Advantages and Disadvantages of Alternative Energy Systems. . It is an energy source that is an alternative to fossil fuels. The main types of harmful ways to .. caite.info This has led to the rise of a number of alternative energy sources. While the viability of each can be argued, they all contribute something. Objective sight words (alternative energy sources, renewable, toxins, propel, Alternative or renewable energy sources help to reduce the amount of toxins that .
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PDF | Ireland relies on imports of fossil fuels for up to 83% of its energy Some of the alternative energy sources such as wind and wave are. ENERGY. Alternative Energy Sources -. An Interdisciplinary Module for. Energy L.A. - Finish the module by doing Tooning into Renewable Energy Sources. solar energy drove wind and rain, grew trees, and grew crops to nourish our animals and ourselves. All these energy sources were also renewable, since wind.
European Sustainable Energy Week, Brussels. The silica must be cultivated into metallurgical-grade silicon, the process requiring a massive amount of energy as the quartz is placed into electric arc furnaces. In other projects Wikiquote. In the s, President Jimmy Carter 's administration advocated coal gasification as an alternative to expensive imported oil. First there must be increased understanding of how alternative energies are beneficial; secondly the availability components for these systems must increase; and lastly the pay-back period must be decreased. Hydrogen Gas Unlike other forms of natural gas, hydrogen is a completely clean burning fuel.
Though it is a fairly new technology, its potential is enormous. The most common form of tidal energy generation is the use of Tidal Stream Generators. These use the kinetic energy of the ocean to power turbines, without producing the waste of fossil fuels or being as susceptible to the elements as other forms of alternative energy. Biomass energy comes in a number of forms. Burning wood has been used for thousands of years to create heat, but more recent advancements have also seen waste, such as that in landfills, and alcohol products used for similar purposes.
Focusing on burning wood, the heat generated can be equivalent to that of a central heating system. Furthermore, the costs involved tend to be lower and the amount of carbon released by this kind of fuel falls below the amount released by fossil fuels. However, there are a number of issues that you need to consider with these systems, especially if installed in the home.
Maintenance can be a factor, plus you may need to acquire permission from a local authority to install one. This form of energy generation has become increasingly popular in recent years. It offers much the same benefits that many other alternative fuel sources do in that it makes use of a renewable source and generates no waste.
Current wind energy installations power roughly twenty million homes in the United States per year and that number is growing. Most states in the nation now have some form of wind energy set-up and investment into the technology continues to grow. Unfortunately, this form of energy generation also presents challenges.
Wind turbines restrict views and may be dangerous to some forms of wildlife. At its most basic, geothermal power is about extracting energy from the ground around us. It is growing increasingly popular, with the sector as a whole experiencing five percent growth in The World Bank currently estimates that around forty countries could meet most of their power demands using geothermal power.
This power source has massive potential while doing little to disrupt the land. However, the heavy upfront costs of creating geothermal power plants has led to slower adoption than may have been expected for a fuel source with so much promise. Natural gas sources have been in use for a number of decades, but it is through the progression of compression techniques that it is becoming a more viable alternative energy source. In particular, it is being used in cars to reduce carbon emissions.
Demand for this energy source has been increasing. In , the lower 48 states of the United States reached record levels of demand and consumption. Despite this, natural gas does come with some issues. The potential for contamination is larger than with other alternative fuel sources and natural gas still emits greenhouse gases, even if the amount is lower than with fossil fuels.
In contrast to biomass energy sources, biofuels make use of animal and plant life to create energy. In essence they are fuels that can be obtained from some form of organic matter. They are renewable in cases where plants are used , as these can be regrown on a yearly basis. Biofuels are increasingly being adopted, particularly in the United States. They accounted for approximately seven percent of transport fuel consumption as of Water again proves itself to be a valuable contributor to alternative energy fuel sources with wave energy converters.
These hold an advantage over tidal energy sources because they can be placed in the ocean in various situations and locations. Much like with tidal energy, the benefits come in the lack of waste produced. It is also more reliable than many other forms of alternative energy and has enormous potential when used properly. Again, the cost of such systems is a major contributing factor to slow uptake. Hydroelectric methods actually are some of the earliest means of creating energy, though their use began to decline with the rise of fossil fuels.
Because of the variety of energy choices and differing goals of their advocates, defining some energy types as "alternative" is considered very controversial.
