There are many reasons the world is looking toward alternative energy sources in an effort to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases. Alternative, or renewable energy, sources show significant promise in helping to reduce the amount of toxins that are by-products of energy use and help preserve many of the natural resources that we currently use as sources of energy.

To understand how alternative energy use can help preserve the delicate ecological balance of the planet, and help us conserve the non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels, it is important to know what type of alternative energy is out there. Let’s take a look at some of the most common sources available.

Coal was the most widely used fuel until the middle of the twentieth century since the 1950’s the use of coal has declined rapidly and oil and natural gas serve as the main source of energy these days. Since the natural fuels such as oil and gas will run out during the next fifty years, we have discovered new ways of getting the energy we need.

Pedaling is the most efficient use of the muscles of the human body. Pedal power can be used to power water pumps, grinders and electric generators. In the Phillippines the engineers have developed a small foot-powered pump that will lift large quantities of water using moderate human power. By operating the pump in a rhythmic manner, a continuous flow of water is pumped.

Wind power produces no pollution that can contaminate the environment, since no chemical processes take place, as in the burning of fossil fuels, there are no harmful by-products left over. Wind towers are usually built together on wind farms. Now, electrical currents are harnessed by large scale wind farms that are used by national electrical grids as well as small individual turbines used for providing electricity to isolated locations or individual homes. Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines which can help in the production of bio fuels.

Solar energy is used commonly for heating, cooking, the production of electricity, and even in the desalination of seawater. Solar power works by trapping the sun’s rays into solar cells where this sunlight is then converted into electricity. Additionally, solar power uses sunlight that hits solar thermal panels to convert sunlight to heat water or air. Solar power generation releases no water or air pollution, because there is no chemical reaction from the combustion of fuels. Solar energy can be used very efficiently for practical uses such as heating and lighting. The benefits of solar power are seen frequently to heat pools, spas, and water tanks all over.

The bio-gas produced from food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste, consisting of methane and a little amount of carbon di oxide is an alternative fuel for cooking gas (LPG). Also, the waste materials can be disposed off efficiently without any odor or flies and the digested slurry from the bio-gas unit can be used as organic manure in the garden.

General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.

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