What is alternative energy?
Alternative energy is energy generated without the use of fossil fuels. Unlike traditional energy derived from natural gas, coal and petroleum, it uses inexhaustible energy sources that are less harmful to the environment in many cases. This is why we also call alternative energy green or renewable energy.
7 alternative energy sources
These are the 7 most common forms of alternative energy:
Wind energy is one of the best-known forms of alternative energy. Not least because, of course, we have a lot of windmills and wind farms in the Netherlands. The rotating blades of the windmills convert that movement into electricity. The disadvantage of wind energy is that it does not provide a constant flow of energy; the wind does not always blow at the same speed. Also, wind turbines have quite an impact on views rather than landscape!
Renewable energy can also be generated using hydropower. This involves using the flow of water to create movement and then converting this into electricity. This method is often used in the mountains, as the rivers there flow down harder than in the Netherlands. Dams and reservoirs increase effectiveness, but also have a (negative) impact on the natural environment.
3. Nuclear energy
Nuclear power involves splitting uranium. This generates a lot of heat. This heat is usually used to create steam, which in turn drives turbines and generates electricity. While this form of alternative energy hardly emits any CO2, it creates a lot of chemical waste that needs to be carefully stored. Moreover, uranium is not an inexhaustible resource.
Biomass is used to make biofuel. This involves processing natural materials and various waste streams into fuel. The advantage of this alternative energy source is that the energy sources used are renewable. After all, trees and plants can be replanted. The disadvantage is that CO2 emissions are relatively high and a lot of agricultural or natural land is needed to create the raw materials for biofuel.
5. Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is a form of alternative energy in which the earth’s heat is used to run steam turbines to generate electricity. Sustainable? Yes. But that geothermal heat has to be hot enough to convert water into steam at all. In practice, that heat is not equally strong everywhere in the world. In Iceland, for example, it is, but in the Netherlands it cannot be used to generate electricity.
Hydrogen fusion is the newest form of alternative energy. It is all about a chemical reaction that releases a lot of energy. Enough to heat a house and without harmful emissions. But initially, quite a lot of (green) energy is also needed for this reaction to take place. That makes it currently one of the more expensive alternative energy sources.
7. Solar energy
Perhaps the best-known form of alternative energy: solar power. After all, who is not familiar with solar panels? As soon as sunlight hits the panels, an energy flow is created in the solar cells, which can be converted into electricity. In this way, electricity is generated with no emissions and no residual product. Moreover, mobile solar panels can be placed anywhere, so power can also be taken advantage of around crowded or hard-to-reach areas.
Tip: Also read Sustainable energy supply: how sustainable is solar energy really?
Would you like to know more about the possibilities of solar energy for your organisation? For example, on construction sites, as a power supply at events or in the agricultural sector? Feel free to contact us. We would be happy to inspire you!