Fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are the most widely used conventional sources of energy today and cause harm to the environment by resulting in air pollution. As we are becoming more aware of environmental conservation, there are an array of alternative energy resources which can be utilised in place for these hazardous traditional ones. Alternative energy sources are steadily assuming more importance due to concerns related to the environment as well as the gradual exhaustion of fossil fuels. This blog describes some of the most important and useful alternative energy sources as well as renewable energy sources that can potentially reduce the harm to the environment and restore our planet earth.
This Blog Includes:
What is an Alternative Source of Energy?
An alternative source of energy refers to renewable energy sources which have not been used as a first choice when it comes to energy production. These are sources of energy that are sustainable and utilise resources that cannot run out such as the sun, air, etc. When these are used to produce energy, not only are we reducing our carbon footprint on the environment but also utilising energy in a way that it can be used by future generations.
What isn’t a Renewable Source of Energy?
The fossil fuels which are burned to produce energy are not renewable. This is because they are finite in nature and can easily run out. They release a lot of carbon into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming by not letting the heat escape the atmosphere. Petrol, coal, etc. are methods of energy production which have been used for many years now but they are not getting replenished as they take millions of years to be produced below the surface of the earth. This is why they are called Non-Renewable sources of energy.
What are the Advantages of using Alternative Sources of Energy?
Following are some of the reasons why Alternative or Renewable sources of energy must be brought into use more than fossil fuels:
- Burning fossil fuels causes a larger carbon footprint as compared to alternative sources of energy.
- Burning fossil fuels causes levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to be released. These cause breathing issues such as asthma, heart diseases.
- Global warming is a direct impact of using non-renewable sources of energy.
- Alternative Sources of energy would be able to reduce the electricity bills that we receive at home.
Solar energy is produced from the rays of the sun through solar panels, which converts this energy into electricity. It is the most abundant source of renewable energy since it makes use of the light and heat energy emitted by the sun. Using solar energy is beneficial in terms of the costs and the positive effect on the environment since solar power does not emit any harmful gases into the atmosphere. It is one of the top alternative energy sources used in rural areas, industrial production, batteries, automobiles, heating equipment such as water heaters as well as to produce electricity for both indoor and outdoor lighting.
Nuclear energy is created through the process of nuclear fission i.e. the splitting of atoms of nuclear material such as uranium. The process involves splitting the atoms within a reactor, which produces a huge amount of energy in the form of steam, and this steam is used to generate electricity by using turbines. The main disadvantage of this alternative energy source lies in the possibility of an accident in the nuclear plant, which can lead to the spread of radioactivity over a vast area which can be hazardous. Such accidents have happened in the past, and therefore it is essential to have all safety precautions in place to prevent such occurrences.
Wind energy is one of the earliest forms of alternative energy sources which had its application back in the ancient times. Through this process, wind currents are used in the generation of electricity through energy converters popular as wind turbines. It is one of the most cost-effective alternative energy sources since wind supply is ample and unlimited. Wind turbines do not take up much space on land, and thus these can be built even on farmlands without much effect on crop production. The disadvantage in using wind energy is that the speed of the currents often fluctuate and wind turbines also pose a threat to flying birds or bats.
Geothermal energy is derived from the heat stored within the surface of the earth. This heat is trapped in the form of hot water and steam within the rocks and liquefied substances present under the earth’s crust. Electricity can be generated by geothermal power plants through using the energy to run turbines connected to electricity generators. Geothermal energy is one of the frequently used alternative energy sources in greenhouses and can also be utilised as room heaters in buildings.
Although not very widely used, tidal energy is one of the most potent sources of alternative energy with multifarious applications. Tidal energy is generated through the use of large turbines placed in areas of abundant tidal movement, which capture the active motion of the tides of the ocean and use it to produce electricity. Although tidal energy is renewable and does not pose any threat to the environment in terms of harmful emissions, the use of large water turbines does have a possibility of causing harm to marine life.
Hydro energy is the use of water sources such as streams and rivers to generate electricity. For this, a dam is erected on a water body to create a reservoir of water, which is then released through channels where turbines are installed. The turbines are connected with generators which convert the energy of the flowing water into electricity. Although this is a popular alternative energy source, the dams built with hydro energy may often change the course of the water body along with affecting aquatic life.
Biomass energy is energy generated from living organisms. The sources of biomass energy include plants, wood, animal wastes, organic waste from households etc. this type of energy is extensively used for cooking and heating purposes, as well as for generating electricity. Although biomass energy is renewable to a certain extent, it does cause environmental damage due to the release of pollutants in the air during the burning of such fuel.
We hope this blog on alternative energy sources was helpful in familiarising you with the different renewable sources of energy that are used extensively in the present day. These sources can play an imperative role in facilitating environmental conservation. benefit the environment in the long run. Want to become an environmentalist? Our experts at Leverage Edu can help you in choosing a suitable university and course to steer towards this noble and incredible career path! Sign up for a free career counselling session with us today!