Many people today are concerned about the continued use of fossil fuels. While just about everyone is aware of the history of fossil fuels, it is only recently that people have come to understand this type of energy source is limited, and that some of the fossil fuel disadvantages include an adverse effect on the ecological well-being of our planet. Fortunately, there are several alternatives to fossil fuels that are gaining in popularity and widespread availability.
One of the most promising alternatives to fossil fuels is solar energy. While the basic technology has been in place for decades, the expense of generating and storing solar energy was often cost-prohibitive. That is changing as ways to mass-produce effective solar energy systems for residential and commercial spaces have come into being. Today, some consumers are building homes that at least partially use solar energy for heating and cooling, rather than employing more traditional methods that make use of petroleum based products.
Wind energy presents another of the more viable alternatives to fossil fuels. While the concept of harnessing the wind to produce electricity has been around for centuries, it is only recently that the concept has captured the attention of many nations as they seek for new methods to meet the growing need for energy. As with solar solutions, the energy generated by wind turbines and other devices can be stored in batteries, and utilized on an as needed basis. Further efforts to refine the process are taking place, and there is hope that using wind energy will be an affordable alternative for just about everyone within the next couple of decades.
Water, or hydroelectric energy, is another example of alternatives to fossil fuels that have been around for a long time and are being refined for wider use today. This approach often requires controlling the flow of water in rivers or lakes, usually by building a dam and co-locating a hydroelectric plant with the dam. The water flow operates turbines that in turn generate electricity. Many power companies already use this form of energy production and are looking to increase this form of energy generation over the next few decades.
Biofuels also represent one of the most interesting of all modern alternatives to fossil fuels. In the broadest sense, biofuel is created using renewable resources such as plants or harvested foodstuffs like corn or soybeans. This type of fuel can also be created using waste materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Biofuel does not have a negative impact on the environment, but it does supply many of the fossil fuel advantages that most people associate with the use of petroleum products. Today there are some vehicles on the road that make use of biofuels and the number is expected to increase in the years to come.
As more people become concerned about the state of the environment, these and other alternatives to fossil fuels will continue to be developed and refined. While it is unlikely that the use of fossil fuels will ever completely go away, creating and using these alternative energy strategies will go a long way in making better use of limited resources. At the same time, using these alternatives will make it possible to begin correcting the damage already done to ecological balance of our planet.