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parts of our day-to-day lives. Energy is required to produce electricity for domestic and industrial applications. We need energy to drive our vehicles, to run the machines, keep our houses cool and hot, run the c omputers and mobiles, and for a number of other purposes. Comparison of Traditional and Alternative Energy Sources: Traditionally we have been using fossil fuels for production of electric power a nd driving our vehicles. The fuels used for the generation of electric power are fossil fuels like coal and oil, and nuclear fuels like uranium. The fuels used commonly for running the vehicles are crude oils like gasoline and diesel. Alter native energy refers to the energy that is not dependent on fossil fuels, crude oil and nuclear fuels. Alternative energy, also called as renewable energy, is o btained from various sources like radiations of the sun (solar energy), wind, wa ter, geothermal heat and tides in the oceans. Burning of fossil fuels is one of the major causes of environmental pollution and greenhouse effect. They release lots of carbon dioxide and particulate matter. The alternative or renewable ener gy is considered to be the clean energy since extracting energy from its sources does not produce any pollution. The sources of energy like fossil fuels, crude oil and nuclear fuels are also ca lled as non-renewable sources of energy since their deposits are reducing in the nature as they are being used extensively throughout the world. Fuels like coal , natural gas and oil took millions of years to develop but once used they canno t be replaced immediately. The alternative energy on the other hand is available in abundance from various sources and they get replaced easily immediately or w ithin short period of time. Alternative sources of energy provide unending supply of energy. For instance th e solar energy from the sun will be available for unlimited period of time till the sun keeps shining. Solar energy can be collected by the collectors and it ca n be used for a number of applications like cooking food, heating water, generat ing electricity, running the vehicles etc. Similarly, the wind will keep on blow ing on the surface of the earth tills its atmosphere is in place so it can be ut ilized for unlimited period of time. The ability of the wind to produce motion c an be utilized to run the fans of the windmill and produce electricity from them . The tidal energy is obtained from waves of the oceans having huge quantity of wa ter that would last forever. One of the important sources of alternative energy is hydro-power used for the generation of electricity in hydroelectric power pla nts. Throughout the world, the hydroelectric power plants are one of the major s ources for the generation of electricity. In these plants the flow of river is b locked at certain places and water is allowed to be collected at large height in the dam. The rivers have been flowing since thousands of years and continue to exist for unlimited period of time as they are replenished by rain water from ti me-to-time. Geothermal energy is obtained from the lower layers of the earth usually for pro ducing the heating effect. Once the energy is obtained from the earth, it is rep laced immediately naturally and it can be used for ending period of time interva

l. Another important source of alternative energy is the biomass like waste wood, l eaves of the plants, broken branches and twigs of the trees, agricultural wastes , garbage, human wastes etc. The fuels obtained from biomass are called bio-fuel s. Some of the common bio-fuels are ethanol, biodiesel, and natural gas. Biodies el is a type of alternative fuel used for running of the vehicles. It is made fr om renewable energy sources like plant and animal fats. Biodiesel is not a petro leum fuel, but it can be easily blended with petroleum fuel diesel in various pr oportions. All the above alternative sources of energy are expected to last for long interv als of time line. While the supply of coal, oil and natural gas is expected to r educe and stop in the future, the supply of energy from sources like sun, wind, water, earth, and biomass is expected to last forever. Consumption of alternative energy in US has been increasing over the years. In t he year 2009 the consumption of alternative energy in US was 7.7 quadrillion Btu , which was 8% of all the energy used in the whole nation. Half of the alternati ve energy was used for producing electricity, while 10% of the total electricity produced was from alternative energy sources. Besides this alternative energy s ources were also used for production of heat and steam. Alternative energy was a lso used for transportation, and to provide heat for homes and businesses. Alternative energy sources reduce the pressure on fossil fuels and also help kee p environment clean. The only major problem is that alternative energy is expens ive compared to the fossil fuels mainly because they are located in remote place s and its difficult to bring them to the main grid. Some of the sources like win d and solar are not uniform during various periods of the day and the year. Howe ver, their demand has been increasing and various technologies are being develop ed to utilize alternative energy sources more efficiently.