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Research Paper

  1. 1. Andreassen 1Sean AndreassenMrs. CorbettAP Literature18 November 2011 The Energy Crisis “Fossil fuels are currently being consumed 100,000 times faster than they are beingformed” (Renewable Energy). At this rate, fossil fuels will be depleted in the near future, and analternative energy source will be required. Though this will not happen for some time, the effectsof the decline will be felt far in advance, as fuel prices will greatly increase. As this grows, thecost of living and transportation will significantly raise, which will not decline until a viablealternative energy source is discovered. Currently, the problem facing the nation is shared acrossthe globe and is causing untold damage to the environment. This problem has had no truesolution, even though potential energy sources exist, such as solar panels or wind turbines. Thesesources are usually very inefficient and lack power; however, a potential source is now availablewith magnetic generators, which may help find a solution to the problem, while avoiding theinefficiencies that have plagued the other sources, and may be the first true energy source sinceoil or coal. Today, an unprecedented amount of damage has been done to the environment, causingvast environmental and ecological damage. This issue of Global Warming is shared across theworld and is not due to natural causes, since “there is an unprecedented amount of scientificevidence that recent global warming is related not to Earth’s natural cycles but to humanactivities and population increases” (Global Warming; Global Issues in Context). Commonactivities, such as driving a car, are a large part of this cause, and will continue to damage the
  2. 2. Andreassen 2environment until a viable alternative source of energy is in use. This action would be a greatstep to solving the problem, though energy needs are not the only source of pollution in modernsociety. In fact, humans have created and released greenhouse gasses that do not occur in naturethat…have thousands of times the effect on the earth’s temperature that carbon dioxide has”(Global Warming; Gale Opposing Viewpoints). These gases are primarily as a result ofmanufacturing and refinement processes, which are used in the production of common materials,such as aluminum. As factories work to reduce their carbon footprint, there also needs to be afocus on regulating the most harmful chemicals that are produced, since those cause a largeamount of damage. However, while this is crucial, these gases are in large part confined, becausethey are restricted to highly technical facilities and processes, which cannot be said about themost common source of damage, fossil fuels. The expansiveness fossil fuels make it a key targetin the battle to reduce environmental damage, since “the vast majority of energy comes fromnonrenewable fuels, such as oil, natural gas, and coal. Of these, oil is depended on the most,accounting for 40% of all energy needs and nearly 90% of transportation fuel” (Daniel Leone).Fossil fuels have a large role in the world today due to the dependence that modern society hason them, which has led to struggles in the world that are often not solely environmental orecological. Furthermore, fossil fuels dominate the economy and have caused great tensions in thepast, sometimes leading to war, but more often leading to major economic damage. With therapid consumption of fossil fuels, their price continues to grow, causing economic hardship forthose that are unable to maintain this constant increase, which serves as a leading indicator oftheir archaic nature and future conclusion. As the current energy sources grow outdated,alternative energy sources take the forefront in the effort to address the issue of climate change,
  3. 3. Andreassen 3despite the fact that many of the current solutions fail to reach the output and versatility offeredby fossil fuels. Still, there are many alternative energy sources on the market today, though many ofthem have costs that far exceed their benefits. Furthermore, many of the energy sources that aremost popular do not actually have an effect on the environment, even though their market priceis often high. This is the case because the most popular solution is with cars, which relies onelectricity, which also relies on another power source to provide it with electricity. This sourcewill more than likely originate from a coal power plant, which is currently the “nation’s largestunregulated source of mercury emissions” (Emily Fidgor). Since cars are unable to produce theirown electricity, the use of electric cars, while a step in the right direction, actually has very littlepositive effect on the environment because they only act to move the source of pollution fromeach car, to the coal powered factory plants. Many people are unaware of this and continue tobelieve that they are doing all that they need to do by simply buying an electric car, thoughwithout a clean source of energy to power these cars, such attempts are futile. Currently, sourcessuch as solar power do exist; however, they are very limited, and “while the reliability and costof solar electric technologies continue to improve, solar power today accounts for less than onepercent” (William Booth). These alternative sources face difficulty not only spreading, butproducing in a manner that would allow them to become the primary source of energy. Solartechnology is an excellent example for current alternative energy sources, since it shares manycommon problems with other sources. One of these main difficulties is its lack of efficiency,since it regularly only captures 15% of what it is exposed to, which is also limited since it mustbe in direct and complete exposure in order to capture the energy from the sun. With theserestrictions, combined with the fact that their price is very high, solar panels, while possibly the
