Saturday, June 9, 2012

Different types of energy essay



Energy is such an important factor in the world but especially in the United States where a large amount of energy is used daily. There are problems in figuring what type of energy is better and which one is not. Many say that there is green energy such as solar energy but that’s not true. Actually no energy is truly green because each one has at least some disadvantages that does not make it green. There are different energies that have different impacts and outcomes that I will discuss such as: fossil fuels, nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biomass energy, and hydropower energy.
In addition, solar energy is energy emitted from the sun which can be transformed into electric energy by using solar panels. Solar panels transform the energy from the sun using the energy of speeding photons to create an electrical current within a solar panel. Solar energy has its benefits because it can convert energy directly without the need for mechanical generator systems. A solar panel can be installed anywhere where light from the sun hits at a good angle. Solar energy causes minimal environmental pollution, it does not need resources like water to be cooled and it does not create by-products such as CO2.  Another great thing about solar energy is that sun light is free so all you need is solar panel to generate electric power. Solar panels also include many disadvantages; the cost of the solar panel is high and does not supply as much energy as it is needed. Large areas are needed to install solar panels. Solar panels are useless at night because there is no sun light. The solar panels can affect building and landscape. Pollution and clouds cause a major thread because they decrease the efficiency of solar panels. At the end solar panels are extremely expensive which makes them hard to implement.
Moreover, there are fossil fuels that can be used as energy and to generate energy. Coal, oil, and gas are forms of fossil fuels which are formed from the organic remains of prehistoric plants and animals. Coal, oil and gas can create energy by being burned. They can be used to boil water and create steam which later the steam is used to spin turbines which transfer the energy to generators that make electric energy. Another form of energy is gasoline which is oil. Gasoline is burned in a car’s gasoline tank which pushes piston and ultimately makes the car’s wheels move. Fossil fuels are good because they can generate a huge amount of energy. Fossil fuels are easy to be located. Such as coal which is very cost effective and has huge amounts. Fossil fuels are transported easily on land due to pipes. Power plants that create electric energy seem to be efficient at the end. A huge disadvantage of fossil fuels is the pollution it creates which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Coal also creates carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide which is responsible for acid rain. Mining is a big hazard because large areas of land are devastated; it injures miners and causes other types of life problems. In the past many accidents have happened such as oil spills in the ocean which have killed many marine life and contaminated the sea. Fossil fuels also cause unpleasant odors and are a limited supply.
Besides that, there is also nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is created from the splitting of uranium atoms in the process fission. Fission generates heat which is used to boil water and then the steam turns the turbines which generate electric energy. Nuclear plants do not contribute to greenhouse gases like the menace of CO2 Nuclear energy is available in large amounts and it generates high amount of energy in a single plant. Nuclear energy produces way more energy with fewer resources needed than coal and oil. Because nuclear energy deal with radiation this creates many problems. Radioactive waste is extremely dangerous and can cause areas to be contaminated for a long period of time. A nuclear power plant can be attack by terrorist causing huge amount of disaster to the environment. The radioactive waste can be used to produce nuclear weapons. Uranium is a scarce resource that is said not last long. It takes a long period of time to build a power plant because all the safety measures have to be met. Also if a meltdown was to occur it will bring large contamination to large areas including cities.
Furthermore, there is also wind energy. Wind energy is the conversion of wind into a form of energy like electricity. As wind makes windmills spin it makes turbines rotate which create electrical energy. Wind energy is free and with our technology it can be captured efficiently. Wind energy does not create greenhouse effects and other pollutants. Wind energy can be used in remote places where electricity power grids are not connected. Windmills do not occupy as much land at the ground as they do on the sky. The disadvantage is that the production of electricity from windmills is not at a constant rate. Some people feel that the windmills ruin the landscapes like in the country side. Windmills produce low amount of energy so more windmills have to be made to compensate. At the end windmills are not cost efficient plus they make a lot of noise if you live close to one.
             Following this further, there is also geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is natural heat from the earth that is used to boil water and create steam which makes turbines spin creating electric energy. It can generate continuous reliable power on land that has been researched. It helps conserve fossil fuels and creates diversity in energy. The energy is natural so it is cheap to create energy. This helps reduce global warming, pollution and threat of oil spills because it’s making somewhat natural energy. It is cheap to operate after being built because of the natural gas. It also brings many disadvantages because it cannot be used in widespread areas. Other type of chemicals can come out such as poisonous gas. Geothermal energy is suited to land where steam is released. The installation for the power plant is a high cost. Also the region where the plant is at might run out of steam eventually.
Continuing, there is also biomass energy. Biomass energy can create electric energy by using a wide range of fuels. Wood can be burned to boil water and cause turbines to spin creating electric energy. Biomass energy produces less carbon compared to fossil fuels. It helps reduce methane levels. It also prevents wild fires and helps recycle things. Some disadvantages are that it still creates carbon dioxide. It takes more energy to produce the biomass fuels than what’s gain. By this it is not cost efficient and also it is not available during the whole year.
Meanwhile, there is also hydropower energy. Hydropower energy is the process of using water to create energy. As water enters throw a dam it makes the turbines spin which create energy. Then the energy goes to the transformers and later to the power lines which transport the energy.  Electricity can be produce at a constant rate since there is a dam to keep a reserve of water. Dams are built to last several decades. Dams can also shut down when there is no need for energy, and then later it can operate again when there is a high demand for energy. Dams don’t produce greenhouse gases and can be a great site for tourist like the Hoover dam.  The disadvantages of dam are that it is really expensive to build them and maintain them. Dams have to operate for several decades to be cost efficient. Dams also cause deaths and floods along the river. They also affect the habitat of animals and plants.
At the end we think that the best energy is hydropower energy. Hydropower energy seems to be a great renewable energy that can be used during the whole day. Solar and wind both can’t operate as efficient do to the wind and the sun’s light. Nuclear energy seems to be a great energy but also a deadly. Fossil fuels are great and cheap but it will not last as long and also contaminates a lot to the greenhouse gases. Other types of energy like biomass and geothermal might be good but are not cost efficient. With all this I think that hydropower is just a great form of energy that can be used a lot.