The search for “alternative energy sources” is a worldwide effort. There are many government bodies, universities and scientists around the world all working to find ways of replacing conventional fossil fuels with the newest green energy. Most people are in agreement that as the world slowly moves to depleting the Earth of its natural resources, we need to reduce our dependency on non-renewable sources of energy such as the common types of fossil fuels known as coal, petroleum oil and natural gas.Alternative energies fill the gap between non-realistic free energy sources and the more traditional fossil fuels. Once upon a time nuclear energy was seen as the answer to our global energy problem. The huge amounts of energy that could be produced from a small amount of uranium was seen as the future way to power our planet as it produces a clean energy with no contribution to global warming. But as we know, like fossil fuels, uranium is also a finite natural resource that over time will run out.Alternative Energy generally refers to any group of non-traditional fuel sources that do not burn fossil fuels or use up any natural resources that will result in damage or harm to the environment. In other words “Alternative Energy” is a cleaner and greener energy, well at least in theory.Alternative energy sources provide many advantages and benefits over the use of the more traditional fossil fuels such as less pollution and cheaper fuel costs, but the downside is that these alternative energy sources are not always available when we need them as sometimes the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. But with the aid of modern technologies available today can make full use of these alternatives when they are available. So let’s take a look at some of the most common alternative energy sources and see how each one works.1. The Power of the SunThe sun has always provided the Earth with a great source of heat and light energy. In its simplest terms, solar energy is the radiant energy derived from sunlight and by using several different methods we can convert this solar energy into electrical energy using solar photovoltaic cells. These photovoltaic cells produce an alternative source of energy commonly known as “Solar Power”. Solar power pollution free since its source comes completely from the sun’s rays.Solar thermal heating uses the heat energy of the sun to heat water or other such thermally conductive fluids such as oil which flow through a set of thermally conducting metal pipes enclosed within a solar panel or reflective dish. Solar hot water heating using roof mounted flat pate solar panels is a cost effective way to generate lots of cheap hot water for your home just using the power of the sun.We all know the benefits of using the suns energy to heat water, but the suns energy can also be used in solar pool heating systems to help heat the large quantities of cold water in an outdoor swimming pool without the need for expensive electrical pool heating units. Heating a pool with flat plate collectors can also increase the recreational use of an outdoor swimming pool by up to four months during the year just by using the free energy from the sun.2. The Force of the WindWind energy is power or energy derived from the movement of the wind which is harnessed by windmills, sails, and more commonly wind turbines. Windmills have been in existence for many thousands of years long before the birth of Christ, helping to power sailing boats, pump water and grind corn. Wind Power is all about converting the motional kinetic energy of the wind into physical mechanical energy for driving machines or pumps, or converting it into electricity energy to power our homes.Wind energy has the ability to generate many megawatts of electricity and is quickly becoming the most invested in alternative energy resource. Wind farms are being erected everywhere with enormous arrays of three bladed windmills dotted across the landscape. Of course, there is nothing new in using windmills or wind turbines for capturing energy. Today’s wind turbines are just more modern variations on the old theme. But these monsters of the landscape can help do away with conventional coal fired power stations. Wind energy is an excellent renewable source of energy and will go a long way in promising a good future to generations to come.3. The Movement of WaterHydro energy or water energy is an effective renewable energy that harnesses the energy or power produced by moving water using waterwheels and water turbines. The most common form of hydro energy is hydro-electric power which uses the potential energy of the water in large reservoirs held behind huge dams. The energy stored in the water is then used to rotate large electrical turbines to generate electricity. It’s estimated that about 90 percent of all the electrical energy produced by renewable resources is generated solely by hydro electric power.Tidal energy or tidal power as it is also called is another hydro energy resource which uses the movement or kinetic energy of the seas and oceans to generate electricity. New water power technologies such as marine and hydro-kinetic devices can transform the energy of the waves, tides, ocean currents and the natural flow of estuaries into sustainable clean energy. Tidal energy requires a large capital investment in dams, turbines and support ships, but once a “tidal power” plant is built the energy it generates is essentially free with the system being relatively inexpensive to run.4. Fuel from the EarthAnother interesting alternative energy source that can also be classed as a “renewable energy resource” is the development of Biomass and Bioenergy. Biomass energy is made from agricultural crops and organic plant materials such as wood, peat, grasses and straw grown specifically to be burnt as fuels to generate heat and power as well as organic waste in the form of biodegradable materials, garbage, compost, animal