the capital city have introduced diesel surcharges on parking permits and higher hourly parking rates for diesel motorists. Changes to diesel tax arrived in April 2018. This will affect both company car and private car owners. The UK Government hopes to stop the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. New lab tests were introduced in September 2017 to be much stricter. In these tests, new cars must be tested in real world conditions (on the road) for their nitrogen oxide emissions. The reputation of diesel cars has taken a tumble but many industry leaders have not given up hope just yet.
Renewable energy, in all forms, are considered resources of energy that is clean, competitive and can be regenerated for a long tie. Not only do these types of fossil fuels add to the diversity of how energy is created and supplied, but it also reduces the methods that are used to generate energy unnaturally.
This type of energy is also considered beneficial to the earth, as it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, nor pollution, which adds to a greener, more sustainable environment, as well as the earth.
Since the cost of renewable energies also seems to decrease, there are now more reasons to buy this type of energy, hence why it’s being preferred, over unnatural energy.
Why Clean Energies are Growing
Representing up to half of the electricity generation, an agency known as IEA, or instead, International Energy Agency has contributed the second most electricity in the world, with the number one being coal.
IEA claims that, according to research, electricity consumption will continue to increase, and reach up to 70% in the next 20-years. The initiative of renewable energy is driven and implemented by countries such as China India, Africa, as well as South-East Asia, and finally, the Middle East.
The Development of Clean Energy
As an essential part of combatting climate change, clean energy has left its mark on the world as being the future of new energy resources. Due to global warming and the inevitable rise in temperature, temperatures continue to increase annually, leaving the world’s future looking quite desert-like.
Considering that 11 billion people are living on earth, it’s a rather large statistic to think that there are still 17% of people that don’t have access to electricity. This number could add up to a substantial 800 million people, if something isn’t done within the next few years, to better the situation.
The Advantages of Clean Energy
Since there are so many different renewable energies to choose from, there should be a list of advantages compiled to better understand all the benefits, that can occur, because of these many different energies.
The advantages of clean energies include the fact that it is inexhaustible, which merely means that it is, compared to unnatural energy sources, such as gas, coal and oil, is directly available from the sun for free usage. The energy is taken from the sun and is referred to as “renewables”.
Renewable energy helps us positively fight against climate change, by implementing a new product, and replacement, for the existing problem at hand, which means, anything that is burned to produceof energy, and causes pollution while doing so.
More advantages also include reducing energy dependence, as well as increasing competitiveness and benefitting from any favourable structure, such as promotions.
Renewable energy can take many different forms and depends on natural sources, such as sunlight,for it to be able to work. Factors, such as hydroelectric power and wind, causes the earth surface to heat up, which in return, causes air to move as wind, as well as allow precipitation to form, once the air is lifted.
Since the direct conversion of sunlight, makes up solar energy, some structures need to be implemented to be able to support it. These include either solar panels or collectors.
One example of renewable energy is biomass which is sunlight that is contained within plants. There are also many types that do not depend on sunlight, which are referred to as geothermal energy. This type of energy is a result of any radioactive decay, located inside the crust, which combines with the heat that gets accreted in the earth. The same goes for tidal energy, which is also converted from gravitational energy.
Different Types of Renewable Energy
There are several types of renewable energy, all of which includes wind power, solar energy, biomass, hydroelectric energy, hydrogen, as well as fuel cells, geothermal power, and more types of energy.
• Wind Power –All movement in the atmosphere, gets driven by the differences of temperatures in the earth’s surface. It is usually due to a change in temperature, in the presence of sunlight. Wind energy is a popular type of renewable energy and is used to generate electricity, by pumping water. It thus also requires adequate coverage, to be able to produce large amounts of energy.
• Solar Energy – As one of the most popular types of renewable energies, solar energy works by relying on nuclear fusion power, which is generated from either the sun or the core of the earth. Many homes today, have a solar panel attached to their roof, to create their source of electricity. It is considered a far better, and natural method, to generate electricity.
• Biomass Energy –This type of energy is derived from the energy from plants. Energy, in the form of biomass, is commonly used, globally. The most popular biomass energy gets created when burning trees, which is used for daily human activities. Unfortunately, biomass contributes to an unhealthy source of air, as it adds to carbon dioxide gases in the atmosphere.
• Hydroelectric Energy –By using the gravitational potential of water that is elevated, almost like condensation with water, except by using seawater, it is one source of renewable energy that is not 100% renewable. It is still, however, a method that is used to create renewable energy, by making use of hydroelectric dams, daily.
• Hydrogen cells – Also not considered entirely renewable, hydrogen, as well as fuel cells are a very helpful resource, as there are endless amounts available thereof. Not only can it be burned as fuel, which is generally used in a vehicle, but the clean-burning fuel could potentially reduce pollution in cities. It can also be used to create fuel cells, like batteries.
• Geothermal Power –Also recognised as renewable energy, geothermal power is created by heat, all from radioactive decay. It causes the geothermal gradient to increase, to generate more electricity.