Historians of economies have examined the key transitions to alternative energies and regard the transitions as pivotal in bringing about significant economic change. In the late medieval period, coal was the new alternative fuel to save the society from overuse of the dominant fuel, wood.
The deforestation had resulted in shortage of wood, at that time soft coal appeared as a savior. Historian Norman F. Cantor describes how:. Europeans had lived in the midst of vast forests throughout the earlier medieval centuries. After they became so skilled at deforestation that by AD they were running short of wood for heating and cooking By Europe was on the edge of a fuel and nutritional disaster, [from] which it was saved in the sixteenth century only by the burning of soft coal and the cultivation of potatoes and maize.
Whale oil was the dominant form of lubrication and fuel for lamps in the early 19th century, but the depletion of the whale stocks by mid century caused whale oil prices to skyrocket setting the stage for the adoption of petroleum which was first commercialized in Pennsylvania in In , Alexander Graham Bell advocated ethanol from corn, wheat and other foods as an alternative to coal and oil, stating that the world was in measurable distance of depleting these fuels.
For Bell, the problem requiring an alternative was lack of renewability of orthodox energy sources. By the end of there were 35, filling stations throughout Brazil with at least one ethanol pump.
Cellulosic ethanol can be produced from a diverse array of feedstocks, and involves the use of the whole crop. This new approach should increase yields and reduce the carbon footprint because the amount of energy-intensive fertilizers and fungicides will remain the same, for a higher output of usable material.
Second-generation biofuels technologies are able to manufacture biofuels from inedible biomass and could hence prevent conversion of food into fuel. In the s, President Jimmy Carter 's administration advocated coal gasification as an alternative to expensive imported oil. The program, including the Synthetic Fuels Corporation was scrapped when petroleum prices plummeted in the s.
The carbon footprint and environmental impact of coal gasification are both very high. Ice storage air conditioning and thermal storage heaters are methods of shifting consumption to use low cost off-peak electricity. When compared to resistance heating, heat pumps conserve electrical power or in rare cases mechanical or thermal power by collecting heat from a cool source such as a body of water, the ground or the air.
Thermal storage technologies allow heat or cold to be stored for periods of time ranging from diurnal to interseasonal , and can involve storage of sensible energy i.
Energy sources can be natural via solar-thermal collectors, or dry cooling towers used to collect winter's cold , waste energy such as from HVAC equipment, industrial processes or power plants , or surplus energy such as seasonally from hydropower projects or intermittently from wind farms.
Some applications require inclusion of a heat pump. Renewable energy is generated from natural resources —such as sunlight ,  wind , rain , tides and geothermal heat —which are renewable naturally replenished.
When comparing the processes for producing energy, there remain several fundamental differences between renewable energy and fossil fuels. The process of producing oil, coal, or natural gas fuel is a difficult and demanding process that requires a great deal of complex equipment, physical and chemical processes. On the other hand, alternative energy can be widely produced with basic equipment and natural processes. Wood, the most renewable and available alternative fuel, emits the same amount of carbon when burned as would be emitted if it degraded naturally.
A renewable energy source such as biomass is sometimes regarded as a good alternative to providing heat and electricity with fossil fuels.
Biofuels are not inherently ecologically friendly for this purpose, while burning biomass is carbon-neutral, air pollution is still produced. For example, the Netherlands , once leader in use of palm oil as a biofuel, has suspended all subsidies for palm oil due to the scientific evidence that their use "may sometimes create more environmental harm than fossil fuels". Carbon-neutral fuels are synthetic fuels including methane , gasoline , diesel fuel , jet fuel or ammonia  produced by hydrogenating waste carbon dioxide recycled from power plant flue-gas emissions , recovered from automotive exhaust gas , or derived from carbonic acid in seawater.
It can be blended into transportation fuel or processed as a chemical feedstock.
It is being upgraded to 10 megawatts, scheduled for completion in autumn, Such fuels are considered carbon-neutral because they do not result in a net increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases. Such renewable fuels alleviate the costs and dependency issues of imported fossil fuels without requiring either electrification of the vehicle fleet or conversion to hydrogen or other fuels, enabling continued compatible and affordable vehicles.
