Potential Energy Sources of the Future
Most of us have heard about alternative energy sources like solar and wind energy. For years, the eco-minded consumer has sought out ways to replace fossil fuels in day-to-day life, and science has proposed several ideas related to possible alternatives that could be used if circumstances allow. Here are a few potential energy sources that may be used dominantly in the distant, or not so distant future.
Tidal waves possess extraordinary power, and harnessing some of that power as an alternative energy source is already being initiated. Tidal barrages, tidal fences, and tidal turbines are installed close to coastlines, and force exerted on these devices from the ocean’s waves generate energy. In ideal conditions, tidal energy can generate more energy than wind energy, being that water is over 800 times denser than air, and therefore exerts more force on the turbines. Though tidal energy sounds like a great idea, conditions needed for success are very specific and somewhat expensive, so this method is not taking off quickly.
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Aside from the standard wind turbine towers, the Buoyant Airborne Turbine or BAT is slowly making a name for itself in alternative energy sources. It consists of a light-weight turbine encased in a hydrogen shell. The device “floats” far up into the air like a blimp to harness high altitude winds, generating twice the power of an ordinary tower turbine. The device is not only capable of generating energy to remote areas, it is also wi-fi capable, which may introduce internet service all over the planet.
Regardless of political standpoint, nuclear power is relatively commonplace, and is the main source of power in France and Ukraine. It works, but generates a lot of nuclear waste with current methods. Scientists have discovered that surrounding the reactors with liquid sodium rather than water can boost the usability of uranium rods by as much as 90%. These are called “fast” reactors, and they’re capable of reusing nuclear waste to generate energy. New reactors have already been designed, but the cost of building them has set this idea back quite a bit.
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This last item on the list comes with a gigantic “IF” in tow. Fusion is the same thermonuclear process that is responsible for the sun’s energy. Scientists are attempting to duplicate this process with a fusion reactor, which will get plasma hot enough to fuse if executed correctly. These experiments, however, are still just that. Technology is still being developed, and the efficiency of fusion versus the energy cost is still being adjusted. It may be viable in the very distant future, but once perfected, fusion energy would be the most effective source of energy on the planet.
Though there are definitely kinks to sort out regarding these new alternative sources, we are living in an exciting time. Slowly but surely, we are replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. Cost is quite a factor to consider, but the cost of doing nothing may end up being far greater. A promising future free from the oil industry may be chugging along sooner than we know.
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