Alternative Sources for Energy
Millions and millions of barrels of oil, coal, and natural gases are being pumped out of the ground on a daily basis. These fuels are being used to heat homes, run machines, and take people from place to place. It has become a part of everyday living; just as essential as food and water. The more resources that is being pumped, the more people want it. Society has an insatiable thirst for this form of energy that is unyielding. It is a never ending cycle of supply and demand. The demand is high, but the supply is limited. One day the earth will be sucked dry of all its resources, yet people will continue to demand. What will happen then? What will take place of the current resources? Due to this crisis, finding alternative sources of energy has already gone underway and is advancing rapidly. The functional concept of alternative resources can be best explained through solar energy, wind energy, hydropower energy.
The sun shines and gives warmth upon the earth on a daily basis. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west continuously, therefore making sunlight a very reliable source for renewable energy. In order to convert this sunlight into usable energy, a solar energy collector transforms the absorbed light into heat, which is collected through a heat transfer fluid (HTF) and then passed on to a heat storage tank (Henkel, pars.2). Heat transfer fluid is a liquid that absorbs the heat from one object to another. This could be anything from water to oils. The specific heat, boiling point, and freezing points are all taken into consideration when choosing a HTF. The integrated compound parabolic concentrating (ICPC) evacuated tube collector reduces thermal heat loss, which makes the collection efficiency almost 60% (Henkel, pars.5). The collected rays can deliver about half of the available solar insulation to usable energy. The Solargenix Power Roof system is a solar energy collector that changes its angle throughout the day to collect the most amount of sunlight possible (Henkel.pars.6). It even has multiple functions, doubling as a roofing system. Testing by Solar Enterprises International (SEI) in 1996 and 1998 with ICPC collectors clearly showed that when replacing the air conditioning unit with this system, over 60% was saved off the energy bill for cooling). What about days when it¡¯s cloudy or at night when no sunlight is available? Storage tanks save up excess energy that can be used in these times. This concept of solar energy can also be used in refrigeration systems as well. An adsorption chiller has been manufactured that can achieve temperatures of 0¡ÆF (Henkel, pars.41). Solar energy has enormous potential in reducing gas usage in homes. In fact, one day it may even replace any need for gas at all.
Solar energy has its functions; however, it is not the only alternative energy source. Wind can be transformed into practical energy as...