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Kinds of Alternative Energy Pros and Cons

Kinds of Alternative Energy: Pros and Cons

The world today is powered mostly by oil and other oil-based products.

Most machines and equipments are run and powered by oil. But the finite supply of oil may leave everything to a halt. Therefore, there are efforts to discover other sources of energy. Alternative energy, as they call it, have given the world other options and not just solely dependent on oil.

Here are the popular types of alternative energy available today:

Solar Energy – The sun is the single most powerful source of energy that is free and very efficient. It is said that capitalizing on this could be one of the best ways of reduce the demands for oil.

And looking forward in the future, the solar power can be the primary source of energy by future man. This alternative energy is very ideal to places where sunlight is abundant and where there are longer days of sun and shorter rain. This is also good in places far from power grids.

However, extracting solar energy can have some drawbacks. Not all places can use solar energy. Places on high latitude where sunlight is short, places where there are often overcast skies and places where there are very limited land area since solar cells require vast amount of land to install.

Wind Energy – Another free form of alternative energy, wind can be very efficient in producing great power especially on places where wind blows strong. These places can be shorelines and high altitudes. When used efficiently, this type of alternative energy promises to provide as much as 20% of the nation’s total electric consumption. Aside from these, wind is clean and will never produce carbon dioxide and other harmful gases with that of oil. However, wind does not blow all the time. And when there is no wind, the amount of power produced is significantly affected.

Hydroelectric Energy – This type of alternative energy is sourced mainly on dams. This is clean and would neither produce waste material nor pollution. Power is generated constantly and can cope with high power demands instantly compared to other power stations. And once dams are built, the energy produced is free. However, dams are expensive and spots for ideal locations can be hard to find. Turbines can kill fishes and other plant life and other aquatic lives can be misplaced.

Tidal Energy – This works like the hydroelectric, but in a smaller scale. This type of alternative energy uses turbines to generate electricity however; there are many drawbacks with its use. It cannot be built anywhere. As of today, there are only 9 sites found feasible to build tidal power plant and only two are being used. One reason is that it can affect species of bird, especially the migratory birds. Fisheries could also be affected. Added to that, tides move 10 hours each day and therefore efficiency is very much questionable.

Biomass – This alternative energy may be animal waste, agricultural crops, grains, wood, mill residues, forest, and aquatics. When fermented, biomass can create alcohol. The alcohol produced can be comparable to coal. However, this form of alternative energy can produce greenhouse gases since fuels are burned.

There are other alternative energies such as fusion, fuel cells and hydrogen, nuclear, and geothermal. All these can power the world in the future but all have effects on the environment like those of the mentioned above. It may produce energy but will certainly bring other negative effects either on nature or man. But then you would think, is oil also creating negative effects on the environment?

Here, we have no choice but to use these types of alternative energy to get our lives going.
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Article Added on Thursday, April 3, 2008
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