Thursday, June 9, 2016

Energy to power tommorow

The burning of fossil fuels has been the primary staple for energy in America for the past century. These non-renewable sources of energy are damaging to the environment and are prone to depletion in the coming future. Efforts have been made to expand alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, water, and geothermal energy.

1) Solar energy
A decade ago, solar panels were a luxury that most average people didn't ever consider. However, solar panels are now widely available for installation in the average household. Off-grid solar panels are available to generate electricity solely off the sun's rays. The efficiency of solar panels has steadily increased with advances in engineering. It is possible to power an entire household with solar panels on a sunny day! In addition, the cost of installing solar panels has dramatically dropped. This is a great option for living sustainably and saving on your electricity bill!

2) Wind energy
Wind energy utilizes the force of air currents to mechanically turn wind turbines for energy. The source of this energy is ultimately the moon's gravity (which creates wind), so it is completely renewable, as long as we still have the moon. While you may see giant wind turbines spanning large open fields, it is possible to purchase smaller scale versions to power your own home as well. A large selection of wind turbines are available on Amazon for purchase under 500$. Reviews have reported running several electronic appliances at once without a problem with these wind turbines. Unlocking the energy that (literally) passes right by us can lead to lower dependencies on fossil fuels for our energy.

3) Water energy
Similarly to wind energy, the force of flowing water is utilized to spin turbines which generate electricity. Thanks to the water cycle, powered by evaporation from the sun and gravity from the earth, the kinetic energy flow in rivers can be captured. Obviously, dams are not commercially available to the average consumer, but knowing about this source of clean energy is useful.

4) Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy captures the heat energy that arises from the core of the earth. Hydrothermal  vents(heat from water) are a completely clean and sustainable energy source.
To the left is a map of common Geothermal sites around the US. The earth is constantly excreting the immense heat that is found in its core. This process does not remove any resources from the earth, unlike coal mining or fossil fuel pumping. Only the heat and pressure of the water vents are captured and converted into usable forms of energy. The earth will constantly heat and renew more water and steam for us to utilize. Hot springs are an example of geothermal energy. Instead of burning natural gas to heat your bathwater, a naturally occurring bath of water is waiting for you to enjoy! Click below to find a hot spring near you! 

Thank you for reading! Keep an eye out for these energy sources in the future. Who knows, maybe you will find yourself using one of them too! Best of luck!

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