Alternative energy refers to energy sources that are not based on the burning of fossil fuels or the splitting of atoms. The renewed interest in this field of study comes from the detrimental effects fossil fuel usage has on the environment. Below are some examples of alternative energies:
Solar Energy: The sun is a virtually endless source of energy. Solar power harnesses this energy for a variety of uses, including generating electricity, heating water and homes, and even cooking meals.
Wind Energy: Wind power converts the kinetic energy in wind to generate electricity or mechanical power. This is typically done with wind turbines.
Hydroelectric Energy: This type of energy uses the flow of water to generate electricity, typically through dams.
Tidal Energy: Tidal power, or tidal energy, is harnessed by converting energy from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity.
Biomass Energy: Biomass energy is derived from wastes and animal dung either directly or indirectly by the process of bioconversion and technology.
Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy utilizes the Earth’s inherent heat. It uses steam produced from reservoirs of hot water located a couple of miles or more below the Earth’s surface to generate electricity.
Hydrogen Energy: When hydrogen is burned, it produces only water vapor and heat, with no pollution. However, the problem is that it’s hard to store and distribute.
Biofuel and Ethanol: These are plant-derived gasoline substitutes for powering vehicles. Biofuels are typically made from plant crops, while Ethanol is a type of biofuel made from corn or sugarcane.
Each of these sources of energy has its own unique set of characteristics, benefits, and costs. Some are totally renewable and sustainable. Some generate electricity, and others are potential sources of fuel for vehicles, heating, and more. The search for alternatives to fossil fuels is a major challenge of our times, and while none of these sources is perfect, they all represent steps away from reliance on fossil fuels and the negative environmental impacts associated with their use.