Even earlier than you might expect, the potential issues surrounding the use of fossil fuels were taken into consideration, particularly in terms of climate change. The first scientist to assert that the use of fossil fuels could contribute to global warming was a Swedish scientist named Svante Arrhenius, who made his observation way back in 1896.
Over the course of the last few decades, the subject has evolved into a contentious political issue. Environmental awareness is on the rise today, and the sources of our energy are being scrutinized more closely than ever before.
As a result, a variety of alternative energy sources have risen in popularity. The viability of each of these alternatives can be debated, but they all provide something positive when compared to fossil fuels.
Lower emissions, lower fuel prices, and a reduction in pollution are all benefits that can be obtained through the use of alternative fuels in many situations.
In this article, we will look at eleven of the most prominent alternative fuel sources, as well as the advantages they provide and the potential for increased uptake in the coming years.
Here are some examples of Alternative Energy Sources and Their Importance
- Hydrogen Gas
- Tidal Energy
- Biomass Energy
- Wind Energy
- Geothermal Power
- Natural Gas
- Wave Energy
- Hydroelectric Energy
- Nuclear Power
- Solar Power
1. Hydrogen Gas
Hydrogen, in contrast to other forms of natural gas, is a fuel that burns completely cleanly. When in use, hydrogen gas cells emit only water vapor and warm air after they have been produced.
The most significant disadvantage of this type of alternative energy is that it is primarily derived from the use of natural gas and fossil fuels, which is a major source of concern. Because of this, it is possible to argue that the emissions produced by its extraction outweigh the benefits of its use.
Due to electrolysis, which is required for the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen, this is a less serious problem than it was previously thought. Electrolysis, on the other hand, remains a distant second to the previously mentioned methods of obtaining hydrogen, despite ongoing research into ways to make it more efficient and cost-effective.
2. Tidal Energy
Despite the fact that it is a relatively new technology, its potential is immense. According to a report published in the United Kingdom, tidal energy has the potential to meet as much as 20 percent of the country’s current electricity needs.
Tidal Stream Generators (TSGs) are the most common type of tidal energy generator used in the United States. These generate electricity by harnessing the kinetic energy of the ocean to power turbines, without generating waste from fossil fuels or being as vulnerable to the elements as other forms of alternative energy.
3. Biomass Energy
Biomass energy is available in a variety of forms. While wood has been burned for thousands of years as a source of heat, more recent technological advancements have seen waste, such as that found in landfills, and alcohol products used in a similar way.
When concentrating on wood burning, the heat generated can be comparable to that produced by a central heating system. Furthermore, the costs associated with this type of fuel are generally lower, and the amount of carbon dioxide released by this type of fuel is less than that released by fossil fuels.
However, there are a number of issues to consider when using these systems, particularly if they are installed in the home. Maintenance can be a concern, and you may be required to obtain permission from a local authority in order to put one in place.
4. Wind Energy
It has become increasingly popular in recent years to use this method of energy generation. This alternative fuel provides many of the same advantages as many other alternative fuels, namely that it is derived from a renewable source and generates no waste.
Wind energy installations currently provide electricity to approximately twenty million homes in the United States each year, and the number is increasing. In the United States, nearly every state now has some form of wind energy infrastructure, and investment in the technology continues to grow.
Unfortunately, this method of energy generation comes with its own set of difficulties. Wind turbines obstruct views and may pose a threat to certain types of wildlife, among other things.
5. Geothermal Power
Geothermal energy is, at its most basic level, the process of extracting energy from the ground beneath our feet. It is becoming increasingly popular, with the industry as a whole experiencing a five percent increase in growth last year alone.
According to current estimates by the World Bank, geothermal energy could meet the majority of the energy needs of approximately forty countries.
This source of energy has enormous potential while causing little disruption to the environment. However, because of the high initial costs of constructing geothermal power plants, the technology has been adopted more slowly than might have been expected for a fuel source with so much potential.
