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Alternative Energy For Dummies

Alternative Energy For Dummies

Rik DeGunther

ISBN: 978-0-470-53706-0

Apr 2009

384 pages



The myths and facts about alternative fuels–and how they impact our lives

As the price of energy continues to soar, so too has the demand for alternative energy. But there's no clear ""winner"" in the race to replace fossil fuels. Alternative Energy For Dummies explores the current fossil fuel conundrum and society's growing need for more and more energy. Cutting through the competing claims, this book offers a multifaceted examination of alternative energy, including solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, geothermal, biofuel, and other sources. Each alternative scenario is compared to current fossil-fuel intensive practices in the scientific, environmental, social, political, and economic realms. Readers also gain insight into the future of energy production.

Introduction 1

Part I: The Basic Facts of Energy Life 9

Chapter 1: What a Mess! 11

Chapter 2: What Energy Is and How It’s Used (Politically and Practically) 25

Chapter 3: Putting Together Each Piece of the Energy Puzzle 37

Part II: Digging Deeper into the Current State of Affairs 57

Chapter 4: Developing a Snapshot of Fossil Fuel Use and Availability 59

Chapter 5: Burning Up with Conventional Energy Sources 73

Chapter 6: The First Alternative-Energy Sources: Efficiency and Conservation 95

Chapter 7: Understanding the Demand For Alternatives 113

Part III: Alternatives — Buildings 127

Chapter 8: Going Nuclear  129

Chapter 9: Harnessing the Sun with Solar Power 151

Chapter 10: Treading Water with Hydropower 177

Chapter 11: Blowing Away with Wind Power 191

Chapter 12: Digging into Geothermal 207

Chapter 13: Exploring Biomass 221

Chapter 14: Burning Wood 235

Chapter 15: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technologies 249

Part IV: Alternatives — Transportation 261

Chapter 16: Alternative Transport Technologies 263

Chapter 17: Alternative-Fuel Vehicles 271

Chapter 18: Plugging In: Electric Vehicles 283

Chapter 19: Hybrid-Electric Vehicles 297

Chapter 20: Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles 307

Chapter 21: Exotic Propulsion Systems 315

Part V: The Part of Tens 325

Chapter 22: Ten or So Myths about Energy 327

Chapter 23: Ten-Plus Ways to Invest in an Alternative-Energy Future 335

Index 343