What is Alternative Energy – There is a lot of energy we can harness if we only strive to research and develop the technology needed to do so. We can move away from fossil fuels and the old power grid by switching to alternatives to these energy sources.
One of these alternative energy sources is wind energy. Wind turbines are constantly being developed that are becoming more energy efficient and cheaper. “Wind farms” have sprung up in many countries, and have been placed even more strategically over time so that they don’t harm birds like previous wind turbines did.
Another alternative energy resource is one of the best known: solar energy. It consists of making solar cells that collect and focus the energy released directly by the sun, and translate it into electricity or, in some cases, hot water. As with wind power, solar energy creates zero pollution.
Governments and investors see ocean wave energy as having enormous power generation potential. A generator in France has been in operation for many years and is considered a great success, and Ireland and Scotland run experimental installations.
Hydropower has been with us for a while and where it was founded, it is a powerful and cleaner power generator than the grid. However, there are certain restrictions on the availability of suitable places to establish large dams. Many river current hydroelectric generators, or small and local, have been established in recent times due to these limitations.
Geothermal energy is abundant, because it is located just below our feet, a few kilometers below the earth’s surface. This energy is generated by heating water through the action of the earth’s extremely hot liquid core. Water is converted into steam, which can be harnessed and used to drive turbine engines that in turn generate electricity. A great deal of research and development must be incorporated into the harnessing of geothermal energy.
The energy from waste gases, which is essentially methane, reverses the usual association of energy pollution by creating energy from landfill waste and some air pollutants. This gas is used in fuel cells and can be used in standard gasoline generators.
Ethanol is a substitute for gasoline and is made from things like wheat, sugarcane, grapes, strawberries, corn, and even wood chips and wood cellulose. There is controversy about this related fuel that it was once truly economical or practical, except in very localized areas, but the technology for extraction and blending continues to be refined.
The energy of biodiesel is created from the oil contained in plants. Until now, commercial biodiesel stores have been made using soybeans, rapeseed and sunflower oil. At the time of writing, biodiesel is usually produced by business-minded people or those who want to experiment with alternative energy, but business interest is on the rise. It burns much cleaner than oil-based diesels.
Atomic energy is created in atomic power plants using the nuclear fission process. This energy is very efficient and can produce a lot of energy. There are concerns from some people about what to do with the relatively small amount of atomic energy from waste products, because it is radioactive and takes hundreds of years to break down into harmless.