Sunday, December 3, 2017

What is Alternative Energy?

There has been a debate among scientists, environmentalists, pedestrians, and vegetarians as to what alternative energy actually refers to; of course when they debate, it sounds more like a pleasant discussion filled with boring terms and cups of organic carrots juice rather than real arguments sprinkled with interesting lexicons. On one hand, alternative energy is defined as any form of energy which when generated or consumed does not increase carbon dioxide footprints; it may include hydroelectric and nuclear power plants. On the other, the term is more commonly used to describe non-traditional sources of energy such as wind, solar, and biomass.

Regardless of which definition you support, it is basically the better version of currently the most popular forms of energy production and causes of pollution: combustion engine powered by fossil fuels. Any source of energy that neither involves the depletion of natural resources nor causes harmful environmental effects is considered a good alternative. Meeting the two requirements is a tall order. For example, nuclear facilities do not produce carbon dioxide, but the steam from uranium reaction releases toxic radioactive waste; also, nuclear requires uranium which is not renewable. However, uranium is regarded as one of non-traditional sources of energy.

What is Alternative Energy
Lightning is also a form of alternative energy, which can light up your surroundings for about half a second
In a rather confusing conclusion, alternative energy is the kind of things that will eventually come to replace fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas as the mainstream forms of energy productions in the foreseeable future, unless climate change goes considerably worse and ends the world as we know it next year. Here are some other definitions of alternative energy described by people who think they are smarter than you.

Smart People
Their Definitions
Important Notes
the forms of energy generated by utilizing nontraditional sources
for example Samsung batteries before they explode
Collins English Dictionary
a form of energy derived from natural sources
natural gas, as the name says, is natural
whatever the acronym stands for, it defines the term as energy derived from anything but fossil fuels
like perhaps a horse
Random House Dictionary
energy than can supplement or replace traditional fossil fuels
however, it includes uranium as if the element was discovered last week
Princeton WordNet
energy derived from sources that neither deplete natural resources nor harm the environment
now even a horse cannot meet the requirements

Thankfully most people do not really care about the definitions as they are more interested in the implementations and whether or not their loans will be approved so they can at least consider purchasing alternative energy to power their homes, of course after the routine heavy splurge of spending on Christmas. If there is money left at all, they have the options to acquire one of the following forms:

  • Hydroelectricity: powerful flow of water, like a waterfall, is channeled through an expensive apparatus to spin turbines which then generates electricity. If water guns are as powerful as the manufacturers say, you can probably use them too.

  • Solar Power: either photovoltaic cells or solar-thermal is installed on your roof to harvest sunlight and convert it into electricity. Please also consider anti-theft devices and subscription to Weather Channel.

  • Nuclear Power: uranium or other radioactive elements heat water to produce steam which spins turbine to generate electric power. The description has been dumbed-down for the intellectually undemanding.

  • Wind Power: blowing wind spins turbines to generate electricity. If people stop visiting beaches, there can be more wind-turbines in the future.

  • Biomass: energy produced from organic matter or renewable resources. When you burn woods to bake pizza, you are using biomass but you have to plant more trees when the party is over.

  • Geothermal: steam produced by geological activities in Earth’s crust is channeled through pipes towards power turbines to generate electricity. Do not call plumbers to do the job.

  • Tidal Power: daily changes of tides (the movement of water in the events) can move turbines to produce electricity. Again, it may reduce the area you can wander around a shore.

Alternative energy is relatively still in its infancy. The good thing is that there has been rapid increase in awareness among people that the old-fashioned fossil fuels will not last forever. Developments and improvements in energy efficiency always go with the attempts to reduce negative environmental impacts. The end goals are not only to search for both alternative and renewable energy forms but also those with easy practical applications without requiring massive money investments on the consumers’ part.