  4. 4. Andreassen 4most well known, do not live up to the potential that is necessary in order to become a viablesource of energy. Furthermore, another main problem with sources such as solar or wind power,is that they are unable to be scaled up to a level where they will be truly effective. This is not thecase with larger sources, such as hydroelectric dams, though these have their own difficultiessince “recent research has shown that hydroelectric dams are actually large greenhouse-gasemitters” (Larry Gilman). Hydroelectric dams function with the flow of water past a turbinethrough the dam, which creates electricity. However, in order for this to happen, the dam itselfmust be created, often diverting water supplies, and clearing surrounding areas of farmland ortrees. This action reduces the ability of the area to naturally absorb the carbon dioxide producedon a daily basis, causing an increase in carbon dioxide levels and thus more damage to theenvironment. Current solutions prove to be too inefficient or damaging to their surrounding areasthat they cannot serve as a feasible source for alternative energy, though a possible solution doesexist that may be able to work not only on the small scale, but also to power entire buildings withvery little change to the environment. This solution is currently fairly unknown, though it has been in existence for many years,and is called a magnetic generator. The basis for this system is the same for all generators, whichemploys “a turbine used to provide the circuits rotation…which is changed into electric current”(John Appel). The basis of this generator is also the basis for other current alternative energysources, such as a wind turbine or a hydroelectric dam. In each situation, a force causes theturbine to spin and produce electricity, which in the case of the magnetic generator comes fromthe repulsion of magnets. The process of the turbine has been employed not only in modernalternative energy sources though, as it is commonly used in standard generators, which rely onconventional methods for power. In fact, the main difference between all energy sources of this
  5. 5. Andreassen 5type is the source of their power, which greatly affects their output. A stable and clean source ofenergy would therefore be able to not only produce constant and reliable power, but wouldrequire very little room or change for the device to be put into place. A source such as permanentmagnets would be able to provide this rotation, since a magnetic field is readily found on theplanet, though it can be applied to “electrical forces as well, and is an extremely important aspectof many energy applications” (Joseph Priest). The use of permanent magnets as the key to thedesign allows the generator to produce constant electricity with no emissions or by-products.Also, the use of permanent magnets, while not as regulatory as a temporary magnet whichreceives power through tightly wound copper wire, does not require the constant input ofelectricity, and so is free standing and able to produce a comparatively larger amount of energy.This very reason is why “permanent-magnet generators are simple in that they require no systemfor the provision of field current and they are highly reliable” (Electric Generator). The use ofthis technology allows for more output from the system, with a lifespan that is limited only bythe durability of the parts used in its creation, allowing for a carefree device capable of poweringnearly anything that it is connected to. The limitless nature of this device, that is free from anycertain location, and completely independent of weather conditions or environmental factors,would allow for a seamless integration into modern society. The magnetic generator is in fact aviable alternative energy source that has yet to be truly tested and incorporated in the way thatmany other sources have been, and will continue to grow. Therefore, of the many problems that face the planet today, environmental issues are atthe forefront. Alternative energy sources continue to grow in popularity and necessity, as thethreat of climate change reaches more people across the globe. The creation of a true and reliablealternative energy source would not only have a resounding environmental impact, but would
  6. 6. Andreassen 6help to free the nations from the grip of fossil fuels, which would largely reduce conflict over thenow precious commodity. Further environmental damage caused by humans would be greatlyreduced with the incorporation of a new alternative energy source, such as magnetic generators,which would overcome many of the common problems that current alternative sources face. Asenvironmental damage increases, and climate change becomes more of a threat, there has neverbeen a greater need for a new source of energy that is able to overcome current problems andblend flawlessly into modern society.
  7. 7. Andreassen 7 Works CitedAppel, John. “Electromagnetic Induction.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 3rd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 1400-1403. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 27 Oct. 2011. <>.Booth, William. “Solar Power Is Not a Viable Energy Source.” Washington Post 2 June 2001: n. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. < ViewpointsDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Viewpoints&disableHighlighting=false &prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3 010139244&mode=view&userGroupName=cant48040&jsid=727392dc821268ca7469da 96d34f845d>.“Electric Generator.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. < 45818?query=magnetic%20generator&ct=>.Figdor, Emily. “Coal-Fired Power Plants Produce Dangerous Mercury Emissions.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Gale, 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. < ViewpointsDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Viewpoints&disableHighlighting=false &prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3 010426208&mode=view&userGroupName=cant48040&jsid=187cb9709474325b7819c3 8a4375d9ab>.
  8. 8. Andreassen 8Gilman, Larry. “Energy Contributions.” Climate Change: In Context. Ed. Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 315-319. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <>.“Global Warming.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. N.p., 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. < ReferenceDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Reference&disableHighlighting=true&ac tion=e&windowstate=normal&catId=GALE%7C00000000LVWV&documentId=GALE %7CPC3021900075&mode=view>.“Global Warming.” Global Issues in Context. Gale, 2011. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. < retrieve&tabID=&prodId=GIC&docId=CP3208520217&source=gale&userGroupName= cant48040&version=1.0>.Leone, Daniel A., ed. “The Energy Crisis.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Greenhaven Press, 2005. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. < ReferenceDetailsPage/ ReferenceDetailsWindow;jsessionid=0EE05F057FEEB40FECF604F50F4AD4FC.incont ext3_prod?displayGroupName=Reference&disableHighlighting=true&action=2&catId= GALE%7CAAA000008537&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010373112&userGroupName =cant48040&jsid=aa45a65df59c3e220d792fc071dab176>.
  9. 9. Andreassen 9Priest, Joseph. “Magnetism and Magnets.” Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy. Ed. John Zumerchik. 3 vols. New York: Gale, 2001. 742. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 Nov. 2011. <>.“Renewable Energy.” Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. N.p., 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. < ReferenceDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Reference&disableHighlighting=true&ac tion=2&catId=GALE%7C00000000LVYS&documentId=GALE%7CPC3021900146&us erGroupName=cant48040&jsid=c562dad52b7b96ddecd270d4ad2d8165>.