Nighttime wind power is considered the most economical form of electrical power with which to synthesize fuel, because the load curve for electricity peaks sharply during the day, but wind tends to blow slightly more at night than during the day, so, the price of nighttime wind power is often much less expensive than any alternative. Algae fuel is a biofuel which is derived from algae. During photosynthesis, algae and other photosynthetic organisms capture carbon dioxide and sunlight and convert it into oxygen and biomass.
This is usually done by placing the algae between two panes of glass. The algae creates three forms of energy fuel: The heat can be used to power building systems such as heat process water or to produce energy. Biofuel is oil extracted from the algae upon maturity, and used to create energy similar to the use of biodiesel.
The biomass is the matter left over after extracting the oil and water, and can be harvested to produce combustible methane for energy production, similar to the warmth felt in a compost pile or the methane collected from biodegradable materials in a landfill.
Additionally, the benefits of algae biofuel are that it can be produced industrially, as well as vertically i. Biomass briquettes are being developed in the developing world as an alternative to charcoal. There are relatively few examples of large scale briquette production. One exception is in North Kivu, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo , where forest clearance for charcoal production is considered to be the biggest threat to Mountain Gorilla habitat.
The staff of Virunga National Park have successfully trained and equipped over people to produce biomass briquettes, thereby replacing charcoal produced illegally inside the national park, and creating significant employment for people living in extreme poverty in conflict affected areas. Biogas digestion harnesses the methane gas that is released when organic waste breaks down in an anaerobic environment. This gas can be retrieved from landfill sites or sewage systems.
The gas can be used as a fuel for heat or, more commonly, electricity generation. Hydrogen gas is a completely clean burning fuel; its only by-product is water. This requires a high-energy input, making commercial hydrogen very inefficient.
Biological vectors can include bacteria or more commonly algae. This process is known as biological hydrogen production. Without the presence of oxygen, also known as an anaerobic environment, regular cellular respiration cannot take place and a process known as fermentation takes over. A major by-product of this process is hydrogen gas. If this could be implemented on a large scale, then sunlight, nutrients and water could create hydrogen gas to be used as a dense source of energy.
Not until , was it even possible to induce these anaerobic conditions by sulfur deprivation. In , a two-stage process was developed to take the cells in and out of anaerobic conditions and therefore keep them alive. Careful work is being done to ensure an efficient process before large-scale production, however once a mechanism is developed, this type of production could solve our energy needs.
From to the installed capacity rose from to 1, GW. Using run-of-the-river in wet seasons and solar in dry seasons can balance seasonal variations for both. Another move away from large dams is small hydro , these tend to be situated high up on tributaries, rather than on main rivers in valley bottoms. Offshore wind farms are similar to land-based wind farms, but are located on the ocean.
Without any obstructions such as hills, trees and buildings, winds from the open ocean can reach up to speeds twice as fast as coastal areas. Significant generation of offshore wind energy already contributes to electricity needs in Europe and Asia and now the first offshore wind farms are under development in U. While the offshore wind industry has grown dramatically over the last several decades, especially in Europe, there is still uncertainty associated with how the construction and operation of these wind farms affect marine animals and the marine environment.
Traditional offshore wind turbines are attached to the seabed in shallower waters within the nearshore marine environment. As offshore wind technologies become more advanced, floating structures have begun to be used in deeper waters where more wind resources exist. Marine and Hydrokinetic MHK or marine energy development includes projects using the following devices:.
Thorium is a fissionable material for possible future use in a thorium-based reactor. Proponents of thorium reactors claims several potential advantages over a uranium fuel cycle , such as thorium's greater abundance , better resistance to nuclear weapons proliferation ,    and reduced plutonium and actinide production. As an emerging economic sector, there are limited stock market investment opportunities in alternative energy available to the general public. The public can buy shares of alternative energy companies from various stock markets, with wildly volatile returns.
The recent IPO of SolarCity demonstrates the nascent nature of this sector- within a few weeks, it already had achieved the second highest market cap within the alternative energy sector.
Recently, Mosaic Inc. Alternative energy sources which are renewable and have lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels are hydropower, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, and bio fuels. Each of these four segments involve very different technologies and investment concerns. For example, photovoltaic solar energy is based on semiconductor processing and accordingly, benefits from steep cost reductions similar to those realized in the microprocessor industry i.
PV solar energy is perhaps the only energy technology whose electricity generation cost could be reduced by half or more over the next five years. Better and more efficient manufacturing process and new technology such as advanced thin film solar cell is a good example of that helps to reduce industry cost.
