Understanding Alternative Energy

by Donna Miller

There are many possible sources which are as yet underexploited. With more effort put into research and development, these sources could help us to break free of our dependence on fossil fuels and have clean, abundant .

One alternative is . While is hardly a novel idea, it is only recently that the development of wind turbines has reached the stage where they are a truly cost effective and efficient way to produce energy. May nations are building “wind farms” as a part of their energy strategy. Best of all, these are now being sited in areas where they do not pose a hazard to bird populations as has been the case in the past.

One of the better known alternative is of course . The energy given off by the sun can be stored in fuel cells to generate electricity; and the sun’s heat can also be use to heat water for use in our homes. , like wind power, does not create any pollution whatsoever.

Many governments and private investors are looking too ocean waves as being a potentially great source of energy. There is one generator which has been in use in France for sometime now with great success. In Ireland and the U.K., there are experimental generators in use as well.

is not exactly a new idea; however, it is an effective means of generating clean . Of course, not every location can benefit from since this requires having a large dam. There have been small, local dams built in many places, but of course these can not generate the amount of power that a large river and dam can.

promises to be a nearly limitless source of energy, once the technology to efficiently use it is developed enough. The heat of the Earth’s core turns water to steam, which in turn can drive turbines to generate electricity. With more research, this could become an important alternative source of energy.

Waste gas energies, namely methane are an which changes the usual energy-pollution paradigm by actually creating energy from a waste gas. This gas can be harnessed by fuel cells and even in gasoline generators.

Ethanol, a gasoline substitute made from vegetable matter including corn, sugarcane and even wood chips is somewhat controversial – many doubt that it can really become a serious replacement for petroleum based fuels since it requires a large amount of raw materials which would otherwise generally be a food source; however, ethanol extraction is in a continual state of improvement and may become more viable in the future.

A cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum based fuels; biodiesel is made from plant oils such as rapeseed, sunflower and soybean oils. While not produced on a large commercial scale as of yet, many companies are looking onto the possibility of doing so.

Atomic energy is created through the process of nuclear fission. While a very efficient way to generate energy, concerns persist about the radioactive waste produced, which can take centuries to decay to the point where it presents no health hazard.

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