What legitmate forms of energy do we have to choose from

Offhand i can think of oil, coal, gas, nuclear, wind, solar & dams. Are there any others that we currently use?


Also wave energy, and tidal.

On a small scale, burning wood.

[ul][li]Hydro[/li][li]Wind[/li][li]Nuclear[/li][li]Solar[/li][li]Tidal[/li][li]Geothermal *[/li][li]Fusion (currently only on the drawing boards)[/li][li]Hydrogen (no reliable source of enough hydrogen)[/ul][/li]

  • Geothermal is currently only possible in places like Iceland, where the heat source is at or near the surface.

Corn, soy and other crops. They can be processed into oil and alcohol to use as fuel, or fed to animals (including humans) to use for transportation.

Propane and methane spring to mind.

Didn’t somebody have a prototype tidal-energy-harnessing device out there?

Propane & methane would be under the “gas” category in the OP.

Corn, soy, wood, etc. should be grouped together as “biomass.”

Love, Baby. Sweet love.

Well there is always electricity. It flows freely from the outlets at my apartment(2 PCs and a 2 year old that loves TV).


The only other thing I can think of is Fuel Cells

Legitimate forms of energy are:

  1. Electromagnetic
  2. Weak nuclear forces
  3. Strong nuclear forces
  4. Gravitational potential

Oh, you meant power sources we can harness to do useful work? (sorry, I’ve been hanging out with way too many physics geeks…)

Wind is an alternate form of solar power, as is biomass power (new or archaic biomass). Pure solar is either photovoltaic (generates electricity) or photodynamic (usually generates steam to turn a turbine). Wind turbines are an open photodynamic system with the working fluid being the air.

Biomass is either new or archaic. New biomass is things like ethanol from corn, diesel from canola, that kind of thing. Archaic biomass is oil, natural gas, and coal.

Nuclear power is divided into fission and fusion, but you knew that.

Gravitational power is only currently possible through tidal action.

Each has upsides and downsides. I favor new biomass and nuclear fusion myself, but there are many many opinions out there on what’s best to sustain and improve our technological society.

With a legitimate energy source (a.k.a. “fuel”), you get more energy out of it than what you expend to obtain it. With this in mind, there are only a handful of legitimate energy sources. These include oil, gas, coal, hydroelectric, and nuclear. Only legitimate energy sources can be considered for use in large-scale power distribution systems.

An energy source that produces less energy when compared to the amount of energy expended to obtain it is not a fuel; it is an energy vessel. One obvious example is an electrochemical battery; a lot more energy is expended making a battery that what you can get out of it. In general, energy vessels can be very useful for powering portable or remotely-located devices, but they are not a viable option for large-scale power distribution.

There is some debate on whether certain energy sources are fuels or energy vessels. Examples include solar, wind, alcohol, and hydrogen. Careful and thorough analysis is required to make the determination. Take alcohol, for example… if a farmer’s tractor uses 50 gallons of diesel fuel to pull corn from a field, and the corn produces 20 gallons of alcohol, can we really say alcohol is a fuel? Nope – it’s an energy vessel. Just like a battery. Furthermore, it would be a lie to say the alcohol is “clean burning,” since a lot of diesel fuel was burned to pull the corn. What about solar? Despite the fact there are studies that “prove” a PV array generates net power after 4 or 5 years, I think they neglect a lot of variables. In fact, I strongly suspect that no PV array has ever generated one net watt.

One of the best “judges” of whether an energy source is a fuel or energy vessel is the free market. If commercial companies are selling an energy source for use in large-scale power distribution systems, then it’s virtually guaranteed the energy source is a fuel and not an energy vessel.

Use the difference in barometric pressure between two locations to turn a turbine-generator to generate electricity at about 1 cent / KWH.

Include the total cost of building the windfarm and that price goes up astronomically. It’s useful in isolated areas where there’s a steady breeze and a need for power that can be met with a source that only works some of the time. We’re not going to power the world with it, ever.

Well, there’re always the traditional ones – slaves and animals.

And the hot air from Great Debates.

OOPS :smack:

I forgot to tell you. This is not a windmill farm. It is a 300 mile long tube to take advantage of the delta P and the shape of the tube to accelerate the air flow to supersonic speeds to drive the turbine efficiently. <coldenergy.com>

BTW: ‘Veratas’ is moving components to the top of Windrock Mtn. in TN to augment the three wm’s currently in operation. These are 3 MW each. Being moved on a 30 axle trailer at about 2 mph.

See, that’s what I initially thought, but then I came up with so many reasons why it wouldn’t work that I assumed you must be talking about windfarms.

I’m very wary of any website that trumpets itself as having “A New Principle of Science”. Plus, what’s it going to cost to build this tube? Oil pipelines run about $2 million per mile, IIRC.

No argument here. :slight_smile:

Those are Anthony Mamo’s claims, not mine. I faigured it to be a real big money pit for gov’g financing. :rolleyes:
Patents are not quite a dime a dozen as expence of one is considerable. That is all the are, Patents, worth absolutely nothing unless or untill someone actually produces hardware.

The real problem of most of those is simple scaling - they can’t economically be scaled up big enough to power a substantial portion of the US…

Um, maybe I shouldn’t ask, but I can’t resist. :o

What, pray tell, is an illegitimate form of energy?