Solar cells and wind turbine Creative Commons, Attribution alone (BY)
Authors: Jožef Stefan Institute
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Renewable energy sources are sources that are captured from permanent natural processes, whereby the capture does not exhaust the source. Furthermore, renewable energy sources are environmentally more acceptable, as they produce very few adverse effects on the environment and cause no harmful emissions in electricity generation.

Solar energy comes from the Sun in the form of solar radiation. Using photovoltaics or solar cells, solar energy may be transformed into electricity. In wind energy, electricity is generated with the help of wind and a wind turbine.

A solar cell converts solar energy into electricity. The sunlight falling on a solar cell causes the movement of electrons in the cell, thus generating direct current.

In wind energy, electricity is generated by wind, which turns a wind turbine, which in turn powers a generator that produces electricity. Windmills, however, have a few negative impacts, one of which is the noise they produce, which may also be disturbing for people, and they also pose a danger for birds.

The shear extraction of solar and wind energy is very cheap, as the force of the wind and the Sun’s energy are free of charge. However, a relatively high initial investment is required to erect a solar or wind farm, while some costs should also be foreseen for maintenance. Both energy sources also have a few other weaknesses, particularly a relatively low utilisation rate and uncertainty (dependence on the Sun and wind or, rather, weather conditions).

Within the scope of the exercise, you will learn about solar cells and how to make a wind turbine using recycled computer parts.

Workforce in Chemistry

Chemistry is everywhere in our daily life and there are many jobs chemistry graduates do. Around 540,000 students study chemistry, physics, astronomy, and earth science in the EU. Chemistry graduates work as analysts, healthcare scientists, clinical chemists, forensic scientists, nanotechnologists, pharmacologists and toxicologists among others. Jobs for chemists, other scientists and engineers grew by 7% in the past five years. Jobs for technicians in the field grew by 2%. Overall, they account for 7% of all jobs in the EU. As of 2016, around 15 million European science and engineering workers are employed. They work in a variety of sectors, many of which related with chemical industry, such as agrochemicals, metallurgical, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and plastics and polymers. Many also work in professional services, utilities, and in the education systems. In the next years, jobs for chemistry scientists, other researchers and engineers will increase by 13%, and jobs for science and engineering technicians will increase by 2%.

  45 min
Number of staff
Education Level
15-18 years
Science Discipline
Home use
Classroom use
Supervision required
Parent (legal guardian supervision required
Teacher supervision required
Knowledge prerequisites
Technical requirements
You'll need to buy some materials
Printed materials required
Installation effort
No installation required on typical computer

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