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                  Alternate Energy Sources

 Save the Earth by switching to  alternate sources of energy

Dr. Abhinandan Bhardwaj PhD

Modern human population is hundred percent fossil fuel dependent. Indiscriminate use of fossil fuels since century and half has not only depleted this resource from Earth and made gas prices go sky rocketing but has landed us in the environment mess which we are experiencing right now. Answer to all these problems lies in nature and harnessing the natural sources of energy, such as sun, wind, hydro, and geothermal etc. These resources if harnessed properly can meet all our growing energy needs for generations to come without harming the environment.

Some of the most important alternate sources of energy are as follows:

     Solar Energy

 Solar energy is light and heat energy from the sun. Solar cells convert sunlight light into electrical energy or heat energy.  There is enough solar energy falling on the surface of the earth which can take care of all our energy needs. Solar energy is one the most resourceful sources of energy for the future. One of the reasons for this is that the total energy we receive each year from the sun is around 35,000 times the total energy used by man. However, about 1/3 of this energy is either absorbed by the outer atmosphere or reflected back into space.

Concentrated Solar Energy is the future of Solar Energy Creation: It is endless sea of mirrored troughs concentrate strong sunlight and convert it into 750-degree F thermal energy, which can then be used to create steam for electrical power generation. This is concentrated solar energy. Concentrated solar consists of vacuum tube steel and glass receivers. The parabolic mirrors focus the sun's energy on receiver tubes which absorb the solar radiation. The solar radiation then runs a 80 MW steam turbine.

   Wind Power

Like Sun Wind can be used to harness energy which is clean and non polluting unlike fossil fuels. Wind energy uses the power of the wind to generate electricity. To produce energy large wind turbines are used to produce electricity. These turbines can be used by homeowners and remote villages to help supply energy. Wind turbines capture the wind's energy with two or three blades that are set upon a rotar to generate electricity. The turbines sit on top of high towers the turning rotor then generates electricity.

    Geothermal

Geothermal is a Greek word that means earth heat geothermal energy derived from heat underground. Deep underground is quite hot; in fact, it is even hotter than the surface of the sun! Geothermal energy can be found in shallow ground and in hot water and hot rock found miles beneath the Earth's surface - deeper still is molten rock or magma. Geothermal heat pumps tap into the energy found in the upper ten feet of ground whilst hot dry rock three to five miles deep can be accessed by injecting cold water down a well, letting it circulate through hot rock fissures and extracting the heated water from another well.
 

   Hydropower

Hydropower takes the energy from running water and turns it into electricity. The most popular hydropower plant dams a river in order to store water in a reservoir. As water is released from the reservoir, it flows through a turbine turning it and activating a generator to produce electricity. Other hydropower plants use just a small channel to funnel the water through a turbine. Another type of plant called a pumped storage plant stores power - water is pumped from a river or lower reservoir to an upper reservoir where the power is stored. When extra power is required, the water is released from the upper reservoir back down into the river or lower reservoir, spinning turbines and so activating generators to produce electricity

   Biomass

Biomass energy is produced from organic matter. Biomass is plant matter such as trees, grasses, agricultural crops or other biological material. It can be used as a solid fuel, or converted into liquid or gaseous forms, for the production of electric power, heat, chemicals, or fuels. Other forms includes municipal and industrial wastes, and methane and other gases from landfills. The use of biomass energy aids in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. While biomass releases about the same amount of carbon dioxide as fossil fuels, the net amount of carbon dioxide remains at zero if the growth of new plants reduces the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This “recycling” of carbon dioxide works if plants are grown for the purpose of collecting biomass energy. Such plants form part of a biomass feedstock and involve trees and grass that grow quickly.

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