Alternative energy is energy that is neither based on fossil fuels nor on the splitting of atoms.
The reason is that both these forms of producing energy have damaging effects on environment. Fossil fuels ingest harmful gases in the environment and the splitting of atoms (nuclear energy), produces radioactive waste.
Keeping in mind the vast damage non-renewable energies have caused to our earth, the option we are left with is using alternative energy sources.
Alternative Forms of Energy / Sun
Solar energy is all about using natural sunlight. Widely and freely available to almost all of humankind, the light from the Sun is a natural alternative.
Solar energy is ultimately the source for many renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Energy from the sun is captured through a solar panel. A solar panel is typically made up of silicon. And silicon is the substance which absorbs sunlight and then changes it into electrical energy. And the energy you get costs nothing and is renewable.
Solar energy is renewable for sure, but isn’t constant. It can only be reaped during daytime. The other concern is only fifty percent of energy received by a solar panel can be converted into electricity.
Alternative Forms of Energy / Wind
A typical windmill is a huge fan-like standing structure. Wind is of use to us because of its kinetic energy. The wind blows and the blades of the mill spin, which in turn power a generator. These energy harvesters work easily and they can be set up anywhere. Needless to say, the source of energy is clean and renewable. Wind is all that is needed to reap the benefits. A windmill emits nothing harmful, which means no greenhouse gas contribution to the atmosphere.
The pace at which wind energy is being reaped is comparatively slow. The reason is that the investment cost is high. An average wind farm of at least seven 1.8 MW turbines would cost something around US $12.6 million. However wind energy has various long-term benefits to offer. It’s best to have wind farms at countryside locations like farms and ranches. This will also give boost to rural economies.
Alternative Forms of Energy / Water
Water has been generating energy for years. Hydroelectricity is generated by damming rivers and using the potential energy of the stored water. The best part about water energy is that is it quite affordable. Though dams look huge, their maintenance costs are actually very low. Appearances can be deceiving.
Alternative Forms of Energy / Hydrogren
As many of you may know, hydrogen comes from water (which is two-thirds hydrogen and one-third oxygen). Electric current is passed through water to separate hydrogen from oxygen. The resulting gas, Hydrogen, is then stored in pressurized tanks.
Hydrogen Alternative Energy has shown promising results recently. And it has been particularly successful in the car industry. In these cars, the fuel cell system is used which converts hydrogen into electricity. Hydrogen as fuel is eco-friendly and much more safe than gasoline.
Alternative Energy Source / Geo-thermal
‘Geo’ means earth and ‘thermal’ means heat. Geo-thermal means energy from the earth…from under the ground. So geo-thermal energy is the energy reaped from the internal heat of the earth. Heat is used to generate steam which in turn is used to run turbine.
The temperature of the earth’s core is about 4000 degree Celsius at the center. It is believed that if we drill just three miles down the crust, we can reach the temperature of around 100 degree Celsius. This temperature, as you may know, is hot enough to boil water. Geo-thermal energy can be garnered from landforms like volcano and volcanic structure which vent out earth’s heat.
Alternative Energy Source / Bio-fuel
Bio-fuel refers to fuels made from plants or animals. Like ethanol from plants, or methane from animal excrement. Ethanol is, in combination with gasoline, being widely used in automobile industry. The process used for obtaining bio-fuel is usually combustion. Like any other alternative energy source, bio-fuel is completely renewable.
The energy crisis that the world faces today is real. And there is no other way to lessen the affects of our suffering planet, than to adapt ourselves to the alternative energy sources. The solution starts with raising awareness about these sources which are limitless and environmentally friendly.
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