“Alternative sources of Energy” In the not-too-distant future — with regard to history’s time-line — there will come a point when oil that is fossil fuels will have been depleted. However, waiting until supplies are exhausted would place a major hardship upon future energy demands. Even the existence of other conventional sources such as hydropower, wind energy and biomass will not suffice keeping in mind the rapid advancement. It is therefore imperative to look for alternative sources of energy in order to avoid the inevitable disasters that lie ahead.
For the last few years, major research is going on in various fields, such as solar energy, energy from the ocean (tidal, wave, thermal). So also ways to harness energy from the air, vide air tur-bines. Not to ignore the clean, yet the deadliest form of energy, i. e. the Nuclear energy. Solar energy as the name implies comes from the sun. It is estimated that during the day, the side of Earth facing the Sun, a square kilometer at the outer edge of our atmosphere receives 1,400 megawatts of solar power every minute, but only half of that amount reaches Earth’s surface.
It is this amount that needs to be harnessed and stored for use during the night and cloudy days. Solar energy is safe, clean and non-polluting. It is renewable and an endless source of energy. Most important of all, it is free! Har-nessing solar energy has its share of drawbacks, such as cost of hardware, storage and maintenance. Limited to, bright and sunny days. It is to be noted, however, that if research is to be accelerated, greater funding should be available and customer support to the industry is of utmost importance.
Tides, waves and underwater tidal power are also good sources of energy, which are being experimented upon for quite some years now. The rise and fall of water during tides can be used to run turbines placed in the flow of water passing through barrages. This tidal power is also clean and renewable source of energy, since tides will always be there. Tidal turbines are up to 80% efficient in converting tidal energy to usable electricity.
Underwater tidal power can be converted into usable electric-ity, by using the kinetic energy of the underwater tidal forces to run the turbines. Like the wind turbines, these water turbines too generate clean and non-polluting source of energy. Underwater tidal power is cheaper than tidal power, since there is no cost of building dams. This type of energy generation is still relatively new and in development and requires further extensive research, specially, to learn about the possible side effects to the environment.
Air turbines, unlike the wind turbines, are floating turbines up in the air, which operate at higher wind speeds than conventional wind turbines, and also producing less noise on the ground. Air turbines can be placed close to wherever they are needed, so no need for long, costly power lines, or other expensive infrastructure. Air turbines are highly mobile, and can be moved easily. Geothermal energy is the heat stored inside the earth and the energy is derived from the transfer of heat from the core to the sur-face of the Earth.
Geothermal energy is relatively economical, but not readily available or obtainable. One of the most important sources of alternative energy today, is the nuclear energy. This energy does not pollute the air with contaminants. Nuclear power plants require very little fuel. One ton of uranium produces more energy than is produced by several million tons of coal or several million barrels of oil. That is the me-rit of nuclear fuel. The demerit is that nuclear explosions produce radiation that harms the cell of the body, so much so that it can make you sick and even kill.
Chernobyl disaster is one recent ex-ample. Another major problem is the waste disposal, which emit dangerous radiation, and therefore cannot be thrown away like or-dinary garbage. Besides, there is the security problem. I wish to reiterate that it is with utmost urgency, dedication and globally united efforts that we should accelerate our research, in developing more efficient energy harnessing methods and high capacity storage media. Our conventional resources are fast getting depleted and it won’t be long before we all run out of gas!