The economics of solar PV electricity are highly dependent on silicon pricing and even companies whose technologies are based on other materials e.
In contrast, because wind power has been harnessed for over years, its underlying technology is relatively stable. Its economics are largely determined by siting e. Because current wind turbines are often in excess of meters high, logistics and a global manufacturing platform are major sources of competitive advantage. These issues and others were explored in a research report by Sanford Bernstein.
In response, many smaller companies have rapidly increased research and development into radically different ways of powering consumer vehicles. Hybrid and battery electric vehicles are commercially available and are gaining wider industry and consumer acceptance worldwide.
Before alternative energy becomes mainstream there are a few crucial obstacles that it must overcome. First there must be increased understanding of how alternative energies are beneficial; secondly the availability components for these systems must increase; and lastly the pay-back period must be decreased. The continue adoption of these vehicles depend on investment in public charging infrastructure, as well as implementing much more alternative energy for future transportation.
There are numerous organizations within the academic, federal, and commercial sectors conducting large scale advanced research in the field of alternative energy. This research spans several areas of focus across the alternative energy spectrum. Most of the research is targeted at improving efficiency and increasing overall energy yields.
In the US, multiple federally supported research organizations have focused on alternative energy in recent years. Additionally, their use also dispenses with the trade-off that has existed between environmental conservation and economic growth.
Mechanical energy associated with human activities such as blood circulation, respiration, walking, typing and running, is ubiquitous but usually wasted.
It has attracted tremendous attention from researchers around the globe to find methods to scavenge such mechanical energies. The best solution currently is to use piezoelectric materials, which can generate flow of electrons when deformed.
Various devices using piezoelectric materials have been built to scavenge mechanical energy. Considering that the piezoelectric constant of the material plays a critical role in the overall performance of a piezoelectric device, one critical research direction to improve device efficiency is to find new material of large piezoelectric response.
Lead Magnesium Niobate-Lead Titanate PMN-PT is a next-generation piezoelectric material with super high piezoelectric constant when ideal composition and orientation are obtained.
In , PMN-PT Nanowires with a very high piezoelectric constant were fabricated by a hydro-thermal approach  and then assembled into an energy-harvesting device . The record-high piezoelectric constant was further improved by the fabrication of a single-crystal PMN-PT nanobelt,  which was then used as the essential building block for a piezoelectric nanogenerator. Solar energy can be used for heating , cooling or electrical power generation using the sun.
Solar heat has long been employed in passively and actively heated buildings, as well as district heating systems. The obstacles preventing the large-scale implementation of solar powered energy generation is the inefficiency of current solar technology and the cost.
Several academic programs have focused on solar research in recent years. In , researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT developed a method to store solar energy by using it to produce hydrogen fuel from water.
The Zhangebei National Wind and Solar Energy Storage and Transmission Demonstration Project northwest of Beijing, uses batteries to store 71 MWh, integrating wind and solar energy on the grid with frequency and voltage regulation.
The company claims that the prototype converts In the s NASA developed an analytical model to predict wind turbine power generation during high winds. Sandia's laboratory focuses on the advancement of materials, aerodynamics, and sensors. The Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy FLOWE at Caltech was established to research alternative approaches to wind energy farming technology practices that have the potential to reduce the cost, size, and environmental impact of wind energy production.
Renewable energies such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal combined, supplied 1. Biomass can be regarded as " biological material "  derived from living, or recently living organisms. It most often refers to plants or plant-derived materials which are specifically called lignocellulosic biomass. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into: Wood remains the largest biomass energy source today;  examples include forest residues such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps , yard clippings, wood chips and even municipal solid waste.
In the second sense, biomass includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals , including biofuels. Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus , switchgrass , hemp , corn , poplar , willow , sorghum , sugarcane , bamboo ,  and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm palm oil.
Pollutants such as sulphurous oxides SO x , nitrous oxides NO x , and particulate matter PM are produced from this combustion. The World Health Organisation estimates that 7 million premature deaths are caused each year by air pollution,  and biomass combustion is a major contributor of it.
As the primary source of biofuels in North America, many organizations are conducting research in the area of ethanol production. Much of this research is targeted toward the effect of ethanol production on domestic food markets. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has conducted various ethanol research projects, mainly in the area of cellulosic ethanol. It does not take away or directly conflict with the food supply because it is produced from wood, grasses, or non-edible parts of plants.