6. Natural Gas
Despite the fact that natural gas sources have been in use for several decades, it is only through the advancement of compression techniques that natural gas is becoming a more viable alternative energy source. It is being used in automobiles, in particular, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The demand for this type of energy has been increasing in recent years. In 2016, demand and consumption in the lower 48 states of the United States reached record levels for the first time.
Natural gas, despite its advantages, is not without its drawbacks. Natural gas has a greater potential for contamination than other alternative fuels, and it still emits greenhouse gases, albeit at a lower rate than fossil fuels. Natural gas also has a greater potential for contamination than other alternative fuels.
Biofuels, in contrast to biomass energy sources, make use of the life of animals and plants in order to generate energy. In essence, they are fuels that can be derived from some form of organic matter, such as plants or animals.
Plants can be regrown on an annual basis in the cases where they are used, making them a renewable resource. However, they do necessitate the use of specialized machinery for extraction, which can result in increased emissions even if the biofuels themselves are not responsible.
A growing number of countries, particularly in the United States, are embracing biofuels. The consumption of these fuels accounted for approximately seven percent of total transportation fuel consumption in 2012.
8. Wave Energy
With the use of wave energy converters, water demonstrates once more that it is a valuable contributor to alternative energy fuel sources. Tidal energy sources have an advantage over these because they can be installed in a variety of different situations and locations throughout the ocean.
Tidal energy offers similar advantages in that it produces less waste than conventional energy sources. It is also more dependable than many other forms of alternative energy, and when used properly, it has enormous potential to provide significant benefits.
Once again, the high cost of such systems is a significant factor in their low adoption rate. There is also insufficient data to determine whether wave energy converters have an impact on natural ecosystems at this time.
9. Hydroelectric Energy
Hydroelectric methods were actually some of the first methods of generating energy, though their use began to decline with the advent of fossil fuels in the late nineteenth century. However, they continue to contribute approximately 7% of the total energy produced in the United States.
Hydroelectric energy has a number of advantages over other forms of energy. This type of energy is not only a clean source of energy, which means that it does not contribute to pollution or the myriad of problems that can arise as a result of pollution, but it is also a renewable energy source.
Even better, it comes with a slew of additional advantages that are not immediately apparent. In addition to generating electricity, dams used for hydroelectric power also aid in flood control and irrigation techniques.
10. Nuclear Power
Nuclear energy is one of the most abundant sources of alternative energy available. It provides a number of direct benefits in terms of emissions reduction and energy efficiency, while also stimulating the economy by creating jobs in the construction and operation of the plants.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), thirteen countries relied on nuclear power to generate at least a quarter of their electricity in 2015, and there are currently 450 nuclear power plants in operation around the world.
The disadvantage is that if something goes wrong with a nuclear power plant, there is the possibility of a catastrophic event occurring. The situations in Chernobyl and Fukushima serve as illustrations of this point.
11. Solar Power
Generally speaking, when people think of alternative energy sources, they tend to think of solar power as an illustration. Over the years, the technology has advanced significantly, and it is now used for both large-scale energy production and small-scale power generation for individual homes.
In order to encourage the expansion of solar energy, a number of countries have introduced policies to this effect. The ‘Feed-in Tariff’ in the United Kingdom, as well as the ‘Solar Investment Tax Credit’ in the United States, are examples of such policies.
This energy source is completely renewable, and the costs of installation are outweighed by the money saved on energy bills from traditional energy suppliers over the course of the year. Although solar cells have a long lifespan, they are susceptible to deterioration over time and are less effective in less-than-ideal environmental conditions.
As the environmental and social consequences of traditional fossil fuel use become more visible, alternative fuel sources such as those mentioned here are likely to gain in importance.
Many of the problems associated with fossil fuel use are alleviated as a result of their benefits, particularly when it comes to emissions. Although some of these technologies have made significant strides forward, the advancement of some has been slowed by the amount of investment required to make them commercially viable.
We may be able to have a positive impact on issues such as climate change, pollution, and many others if we combine all of our efforts.
Please participate in the discussion below and share your thoughts on alternative energy sources with us in the comments section or by sharing this article on social media platforms.