Comparison/Contrast of Energy Sources

Topics: Nuclear fusion, Fuel cell, Hydrogen Pages: 6 (2330 words) Published: November 29, 2010
Energy: Nuclear Fusion, Hydroelectric, and Hydrogen Fuel Cells In today’s world, where everyone owns an electronic appliance, energy is an extremely valuable resource and in high demand. Though in the past this energy was provided by burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, this way of providing energy can’t last much longer due to the dwindling amount of fossil fuels and the damage it causes to the environment. Therefore, scientists have been searching for new ways of providing energy. They hoped to find inexpensive and eco-friendly sources. Some of those solutions include hydroelectric energy, hydrogen fuel cells, and nuclear fusion. Hydroelectric energy is a reliable and easy to obtain source of energy. In order to produce energy, all that is required is flowing water. Since much of the world is covered by rivers, oceans, lakes, and many other bodies of water, hydroelectric energy is a very plausible replacement for fossil fuels. Energy is obtained through the use of a dam on a river or pumped storage facilities. hoover Dam – located on the colorado river

A hydroelectric dam is used on decent sized rivers that have a drop in elevation; both of these conditions have to be met in order for a dam to be very productive. The reservoir behind the dam itself will hold an insurmountable amount of water and pressure that push on the dam. At the bottom of the dam is an intake opening that allows the pressurized water to flow through. The pressure of the water above will push water through this opening at a very quick pace. The flow of water will run through a turbine and spin it before flowing out on the other side of the dam. The turbine is connected to a generator above by a generator shaft. As the turbine is spinning, it is providing the mechanical energy needed to run the generator, which, in turn, is transforming the mechanical energy into electricity through the use of magnets. Pumped storage facilities are based on the same principles, including the turbines and generators, as hydroelectric dams. It takes water from an elevated position and runs it through a turbine which then runs the generator creating the electricity. However, the pumped storage facility is not run by a river. Instead, the facility is attached to either a lake or reservoir. The facility will pump water up to an elevated position and then, when needed, will allow it to flow back down in order to create the electricity needed. The hydroelectric dams can be run around the clock for twenty-four hours a day. They are able to do this because rivers never stop flowing. However, the pumped storage facilities are only able to run only for a limited time until the water storage runs out. Yet, this is not a bad thing. The main reason for a pumped storage facility is to be used for peak hours of the day when the most electricity is consumed. Therefore, the storage areas are large enough to hold enough water to get through those hours. There are no waste products when using hydroelectric energy. The only element used is water and water is the only product. Plus, the water remains as part of the river and can supply towns and farms further down the river with nutrients in the water. However, the dams can also cause problems. The dams create reservoirs behind them as the river builds up over time. These reservoirs may prove to cause problems for lots of people and the surrounding area. Reservoirs may become too large and flood nearby towns. The people of those towns have to be relocated and compensated for by the company that built the dam. The dam will also stop the natural flow of the river. It causes the water to become stagnant and the minerals and nutrients in the water will build up over time at the bottom of the dam. The farms down river will stop receiving the nutrients from the water and their products will suffer. Also, the stagnant water can become a disease infested place and cause small scale epidemics. These are some of the prices to pay for...
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