manure and other waste products which can be converted into usable energy. Bioenergy is the energy derived from the Biomass (organic matter) which is sustainable as new crops and forests can be grown to replace those that have been harvested.Geothermal is an alternative energy source that uses the natural buried heat from within the Earths core. Geothermal energy makes use of the enormous amount of energy stored as heat in the water deep below the Earths surface with the most prominent and visual example of this coming from “Geysers” and “Hot Springs” ejecting large columns of very hot water, steam and gases high up into the air. Water heated by underground magmatic activity is pumped to the surface and used to generate electricity or to heat buildings using geothermal heat pumps.We have seen that the sun’s energy can be used to create other forms of energy. Some of these alternative fuel sources above are not new. For centuries people have harnessed the power of running water in rivers and streams for a variety of needs, particularly for farming and transport. Water wheels and windmills have been used for many thousands of years to grind corn and husks to make flour for bread and a variety of different foods. Even passive solar energy was used to warm homes and dry clothes. Some forms of these “alternative energy sources” above are really just improvements of long-existing older technologies. But with the advancement of technology in the modern age other types of alternative energies are genuinely new, such as bioenergy, fuel cells and solar panels.
Our existence is a pretty deal in a pretty big place and being such, there are a whole variety of Different Energy Options that we can pursue as a species. When it comes to energy there isn’t really a right way or a wrong way, but rather a whole bunch of different ways. We have compiled a detailed Alternative Energy Sources List for our readers to get a better understanding of all the different types of power generation options currently available to us.Some of these alternative energy sources you will have already heard about and others will knock your socks off. For instance, you know full well about oil and how we get power from that, but did you know that we can actually get energy from the sun, algae, hydrogen, physical power and more?Alternative Energy Sources ListIn no specific order, lest go over the current options that we could pursue in our search for Alternative Energy to replace or supplement oil as our primary source of energy. Starting with the one we all know:Oil Power GenerationOil is a fossil fuel that exists naturally within the Earth itself. From oil being found in underground pools to micro fragments being stuck in rock and sand; Oil Power Generation has got man from the dawn of the 20th century and likely will continue to leap us through the 21st!Coal Power ProductionCoal Power Production is the next of the Different Energy Options we are going to cover and it is a commonly known source of power generation; however due to a universally painted negative image of coal mining, many are very reluctant to continue the mining of coal. Coal mines of the past used to create considerable environmental damage and once the mining had been completed the landscape mined would forever be “altered”. With new and cutting edge clean coal technology however, that image of dirty coal may soon be a thing of the past.Hydroelectric Power ProductionThis is a neat one for our Alternative Energy Sources List and it is what the name implies – Hydroelectric Power Production. Imagine being able to get the vast majority of our power requirements from good old fashion water! Well, it is possible and scientists are hard at work to develop a realistic and sustainable way of harnessing natural energy from the manipulation and movement of water. Sounds futuristic I know, but just wait because the future is going to be really futuristic!Algae Power GenerationNow out of all the Different Energy Options this one seems to be President Obama’s pet project many would say. Did you know that it is actually possible to harness the natural cycle of photosynthesis and turn it into energy that we can use? Really we can do this right now. The problem with Algae Power Generation though is the amount of land required to create “algae farms” large enough to impact our oil imports and additionally there are problems with the refinement process and long term effects farming it on massive scales may have on the environment as a whole.Hydrogen Power GenerationTo the moon and back Newt Gingrich would say! Out of all the Different Energy Options Hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the known universe. That’s right, should man ever travel the stars one day it is very possible that the fuel we use to power our space engines will in fact be derived from Hydrogen Power Generation. From moons to asteroids and from planets to comets; Hydrogen can be found nearly anywhere in the universe in great and vast quantities. The problem lies with the refining of it. We can refine the stuff, the problem is refining it fiscally, but when we figure out an economically sound way of introducing hydrogen fuel to the masses it is gonna get real spacey around here!Fusion Power GenerationFusion Power Generation is a good one, but it is also one of the more dangerous on our Alternative Energy Sources List. Vast amounts of energy can be harnessed through the fusion process; however there are great risks involved with the actual production of said energy. Fusion works by taking two particles and making both of them go as fast as possible in opposite directions and then at peek velocity; smashing them into one another. It is this collision that creates a type of energy that we could then harness for our power need, but with that energy it also provides great risk of a containment breach. Once man masters fusion who knows, maybe Hydrogen will be a thing of the past.Human