Alternative fuels are in the forefront of science and popular discussion, but just how do each of the different energies and fuels stack up against each other?
According to New Scientist, not all alternative fuels are created equal. For instance, in a comparison of the effectiveness of wind turbines vs. biofuel made from corn, wind turbines win. This is because it would take 30 times more land to grow corn than to house wind turbines. That’s not counting the amount of water necessary for growing one of the most water-hungry crops in North America. An, it’s not counting the necessity for fertilizers, pesticides, and cultivation. That’s just land space. While biofuels are the norm in Brazil, in the EU, the position on biofuels has been reconsidered due to the negative impact they have on the environment.
Solar power fares pretty much the same as wind power. The space necessary for solar panels is massive, requiring miles of land for the arrays. The use of concentrated solar panels that use mirrors, however, is quite a bit more useful and doesn’t require as much space.
Even nuclear power is being reevaluated. The simple act of building a nuclear power plant produces massive amounts of carbon. According to the article, 25 times more carbon is emitted by the construction of nuclear power plants than would be in the construction of an equal amount of power through wind turbines.
Finally, clean coal is more of a problem than popularly conceived, as well. Clean coal is the act of capturing the carbon dioxide, storing it underground. This, however, means many more emissions from the construction of efficient coal burning plants – an estimated 110 times more than wind turbines.
Perhaps the answer is wind power, but that is still not the most efficient form of alternative energy, and it’s certainly not the least expensive. The Energy Catalyzer developed by Andrea Rossi produces by far the most power per amount of power input than any of the mentioned power sources. The E-Cat can be the true game-changer, here.