Alternative Energy

Authored by: Bernd Markert , Simone Wuenschmann , Stefan Fraenzle , Bernd Delakowitz

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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From the industrial revolution onwards, certain kinds of energy sources are being used while new ones and novel methods of energy conversion are developed [electric motors, generators, and AC (alternating current) grids in the 19th century; fuel cell, nuclear fission energy, and semiconductor devices for converting various kinds of energy into electricity in the 20th century]. Now, fossil fuels run scarce—as does uranium-235—and meet increasing criticism due to the climatic (greenhouse) effects of both methane and the principal combustion product CO2. Hence, regenerative resources like wind and solar energies, running and falling water (hydropower), biomass processed in some way, and geothermic energy are in a position to replace crude oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium step by step, depending on both technological innovations and political decisions. Thus, we will contrast the problems associated with conventional sources of energy to the challenges and chances linked to renewable ones.

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