One of the loyal readers of booneyliving.com recently emailed me after reading my article called Is Nuclear Energy Renewable and he had some questions about what renewable energy sources actually are. This individual wanted to know if I had a list of alternative energy sources that they could refer to. At the time, I hadn’t compiled one yet but it seemed like a good idea so today you’ll have the chance to see what I was able to come up with.
Please note that I won’t elaborate on each source of alternative energy in this article. I think it makes much more sense to discuss each form of renewable energy in future posts in more detail. Without further adieu, may I present my alternative energy sources list to you.
Solar energy is made up of both the technology to generate electricity with solar PV panels and the technology of heating water, food, or living spaces with the power of the sun.
Wind energy also falls into two categories. The first is the generation of electricity with wind turbines. The second is using wind power to do some kind of work such as pump water or propel a vehicle.
Geothermal energy is the utilization of heat from deep within the earth to either heat water, living spaces, or even generate electricity by using the intense heat to power steam turbines. The town that I live in uses geothermal energy quite a lot. As a matter of fact, our local hospital is entirely heated this way.
This is one of the alternative forms of energy that makes use of one of the most abundant resources on earth – water. Hydro energy can be in the form of huge power generating turbines that are installed in dams. It can also be medium to small scale hydro power generators that get their flow of water from rivers. Let’s not forget that there is a lot of research being done with technology that harnesses the flowing currents of water in the ocean.
This is the use of natural resources such as wood or plant products that can be burned as fuel instead of coal or oil to generate electricity. Believe it or not, you can even build a small device called a “wood gasifier” that can create a gas that is capable of running engines! This is on my list of experiments to build. Bioenergy is also the production of plant based fuels such as bio diesel and ethanol.
This category includes using waste products such as cow manure to collect methane. It’s even possible to harvest methane from sewage treatment plants if you can believe that. Other forms of waste energy include using various agricultural byproducts as a form of fuel that can be used to generate electricity.
Hydrogen is a very combustible gas that can be extracted from many natural resources such as water. It can be use to power engines that generate electricity or propel vehicles.
Some people may consider this a bit of a stretch but generators that rely on the muscle of either people or animals to power them have a small but loyal following. Pedal powered generators don’t put out a lot of electricity but they are a viable source of renewable energy for very small scale applications. My husband is currently building a prototype for a pedal powered generator. He even has plans to harness the tremendous strength of our horses and mules to generate electricity. You can look forward to up coming articles on each of these projects!
Well there you have it, my comprehensive renewable energy sources list! If you can think of something that I have overlooked, please send me an email or leave a comment in the box below and I’ll add it to this post.