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What are Some Energy Sources?

Updated on April 30, 2016

Alternative Fuels

People depend on energy sources to run machines, heat homes, cook meals, and more. Certain mineral fuels are presently used for these purposes. They include natural gas, coal, and oil. However, the earth only has a limited supply of these fuels. Given the present trend for population growth, energy may become limited. For this reason, scientists are looking for renewable sources of energy. Here are some of the most popular.

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Energy Books - From Amazon

Here are some very good books with more information about all the different types of energy.


Another alternative source of energy is found deep in the earth. As radioactive elements deep within the earth break down, energy is given off in the form of heat. When water comes in contact with these heated elements, steam is produced. Using this underground steam as a source of energy is known as geothermal energy. One advantage of this method is that smoke pollution is avoided.


In the United States alone, each year people throw away four billion metric tons of solid wastes. These include trash, animal wastes, agricultural wastes, and industrial wastes. Organic wastes, such as food scraps, can be used to produce laboratory made oil. This oil can be used as fuel, just as natural oil is used. Other wastes that cannot be recycled but that are burnable can be used to produce energy. The burnable wastes are mixed with coal and are used as fuel to heat buildings and water.


Another alternative energy source is water power. Actually, water has been known as an energy source for years. Some power plants get their energy from rushing streams. Water is used to make electricity.

Scientists are investigating other ways of using water as an energy source. For example, using the rise and fall of ocean tides to produce electricity. This is called tidal energy.


This is energy obtained from the sun. Green plants use the sun's energy to make food. In the 1980's, people began to try to use this energy source to heat water and homes. They did experiments to find out how to best collect, store, and use the sun's rays with giant solar collector plates or panels.


Another source of alternative energy is the wind. People are now using giant wind turbines to make electricity to run homes and businesses.


Nuclear fission is the splitting of the nucleus of the element uranium. However, the use of this type of nuclear energy can be dangerous. An accidental discharge of radioactivity from a nuclear energy plant could have harmful effects.

An alternative nuclear energy source involves fusion. (putting together) When the nuclei of two elements are fused, or combined, under specific conditions, energy is given off. One of the advantages of fusion over fission is that only a small amount of radioactivity is involved. Thus, the danger of accidents is greatly reduced.

What is your favorite renewable energy source?

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    • KerryVor profile image

      Kerry Voronoff 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I like solar although it does not work well in the winter so perhaps a combination of solar and wind or tidal.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I wish we could make more use of solar energy which is convenient too.

    • mountainstevo profile image

      mountainstevo 6 years ago

      As a world we need all kinds of alternative energy sources. Nice lens.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

      This lens was perfect to lensroll to my Captain Planet lens. Awesome.

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

      This deserves some exposure.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Thanks for introducing me to a couple things I wasn't aware of! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There are more alternative resources of energy like fusion and fission, we do not yet know how to control this. The sources you have mentioned are surely ones that are too good to be abandoned and of course have to be rationed.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      Finding and using alternative sources of energy is so important! Thanks for all the info!