What Are Some Alternative Energy Sources?
Energy is what makes the world go around. Without the existence of energy nothing happens. Energy makes life more enjoyable and more productive. We use energy to travel across country, to work or to the store. Energy powers airplanes, buses, trucks, trains and our family vehicles. It’s energy that allows us to speak to a family member clear around the globe or to search the internet anywhere in the world. Energy provides lighting for us to see at night. It heats and cools our homes to make us comfortable. The question is, “what is our source of energy?” Traditional energy sources aren’t always the best or the most cost effective. That is especially true with new technology at our fingertips. So what are alternative energy sources? Finding alternative sources of energy is now easier than ever before. There are a number of sources of alternative energy available to us today.
Renewable Energy Or Alternative Energy?
The terms “renewable energy” or “alternative energy” are often used synonymously, but they aren’t always the exact same thing. All renewable energy is considered an alternative energy source, but not all alternative energy is considered renewable. The definition of renewable energy is any energy source that is automatically renewed from natural processes, either directly or indirectly from the sun or other natural phenomenon. These sources would include geothermal power, photochemical energy or photoelectric energy. Other sources of renewable energy are wind, hydropower, photosynthetic energy or even tidal energy. Renewable energy does not include any energy resources that are derived from fossil fuels, any waste product of fossil sources, or any waste product that is derived from any inorganic source.
Alternative Energy Sources
Alternative Energy does also include resources that are derived from fossil fuels. An alternative energy would be any energy source that isn’t typically used as a device’s means of power. Natural gas would be considered an alternative energy source for vehicles but would be considered a typical energy source for heating of homes. Solar energy and wind energy are both renewable energy resources and also alternative energy sources. Since gasoline and diesel fuel are typical fuels for vehicles, other energy sources used for that purpose would be considered alternative. These would include solar, electric, hybrid, propane, or compressed natural gas (CNG).
Alternative Energy For Cars
In recent years, hybrid cars have become much more popular. The alternative fuel source for these hybrid cars is electricity, which is derived from battery packs installed within the vehicle. There are other hybrid types of vehicles that aren’t as common are hybrid gasoline and propane (LPG). Kia has its new Picanto Bi-fuel compact car that uses propane. There are other types of hybrid vehicles as well. There are the vegetable oil and diesel vehicles along with solar & electric, or solar and battery. Hybrid cars that use battery power normally utilize a rechargeable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack.
Solar cars have been developed by individuals and companies for private use for many years now, but these cars aren’t a viable option for the average person at this time.
There are a number of electric cars in production now. Several major car manufacturers are now offering electric cars for an alternative energy vehicle. The Nissan Leaf is a four door hatchback with a 100 mile range on a fully charged battery. The 80kW electric motor develop a maximum speed it about 90 mph. It takes approximately 8 hours to complete a full charge on the vehicle. It uses a Li-ion battery that was developed by NEC. The sticker price starts at about $28,000.
The Chevy Volt is also a four door hatchback. This car gets approximately 400 miles from a single charge and will travel at speeds up to 100 mph. The MSRP on this electric car is as low as $31,645.
The Ford Focus Electric is a five-passenger all electric vehicle with a combined fuel efficiency rating of over 100 MPG equivalent. It has a 240-volt charging station that achieves a full charge in half the time of the Nissan Leaf.
Toyota Prius PlugIn is another electric car that can be charged via a home outlet but its range is limited to less than 50 miles on a single charge. The price of this vehicle is about $45,000. There are also many other manufactured electric cars available today.
Another good alternative energy for vehicles is natural gas. Currently the only natural gas car for sale is the Honda Civic GX. This car has been in production for over a decade and has the cleanest burning engine of any non-electric car. Natural gas is about half the price of regular gasoline and is in abundance right below our feet. The U.S. alone has enough natural gas to last us 100 plus years.
Alternative Energy For Homes
There are two typical sources of power for homes. One that is standard for all homes is electricity. For heating water and/or home heating, one of two energy sources is normally used. Some use Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) otherwise known as propane while most use Compressed Natural Gas. Two options are available for alternative energy for electrical power for homes. One is wind energy. Although this would be an option for an individual living on acreage in some rural areas to install their own windmills, most windmills used today for electrical power are commercially installed and tied into the electrical grid.
The other viable option for most individuals who own their own home is finding solar panels for sale. Solar energy systems can be installed on the roofs of most homes. Solar photovoltaic panels collect the sun’s rays and convert it to electrical energy. This energy starts as Direct Current (DC) and is converted into Alternating Current (AC) by an inverter. This energy is then used to power the home. Any extra current produced is fed back into the grid, which is used for a storage source.
Another alternative way to use solar energy is to install your own battery system to collect any unused energy. That energy can then be fed back into the home energy system as needed. This is much more bulky and more expensive than utilizing the grid as a backup. If you really want to save money, you might consider diy solar panels for home use.
There are a number of alternative energy sources for the home and vehicles. Finding the alternative sources of energy that best fit your needs is the key. When looking at alternative sources of energy, evaluate both the initial cost of installation as well as the cost of operation over the long haul.