Forms of Alternative Energy
Electricity Generation, Space Heating, Transportation dominate
our uses of energy
Most traditional Energy production comes about via steam driven
turbines so the heating of water is what is essential.
- Coal Fired Steam Plants
- Nuclear Fired Steam Plants
- Oil/Natural Gas Fired Steam Plants
Basic concept of alternative energy sources relates to
issues of sustainability, renewability and pollution
In reality, Alternative Energy means any thing other
than deriving energy via Fossil Fuel combustion
Basic Barrier to all forms of alternative energy lies
in initial costs!
Currently we have no significant production line alternative energy
source operating anywhere in the US!
Where does our Energy Come From?
Forms of Alternative Energy:
Advantages: Always there; no pollution
Disadvantages: Low efficiency (15%); Very high initial costs; lack of adequate
storage materials (batteries); High cost to the consumer
Advantages: No pollution; Very high efficieny (80%); little waste
heat; low cost per
KWH; can adjust KWH output to peak loads; recreation dollars
Disadvantages: Fish are endangered species; Sediment buildup and dam
failure; changes watershed characteristics; alters hydrological cycle
Advantages: very high efficiency; low initial costs since you already
Disadvantages: non-renewable (more is taken out than can be put in by
nature); highly local resource
- Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion:
- Tidal Energy:
Advantages: Steady source; energy extracted from the potential
and kinetic energy of the earth-sun-moon system; can exploit bore tides
for maximum efficiency
Disadvantages: low duty cycle due to intermittent tidal flow; huge
modification of coastal environment; very high costs for low duty
- Nuclear Fusion: --> Forget it, we aren't smart enough yet.