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Clean Energy: What is it?

Carbon Footprint

Clean energy is a term used to describe a type of sustainable energy which does not emit pollution. These types of power sources are an alternative to common sources which come from non-renewable materials which create pollution. The term is a broad one which covers many types of energy used to reduce the environmental carbon footprint energy consumption has on the earth. With an increasing world population and demand for power sources, clean energy serves as a way to keep humans from destroying the planet with pollution and depleting all of our resources.


The Problem with Coal, Gas, and Oil

Coal, gas, and oil are our biggest sources of energy to date; these are carbon and hydrogen based elements. When we burn these sources to create power we are creating a chemical reaction which puts off heat (the power) and carbon dioxide. The byproduct of this process has been known to cause acid rain, sulfur oxide emissions, hazardous waste and is often linked to ozone depletion and global warming. Even the process of acquiring these materials is hazardous to the safety of the worker mining for them as they carry a high potential for disaster - a recent example is the BP spill which killed workers, sea creatures, habitats, and led to the demise of many businesses in the Gulf Coast – learn more about the aftermath of the spill on

Different Kinds of Clean Energy

Solar Power 

One of the most commonly discussed and used types of alternative energy is solar power – this is a process which involves converting sunlight into energy. Solar energy is collected through photovoltaic panels – which convert sunbeams into electricity using the photoelectric process, or concentrated solar power systems (CPS) - which use mirrors and tracking systems to direct a large amount of sunrays into a very tiny beam.


Capturing energy through the use of water systems is known as hydropower. This type of clean energy is generated through the use of water turbines or water mills. Commonly, the water source is natural and ran through a dam. The most famous source of hydroelectricity is the Hoover Dam which powers about a quarter of Nevada and large amounts of areas in California.

Ocean Energy

Also known as wave or tidal power, this form of energy is a specific type of hydropower which converts the energy of waves and tildes into electricity.

Wind Power

Simply put, wind power is wind generated power through the use of wind turbines. Power collected this way is converted into electricity, mechanical power, pumps, and directional power.

Geothermal Power

This type of energy is generated through the use of dry steam power plants, binary cycle power plants, and flash steam power plants. Geothermal power is used in 24 countries and geothermal heating is used in 70 countries in the world.


Living and recently living organisms generate materials known as biological materials which are used as biomass. This renewable source of energy is used in energy products such as biofuels. Direct combustion of this material is used to make energy through the use of steam turbines and gasifiers.


Have you used any of these types of "clean energy" or is there a process that I left out?


Andrew Miller is an avid green business and legal blogger. He manages over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. 

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