Alternative energy refers to any source of energy outside of traditionally generated power. Usually when the term is used it is in reference to electricity generation by solar, wind, or water power, but there are many other forms of alternative power. The use of alternative power is often considered to be a major part of self-sufficient living.
Alternative Power Sources
Ethanol (grain alcohol) and Methanol (wood alcohol) can be produced by means of a still. These fuels can be used by modified internal combustion engines (i.e. vehicles, generators, etc.), cook stoves and heaters.
Methane is a flammable gas produced by the breaking down of organic matter. If the matter is placed in a bio-digester the methane can be produced more efficiently and captured. This methane can then be used to produce electricity or heat.
Solar power is one of the most common sources of alternative power. It can be used to produce electricity or heated air and water.
Hydropower has been used for over a century to produce electricity and well beyond that for direct mechanical application. Small streams and rivers can be access to produce electricity.
Wind power is also becoming more common, it can be used to produce electricity or its mechanical energy can be applied directly to a task.
Wood and other burnable biomass can be used to generate electricity and/or heat with wood gas, steam, rocket mass heaters, or traditional wood stoves. Also can be used directly for cooking food, or with a wood stove or a rocket stove.
Alternative Power Systems
An alternative power system can be built by harnessing one or more source of alternative energy to meet your energy needs.