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Alternative and Renewable

Energy
Christopher Nicholson
section: AD
Last 4 # of SIN: 5001
Current Primary Energy Sources
Current Primary Energy Sources
The pie chart on the left depicts global sources of energy use. Notice how the
majority of energy produced is non-renewable, and that the 3 primary sources are
the most CO2 productive than any other energy source. This is because most
economies have been built upon fuel dependency, and have not taken much
consideration into more environmentally friendly, yet less efficient energy sources.
The chart on the right depicts the USs economic dependency on fossil fuels,
especially foreign petroleum. This chart reflect the global non-use of renewable
sources of energy.
note: A quadrillion BTUs is about equal to the amount of energy in 45 million tons
of coal, or 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or 170 million barrels of crude oil. In
1988, total world energy consumption was about 1 quad every 26 hours.
Solar Energy
Solar Energy
In this chart you can see that the world as a whole has been increasing its use of
solar energy. In 2000, we had just began to produce about 300 megawatts
annually. But today we have moved vary far in photovoltaic energy production,
and with this trend we can only hope to see more development and modification
in this infinite source of energy.
Some of the applications of solar energy include space heating and cooling
through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection,
daylighting, hot water, thermal energy for cooking, and high temperature
processes for heat for industrial purposes.
Hydro Energy
Pie chart: Energy Information Administration. International Energy Annual 2004.
Hydro Energy
Hydro electricity is the most abundant renewable source of energy.
Hydro electricity produced through the force of gravity falling or flowing through a
turbine, which turns and powers a generator.
Worldwide, hydroelectricity supplied an estimated 715,000 megawatts of
electricity in 2005. This was approximately 19% of the world's electricity (up from
16% in 2003), and accounted for over 63% of electricity from renewable sources.
This reflect the rough average of the continents shown in the pie chart.
The picture is one of the worlds largest hydroelectric damns, the Three Gorges
Damn, which spans the Yangtze River in Sandouping, China.
Biofuels and Biomass
Source: Keetsa.org
Source: Total.com
Biofuels and Biomass
Biofuels and biomass are distinguished from fossil fuels because biomass consists
of recently dead organic material, whereas fossil fuels consist of long dead organic
material accumulated over great periods of time.
Biofuels and biomass have much less carbon emission than fossil fuels because bio
products consist of carbon in the current earths carbon cycle, whereas Fossil Fuels
have much greater carbon emission from long periods of accumulation.
To create biofuels and biomass you need a high sugar or starch based material,
which is then fermented with yeast to create ethanol.
Ethanol is becoming a more and more popular alternative to gasoline.
Wind Energy
Wind Energy
Another one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources.
Global wind energy has greatly increased in the last decade, especially having
doubled in the three years between 2005 and 2008.
Historically used to power sailing, the grinding of grains, or pumping of water. But
the same basic concept is applied to wind turbine energy.
Wind energy collection has the same principal as hydro energy, that is, turning a
turbine to power a generator.
Current Alternative Energy Usage in
the US
Current Alternative Energy usage in
the US
The 3 primary fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) are still the USs primary
sources of energy.
Renewable energy sources only account for 6% of the nations energy production.
The economic dependence on fossil fuels is going to be hard to shift towards alternative
energy sources.
This is because our rapidly growing economy requires the most productive sources of
energy, but our nation is only now beginning to take into consideration mitigation of
global warming.
The business as usual scenario is most stimulating to economies but is the most
detrimental to our environment.
Serious alteration of energy dependency will require great time and sacrifice, especially
to our economy.