The renewable sources of energy that are used as the alternative of non-renewable sources of energy are called alternative sources of energy.
In other words, the sources of energy which we can use to preserve the non-renewable sources of energy are called alternative sources of energy.
All the perpetual and renewable sources of energy fall in this category.
The main sources of alternative sources of energy are as follows:
2. Nuclear energy
The sources of energy which we obtain from plants and animals are biofuel.
Biomass and biogas are examples of biofuel.
Biomass is any organic material which we can convert into energy.
Biomass includes wood, dung, weeds, agricultural waste and bagasse.
We can grow certain plants and algae, including sugarcane and seaweed, especially for the use of biomass.
Biomass is easily available and renewable.
We can release biomass energy from biomass by burning it.
Firewood is a common source of energy.
We can also convert wood into charcoal by burning in an insufficient supply of air.
In villages, people use animal dung (dung cakes) as fuel in kitchens.
To obtain biomass, we should treat the dung of cows or buffaloes with bacteria.
Biogas is an excellent source of fuel for villages.
The gas obtained by the decay of garbage, cattle dung, sewage and other wastes in the absence of oxygen is biogas.
Biogas is a mixture of hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and methane.
We can use biogas to glow lamps and cook food.
Nowadays, husk, saw, dust and straw pieces are also pressed highly by machines to make biofuel like briquettes.
All the above examples are of biogas.
Advantages of biogas
There are many advantages of biogas. They are as follows:
1. It is a renewable source of energy and produces more heat on burning.
2. It is cheaper and we can produce it easily at a domestic level.
3. It is environment-friendly and it does not cause air pollution.
4. We use biogas for cooking food, lighting and generating electricity.
2. Nuclear energy
When a heavier nucleus splits or light nuclei combine together, there is a tremendous release of energy in the form of heat and light which is called nuclear energy.
It is called nuclear energy because it is the product of nuclear reaction (nuclear fission and nuclear fusion).
a. Nuclear fission
When a heavier nucleus is bombarded with slow neutrons, it splits into lighter nuclei with the release of a large amount of energy. This process is nuclear fission.
For example, uranium splits into barium and krypton nuclei with the release of energy.
We use Einstein’s mass-energy relation for the calculation of nuclear energy.
According to it, mass ‘m’ can be converted into energy; E equivalent to mc^2 [E = mc^2], where c is the velocity of light in a vacuum (3×10^8 m/s).
The enormous amount of heat energy released by nuclear fission is used for producing steam that rotates the blades of generators. It then generates electricity.
b. Nuclear fusion
When two or more than two nuclei combine to form a heavy nucleus under certain conditions, there is a tremendous release of energy in the form of heat and light.
This is called nuclear fusion.
For example, hydrogen nuclei fuse together to form a helium nucleus with the release of energy.
The fusion reaction does not take place under ordinary conditions. It occurs only under extremely high pressure and high temperature.
The hydrogen bomb is based on nuclear fusion.
It is not possible to generate useful energy by nuclear fusion so far on the earth.
Advantages of using nuclear energy over fossil fuels
1. A small amount of nucleus fuel like uranium-235 can produce as much energy as fossil fuel like coal can produce.
For example, 1 gram of uranium can produce equal energy produces by three tons of coals.
2. Once the nuclear energy is fed into a nuclear reactor, it produces energy for two or three years.
On the other hand, fossil fuels have to be fed at regular intervals in the thermal power station.
3. As only some countries of the world are using this source of energy, we can also use it as an alternative source of energy.
Disadvantages of using nuclear energy over fossil fuels
1. The pollution caused by nuclear energy is much more dangerous than pollution caused by fossil fuels.
2. Nuclear fission reaction produces harmful waste material, which we can not store or dump in rivers, seas or open fields as we do for fossil fuel wastes.
Thus, there is a serious problem in the disposal of nuclear wastes.
3. Tidal energy
The energy that can be obtained from the tides of seas and oceans is called tidal energy.
As we know, water bodies cover about 71.11% of the total Earth’s surface especially seas and oceans, it is very easy to generate hydroelectric power in the seas and oceans.
The tidal waves in the oceans build up and recede twice in a day. The rise of ocean level is due to the attraction of the moon is called high tide whereas the fall of ocean level is called low tide.
The water raised during the high tide is trapped in dams. This water then allowed to fall down slowly on the blades of turbines. The rotating turbine drives generators, which ultimately produce electricity.
But we cannot imagine generating tidal energy or tidal power in that country where there is no ocean.
Advantages of tidal energy
1. The source of power generation is renewable free.
2. It does not cause any pollution and the energy generated is clean and pure.
4. Wind energy
The energy obtained from strongly moving air or wind is called wind energy.
The wind is the movement of the large masses of air from one place to another. Wind possesses energy because of its motion.
Wind energy is generated when the power of the wind is harnessed to propel the blades of wind turbine attached to an electric generator.
Traditionally, in the developing countries, people use wind energy to separate the husk from grains and to drive windmills, which in turn operates water lifting pumps and flour mills.
Nowadays, we use wind energy to generate electricity.
Advantages of wind energy
1. Wind energy does not pollute any environmental pollution.
2. It also reduces our dependence on scarce petroleum products by installing windmills.
5. Geothermal energy
This is the energy that we obtain from the heat present inside the earth. As we know, the inner part of the earth is very hot.
By drilling a hole, if we allow water to contact such hot regions, it instantly gets converted into steam. Such generated steam comes out from the hole forcibly and rotates the turbine to produce electricity.
Advantages of geothermal energy
1. Similar to the other alternative sources of energy, it is also free of cost.
2. There is no harmful by-products are produced with a proper power generation system.
6. Solar energy
This is the energy that produces from the sun and the earth receives it directly free of cost.
This is one of the most important alternative sources of energy, which has been available for us from centuries and will be available without any cost in future too.
Nowadays, people are using solar panels to absorb solar radiation, which in turns generates electricity in their houses and other places too.
Apart from electricity production, people use solar energy for cooking food, heating water and glowing bulbs, etc.
Advantages of solar energy
1. Solar energy is absolutely free of cost.
2. We can use the generated solar power in the day time as well as a night in the time too by storing it.
3. We can use solar power generators to generate power in rural areas and remote areas where there is no reach of the conventional form of energy.
4. We can generate solar power quite easily and conveniently.
5. Solar energy is a renewable source of energy and it will not end until years.
Why use alternative sources of energy
We should use alternative sources of energy because it is free of cost and also it is a renewable source of energy. We don’t need to fulfil tax to the government for using some alternative sources of energy like solar energy, wind energy, and tidal energy, etc.
Alternative sources of energy do not pollute the environment. We can generate power through the alternative sources of energy which will be clean and green.
Challenges with the use of alternative sources of energy
As we know, alternative energy sources are the best sources of energy, we want to use it. But at some places in the world, there is a lack of proper management for using these alternative sources of energy.
Many countries having non-renewable sources of energy like petrol, diesel, coal and gas, etc are not yet ready to move from using conventional energy sources to the alternative energy sources.
This is going to be a big problem in the world, so we should encourage them to use alternative energy sources.
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