Alternative technology
Alternative technology is a term used to refer to technologies that are more environmentally friendly
Environmentally friendly
Environmentally friendly are terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment....

 than the functionally equivalent technologies dominant in current practice.
The term was coined by Peter Harper, one of the founders of the Centre for Alternative Technology
Centre for Alternative Technology
The Centre for Alternative Technology is an eco-centre in Powys, mid-Wales, dedicated to demonstrating and teaching sustainable development. CAT, despite its name, no longer concentrates its efforts exclusively on alternative technology, but provides information on all aspects of sustainable living...

, North Wales
North Wales
North Wales is the northernmost unofficial region of Wales. It is bordered to the south by the counties of Ceredigion and Powys in Mid Wales and to the east by the counties of Shropshire in the West Midlands and Cheshire in North West England...

 (aka The Quarry), in Undercurrents (magazine)
Undercurrents (magazine)
Undercurrents magazine was started as a medium for radical views on scientific and technological subjects; it was published in England between 1972 and 1984: 63 editions altogether. For much of that period it appeared every two months and the circulation peaked at 7,000 in the late 1970s...

 in the 1970s.

Some "alternative technologies" have in the past or may in the future become widely adopted, after which they might no longer be considered "alternative." For example the use of wind turbines to produce electricity.

Alternative technologies

Alternative technologies include the following:
  • Anaerobic digestion
    Anaerobic digestion
    Anaerobic digestion is a series of processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. It is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste and/or to release energy....

  • Composting
  • Fuel cell
    Fuel cell
    A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used...

  • Fuels for automobiles (besides gasoline
    Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

     and diesel)
    • Alcohol
      Alcohol fuel
      Although fossil fuels have become the dominant energy resource for the modern world, alcohol has been used as a fuel throughout history. The first four aliphatic alcohols are of interest as fuels because they can be synthesized chemically or biologically, and they have characteristics which allow...

       (either ethanol
      Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

       or methanol
      Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

    • Biodiesel
      Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

    • Vegetable oil

  • Greywater
    Greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands...

  • Solar panel
    Photovoltaic module
    A solar panel is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells...

    • Silicon-based
    • Photosynthetic "Gratzel cells" (Titanium dioxide
      Titanium dioxide
      Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula . When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. Generally it comes in two different forms, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of...


  • Landfill gas
    Landfill gas
    Landfill gas is a complex mix of different gases created by the action of microorganisms within a landfill.-Production:Landfill gas production results from chemical reactions and microbes acting upon the waste as the putrescible materials begins to break down in the landfill...

     extraction from landfills
  • Mechanical biological treatment
    Mechanical biological treatment
    A mechanical biological treatment system is a type of waste processing facility that combines a sorting facility with a form of biological treatment such as composting or anaerobic digestion...

  • Recycling
    Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

  • Wind generator
    Wind generator
    A wind generator is a device that generates electrical power from wind energy.Wind generators have traditionally been wind turbines, i.e. a propeller attached to an electric generator attached to appropriate electronics to attach it to the electrical grid or to charge batteries.Recently, however, a...


See also

  • Environmental technology
    Environmental technology
    Environmental technology or green technology or clean technology is the application of one or more of environmental science, green chemistry, environmental monitoring and electronic devices to monitor, model and conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of...

  • List of solid waste treatment technologies
  • List of waste water treatment technologies
  • Soft energy technology
    Soft energy technology
    Soft energy technologies may be seen as appropriate renewable technologies. Soft energy technologies are not simply renewable energy technologies, as there are many renewable energy technologies which are not regarded as "soft".- Definition :...

External links

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