Power ProductionNow this is one of the Different Energy Options that bugs us a little only because we should already have this type of energy generation vastly available in our world today and we do not. Physical power is really no different than any other power and it can be harnessed to power just about anything. The more one “moves” the more Human Power Production can potentially be generated and harnessed. Talk about the ultimate sustainable energy source, us!Natural Gas Energy ProductionNatural Gas Energy Production is a good one for our Alternative Energy Sources List and it is actually being used today on large scales. A considerable amount of the United States runs off of natural gas power and tomorrow even more may. Natural gas is actually a pretty safe and secure way of generating power, the risk comes into play in its susceptibility to accidents. Natural Gas is flammable of course, but because the gas is stored and sent through pipes underground, if an explosion where to occur in any residential or commercial building, there is a potential of knocking out or blowing up and entire block or more should an accident occur. With such high risk only time will tell how we tackle that problem!Solar Energy GenerationSolar Energy Generation is derived from harnessing the suns natural rays and converting them into usable electricity. Powering things through solar power is actually really feasible; however as with any of the Different Energy Options there are problems. The most significant issue with solar power is that we simply could not power any considerable application for any measurable duration. Meaning that when we transfer the power we gather from the sun allot of it escapes and is lost. With such a high rate of lost energy one really needs to ask themselves is solar power really an option for the masses?Geothermal Energy ProductionGood old Geothermal Energy Production is a beast of power generators. Imagine taking a huge plug and sticking it right into the Earth like on the commercials. Well that’s geothermal energy and it is not only feasible, we are using it right this very second. The biggest problem with this type of energy is the potential problems it may lead to when applied for an extended duration. Sucking power directly from Earth’s core may seem like a good idea at first, but who is to say what that will do to the core of our planet and even more the rotation of our fair planet. This option on our Alternative Energy Sources List needs further analysis, but initially the power output is great with an unknown long-term risk for the masses.Nuclear Power ProductionNuclear Power Production is awesome in its ability to provide massive amounts of energy for the masses. Unlike the rest of the Different Energy Options the problem with nuclear is clear and that is a potential meltdown. Many power plants, should a meltdown occur, have the damaging capability of destroying a some 100 mile radius and killing everything in its path. With nuclear the power is limitless; however so is the destructive power than comes with it.Wind Power GenerationWind Power Generation is really neat, but not really realistic for the masses. Given the correct setup a considerable amount of energy can be derived from harnessing power from the wind, however not enough to meet any average size community’s power needs. Wind power is a more local power generation option than one for the masses.Biomass Energy GenerationBiomass Energy Generation is one of the Different Energy Options that always makes me twitch. This type of energy from our Alternative Energy Sources List comes directly from the remains of organic life and yes that means both you and me. Organic life would actually make really good batteries, however there is a certain moral consideration to biomass energy. When talking about plants and bacteria the moral thought is minimal, but who knows where this would lead should we fully invest in biomass. Would some questionable nations actually use their own people to meet their power requirements like Yuri in the video game Red Alert 2? This option is an interesting one and basically defines the generation of power through algae.Tidal Power ProductionHere is a wave, there is a wave; one would think with so many waves cycling through our oceans that Tidal Power Production would be obvious. Now while it is and actually provides some serious energy, what would happen to our natural ocean life should we start actually changing the flow of our oceans? Imagine it no longer being warm in the Bahamas all because we started altering the natural tides of our planet, or worse off, what would tidal manipulation do to our moon?Gravity Power GenerationGravity Power Generation is a really really interesting concept that we have not heard enough about like the other Different Energy Options. Imagine being able to meet any and every power requirement by simply utilizing gravity. You throw something up in the air and when it comes back down it is fully charged and ready to go! We are not sure what the current standings are with Gravity energy, but as we look into it and learn more you can rest assured we will bring it to you and the rest of our readers.Different Energy Options – In ReviewNow that is a lot of information to take in from one Alternative Energy Sources List! These are only the Different Energy Options that we gathered in a rather short amount of research. We can only imagine what scientists are really trying to do behind closed doors and what they are tinkering with in hopes of making power a much less problem in the future.From Oil Power Generation to Coal Power Production, from Solar Energy Generation to Nuclear Power Production, from Biomass Energy Generation to Gravity Power Generation; who knows where man will get its power from in the future. One thing is for sure though and that is oil is going to run out eventually and we need to get on this and get on it NOW! Wouldn’t you agree?