* Alternative energy is any energy source that is an alternative to fossil fuel. In a general sense in contemporary society, alternative energy is that which is produced without the undesirable consequences of the burning of fossil fuels, such as high carbon dioxide emissions, which is considered to be the major contributing factor of global warming.
* This chapter discussed only a few of the possible alternatives to our current combustible energy generation system. Although it's impossible to foretell the future, energy policy arguments will be part of an ongoing political and societal debate.
* We obtain most of our energy in the United States today from petroleum, coal, and natural gas. We expend this energy primarily on electrical generation and on transportation.
Why We Must Consider Alternative Energy Sources?
There are two main reasons to consider alternatives to oil and coal in the near future. (1)First, our dependency on foreign energy sources seriously damages our economy and it is bound to get worse. (2)Second, if the greenhouse effect is really pushing temperatures up to damaging levels, the world--and most particularly the United States--may have to limit the burning of fossil fuel.
EXOTIC ENERGY SOURCES FOR TOMORROW
It has long been known that hydrogen could be an almost perfect energy source. Nonpolluting and theoretically obtainable from ordinary water, hydrogen burns more efficiently than hydrocarbon fuels, and hydrogen combustion yields no toxic substances, only heat and water. With all of these possible pluses, why are we not planning a hydrogen future? There are, it seems, tough technical and cost problems to solve first. What are the major disadvantages of hydrogen as an alternative energy source today? Cost of production is the major problem, and until some technical breakthroughs occur, costs will remain the limiting factor for some time to come.
Two other problems with...