Alternative energy. You’ve probably heard that phrase used in class, in the media, even by some of your friends or favorite celebrities; but what exactly does it mean? The answer is simple, alternative energy is any way of harvesting usable energy (heat, electricity, etc.), derived from an “alternative” (read non-fossil fuel) source. A house that heat’s its hot water using solar panels, therefore, is making use of a source of “alternative energy,” because it utilizes the power of the sun’s rays to heat its water, rather than on oil. Hydrogen-cell cars provide another example of alternative energy use, because they rely upon a chemical process involving hydrogen gas to power them, rather than fossil derived gasoline or diesel fuel.
While alternative energy technology has been around for a while (people have been utilizing solar energy to heat them and even cook their food for thousands of years), that technology is always changing, as are viable sources of alternative energy. To learn about some of these new methods of producing alternative energy, check out the article “4 Unique Ways to Generate Renewable Energy,” posted on Mashable.com.