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Alternative energy is typically defined as coming from sources that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment. Wind power is a typical example. The term alternative is used to contrast with fossil fuels according to some sources. Renewable energy differs from alternative energy in that it may have significant environmental impact, as is the case for most hydroelectric dams.
Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis
Mass extinction by 2050 Study
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NASA has just wasted a huge sum of money on its new space telescope. Of course it has a nefarious tasking capability but the 'official' purpose of this mission is to look far out into space for earth like planets. Of course we could never reach these planets without warping space. These missions and launches are a huge drain of resources. They are a huge waste of $'s, provide a conduit for hiding money and open the door to embezzlement and corruption by faceless bureaucrats and politicians. All this while OUR global ocean is experiencing drastic changes TODAY; like dropping pH levels/rise in acidity. NASA turn that high powered perception inward.
Biofuel is defined as solid, liquid or gas fuel derived from recently dead biological material and is distinguished from fossil fuels, which are derived from long dead biological material. Theoretically, biofuels can be produced from any (biological) carbon source; although, the most common sources are photosynthetic plants. Various plants and plant-derived materials are used for biofuel manufacturing. Globally, biofuels are most commonly used to power vehicles and cooking stoves.
Algae fuel, also called algal fuel, oilgae, algaeoleum or third generation biofuel, is a biofuel from algae. Compared with second generation biofuels, algae are high-yield high-cost (30 times more energy per acre than terrestrial crops) feedstocks to produce biofuels. Since the whole organism converts sunlight into oil, algae can produce more oil in an area the size of a two-car garage than an entire football field of soybeans. Everyday alternative energy scene is garnering bigger and important space in newspapers and industrial lives. People are feeling the need for greener energy and cleaner environment.
Some researchers are focusing their attention on one of the ancient living organisms, the cyanobacteria. The process of photosynthesis occurred in cyanobacteria 3.7 billion years ago. This light harvesting system imparted the cyanobacteria with blue (cyan) color. The bacteria used water molecules to transport energy. They derived this energy from sunlight, while converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. We all know how this activity proved helpful for the plant and animal kingdom. Plants evolved by using bacteria to provide their photosynthetic engines. Animals got oxygen to breathe. But here scientists are trying to breakdown each and every mechanism of photosynthesis of cyanobacteria to produce fuels like hydrogen, hydrocarbons or alcohols. [See: Bacteria could power the future] Algae fix the sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy and that too very fast. Scientists want to utilize this quality for alternative fuels. And when it comes to greener alternatives to fossil fuel what could be greener than pond scum?
Typical geothermal power plants require high-temperature wells that are above 100 °C (212 °F). Dry Steam or Flash Steam power plants can easily take advantage of these high temperatures by using steam to drive a turbine. This technology holds exciting prospects, as recently the US Geological Survey identified over 120,000 MW of untapped low temperature geothermal resources in the US. We can now have new generators online very quickly compared to the construction of a new coal or nuclear plant.
Solar energy refers to the utilization of the radiant energy from the Sun. Solar power is used interchangeably with solar energy, but refers more specifically to the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaics, concentrating solar thermal devices, or by an experimental technology such as a solar chimney or solar pond. Solar energy and shading are important considerations in building design. Thermal mass is used to conserve the heat that sunshine delivers to all buildings. Daylighting techniques optimize the use of light in buildings. Solar water heaters heat swimming pools and provide domestic hot water.
In agriculture, greenhouses expand growing seasons and pumps powered by solar cells (known as photovoltaics) provide water for grazing animals. Evaporation ponds are used to harvest salt and clean waste streams of contaminants. Solar distillation and disinfecting techniques produce potable water for millions of people worldwide. Simple applications include clotheslines and solar cookers which concentrate sunlight for cooking, drying and pasteurization. More sophisticated technologies concentrate sunlight for high-temperature material testing, metal smelting and industrial chemical production. A range of experimental solar vehicles provide ground, air and sea transportation.
Wave power refers to the energy of ocean surface waves and the capture of that energy to do useful work - including electricity generation, desalination, and the pumping of water (into reservoirs). Wave power is a form of renewable energy. Though often co-mingled, wave power is distinct from the diurnal flux of tidal power and the steady gyre of ocean currents. Wave power generation is not currently a widely employed commercial technology although there have been attempts at using it since at least 1890.
Developments in wave power technology, from Portugal's wave farm to Finavera's AquaBuoy 2.0. And now we are thrilled to announce that San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E) has entered into a long-term commercial wave energy power purchasing agreement (PPA) to use this innovative technology. PG&E is the first US utility company to commit to wave power and expects to start delivering wave-powered electricity into the grid by 2010.
Wave energy is produced when electricity generators are placed on the surface of the ocean. The energy provided is most often used in desalination plants, power plants and water pumps. Energy output is determined by wave height, wave speed, wavelength, and water density. To date there are only a handful of experimental wave generator plants in operation around the world.
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. At the end of 2007, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 94.1 gigawatts. Although wind produces about 1% of worldwide electricity use, it accounts for approximately 19% of electricity production in Denmark, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland (2007 data). Globally, wind power generation increased more than fivefold between 2000 and 2007. The principle application of wind power is to generate electricity. Large scale wind farms are connected to electrical grids. Individual turbines can provide electricity to isolated locations. In the case of windmills, wind energy is used directly as mechanical energy for pumping water or grinding grain.
Wind energy is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions when it displaces fossil-fuel-derived electricity. Therefore, it is considered by experts to be more environmentally friendly than many other energy sources. The intermittency of wind seldom creates problems when using wind power to supply a low proportion of total demand. Where wind is to be used for a moderate fraction of demand, additional costs for compensation of intermittency are considered to be modest.
Wind power is coming of age. In 2007, some 20,000 megawatts of wind were installed globally, enough to power 6 million homes. Sadly, most wind power manufacturers are no longer American, thanks to decades of funding cuts by conservatives. Still, new wind is poised to be a bigger contributor to US (and global) electricity generation than new nuclear power in the coming decades. Concentrated solar power could be an even bigger power source, and it can even share power lines with wind.
Wind energy is clean energy but not without its usual baggage. Their noise disturbs those who reside in the close proximity with a wind farm. Many a time wind turbines are forced to operate under partial load so that residents and wind farms can exist in peaceful coexistence. But operating under partial load means lower energy production. Even high winds go un-utilized in residential areas. The sources of the noises are many.
Over the past few years wind energy converters were not performing optimally. The most important difficulty is how wind generators will behave during voltage dips. A voltage dip is an unexpected cutback in the potential in the electric grid followed by a rapid return to its normal value. Voltage dips can be caused by lightening, falling of trees on power cables or any commercial unit consuming a huge power chunk suddenly. This voltage drop lasts for a few milliseconds. But these few milliseconds are very crucial for a machine. In fact, an interruption of half a second in a productive process can cause the whole process to block and it may have to be reinitiated.