Global warming has increasingly become an all-encompassing issue in both the media's and public opinion. It is only logical then that more and more attention is being paid to alternative energy sources which may have the capacity to not only provide a more environmentally friendly way of supplying our electrical needs, but also bring energy to places of the world where it is not currently available. These facts are particularly relevant to the United States, as the nation is the largest energy consumer in the world (Pimentel, 2002). As a result, the U.S., which hosts only 4% of the world population, is responsible for approximately 22% of global CO2 emissions (Pimentel, 2002). Given that carbon levels stored in fossil fuel reserves are ten times greater than current atmospheric carbon levels, the notion of continuing upon our destructive path of fossil fuel reliance is completely impractical (Rotty, 1979)
[...] References: Beil, L., (1988). Pollution Study Finds Smoking Gun. Science News, 134(7); 102. Clark, A., (1991). Wind Energy Process and Potential. Energy Policy, 19; 742-755. Hepbasli, Arif, (2006). A Key Review on Exergetic Analysis and Assessment of Renewable Energy Resources for a Sustainable Future. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 12; 593-661. Ligon, F. K., et al., (1995). Downstream Ecological Effects of Dams: A Geomorphic Perspective. Bioscience, 45; 183-192. Omer, Abdeen Mustafa, (2008). Ground-Source Heat Pumps Systems [...]
[...] Potential Candidates for Future Energy Sources 1. Solar Energy In a general context, solar power refers to the trapping of the sun's radiant energy and converting it to power, or heat. This heat can then be applied to convert water to steam, thus turning turbines and generating electricity, or be used to heat entire buildings (Pimentel, 2002). Solar stills, which can be used to distill seawater into potable water, are also becoming more common in coastal areas where seawater is readily available, but a lack of fresh water exists. [...]
[...] approach to energy production is predicted to begin faltering soon, and many experts in the field also posit that the United States will face increasing energy prices and even energy shortages in the coming decades (Pimentel, 2002). Hydrocarbon Emissions Hydrocarbon emissions are a direct byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels. They are named such since atomically, they are composed of carbon and hydrogen. The detrimental effects of combusting fossil fuels, which convert into hydrocarbon emissions, have been all too well documented. [...]
[...] It makes sense that by aggregating the cumulative amount of potential energy produced by employing these methods, a tremendous difference can be made with respect to reduction of fossil fuel combustion. One researcher asserts that if all these technologies were implemented, they would presently be able to provide the United States with roughly half of its total energy demands, this coming at a price tag of only 17% of total United States land resources (Pimentel, 2002). Perhaps the mass conversion towards alternate and green energy sources is not as far away as some of us think, and perhaps we have waited too long already. [...]
[...] The kinetic energy of wind has been employed for centuries in many different types of applications, from running mills to pumping water (Hepbasli, 2006; Pimentel, 2002). As such, the infinite supply of wind present on this planet can certainly be utilized to turn turbines, ultimately generating electricity. Worthy of noting is the relatively high efficiency rate wind energy applications can potentially have when compared to other candidates of renewable energy sources, approximately 60% in a closed system (Hepbasli, 2006). In practical, real world applications, however, this figure is closer to 40% due to heat lost through friction within the mechanical system (these figures are, of course, contingent upon wind velocity) (Hepbasli, 2006). [...]
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