Alternative Energy Research Paper

1122 Words 4 Pages
The world is constantly revolving around energy, as the population of the earth grows; the demand for electricity significantly increases as well. As society has evolved, technology has also evolved, becoming more focused on luxurious electronic items while also emphasizing a "greener" earth in the form of alternate energy sources. While these alternate energy sources have some obvious benefits, there are also some significant flaws. This is proven by analyzing a few alternate energy sources: solar energy, hydroelectricity, and wind energy. There are many methods to harness solar energy, but the most commonly used method is through photovoltaic cells. These cells are made of
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Within a photovoltaic cell, there are two pieces of silicon; type P (positive charge) and type N (negative charge). When put together, an electromagnetic field is created due to the attraction between them and free electrons are attracted to the opposing side (positive or negative). As the charges build up it becomes difficult for any electrons to cross. At the moment light makes contact with the upper layer of silicon, those electrons are forced by the electromagnetic field into a current which is then collected with metal leads and wire that complete the circuit as depicted in Figure B. To sum up, the current from the flow of electrons and the voltage from the electric field make this power usable. There are various advantages in using this source of energy such as it is renewable as solar energy cannot run out, it will be present for as long as the sun is alive; this also means there and abundance of solar energy as …show more content…
The same concept of a turbine is being applied to wind energy as it was applied to hydroelectric power. As portrayed in Figure D, the rotor blades on a wind turbine catch the kinetic energy in the wind and transfer it through a rotor shaft to the generator. The kinetic energy is then converted by the generator from the turbine into electrical energy. After this, the electricity is sent to a substation, where it is converted and then transported out on the net. Wind energy potential is approximately 3600 terawatts though many factors affect how much electricity is generated, such as the length of the blades and the speed and duration of the wind; wind speed must be at least 10 feet per second for a typical wind turbine power generation. Like the other sources of energy mentioned, this is also a renewable energy source because wind is naturally occurring. Another advantage to this energy source is the cost as it has been constantly decreasing since 1980; this includes manufacturing and operational costs. Despite this energy source being popular it has its flaws, such as it is not reliable in the sense that wind is unpredictable therefore the energy is not constant. An additional drawback is the affect a turbine has on the surrounding environment; it is noisy for people living in close proximity and is a wildlife hazard as flying creatures

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