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Green Sources of Energy

I could rant about the dangers of using petroleum, coal, and other non-renewable resources that we are currently using for generating electricity, to run our cars and other equipment.  I can also drone on about  how quickly we are depleting these resources, or the dangers of the pollutants that they produce.  I don't want to downplay the significances of the topic, but personally I think this topic has been beaten to death.


World oil reserves, 2008.

What I do want to talk about are the several forms of sustainable energy that are currently available today.  Some of these technologies have been around for a long time (e.g.: geothermal, hydroelectric, etc.), while others are more recent (e.g. bio-fuels, tidal, etc.).

A concentrating solar power systems

Below is a high level list of the currently available green technologies. Each technology includes a link to Wikipedia about the topic, a brief description and list of advantages and disadvantages.
  • Solar - Converts sunlight into electricity, using photovoltaic or concentrated solar power.
    • Pros: Very clean, free fuel, doesn't create carbon dioxide.
    • Cons: Only available where and when sun is shining.
  • Wind - Uses the wind to turn generators to create electricity.
    • Pros: Very clean, free fuel, doesn't create carbon dioxide.
    • Cons: Only available where enough wind is blowing, and the blades have been known to kill birds.
  • Hydroelectric - Uses water stored behind dams to run turbines to create electricity.
    • Pros: Can generate a great deal of power 24 hours a day.
    • Cons: Dams are costly to build, and cause environmental damage.
  • Geothermal - Uses heat from the Earth to run turbines to create electricity.
    • Pros: Very clean, free fuel, doesn't create carbon dioxide.
    • Cons: Only available where geothermal energy can be tapped in enough quantity.
  • Tidal - Uses the energy from waves in the ocean to create electricity.
    • Pros: Very clean, free fuel, doesn't create carbon dioxide.
    • Cons: High cost and limited availability of sites with sufficiently high tidal ranges
  • Bio-fuels - Converting biomass in to fuels that we can use to run our cars and equipment.
    • Pros: Helps to provide energy independence and provides a renew alternative to Petroleum.
    • Cons: Suffers from low yields, and more expensive then Petroleum to produce.
  • Nuclear - Uses radioactive material to convert water to steam to spin turbines to generate electricity.
    • Pros: Generates a great deal of power and doesn't create carbon dioxide.
    • Cons: Its very expensive to build these reactors, and the waste that is generated is very dangerous.
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