Since the start of the industrial revolution, humans have become reliant on the burning of fossil fuels to provide energy for machinery, heating and power for homes and businesses, and fir fuel for various methods of transportation. While the planet still has an abundance of natural gas, coal and oil, burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of the erosion of the protecting ozone layer and the biggest contributor to the global warming epidemic. With countries around the world dedicating millions and billions of dollars to become more green and help to, literally, save the planet, it is time to take a look at some alternatives to fossil fuels.
Solar panels of today may look similar to those used a decade ago, but the technology is miles apart, and in a good way. Technological advances in solar panels have made them cheaper and more energy efficient to install and use than ever before, and improvements continued to be made with every passing year. Solar panels convert the light energy from our Sun into direct current electricity, which is then passed through an inverter to create an alternating current that most household appliances use for power. Of course, solar panels need plenty of sunlight to generate electricity and they do take up quite a lot of room, but in installing them on all new build houses could become the norm, even in less sunnier climates.
Wind power is a clean and renewable source of energy available throughout the world because the wind blows all around the planet. When people think of wind power, they instantly think of the huge turbines erected in the countryside on massive towers, but advances in technology is allowing wind turbines to be installed without the need for towers; some can even be mounted on balloons!
Approximately 71 percent of the planet is covered in water and a large percentage of that water has ocean currents and tides, which we can now use to generate electricity. Creating electricity from tides and currents uses technology not too dissimilar to wind turbines, but with the added advantage that currents and tides are constant, unlike wind and the Sun. The main problem with tidal power is the fact currently we need to be located near a coastal area to harness energy from the seas and the technology needed is still very expensive.
Our planet is amazing when you think of it and it is almost like it wants us to use natural resources to create clean, green energy. The temperature beneath the surface of the Earth’s core-mantel can reach up to 4,000 degrees Celsius and this energy is often released via hot water springs. Geothermal energy is already being used around the globe to power some power stations. Another method of geothermal energy is to drill down near the Earth’s tectonic plates and then harness the energy released. This method is also very expensive, but it could become mainstream as the energy source should essentially never run out, allowing us to power the world without polluting the atmosphere.