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Utilizing Alternative Energy for Human Survival


    There is a lot of energy at our disposal if we simply put in the effort to research and develop the technology necessary to do so. We can avoid fossil fuels and old power grids by turning to these alternative energy sources.

    One of these alternative energy sources is wind power. Wind turbines are constantly being developed which are increasingly energy efficient and cheaper. “Wind farms” have sprung up in many countries, and they have become even more strategic over time so that they do not harm birds the way wind turbines did before.

    Another alternative energy source is one of the best known: solar energy. This involves the manufacture of solar cells that collect and focus the energy released directly by the sun, and translate it into electricity or, in some cases, hot water. Like wind energy, solar energy is completely non-polluting.

    Ocean wave energy is seen by the government and investors as having enormous energy generation potential. A generator in France has been in operation for many years now and is considered a huge success, and Ireland and Scotland are running experimental facilities.

    Hydroelectricity has been with us for a while and where it is set up, it is a powerful generator of electricity and is cleaner than the grid. However, there are certain limitations to the availability of a suitable place to erect a large dam. Many run-of-the-river, or small and local, hydropower plants have been established in recent times because of these limitations.

    Geothermal energy is very abundant, because it lies right under our feet, just a few miles below the earth's surface. This energy is generated by the heating of water through the action of Earth's very hot molten core. The water turns into steam, which can be harnessed and used to drive turbine engines which in turn generate electricity. A large amount of research and development has to be put into tapping geothermal energy.

    Waste gas energy, which is basically methane, reverses the usual energy-pollution relationship by creating energy from waste located in landfills and from some air pollutants. This gas is used in fuel cells and can be used in standard gasoline generators.

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    Ethanol is a substitute for gasoline and is made from materials such as wheat, sugar cane, grapes, strawberries, corn, and even wood chips and wood cellulose. There is controversy regarding this fuel with respect to which it never became truly economical or practical except in very localized areas, but the technology for extraction and blending is constantly being refined.

    Biodiesel energy is made from the oil contained in plants. So far, commercial biodiesel stores have been made using soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower oils. At the time of this writing, biodiesel is typically produced by entrepreneurial individuals or those wishing to experiment with alternative energy, but commercial interest from companies is on the rise. It burns much cleaner than oil-based diesel.

    Atomic energy is created in atomic energy plants using the process of nuclear fission. This energy is very efficient and can produce large amounts of power. There is concern from some about what to do with the relatively small amounts of emitted atomic energy waste products, as they are radioactive and take hundreds of years to decay to harmless.