Alternatives to Traditional Fossil Fuels Essay

Pages: 4 (1328 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Energy

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Current estimates are that there are on the order of three million different species of algae, which is approximately one hundred times the number of species of known land plants. They can occur at the microscopic scale as unicellular cyanobacteria or microalgae, all the way to multicellular macroalgae like giant kelp. The advantage of algae as an energy source is that it grows easily and prolifically in any kind or quality of water, including salt, fresh, or brackish water. This means that algae provide not only an abundant and perpetually renewable source of energy biofeedstock, but also represents a source with extremely high genetic and ecological diversity. Cultivation of algae is environmentally beneficial, as algae currently account for 50% of the world's oxygen production, but constitutes less than 1% of overall plant biomass on the planet (Valone)Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Alternatives to Traditional Fossil Fuels, Assignment

Wind-generated electric power is presently one of the fastest-growing new energy sources. Since wind is a byproduct of solar heating of the earth's atmosphere, it is an indirect form of solar power. Wind generators harness the kinetic energy from moving air by using wind turbines to convert this energy into mechanical and subsequently electrical power. The environmental concerns related to wind power are restricted to the relatively small byproducts of constructing the generators themselves, and a somewhat greater concern regarding the rate of avian and bat injuries and mortalities resulting from the large, exposed turbine blades moving at high speeds in their habitat. In addition there are some concerns about the visual impact of proliferating numerous large terrestrial and oceanic wind farms. Aside from these concerns, wind power constitutes a perpetually renewed, cost free source of energy that cannot be depleted, and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions or other air pollutants. The entry barriers to wind power production involve primarily regulatory and land acquisition challenges, but more prominently high start-up capital investments required for machinery and installation site preparation. Once installed and operating, wind power ultimately offsets the harmful emissions and carbon dioxide production of energy produced equivalent fossil fuel methods, and eliminates the troublesome waste generated by nuclear fission methods. ("Wind Energy Guide")

It is worth noting there has been significant debate surrounding whether nuclear energy should be considered a renewable resource. It was asserted by the former U.S. Bush Administration that the net creation of fissile plutonium fuel using breeder reactors to supply nuclear power generators constituted a renewable fuel and renewable process. However, current nuclear power plants utilize uranium 235, which is a naturally occurring element with a finite, limited supply. The prevailing view given the current state of nuclear technology has been well summarized in a civil petition sent to the office of the President in 2007, which asserted that nuclear power as we know it is not in fact a renewable energy source:

"Nuclear power is neither a renewable nor a clean source of energy. For that matter, oil, coal, and natural gas are also not renewable or clean sources of energy. Nuclear power and fossil fuels are environmentally polluting and non-renewable sources of energy that produce long-term radioactive wastes and/or greenhouse gas emissions. The primary renewable sources of energy are biomass (e.g., biofuels, bio power), geothermal, solar, water (e.g., hydropower, tidal, wave, ocean currents), and wind." (Renewable Energy World)

References

California Energy Commission. "The Energy Story - Chapter 20: Hydrogen and Future Energy Sources." 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

"Home - Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy." EIA U.S. Energy Information Administration. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

McCarthy, John. "Nuclear Energy is the most certain future source." 11 Oct. 1995. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

Renewable Energy World. "Nuclear Power Is Not A 'Renewable Source of Energy' | Renewable Energy News Article." 2007. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. "Wind Energy Guide." Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2011.

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