There are a few different types of alternative energy, including wind power, solar power, geothermal energy and wave power. Today I’m going to focus on wind power, or wind energy, because it’s becoming quite popular and, like solar power, is a renewable energy. It’s also a low-carbon source of energy and, unlike solar and solar thermal, is a clean, green source of energy.
How Does Wind Power Work?
The technology is relatively new, but if there’s a benefit to building wind turbines it’s that they don’t pollute the environment, unlike the traditional coal and gas-fired plants that are so central to our energy supply.
At its simplest, wind power works by taking advantage of the wind. The power is then converted into electricity by capacitors, or plates, that are made up of a network of metal plates. As the wind blows, these plates move, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. When the power is produced, it’s stored in a generator.
How Does Solar Power Work?
Solar power works by harnessing the sun’s energy, most often harnessed by small cells, into electricity. It’s a clean, green source of energy and a sustainable one, meaning it’ll last forever and won’t be depleted, unlike fossil fuels. Because it’s such a clean source of energy, it can be stored for later use, unlike oil and gas. Another big plus is that it doesn’t cause any kind of pollution and, unlike oil and gas, it won’t be produced through the use of carbonaceous substances.
How Does Wave Power Work?
Like wind power, wave power works by harnessing the sun’s energy, but this time, you know, by wave. The energy is captured into electricity by a series of pipes that contain a charge suppression structure, usually made up of silicon beads. As the waves crash on the pipes, the structure slows them down, the silicon beads being exposed when the waves crash allowing them to be read as electricity.
All of these types of energy sources, solar, wind, wave and hydroelectric, can also be used to generate electricity. However, the use of fossil fuels for each of those forms of energy, while a useful option, is not necessary.
Is there another kind of energy? There is. Another kind of energy is called ‘nuclear energy’. A nuclear power plant produces power by using highly radioactive substances, usually uranium, to trigger a chain reaction that generates lots of heat. The heat then turns into steam that drives a turbine that generates electricity. In effect, a nuclear power plant creates energy by using the heat created from a nuclear reaction. It’s not perfect, because some of the elements, uranium being one of them, decay incredibly fast. This leads to radioactive waste that needs to be disposed of and the remaining radioactive elements are difficult to dispose of, meaning that they remain dangerous for thousands of years. There is also a risk of a nuclear war. A war in a foreign country could destroy the power plant, leading to famine, death and destruction.
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