Energy conversion is the conversion of one type of energy into another. This principle is used every day in our lives. For instance, a battery uses chemical energy to create electrical energy to power an electric starter motor. Steam engines change heat energy into mechanical energy and an electric bulb uses electrical energy into heat and light energy (Freeman, Ph.D., M. Ira, 1957, p. 20).
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According to Tega Jessa (2012), fossil fuels are a finite, non-renewable resource. Fossil fuel is any carbon-based substance that is used by humans as a source of energy. Coal, petroleum, and natural gas are considered as fossil fuel. Fossil fuel is a primary source for the production of electricity. In the Distributed Generation Education Modules, it states that chemical energy is released because of the combustion of these fuels. This produces heat to power steam turbines. The steam turbines rotating electric generators produce power, and this kinetic energy turns into electricity. Another attraction is that natural gas and petroleum is big business. According to Natural Gas.org, natural gas is a valued resource and the natural gas industry generates a lot of commerce in the United States and worldwide.
Wind power and solar power are two alternatives to using fossil fuels. Wind power is a great source of energy. Wind power has great potential as an energy source. The environmental impact is small and it is renewable.
According to John C. Ayers, at higher altitudes and areas without obstructions, wind is stronger. Hilltops are good sites for wind turbines. Ground-based turbines in cities are not as efficient. Wind strength also plays a big part. Wind varies by region and season. This means that it is not a great source of energy in all areas. A disadvantage of this energy source is if the wind is low; you have to supplement it with another source of energy.
Energy is produced by using wind turbines. Wind turbines are usually horizontal with blades are mounted on a rotating axis. The electricity produced can be immediately used. In addition, it can be stored in batteries for use when the wind is low.
The advantage of using wind power is that it has less of any impact on our environment. It is a clean alternative energy source. According to John C. Ayers, new wind farms produce electricity at costs competitive with oil- and coal-powered plants, and more cheaply than nuclear reactors. Another advantage is that they release no greenhouse gases.
David Frum (2013) states that â€œwind energy continues to flunk the market test. Ontario buys wind energy at a price 50% higher than it would have to pay for electricity from natural gas. (A new natural gas facility can make money selling electricity at 7-8 cents a kilowatt-hour. Ontario buys newly installed windpower at prices of about 11 cents per kilowatt-hour.)â€
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A disadvantage of wind power is the cost. Acquiring ground underneath the turbines is a big cost, as well as the cost of wiring turbines to the grid. Another cost is maintaining the wires. According to Windustry.org, commercial turbines installed are $3-$4 million installed. Wind turbines under 100 kilowatts run approximately $3,000 to $8,000 per kilowatt of capacity. A 10 kilowatt wind turbine (used to power a large home) approximately cost $50,000-$80,000. The cost could be more depending on the tower type. Even though this may be a disadvantage to some, the advantage is the tax incentive that can help reduce the cost.
Solar power is another alternative to fossil fuels. Passive solar and active solar are the two types of solar energy. According to Jennifer Claerr, a building on the east-west axis uses passive solar. Silicon solar cells capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. Direct current is generated and is converted into alternating current before it can be used to power household devices.
Passive solar is used to keep a home warm in winter and cool in summer. An advantage of solar power is the cost savings. Many people are installing solar systems to protect the environment and to conserve fossil fuels. Another advantage of using solar energy is to become self-sufficient by providing for all of the own energy needs. A home can be built using passive solar for about the same price as a conventional home. For an existing home, active solar is a good alternative. Both passive and active solar are beneficial to the environment. Passive and active solar can prevent carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
The disadvantages of using solar power is that it doesn’t work at night without a storage device such as a battery, and cloudy weather can make the technology unreliable during the day. They can be expensive and require a lot of land area to collect the sunâ€™s energy.
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