Alternative Sources essay
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The topic ‘water as an alternative source’ has become a major thematic concern with regard to the energy reform scenario. For ages humans have been looking for feasible alternative energy, fuel, and power source as evident in the human developmental cycle and actualised through the human evolutionary aspects (Lambert and Simona 3). Through their pursuit of finding a lasting solution towards feasible alternative sources, water become one of the first attempts at developing lasting alternatives, a factor which led to the development of the now essential hydro-power. Water as an alternative source therefore portrays a more achievable option with regard to its application as alternative fuel in motor vehicles, the proven alternative of hydroelectric power potential, adaptation of slow water currents as renewable energy, its potential feasibility/sustainability proven through research initiatives and other emerging environmental dimensions.
Water as an Alternative Fuel for Motor Vehicles
The development of the idea of promoting the usage of alternative fuels for motor vehicles has been running for a while leading to the recent emancipation of water as a feasible alternative. It is not a topic which merely became sensational in the recent past through the currently running debates over the implementation of alternative fuels for motor vehicles. “The first attempt to provide an alternative fuel was the electric automobile” (Hilgenkamp 211). Soon the developers of the electric model found it a potentially non sustainable activity due to its relative need for electricity and the construction of an electricity motorway for such vehicles. Water came to the discussion board, and emerging scientists determined to actualize the idea fundamentally developed a water powered prototype model that was soon to become a sensational subject in the motor technology arena. Water was preferred for its relative availability and the products associated with its functionality were relatively less harmless. Furthermore, water can be used as a derivative for other cleaner sources of fuel for powering motor vehicles, for instance, Hydrogen gas which is one of the components of water. This is illustrated in, “Hydrogen is abundant in the atmosphere and hydrogen fuel can be obtained from ordinary water, methanol, natural gas, and biomass” (Hilgenkamp 212). However, its relative abundance is more associated with regard to water as a potential energy source. This therefore supports the fact that water indeed stands of providing a lasting potential to humans as a more feasible alternative and energy source.
Water as an Alternative Energy Source: Hydroelectric Power Potential
The development of hydroelectric power led to the ultimate emancipation of water as a feasible alternative power source. This consequently led to the development of various national grid power generating mechanisms leading to the elevation of water as a most preferred alternative. In the initial steps the installation costs proved to be quite high (Lambert and Simona 81). As time went by the benefits accrued by the potential of hydropower manifested itself to the developing nations, consequently leading to the development of the industrial period during which accessibility to feasible power alternatives was a major focus. In addition, hydro-power systems have added advantages due to the clean nature and self sustaining mechanisms (Lambert and Simona 81). Water used in the generation of hydroelectricity typically relies upon the use of turbines, which are elementally not run using any other mechanical supports requiring the utilisation of other forms of energy support systems, for instance, those relying upon the consumption of oils. It has also been established that the use of modern water wheels, for instance, the Peloton or Francis turbine, has a capability of generating water with a significant efficiency of 95% (Discovery Communications Inc). This level of efficiency in terms of utilization and functionality is relatively high in comparison to other forms making it the most preferred energy source.
Adapting Slow Water Currents as Renewable Energy
The utilization of slow water currents as a feasible form of renewable or alternative energy has seen significant success in various experimental approaches. This has greatly disapproved critics of the running renewable energy theme. Who thought this would come to develop a realistic trend. The most practical example is the development of a new kind of device in the University of Michigan christened, ‘the VIVACE’, which had fundamentally disapproved the critics of this major resource of water (Alternative Energy). This technology has been established that it is capable of working in speeds, which are slower than 2 knots or relatively 2 miles in one hour (Alternative Energy). This significant contribution among numerous other similar projects has proven to provide significant support to the developing alternative source theme. This is because there is significant possibility that the project can be successfully replicated in different sites with an aim of enhancing the potential of clean energy systems. The adoption of slow water currents implies that many households and other critical functions can quickly be converted in order to make sufficient use of the new alternative energy platform provided by the use of water as an alternative source of energy (Lambert and Simona 83). The technology as appears to apply the use of relatively simplified technology in comparison to other energy forms, which have been attempted before. In addition, the utilization of slow water currents will generate no pollution leading to a cleaner and safer environment for people to live in.
Feasibility/Sustainability of Water as an Alternative Energy Source
Water had proven to be a better alternative in terms of feasibility and sustainability in its energy production potential. This essentially possible through exploiting the different capacities of the existing hydrological cycle capability seen in certain water technologies. In as much as the respective hydrological cycle capacities show varying levels of sustenance in terms of water availability, it has been shown that it is possible to implement modifications into the hydrological cycle to attain the desired potential. There are relatively many forms of technological innovations which have been made with an aim of sensitizing the world regarding use and reuse potential of water as an energy source. For instance, “The application of indirect storage options and energy carriers are expected to complement solutions provided by direct storage. Some indirect storage options are the storage of heat or cold, displacing the need for electrical power at peak times” (European Renewable Energy Council xxix). This has led to development of the idea that water as alternative energy indeed holds some significant potential with regard to developing the constantly decreasing sustainability index of other energy sources. The sustainability of water as an alternative energy source aims at critically developing the existing capabilities with regard to supporting the constantly increasing energy needs without significant harm upon the human population, which accrues potential benefit from it apart from energy. Moreover, “The progression of Energy sustainable communities brings manifold benefits to those communities. On the other hand, it consolidates the citizens’ sense of belonging to a community by addressing its long-term needs” (European Renewable Energy Council xxx). It is this long-term approach that gives water undue advantage over other alternatives.
