Alternative Energy Sources: Our Top 15 to Know
Do you want to learn about alternative energy sources? Consider some of the more well-known and some less popular options.
All of these energy sources have unique benefits that we can use now and in the future. As we run out of non-renewable resources, these alternative sources will keep the world alive.
Keep reading to learn about these alternative sources of energy and why renewable energy matters.
1. Airborne Energy
Airborne energy is an excellent way to harvest energy at higher altitudes. Winds can be more powerful up high, and they can be steadier and more efficient than wind turbines on the ground.
Biofuels are a type of biomass energy, and they are cheaper while netting more energy. Using biofuels is an excellent alternative to traditional transportation energy, such as gasoline. Biofuels are even being used to in the airline industry:
In addition, the discovery of glycerol may prove useful. Travis Williams, a chemistry professor from the USC Dornsife College of Letters stated this in regards to the potential of biofuels:
Scientists have been trying to figure out how to make biodiesel production profitable for many years, but glycerol has been largely overlooked because of its low market value. I knew, if we could find value in glycerol, we could overcome the economic obstacles as well as reduce waste in the manufacturing process,
In the end, Mr. Williams and his partner did just that. In 2024, a commercial biofuel plant is projected to open using their licensed technology (1). To learn more about the future of biomass energy and its most important pros and cons, you can check out this article.
3. Floating Turbines
Alternative energy sources like floating turbines are also useful. These turbines can take advantage of the energy from the ocean, particularly deep waters. However, they can be expensive.
4. Geothermal Energy
Geothermal is one of a few alternative sources of energy that you can always use. You don’t have to worry about weather patterns, such as with wind and solar energy.
In fact, Iceland gets about 90% of its heating from geothermal energy (2).
To learn more about the pros and cons of geothermal energy, you can read more here.
Hydroelectricity is another thing to consider when looking at alternative energy sources. By relying on water to generate electricity, you don’t have to worry about losing that energy in the future. With clever innovations in this field, the reasons why renewable energy is important will only continue to grow.
Another energy source to consider is hydrogen, which offers many benefits. Many other energy sources can produce hydrogen, making it easier to find. Extra renewable energy can become hydrogen gas.
7. Solar PV
Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is what you think of when you think of solar panels. Many ask, “Why is solar energy important?” Well, put simply, these panels can collect and store energy from the sun. If you live somewhere with a lot of sun, this energy source could be an excellent option.
If you live in a region that doesn’t experience much sunlight, unfortunately, solar may not be viable for you. While there’s many positives with this alternative energy source, there are several disadvantages of solar energy to keep in mind.
8. Solar Roads
Countries such as the Netherlands have developed roads that can harness solar energy. These roads can be a great energy source for cities and towns with many streets.
Unfortunately, dirt and dust can reduce 0.5% of energy efficiency for every degree (3).
9. Solar Thermal
Solar thermal energy is another option when looking at alternative sources of energy. It combines heat and sun to provide energy for homes and other structures.
10. Solid Biomass
Solid biomass is a large category of energy, including wood and biofuels. Starting with food waste and agricultural waste, the waste will ferment before entering anaerobic digestion. The final result is bioethanol or biogas.
11. Space Solar
If you live in a place without much direct sunlight, you may benefit from space solar energy (4). This type of energy could help compensate for growing demands and a growing population. Dr. Randall Ellingson, a Professor at the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy stated:
Orbital solar arrays offer a critical opportunity to harness renewable energy.
With technology increasing rapidly, the ability to leverage space for our energy needs is no longer out of the question.
Tidal waves can be another fantastic source of energy for people near the coast. It can take advantage of the energy that comes as the ocean current moves.
Similar to tidal energy, harnessing energy from waves is a new energy source. A WaveSub can sit under the water and collect energy from the waves. This differs from tidal energy, which uses small turbines.
14. Wind Turbines
Wind turbines are one of the most well-known alternative energy sources. A wind farm can collect a lot of energy given the right circumstances, but some turbines can be quite tall. While they do take space, they’re a great source of energy in areas with a lot of wind.
If you’re interested in learning more, our guide on wind energy pros and cons can help you discover the potential of this exciting industry.
Wood is a type of biomass, and this energy source has been around for years. Firewood, pellets, and chips are a few types of wood that you can use for energy. Even as other alternative energy sources appear, wood will remain a standard choice.
The industry that invests the most in alternative clean energy is now big oil companies.
For example, BP announced that they plan to produce net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 (5). This can only be done with significant investments in clean alternative energies, but in many cases, investors meet these changes with resistance.
The use of alternative sources of energy is beneficial to the Earth and its people because their use has less of a negative impact than the burning of fossil fuels on our planet, and for us Earth dwellers, they provide an avenue to a sustainable future. As non-renewable resources deplete, alternative sources will become more popular and essential to life.
It’s important to develop alternative energy sources because it means that there will always be energy available, even in inclement weather or due to other problems. From driving your car to taking a shower, and everything in between, the current way most of us operate in the U.S. requires the daily use of regularly available energy.
- The biofuels of the future are being developed by Usc researchers. Retrieved from: https://news.usc.edu/166340/biofuels-vegetable-oil-carinata-seeds-kelp-usc-research/
- Reykjavik Geothermal Energy. Retrieved from: https://wwf.panda.org/?204451/Reykjavik-geothermal-energy
- Solar Panels Replace Tarmac on Road: Here Are the Results. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/solar-panels-replaced-tarmac-on-a-road-here-are-the-results-103568
- Air force Awards Utoledo $12.5 million to Develop space-based solar Energy Sheets. Retrieved from: https://news.utoledo.edu/index.php/02_15_2021/air-force-awards-utoledo-12-5-million-to-develop-space-based-solar-energy-sheets
- How Renewable Energy Can Pay Off for Big Oil. Retrieved from: https://www.barrons.com/articles/how-renewable-energy-can-pay-off-for-big-oil-51605632723
Hi, Im Dara. Born and raised in Farmingdale NY and I spend my time online covering alternative energy news and local developments,in the space. My mission is to help more people realise the benefits of using alternative energy. When i’m not blogging about energy you’ll find me walking my dog, working out, or practicing meditation!