Meaning of Electric Energy
What is Electric Power:
Electrical energy is a type of energy that is generated by the attraction and repulsion between electrical charges. It has the ability to transform into other types of energy, such as light energy, thermal energy or mechanical energy.
As examples of electrical energy we can mention the following: alternating current, direct current, batteries (which transform chemical energy into electrical energy) and the transmission of the nerve impulse through the axons of neurons.
There are two types of electricity: static electricity and ordinary electricity. Let's see what each of them consist of.
Types of electrical energy
Static electricity is that which is produced by the friction of two bodies that have the ability to become electrically charged. During friction, one of the bodies is prone to lose some electrons and the other to gain them, which produces an excess charge. This accumulation of charge is called static electricity, and it is characterized by being temporary.
For example, static electricity is produced when we rub a balloon with our hair. After constant rubbing, the hair will tend to stick to the balloon.
Static electricity is often used, for example, in xerography, a type of dry printing technique. It is also useful in agriculture for pest control. It is also used in disinfection processes with electrostatic sprinklers, in medical devices, in powder paints, etc.
Current electricity is what is commonly used in homes. The current electricity is produced as a consequence of the movement of charges, that is, by the flow of charges that results from the free movement of electrons through an appropriate conductor. The materials that best conduct current electrical energy are the metals copper, silver and aluminum.
Electric power sources
Electrical energy is obtained from nature in various ways. We can list the following:
- Thermoelectric plants: are those that use fossil fuels as an energy source. They are highly polluting due to the emission of toxic gases.
- Nuclear power plants: energy is obtained through a specific nuclear reaction. Its residues are toxic. Eventual accidents would cause nuclear radiation that is extremely harmful to health.
- Hydroelectric plants: are those that take advantage of the movement of water to create energy.
- Solar power plants: they obtain energy from sunlight through panels that contain a heat-conducting liquid.
- Wind power plants: they obtain energy from the force of the wind through a system of propellers.
- Geothermal power plants: they obtain energy from the earth's crust where heat is stored.
See also Fossil fuel.
Environmental impact of electrical energy
In any case, the indiscriminate consumption of electrical energy by the end user has an environmental impact that should not be underestimated. Therefore, it adds to some of the causes of global warming.
The electrical energy obtained by solar, wind and hydroelectric plants have in their favor the fact that they take advantage of renewable energies, such as sunlight, the force of the wind or the movement of water respectively. In this sense, they are said to be a source of sustainable energy.
However, although they are less polluting than other types of power plants such as nuclear or thermoelectric plants, their installation and the process of obtaining them always generates an impact on the ecosystem.