Alternative Energy Sources – Overview

Human civilization has started realizing how much harm they have already caused to the environment; and when it comes to take a stand against these environmental problems, the focus shifts to the use of alternative energy sources. Have you ever wondered what  Alternative Energy Sources are? and why are they supposed to help us sustain? Alternative sources of energy are the ones which do not cause any undesirable consequences to the environment, are renewable and are free!

Alternative energy sources can be implemented for houses, for cars, factories and any other facility you can imagine. Scientists around the world are researching on developing and discovering new Alternative Energy Sources so that the growing energy needs of human population can be met more easily, safely and efficiently. Here is a list of Alternative Energy Sources which will help us maintain the balance of nature without causing it much harm as compared to the conventional energy sources.

Alternative Energy Sources

Commonly known alternative energy sources

  Hydroelectric Energy

The potential energy stored in the water held in dams by is made to drive a water turbine and generator which in turn produces electric power. This form of energy generation is called hydroelectric power. Out of all the alternative energy sources, this one has been most commonly adopted in the current time.

Advantages of hydroelectric power generation

- The source of hydroelectric power generation i.e., water is free of cost.
- Dams can provide virtually continuous electricity generation.
- The water used for power generation can be put to use again.
- There is no chemical process involved in the power production process, therefore, the power generated is clean and does not harm the environment.

 Solar Energy

This is the energy which the earth receives from the Sun. This is one of the most promising alternative energy sources, which will be available to the mankind for centuries to come. The only challenge remains to tap the solar energy in the most efficient way. The solar power generation is done by using a series of photovoltaic cells where the solar rays are converted into electricity. Apart from electricity production solar energy is also being used for heating water, cooking food etc.

Advantages of solar energy

- The source of energy is absolutely ‘free’.
- Solar power which is generated in the day time can be stored to be made available in the night time as well.
- Solar power generators can be used to generate power in rural and remote areas where there is no reach of the conventional form of energy.
- Solar power generation is quite and absolutely clean.
- Solar energy is a renewable form of energy will not deplete until thousands of years.

 Wind Energy

The power of the wind is harnessed to propel the blades of wind turbine attached to an electric generator to generate wind energy. Wind energy is an effective alternative source of energy in areas where the velocity of wind flow is high.

 Advantages of wind energy

- Wind energy is a clean form of energy.
- The source of power generation i.e., wind is free of cost.
- Wind energy is a renewable source of energy.

Biomass Energy

This is the energy developed from the wastes of various human and animal activities like the by-products and wastes from timber industry, agricultural yields, municipal solid waste etc. Out of the many alternative sources of energy this is the one which takes into account the utilization of waste material to develop energy thereby disposing them off in a profitable and effective way.

 Advantages of biomass energy

- It is an environmental friendly way of energy production in which biological mass is recycled and re-used.
- The biomass will keep generating and decomposing as part of the natural biological cycle. Therefore, biomass energy is considered as a renewable source of energy.

New alternative energy sources

To answer the question of which Alternative Energy Source have been brought to picture newly, you should understand that as you are reading this, there are developments being carried on to find more and more alternative energy sources. . Apart from the commonly known alternative energy sources there have been recent advancements in terms of discovering new alternative energy sources to add to the list of alternative energy sources.

 Geothermal Energy

This is the energy tapped from the heat inside the earth. Hot rocks residing in the core of earth heat water which emits the surface of the earth with pressure and as steam. This pressurized steam can be used to run steam turbines to generate electricity.

Advantages of geothermal energy

- Similar to other alternative energy sources, geothermal energy source is free of cost.
- With a proper power generation system in place, no harmful by-products are produced.

 Tidal Power

The surface of earth is 71.11% covered by water bodies especially oceans. The tides in water rise and fall due to the gravity of sun and moon. Since we know about how the position of moon changes we can predict the rise and fall of tides. This rise and fall of tides can be utilized by setting up small dams and passing water through the turbines to generate power.

Advantages of tidal energy

- The source of power generation is free and renewable.
- The power generated is clean and does not cause any pollution.

Challenges with using alternative energy sources

As promising as the use of alternative sources of energy may sound, it is still under research as to how to tap energy from these resources in the most efficient and effective way. Although small power generation systems can be put in place but power production from these resources on a large scale is still a challenge with hydroelectric power generation being an exception.

Many countries are not yet ready to move from using conventional energy sources to the alternative energy sources as it involves a huge amount to decommission the old power generation infrastructure and establish a new infrastructure. Therefore, the shift is ideal to be made in phases.

Why use alternative energy sources?

Alternative energy sources are available free of cost and do not tax the environment for their usage. Power generation through alternative sources of energy is clean and ‘green’. If we shift to use power generated from these sources, then carbon dioxide emission from the conventional energy sources will be greatly reduced, and the problem of global warming will be solved in a few years. Also the fast depleting traditional energy sources can be preserved. Along with air pollution, the use of traditional energy resources also cause soil pollution and water pollution by releasing various toxins to the land and water. This can also be controlled reasonably.

The damage that we have caused to earth after the industrial revolution is huge and we will have to take action immediately if we want to keep the planet sustainable for our future generations. The biggest leap that mankind can take to prevent further damage is to start using alternative energy sources.