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The Future of Alternative Energy Essay

    Problems related to the origin, economy, technical development and ways of using various sources of energy have been and will be an integral part of life on our planet. Every inhabitant of the Earth faces them directly or indirectly. Understanding the principles of production and energy consumption is a necessary prerequisite for successfully solving the increasingly acute problems of our time and, to an even greater extent, of the near future. Scientists and inventors have long developed numerous ways to generate energy, primarily electrical. Then let's build more and more power plants, and there will be as much energy as needed! This seemingly obvious solution to a complex problem turns out to be fraught with many pitfalls. Relentless laws of nature claim that energy that can be used can only be obtained by transforming it from other forms. Perpetual motion machines, supposedly producing energy and not taking it from anywhere, unfortunately, are impossible. And the structure of the world energy economy to date has developed in such a way that four out of every five kilowatts produced are obtained, in principle, in the same way that primitive man used for heating, that is, when fuel is burned, or when chemical energy stored in it is used, it is converted into electric at thermal power plants. The use of any type of energy and the production of electricity is accompanied by the formation of many water and air pollutants. The list of such pollutants is surprisingly long, and their quantities are extremely huge. Quite naturally, the question arises whether the use of energy and the production of electricity must always be accompanied by the destruction of the environment. And if it is true that any kind of human activity inevitably has a harmful effect on nature, then the degree of this harm is different. We cannot but influence the environment in which we live, since in order to maintain life processes as such, it is necessary to absorb and use energy.

    Humanity, of course, has an impact on his environment, but in nature there are natural balancing mechanisms that maintain the environment and the communities living in it in a state of equilibrium, when all changes occur rather slowly. Nevertheless, in many cases, human economic activity upsets the equilibrium created by these mechanisms, which leads to rapid changes in environmental conditions that neither man nor nature can successfully cope with. Traditional energy production, which produces huge amounts of water and air pollutants, is one such human activity. In this work, I want to consider obtaining electricity from natural sources, such as falling water, wind and energy from the sun, earth and hydrogen. These methods of generating electricity appear to be milder in terms of environmental impact than burning fossil fuels or fissioning nuclear uranium. In addition, all of the above energy sources are renewable, that is, they are practically available anytime and anywhere.

    Alternative energy source is a method, device or structure that allows you to obtain electrical energy (or other required type of energy) and replaces traditional energy sources operating on oil, produced natural gas and coal. The purpose of the search for alternative energy sources is the need to obtain it from renewable or practically inexhaustible natural resources and phenomena. Alternative or, as they are sometimes called, renewable energy sources (RES) include solar, wind, geothermal, tidal energy, wave energy, bioenergy and the energy of the temperature difference between the depths of the seas and oceans and other "new" types of renewable energy It is conventionally divided into two groups: Traditional: hydraulic energy converted into a usable form of energy from hydroelectric power plants with a capacity of more than 30 MW; biomass energy used to generate heat by traditional combustion methods (firewood, peat and some other types of heating oil); geothermal energy. Unconventional: solar, wind, sea waves, currents, tides and ocean energy, hydraulic energy converted to a usable form energy by small and micro-hydroelectric power plants, biomass energy not used to generate heat by traditional methods, low-grade thermal energy and other "new" types of renewable energy.

    Solar energy or solar energy is the use of solar radiation to generate energy in any form; solar energy uses a renewable energy source and in the future can become environmentally friendly, that is, it does not produce harmful waste - the production of energy using solar power plants is well aligned with the concept of distributed energy production. There are several ways to obtain electricity and heat from solar radiation: generating electricity using photocells; conversion of solar energy into electricity using heat engines: steam engines (piston or turbine) using water vapor, carbon dioxide, propane-butane, freons; Stirling engine and so on; heliothermal energy - heating a surface that absorbs the sun's rays and the subsequent distribution and use of heat (focusing solar radiation on a vessel with water for subsequent use of heated water in heating or in steam electric generators); hot air power plants (conversion of solar energy into the energy of the air flow directed to the turbine generator); solar balloon power plants (generation of water vapor inside the balloon of a balloon due to solar heating of the balloon surface covered with a selectively absorbing coating); advantage - the steam supply in the cylinder is sufficient for the operation of the power plant in the dark and in inclement weather.    

    In search of alternative energy sources in many countries, a considerable influence is paid to wind energy. Wind energy is a branch of energy that specializes in the use of wind energy - the kinetic energy of air masses in the atmosphere. Wind energy is classified as renewable energy, since it is a consequence of the activity of the sun. The most widespread in the world is the design of a wind turbine with three blades and a horizontal axis of rotation. The main direction of using wind energy is to obtain electricity for autonomous consumers, as well as mechanical energy for raising water in arid regions, in pastures, draining swamps, and so on. In areas with suitable wind conditions, wind turbines complete with batteries can be used to power automatic weather stations, signaling devices, radio communication equipment, cathodic protection against corrosion of trunk pipelines, and more. According to experts, wind energy can be effectively used where short-term interruptions in energy supply are permissible without significant economic damage. The use of wind turbines with energy storage allows them to be used to supply energy to almost any consumer.

    Geothermal energy - the production of electricity, as well as heat energy at the expense of thermal energy contained in the bowels of the earth. Usually refers to alternative energy sources, renewable energy resources. In volcanic regions, the circulating water overheats above boiling points at relatively shallow depths and rises along cracks to the surface, sometimes manifesting itself in the form of geysers. Access to underground warm waters is possible through deep drilling of wells. High horizons of rocks with temperatures less than 100 ° C are also common in many geologically inactive areas, therefore, the most promising is the use of geotherms as a heat source.

    Biofuel is a fuel from biological raw materials, obtained, as a rule, as a result of processing sugarcane stalks or rapeseed, corn, and soybeans. There are also projects of varying degrees of sophistication aimed at obtaining biofuels from cellulose and various types of organic waste, but these technologies are in an early stage of development or commercialization. A distinction is made between liquid biofuels (for internal combustion engines, eg ethanol, methanol, biodiesel), solid biofuels (firewood, straw) and gaseous (biogas, hydrogen). There are two main directions for obtaining fuel from biomass: using thermochemical processes or through biotechnological processing. Experience shows that biotechnological processing of organic matter is the most promising. In the mid-1980s, industrial plants for the production of biomass fuels were operating in different countries. The most widespread is the production of alcohol. Biogas can be converted into thermal and electrical energy, used in internal combustion engines to produce synthesis gas and artificial gasoline. The production of biogas from organic waste makes it possible to simultaneously solve three problems: energy, agrochemical (obtaining fertilizers such as nitrophoska) and environmental. Installations for the production of biogas are located, as a rule, in the area of large cities, centers for processing agricultural raw materials.

    The role of energy in maintaining and further developing civilization is undeniable. During the existence of our civilization, there has been a change of traditional energy sources for new, more advanced ones. And not because the old source was exhausted! The topic of work "alternative energy sources" is relevant today, because at the current level of scientific and technological progress, energy consumption can be covered by using organic fuels (coal, oil, gas), hydropower and nuclear energy based on thermal neutrons. However, according to the results of numerous studies, fossil fuels by 2020 can only partially satisfy the needs of the world energy sector. The rest of the energy demand can be met by other sources of energy - non-traditional and renewable.