Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why use alternative energy

Alternative energy sources are the sources that have been developed to meet the increasing energy demands. Alternative energy resources are not based on the combustion of fossil fuels. The various alternative sources available are:

• Wood or biomass
• Hydro- electric power
• Solar energy
• Wind energy
• Wave energy
• Tidal energy
• Ocean thermal energy
• Geothermal energy
• Bio diesel power

Today, most of the energy comes from oil such as kerosene, gasoline and diesel fuel. They are commonly used fuels and have several benefits. They are available in abundance. These fuels are easy to transport and have a high energy density. Fuels are versatile as they can be produced from several different products. They are also important for the petroleum industry.

The question that arises is why to use alternative energy store when these fuels are available?

The simplest answer to this question is that the oil reserves of the world are not going to last forever. A time will come when the oil available in the world will finish or it will become too expensive to drill for oil. Alternative energy is a solution to this problem as it is renewable. This means that alternative energy will always be available and will never run out.

Another reason for the use of alternative energy is that it does not cause pollution and does not affect the environment adversely. On the other hand, fuels cause a lot of pollution.

With the increasing costs of fuels worldwide, alternative sources of energy offer the best possible solutions to meet the energy demands in future.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alternative energy –A replacement for Oil

The energy requirements of the modern world are fulfilled by the use of oil. Oil is said to be running the modern world. Oil is used in the form of gasoline, kerosene and diesel for a variety of purposes. The reason is that oil is available in the world in abundance and can be easily obtained.

Oil is used for transportation. It is also used in the manufacturing process of plastics, medicines, paints and many other materials. Oil also forms the base of petrochemical industry.

Oil has several characteristics that make it so popular for use. It is easy to transport, readily available, safe and versatile. However, oil is a finite resource. This means that there will come a time when no oil reserves will be left in the world. The cost of obtaining oil will exceed the benefits that it presently provides to the mankind. This will lead to an energy crisis which will be met by the use of alternative energy.

Alternative energy refers to those energy sources that will always be available for use on the earth. Alternative energy refers to all those sources of energy that will be used in place of oil to meet the energy needs of the future. The use of alternative energy will result in sustainable growth. However, the switch over from oil to alternative energy will require a lot of time and investment.

Alternative energy is the only way to meet the increasing energy demands and so methods must be developed to reduce the costs of moving from oil to alternative sources of energy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Benefits of wind energy

The air in motion is called wind. It therefore possesses energy in the form of kinetic energy. The energy obtained from wind is called wind energy. This source of energy has been in use for thousands of years and can be used for various purposes.

The benefits of wind energy are lots. Wind energy is a renewable source of energy. Energy from wind will never run out and will always be available. It does not produce greenhouse gases or other toxic elements. Areas where electricity cannot be supplied by electricity grids, wind energy is the best way to generate electricity. Wind energy is freely available. Low maintenance is required for wind energy. Because of the growth in the use of wind energy in different sectors like manufacturing and construction, several employment opportunities are being generated. It is a sustainable energy source.

Wind energy is used by wind turbines to generate electricity. Wind turbines have a few social and environmental disadvantages. It gives negative visual impact. Because wind turbines are installed at heights, their rotating blades may injure birds. They cause noise pollution. Wind turbines when installed in wind plants require a lot of land, thereby reducing the land available for other uses. They may cause interference in television signals. Wind turbines are expensive.

Most of these problems have been taken care of by using new and improved technologies to generate electricity from wind energy. Wind energy is a highly valued renewable source of energy available today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Solar ponds

The sun is the best source of renewable energy available. Solar energy is by far the most abundantly available energy source for this planet.

One way to trap solar energy is by using solar ponds. Solar ponds are large scale solar collectors that have an integral heat storage capability to provide thermal energy. In ordinary ponds, the sun’s rays heat water and this heated water rises upwards and loses its heat to the atmosphere. This results in the pond water remaining at atmospheric temperature. A solar pond dissolves salt in the bottom layer of the pond making the water too heavy to rise.

The solar pond has three zones. The topmost zone is the surface zone or the Upper Convective zone which has little salt content and is at atmospheric temperature. The middle zone is called the Non Convective zone where the salt content increases as the depth increases. Considering a particular layer in this zone, it can be observed that water cannot rise because the layer above this particular layer will have lesser salt content and will be lighter. Also water cannot fall from this layer because the layer below it has more salt content and is heavier. This zone therefore acts as an insulator that permits sunlight to reach the storage zone and also keeps it trapped there in the form of solar energy. The bottom most zone is the most salty one and is called storage zone or Lower Convective zone that collects and stores solar energy in the form of heat.

Solar ponds can be constructed anywhere economically.