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Alternative Energy

Updated on October 10, 2008

Alternative Energy

World is going through a serious shortage of energy these days. Especially the developing countries need a lot more energy than many others. Oil has shot up to $100 per barrel. This sharp rise was already predicted. The answer to this shortage is: "ALTERNATIVE ENERGY"

What is alternative energy? Many may be asking this question now.The alternative energy is the energy obtained from resources other than fossil fuels. Some of the alternative energy resources used today are Sun, wind, water etc.Fuel cells are also being used. But, all of them are high cost and usually not profitable in economic terms, although there have been places where wind energy is being harnessed with great profit.Everybody knows that oil will not be available forever. A time would come when oil wells will deplete.Oil producing companies are already putting their time and money into advancement of alternative energy technology.

Let's discuss two of these resources:

  1. Wind
  2. Solar

The kinetic energy of wind has been harnessed by humankind for 2000 years. Wind turbines are used to harness this energy. With the advancement of science and technology wind turbines have also taken radically different shapes. The most common of them is HAWT (Horizontal Axial Flow Wind Turbine). In order to install a wind turbine, a suitable location having a lot of wind speed most of the year is selected first. Wind turbines are then chosen which will produce maximum power in given wind conditions. They are then installed and taken care of.

Solar energy is also a good alternative to conventional energy. Solar radiation is absorbed and converted to electricity by solar panels. Places having clear skies are generally suitable for harnessing this energy. The most interesting thing about solar panels is that they convert only 10% of solar energy they absorb into electricity. If somehow technology gets better, we will be able to absorb much much more energy than the present capacity. The beauty of this energy is that its free. On the other hand, equipment used are very expensive. Their first cost is high although they demand very little maintenance.

There are many coastal areas on Earth where its difficult to get drinking water but there's a lot of sea water. These communities can't do anything with zillions of gallons of seawater. Solar energy can make their lives easier. Solar distills have been designed to remedy this problem. Although its usage is not widespread it promises bright future for the dry coasts of the world, where no rivers flow. Solar distills have a reservoir with a transparent roof. Sun evaporates this seawater all day long. Water vapors from the reservoir condense on the transparent roof and trickle to another reservoir meant to collect it. This way they get fresh water. This whole process seems very slow on the face of it but if large surface area reservoirs are used, these distills can provide sufficient supplies of water throughout the day.

Do you know that even you can contribute to meet World's electricity needs? You can do this by installing wind turbine or solar panels. Then you can sell this extra electricity to grid. Or may be you can come up with some new technology.


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    • Sylvia Page profile image

      Sylvia Page 9 years ago from Malabe

      Hi, Thank you for your comment on my hub on renewable energy. I find your hub quite interesting. Hot on the market on solar power are the cost effective shingles which contribute to the grid. You then draw from the grid when you need it. No banks of batteries are needed.

    • profile image

      Steve Last 9 years ago

      Hi! Thank you for commenting on my renewable energy hub page.

      Wind and solar are great renewable energy sources and your page covers the subject admirably with some well chosen images.

      One of my favourite renewable energy sources is biogas, and especially biogas from wastewater treatment works (sewage works). Every city and town has a sewage works, so this can be done almost everywhere. The Anaerobic Digester which digests the biomass in sewage sludges helps combat global warming and the process creates useful by-products which have additional benefits.

      I have produced a video to help explain <a href=" a Biogas Digester Works</a>, why not take a look?

      What do you think?

    • Dumbledore profile image

      Dumbledore 9 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio

      Nice hub. You may mention that there are companies that offer solar shingles as a way to install solar panels for home use.