Ecological/Environmental Dimensions on Water as Alternative Source
The subsequent exploitation of water as an alternative source of energy has led to the development of arising concerns with regard to the manifestation of environmental and ecological issues. The installation of water energy exploitation technologies has led to the development of significant environmental concerns on a large scale, for instance, as seen in previous hydropower installations. However, the resulting benefits significantly override the mentioned environmental aspects. Nations having critical water resources capable of supporting the renewable energy with regard to alternative energy sources need to consider the possibility of water power (Lambert and Simona 87). In addition, there are benefits which the nations can significantly achieve from the distribution aspect that come with the establishment of a national grid. The power can support the constantly increasing energy needs in a better and sustainable manner than the existing energy support mechanisms that utilize bio fuels and fossil fuels options. Furthermore, in recent times there has been a developing concern regarding the sustainability of such systems and their significant ability to result in water source shortages. According to Lee, Speight and Loyalka, “From the stand point of water shortage, all the systems recognized to date (desalination, recycling, and transportation over long distances) consume enormous amounts of energy and have also proved to be uneconomical” (Lee, Speight, & Loyalka 434). This therefore serves to portray that in as are benefits to be accrued from alternative energy options; there is need for one to consider the resultant. The aspect of recycling can also be explained in view of the hydrological cycle in which components are optimally retained within a certain system. In addition, Water power requires significant amount of water, tides, waves, and have the potential of interfering with natural view in addition to resulting in the destruction of natural areas and other human settlements (Solway 31). These are just some of the few aspects that need to be considered since not all systems come full of advantages without the occurrence of significant differences. Looking from a long-term point of view the occurrence of advantages need not discourage those who need to explore water as an alternative, since the factors, especially pollution, are significantly low and may potentially be subjected to reuse.
In a survey to compare the relative probabilities in the application of critical energy alternatives, water power were power was compared with other alternative sources to establish the relative advantages of water as a feasible alternative. Among other comparisons to water power were bio-fuels, fossil fuels, geothermal energy, hydrogen nuclear energy and solar power. Solar power, for instance was established as being weather and climate dependent while for nuclear power leads to the significant accumulation of solid wastes that remain potentially dangerous over a long period of time (Solway 31). Water therefore is still the better option with regard to promoting environmental and other emerging ecological concerns as it has no harmful by products like seen in the other alternatives, and its handling is relatively easy since the installations requiring its use are easy to operate and maintain.
Research Potential: Emerging Technological Dimensions on Water as an Alternative Source
Research initiatives have proven beyond reasonable doubt that water is one of the most feasible alternative energy sources. Scientists all over the world are continuously inventing new systems and mechanisms for the development of feasible mechanisms for use of water as an alternative energy. This is a factor evident in different developed countries and has been used to set significantly low pollution standards. This has consequently led to the development of better health outcomes in some of these nations or communities, which were previously affected by the aspect of pollution on the general health of the population. For instance, “At present, a very successful system, consisting of two wells, yields an average flow of 5200 1/min at 54C water. The system currently serves 33 buildings, including government centres, a prison, a new blood bank facility, and other private buildings” (Lee, Speight, & Loyalka 436). This shows the fundamental importance of water in developing key alternative energy alternatives and the significant effects.
Research has also been attempted with regard to developing the potential of water as a feasible energy source through the harnessing of waves in various practical instances. For instance, “An oscillating water column was designed in Japan to harness the rising and falling waves...so in a tidal barrage can generate electricity during both high and low tides” (Rau 42). This proves that water is indeed a feasible alternative for energy source and more research is still discovering better technological dimensions that can significantly benefit the whole population. There are further examples strengthening the applicability of water waves as feasible form of water energy source. “The UK is well placed to exploit wave energy, with a huge accessible resource exceeding 600 TWh/annum. When account is taken is taken or practical constraints, such as conventional efficiency, shipping lanes and environmental restrictions, the resulting practicable resource is estimated at around 50 TWh annum, the bulk of this being far offshore” (Harrison & Hester 64).
Water forms an important element in the provision of feasible and sustainable alternative sources of energy. The consumption of other forms of energy have merely proved to be an increasing challenge to the constantly competing world for energy sources to support key energy functions with regard to economic activities in order to significantly support the status of human livelihood framework. Water, therefore, provides a direct answer to the world concerns regarding the availability of another alternative that the world can rely upon. This implies that the application of water as an alternative fuel in motor vehicles, its hydroelectric power potential, its ability to produce renewable energy from slow water currents, its proven feasibility and sustainability, and further research through research initiatives bordering on environmental dimensions serve to strengthen the fact that water is the most preferred alternative energy source.