Concentrated organic compounds such as coal, petroleum (oil), and natural gas that are found in the Earth’s crust are labeled fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are concentrated biomass generated from the remnants of plants and animals that existed millions of years ago. Moreover, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) asserts that fossil fuels are utilized for up to 82% of U.S. energy needs (Institute for Energy Research, n.d.).
How Fossil Fuels Produce Energy
The first step in turning fossil fuel in to electricity is burning the fossil fuel in a broiler. Water circulating throughout the broiler is heated and then converted to steam. The next step is piping the stream into a compartment containing a substantially sized turbine. From here, the exhausted steam is sent to a condenser that guides the water back into the broiler. Meanwhile, the pressure of the steam is turning the massive turbine that is also rotating an electric generator motor. Inside of the electric generator motor, “energy of motion” is being converted to electrical energy. This electrical energy is then conducted onto a transformer to be modified in to high voltages and then directed out onto the power grid for everyday use (Argosy University, 2013).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels
Some advantages of fossil fuels are that they are economical and reasonably simple to acquire. However, once used, fossil fuels can never be utilized again. Fossil fuels also discharge dangerous gases into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide. The worldwide requirement for energy is so great that even though these gases are not dangerous in lesser amounts, millions of tons of these dangerous gases are released into the atmosphere every year resulting in air pollution. There seems to be no obvious disadvantage to alternative energy as it can be easily stored (CA Energy Commission, 2002).
Utilization of Alternative Energy Resources
A dam on a river that accumulates water in a reservoir is the most common kind of hydroelectric power plant. Water is released from the reservoir and sent through a turbine that spins from the energy of the flowing water. This spinning turbine activates a generator that produces electricity (Renewable Energy World, 2013).
Wind energy is converted into electricity by the use of wind turbines. A wind turbine is comprised of three blades called a rotor that is attached to a tall tower (an extremely tall pole). Since winds are more strong higher up from the ground, these towers are roughly 65ft high. As the rotor spins from the energy of the wind, the whirling of the blades gives power to a generator, which makes electricity. The kinetic energy from the action of the wind turbine rotating is then converted in to electricity by magnets moving past immobile coils of wire known as the stator. It is here that electricity is produced and converted to store the electrical energy with batteries or fed into an inverter for sending electricity onto the...