Gas Prices, Fossil Fuels, Got You Blue? Try A Little Green Tech

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1||With the price of gasoline shooting up once again and taking a toll on Americans’ pocket books, alternative energy sources are getting a second look as a way to alleviate the demand for oil.

Compiled here are some ways that alternative, often renewable, energy sources are already being used in the U.S. and abroad. ||d97/d97/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

2||Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS), a network of nine solar plants in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border, is the largest solar power facility in the world. ||Kevin Schafer / DanitaDelimont.com “Danita Delimont Photography”/Newscom&&

3||The parabolic shape of the SEGS solar panels focuses the sun’s rays onto a single, central pipe to generate electricity. ||Kevin Schafer/Balance/Photoshot./Newscom&&

4||Electric cars have been heralded as a way to reduce fossil fuel consumption, as they function much like traditional vehicles while producing far fewer emissions. Electric models, including the Chevrolet Volt (shown here with a charger station at the Chicago Auto Show in February, 2011), are now being sold in the U.S. ||BRIAN KERSEY/UPI/Newscom&&

5||In Israel, the company Better Place recently announced a huge infrastructure project to build electric car recharger stations in that country. One of the biggest hangups with early electric car models is their limited battery life, which limits the distance they can travel before they must be recharged. By building charging stations across the country, Better Place hopes to assuage that concern by giving riders plenty of places to power up. ||Yin Dongxun/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

6||Ethanol, a biofuel that can be produced from various plants, is another alternative energy source to gasoline. Brazil is the world’s second largest producer and the largest exporter of ethanol, deriving the fuel from plants sources such as sugar cane. ||b27/b27/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

7||Biodiesel can also be produced from beans such as castor and soy, and even from animal fat. Here, a worker in Brazil holds a glass of castor oil alongside the raw product. ||CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&

8||In the U.S., corn is the primary crop converted into ethanol. || Gayle Harper / DanitaDelimont.com “Danita Delimont Photography”/Newscom&&

9||Hybrid vehicles, which run on both gasoline and electric power, are far more fuel efficient than traditional gas-powered vehicles. Some U.S. cities, including Chicago, have begun adding hybrid vehicles to their public transit systems. ||x99/x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

10||Earlier this month, China rolled out a fleet of all-electric busses that produce zero emissions. ||x99/x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

11||Hydrogen cars are another frontier in the search for more fuel efficient, cleaner vehicles. The hydrogen power cells in these vehicles harness the potential energy of hydrogen atoms by converting them into mechanical energy and, in some models, emitting water rather than carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Though still relatively new and costly, they got a positive review from California’s former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who pushed for more state funds to research and implement the new technology. ||DANIEL KRAUS/NEWSCAST/Newscom&&

12||The Pelamis — or “red sea snake” — harnesses the motion of waves to produce energy. Pictured here in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Pelamis Wave Energy Converter floats on the surface of the water, and uses waves to build pressure inside the device, which then powers a hydraulic motor. ||ts3/ts3/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

13||The SeaFlow turbine in North Devon, England uses tidal currents to rotate large blades and thus generate power. || Wikimedia&&

14||China boasts some of the world’s fastest high-speed train trains, including the Shanghai MagLev Train (short for magnetic levitation) which uses a series of huge magnets for lift and propulsion. || FEATURECHINA/Niu Yixin/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

15||Perhaps an obvious, if overlooked, mode of transport, bikes have had a huge resurgence in American cities over the past several years, as municipalities have moved to make their streets more rider friendly. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched an aggressive bike lane implementation program, creating around 255 miles of bike lanes in a four-year span. ||Lex van Lieshout/ANP/Newscom&&

16||Nuclear plants, though often perceived as a dangerous power source — a view reinforced by the catastrophe at a plant in Japan last month — offer another relatively clean, alternative energy source. There are currently 104 reactors operating in 31 states in America, producing about 20% of the nation’s energy, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. ||Andre Jenny Stock Connection Worldwide/Newscom&&

17||Denmark derives about 20% of its energy from wind power. Shown here are a row of wind turbines off the coast of the Danish island, Samsoe. ||Yang Jingzhong/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

18||Spain has been one of the world’s leaders in implementing solar energy. Pictured here is a solar plant in Andalusia, Spain.|| Design Pics/Newscom&&

19||The Lost Creek Wind Farm in King City, Missouri, has 100 wind turbines. ||Mark Hirsch/PSG/Newscom&&

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