Alternative Energy Research Paper

1825 Words Dec 6th, 2010 8 Pages
Prof. C
Comp. 1-Research Paper
7 Nov. 2008 Within the next few years, one can expect to see a vast change in the way that mankind harnesses energy. Alternative fuels will play a colossal role in what has become one of our generation’s largest challenges, limited supplies of fossil fuels. Scientists have been working for years to develop alternative methods to power the globe given that materials such as coal and oil are not renewable resources. Once they are used up, they are gone forever. New forms of energy have to be developed but what other sources are there and where will each work best? With fuel prices increasing every year and the theory that CO2 emissions from coal and petroleum products are heating up the globe,
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One of the most common alternative energy resources that is getting more popular with every passing year is solar energy. Solar energy has been used by humans for thousands of years. People would use it to help start fires or to keep their houses warm. But it was not until 1839 that photovoltaic activity was first shown by Edmond Becquerel. He noticed that certain materials, when exposed to light, could increase their electrical current (History of solar energy). In 1905 Albert Einstein clearly described the photoelectric effect, which is the principle on which photovoltaic is based. In 1954, scientists found that silicon found in sand created an electric charge when it was exposed to sunlight. The first long term practical use of solar cells was in that of a satellite called Vanguard 1 in 1958. This satellite was powered completely by the sun and proved just how efficient that solar electricity could become. After the energy crisis in the 1970’s, people began to realize how dependent we were on non- renewable resources and solar energy as a result became much more popular (History of solar energy). Solar comes from the Latin word for sun. The sun has proven to be the most powerful source of energy. If we could somehow harness all of the sun’s energy hitting the earth for just one hour, it would meet the energy needs of the entire world for a solid year (Energy Kids Page). We can use