Alternative energy resources have always been one of the trends in the energy industry. Thanks to their millions of benefits for our society and mankind!
Although alternative energy is not a new concept, it is becoming more common in mainstream society. It is because of the increasing awareness of the effects of fossil fuels on the environment.
What’s more, alternative energy plays a role in solving excessive consumption, global warming, and dependence on foreign oil. Each year, the global consumption of energy grows. It leads to a more noteworthy reduction in the usage of fossil fuels.
Alternative Energy Resources Meaning
What Are Alternative Energy Resources? Alternative energy resources are non-conventional ways of harnessing fuel. Many alternative energies—biomass, hydropower, solar, and wind power— come from natural processes.
Alternative energy resources for agriculture have been occurring for hundreds of millions of years. Although the technology is still young, people use these fuels with increasing uniformity to produce electricity worldwide.
What Is The Use Of Alternative Energy Resources?
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are many different uses for alternative energy resources. For example:
- Solar power can power appliances, heating water, etc., in homes or businesses;
- Wind turbines are added to farms and water treatment plants;
- Bio-diesel is used from recycled cooking oil that would otherwise go into landfill; and
- Geothermal energy can heat homes in winter or cool them in summer.
Importance of Alternative Energy Resources
Most often, people think of solar panels or windmills when considering alternative energy. However, there are many different technologies we are exploring. They will one day become integral parts of our society.
Alternative energy resources are diverse and continuously improving. They are expanding with the concerns of global warming.
Scientists and researchers are trying to put together feasible alternative energy resources. The goal is to implement right away the right energy sources that can provide steady power sources for future generations.
Alternative energy resources have several advantages over traditional fossil fuels. These include being renewable, not creating greenhouse gases when burned, producing less waste, and providing a clean power source in remote locations.
Alternative Energy Resources and Businesses At Present
At one time, energy companies were interested in maximizing returns by using as little money as possible. They wanted to meet consumer demands. Soon, many companies have realized that this strategy is not profitable. Especially when we talk about profitability for the long term.
Things have changed now. Many companies are beginning to look for alternative energy sources to replace traditional fuels. They are now using these alternative energy resources to increase their bottom line.
Alternative energy resources are plentiful and can create new opportunities for companies that invest in them – especially if they do so on time.
Types of Alternative Energy Resources
Following are the types of alternative energy resources:
1) Solar Energy
Solar energy can tap into the Sun’s energy with photovoltaics or convert sunlight directly into electricity. It is a dreamed option that many companies, universities, and the public are pursuing. It is also popular because of its environmental friendliness.
Many people believe that solar energy is only helpful during the day, but you can use it effectively at night because of battery storage.
2) Wind Energy
Wind energy is one of the most popular alternative energy resources that is gaining popularity. It has grown in usage by about 20% per year for the last ten years.
Most people believe that wind energy is effective only when there is wind, but you can use it on a 24-hour basis. Thanks to its powerful battery storage. Wind turbines can come with solar energy to provide power during the day and night.
3) Biomass Energy
It is another source of alternative energy. Biomass energy source provides long-term sources of power. It is made up of waste products and remains from industrial and agricultural processes.
Biomass energy is more cost-effective to convert biomass into energy, making it one of the best alternative energy resources. Also, it gives a better return than other organic products.
Biomass energy allows the possibility of producing clean transportation fuels and renewable electricity for years.
4) Geothermal/hydrothermal energy
It is another type of alternative energy that focuses on the core heat of the earth’s crust. This helps to gather thermal energy.
Some familiar places where this type of heat is available are Iceland, New Zealand, and Japan.
5) Thermal Fluids or Tidal Energy
Thermal Fluids and Tidal Energy are two additional forms of alternative resources thought about by scientists. They are not as common as wind, hydroelectric or solar energy. Still, they are a solution for our current issues with non-renewable energy sources makes them worth mentioning in the list of the best alternative energy resources.
I will explain both of them in detail below:
a. Thermal Fluids
It is based on the heating and cooling of air/water-based fluids. When a fluid is heated, it expands. When the same fluid is cooled, it contracts. So to transform this into mechanical energy, we should find a way to control the heating and cooling processes tightly.
b. Tidal Energy
In the case of Tidal Energy, there are two types: Tidal Streams and Tidal Barrages. Tidal Streams are similar to wind energy, and they use the kinetic energy of tidal currents.
Tidal Barrages are structures built across a tidal waterway that partly or entirely block it, raising or lowering the water level. This height difference can drive turbines and generators for electricity production.
It is an alternative energy source that can take organic materials such as crops or recycled plant material and convert them into liquid fuels for transportation needs. It can meet demands for transport fuel without having an enormous impact on food prices.
7) Solar Thermal Energy
Solar thermal energy is a process in which solar thermal collectors heat fluid, producing hot water or steam to generate electricity. It is one of the cleanest alternative energy resources that use no or little fuel.
