Alternative Energy Information
The term alternative energy has become known also as renewable energy, but what do we mean when we use this term of alternative energy information. Do we mean any energy different to what we are already using or do we mean any energy that is not finite.
Let’s look at a brief history of energy; wood at one point was the main source of energy for mankind. It provide warmth and building materials for shelter, however as time passed on wood was being used in great quantities and the supply was dwindling. Mankind therefore had to find an alternative form of providing the warmth we needed, it was now the turn of coal to provide this much needed energy, even up till today this is still a major source of fuel for a lot of our needs. We now also use oil from which we have derived petroleum this provides us means of powering machines, cars, plant equipment, to name just two things.
However these energy providers’ coal, oil, and also natural gas are all what we term as fossil fuels and these are not renewable, in fact they are what we known as finite fuels, and they will run out in the future.
So do we provide our grandchildren with a world without these resources or do we have a duty to future generations to look and use energy sources which are renewable?
A lot of people now believe that finding and using renewable energy more now, is of paramount importance to help this ailing planet (global warming) and for the wellbeing of future generations.
Governments and the Utility companies are now beginning to realise that this problem must be given a lot of importance and are only now investing in research and also the building of alternative energy plants.
Common or popular alternative forms of energy basically reduce the impact on the planets environment but unfortunately have their own limitations. Let’s now look at what these alternative sources are and their limitations.
Solar Power: The conversion of the suns rays into usable energy namely electricity and using the heat from the sun to provide hot water. Limitations: no sun no energy, this type of energy is excellent if you live in a country where you have long periods of sunshine throughout the year.
Wind Power: Use of the planets natural resource to provide mechanical and electrical energy.
Limitations: no wind no power, very restricted in built up areas more commonly used in open country side and on hills, can be unsightly and noisy if you live near what are now known as wind farms.
Magnetic Generators: Machine using permanent magnetism to generate electricity. Limitations: is a mechanical machine will therefore require maintenance and like all machines can break down if this is your only source of energy you will need a back up.
Geothermal Energy: the use of hot water or steam from within the earth’s interior. Limitations: requires expensive and complicated plant to tap into and use.
Biofuel and Ethanol: substitute for petroleum for powering plant and transport is derived from plants.
Limitations: not commonly available yet.
Hydrogen: used again to power plant and some transport. Limitations: growing concern for the safe use.
Nuclear Power: use mainly to produce electricity in power stations and some forms of transport. Limitations: disposal of the fuel at the end of its life and can be unstable with enormous potential for harm both to mankind and also the planet.