Just why do we need to develop alternative energy sources… and what options do we have?Round about 95% of the World’s energy demands – in other words, our electricity, heating and transport – are derived from fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.Do you know why they’re called fossil fuels? Well, it’s because they’ve been formed from the organic remains of prehistoric animals and plants.Unfortunately, these fuels pollute the atmosphere terribly with carbon dioxide, thus contributing to global warming and the greenhouse effect. On top of that, they’re unsustainable fuels, meaning that, eventually, the sources will be used up.So, our aim nowadays is to find and develop other sources of energy. Sources which first of all, do not pollute the atmosphere and, secondly, which are sustainable. In other words, clean, renewable energy, sourced from fuels which will not run out.
Fortunately, we have a number of options open to us when it comes to developing alternative energy, for example:solar energy
wave and tidal power
geothermal energyNuclear power is also an alternative to fossil fuels and which is low in carbon dioxide. However, it does produce highly toxic, hazardous waste, and is not a renewable source of energy, for its fuel – uranium – is finite.But, let’s take a closer look at the various renewable energy options.Solar EnergyPerhaps the best-known form of renewable energy, the sun’s rays are focused onto solar panels full of photovoltaic cells and converted into usable electricity.Wind PowerWind farms have as their advantage the fact that they’re extremely quick to build, with modern-day wind turbines harnessing the strong power of the wind to generate electricity.Wave and Tidal PowerVery much in the early stages of development, the immense power of crashing waves is harnessed to provide a clean form of energy.Underwater turbines known as tidal stream generators also use the power created by changing tides to provide energy.
Biomass PowerWith this, biological materials from living or recently living organisms, such as trees, grass, agricultural and urban waste, are converted into an energy source.Geothermal EnergyThe inside of the Earth is tremendously hot. Geothermal energy involves tapping into this heat and converting it into electricity.As you can see, we certainly don’t lack options when it comes to finding forms of renewable energy. It’s now well-past the time for us all to follow the fine examples of such countries as Sweden and Finland, and make a determined effort to develop and use alternative energy sources.