From to , the National Renewable Energy Laboratory experimented with using algae as a biofuels source in the " Aquatic Species Program. The production of algae to harvest oil for biofuels has not yet been undertaken on a commercial scale, but feasibility studies have been conducted to arrive at the above yield estimate.
In addition to its projected high yield, algaculture— unlike food crop-based biofuels — does not entail a decrease in food production, since it requires neither farmland nor fresh water. Many companies are pursuing algae bio-reactors for various purposes, including scaling up biofuels production to commercial levels.
Several groups in various sectors are conducting research on Jatropha curcas, a poisonous shrub-like tree that produces seeds considered by many to be a viable source of biofuels feedstock oil. SG Biofuels , a San Diego-based Jatropha developer, has used molecular breeding and biotechnology to produce elite hybrid seeds of Jatropha that show significant yield improvements over first generation varieties.
Geothermal energy is produced by tapping into the heat within the earths crust. It is considered sustainable because that thermal energy is constantly replenished. Several entities, such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory  and Sandia National Laboratories  are conducting research toward the goal of establishing a proven science around geothermal energy.
The International Centre for Geothermal Research IGC , a German geosciences research organization, is largely focused on geothermal energy development research.
Much of this work centers on hydrogen storage and fuel cell technologies. The generation of alternative energy on the scale needed to replace fossil energy, in an effort to reverse global climate change, is likely to have significant negative environmental impacts. For example, biomass energy generation would have to increase 7-fold to supply current primary energy demand, and up to fold by given economic and energy growth projections.
The remaining biomass is needed to maintain ecosystem functions and diversity. Given environmental concerns e. Windpower, if deployed on the large scale necessary to substitute fossil energy, is likely to face public resistance. Unless only a relatively small fraction of electricity is generated by wind turbines in remote locations, it is unlikely that the public will tolerate large windfarms given concerns about blade noise and aesthetics.
Biofuels are different from fossil fuels in regard to net greenhouse gases but are similar to fossil fuels in that biofuels contribute to air pollution. Burning produces airborne carbon particulates , carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides. Renewable alternative forms of energy have faced opposition from multiple groups, including conservatives and liberals. Around twelve states have passed proposals written to inhibit the alternative energy movement. Kansas lawmakers struck down a bill to phase out renewable energy mandates but face the possibility of the bill reappearing.
The opposition cites the potentially high cost of branching out to these alternatives in order to support the continuation and reliance on fossil fuels.
Ohio's mandate to phase in alternative energy faces opposition who believe higher electricity prices will result, while supporters fear the loss of economic development and jobs that alternative energy could bring. With nuclear meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear power presents a constant danger and is more unlikely to be a popular alternative source.
The costs of maintaining nuclear facilities, the potential risk of meltdowns, and the cost of cleaning up meltdowns are cited as reasons behind the movement away from the use of nuclear energy. In some countries nuclear power plants cannot compete with fossil fuels currently due to the latter's lower price and availability. Nuclear power plants also face competition from the increasing renewable energy subsidies.
Solar panels are an icon of the 'green power' movement, however the process of manufacturing the quartz based panels can be detrimental to the environment. Raw quartz silica used to create solar cells must be mined using harsh chemicals that harm the surrounding environment, as well as those working in the mines. Silicosis is a form of lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica dust resulting in nodule lesions in the lungs.
The silica must be cultivated into metallurgical-grade silicon, the process requiring a massive amount of energy as the quartz is placed into electric arc furnaces. This process also produces tetrachloride, a toxic substance that, if not disposed of correctly, can be harmful to the surrounding environment.
Hydrochloric acid is formed when tetrachloride interacts with water, lowering water and soil pH. Incidents of tetrachloride spills are common in China, as the production of solar panels has shifted from Europe and the United States to Asian countries within the early s.
Because of such, the villagers of Gaolong are unable to leave their homes due to air and soil becoming toxic. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Ethanol fuel. Renewable energy. Main articles: Carbon-neutral fuel and Methanol economy. Thorium fuel cycle. Further information on power production see: Thorium-based nuclear power. Solar energy. Wind power. Biomass and Biogas. Sugarcane plantation to produce ethanol in Brazil. A CHP power station using wood to supplies 30, households in France.
Ethanol biofuels. Geothermal electricity.