Countries with lots of sunlight all year round use solar thermal energy more than others. South Africa is one example.
8) Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)
The systems use mirrors or lenses to reflect light and concentrate the Sun’s heat in a particular area. The area where it can be stored for energy purposes.
The process of turning the Sun’s heat into electricity is called ‘conversion. The conversion process takes help from semi-conductors to transfer the heat into electricity.
One way is through the use of a steam generator which makes steam, turning the turbine to produce electricity.
Water is heated up in a solar power tower through mirrors or lenses, focusing on a particular spot. In this way, through the greenhouse effect, you can store the solar energy in the form of heat by heating the water.
9) Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)
It uses the temperature difference between deep ocean water and surface water to create a sustainable renewable power source. The deep ocean water is about five °C colder than the surface. Therefore if this temperature gradient incorporates into a system for energy-generating purposes, it creates more clean energy.
10) Wind Turbine Farms
These farms use wind turbines to generate clean, renewable energy. In these farms, many wind turbines are placed near each other to produce maximum power.
Most people all over the world use these wind turbine farms as the most reliable alternative energy resources.
How is Alternative Energy Generated?
The most common method for generating alternative energy resources is through hydroelectric dams. These dams can hold back water, storing it for energy-generating purposes. When the generator is ready to use, this stored water can flow through turbines. As a result, it creates electricity.
The Sun is also a common alternative energy resource because of its ability to produce heat and light energy. We can transform the heat and energy from the Sun into different forms of power. The cells of photovoltaic in solar panels can absorb sunlight. In turn, it helps generate electricity or heat buildings.
Another popular form of alternative energy generation is wind farms. The large wind turbines on many acres of land help these windmills convert kinetic energy into electrical power from the moving air around them. That is sent directly into city grids for people to use.
A process called biomass conversion is an alternative energy resource. Biomass units focus on the organic matter of plants and convert this organic matter into different types of power. Thermal, direct heat or indirect heat are some examples.
Geothermal/Hydrothermal energy conversion uses the core heat from the earth’s crust to help generate a source of renewable energy. In these systems, geothermal fluid is pumped to a Heat Pump, which transfers its stored heat into a conventional heating system. Then heats homes and buildings in cold weather climates or cools them in hot weather climates.
The Future of Alternative Energy Resources
The alternative resources of energy such as water, solar, and wind are slowly becoming common all over the world. At first, only independent companies or individuals were using it. But now, major manufacturing corporations such as General Motors and Apple Inc. are using alternative energy resources for their energy needs. The companies are relying on alternative energy resources to be more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Solar and wind power continued to grow in popularity throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It was until breakthroughs in technology that made it easier for people to convert these renewable resources into electricity. We can expect that by 2022 one third of all global energy will come from alternative energy resources. This will include renewables such as solar, geothermal, hydroelectricity, etc.
However, the important question remains on how we can produce enough clean energy. Also, how we can maintain the level of energy needed for people’s needs around the world.
Let’s see what the future brings to us!
Tips To Use Energy Resources Wisely And Smartly:
- Consider using more sunlight to heat your home by opening all of the curtains. Primarily, make the most of the sunlight in the winter months. It will help you save on your heating bill.
- Another great energy-saving idea is to use alternative methods for transportation. Walking or riding a bike are great forms of exercise for your good health. They also allow you to cut down on gas consumption.
- Many stations will allow you to exchange your vehicle’s battery with a fully charged one if you have an electric car. So, you can make use of it again and again without having to wait for it to charge.
- For people who live in areas where temperatures drop below freezing, don’t forget about alternative heating sources. For example, fireplaces and stoves. These sources provide warmth and also give off a pleasant scent to fill your home with.
- Never leave your air conditioners running all day long. Try to keep it on for only 3-4 hours at a time. Let the natural sunlight filter through your windows during the summer season.
Despite hundreds of benefits, not everyone uses these alternative energy resources at present, since they are considerably exclusive than the traditional ones.
Some researchers claim that in the future, they will become common than the standard ones. Also, if we consider that most of them do not produce carbon dioxide, the so-called “greenhouse gas,” the benefits are even more apparent.
Summing up, we can say that alternative energy resources can become an excellent choice for our future energy needs. Also, if we consider that they produce no dangerous gases in society, it is healthier to switch to them as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading.
Please read our other article technology brings progress in our society!
Renewable energy deployment to combat energy crisis https://energsustainsoc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13705-016-0082-z
Renewable Energy: The Clean Facts – NRDC https://www.nrdc.org/stories/renewable-energy-clean-facts
Types of Alternative Energy Sources You Can Use Today https://www.inspirecleanenergy.com › clean-energy-101
Renewable Energy | Types, Forms & Sources | EDF https://www.edfenergy.com/for-home/energywise/renewable-energy-sources