- Alternative technology
Alternative technology is a term used by environmental advocates to refer to technologies which are more environmentally friendly than the functionally equivalent technologies dominant in current practice.
It is technology that, as an alternative to resource-intensive and wasteful industry, aims to utilize resources sparingly, with minimum damage to the environment, at affordable cost and with a possible degree of control over the processes. The term is sometimes confused with
appropriate technology, but while there is significant overlap, the terms have different meanings, particularly related to the importance of low cost and ease of maintenance for developing country applications.
Alternative technologies themselves are part of environmentalist politics. Common political issues related to alternative technologies include whether they are practical for widespread use; whether they are cost-effective; whether widespread adoption would produce negative impacts on the economy, lifestyle or environment (production energy costs/pollutants); how to encourage rapid adoption; whether public subsidies for adoption are appropriate; which technologies government regulations should favor, if any, and how environmentally unsound technologies and practices should be regulated; what technological research should be done and how it should be funded; and which of a field of competing alternative technologies should be pursued.
The term was coined by Peter Harper, one of the founders of the
Centre for Alternative Technology, North Wales(aka "The Quarry"), in Undercurrents (magazine)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 include the following:
* Fuels for automobiles (besides
** Alcohol (either
* Solar panels
Photosynthetic" Gratzel cells" ( Titanium dioxide)
Landfill gasextraction from landfills
Mechanical biological treatment
* Robot Bodies
Companies developing alternative technologies
Toyota, with the Priushybrid electric-gas car
* Volvo, with its recyclable cars
BMW, researching a liquid hydrogenfueled engine
* [http://www.bracsystems.com BRAC Systems] , a Canadian company, manufactures residential greywater recycling systems which use water captured from the bath to flush the home's toilets.
Motor Development International, designers of the compressed air engine Air car
List of solid waste treatment technologies
List of waste water treatment technologies
Soft energy technology
* [http://www.cat.org.uk/index.tmpl Centre for Alternative Technology, N Wales]
* [http://www.buildinggreen.com/products/recycled_wood.cfm Recycled wood]
* [http://peopleinaction.info/archive/technology.html Technological alternatives]
* [http://www.ata.org.au/ Australia's alternative technology association]
* [http://www.greenprogress.com/ Alternative technology news and resources]
* [http://global1.kyocera.com/company/ecology.html Kyocera]
* [http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=2210 Gratzel Cells - Solar Cells Based on Titanium Dioxide]
* [http://www.cat.org.uk/ Centre for Alternative Energy (European)]
* [http://europa.eu.int/comm/energy/intelligent/index_en.html EU Intelligent Energy]
* [http://www.humanecologyreview.org/pastissues/her122/smith.pdf The Alternative Technology Movement]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
alternative technology — noun A form of technology intended to protect the environment and conserve natural resources • • • Main Entry: ↑alternative * * * alternative technology, the application of conservation to industrial and agricultural practices: »wind energy,… … Useful english dictionary
alternative technology — (usually interchangeable with appropriate or intermediate technology) the use of low cost, often labour intensive, technology, based on local resources, that is appropriate to Economically Less Developed Countries. May originate internally or… … Geography glossary
alternative technology — /ɔlˌtɜnətɪv tɛkˈnɒlədʒi/ (say awl.ternuhtiv tek noluhjee), /ɒl / (say ol ) noun technology which is environmentally friendly such as the technology involved in fuel cells, solar panels, wind generators, etc … Australian English dictionary
alternative technology — See appropriate technologies … Dictionary of sociology
Centre for Alternative Technology — The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) ( cy. Canolfan Dechnoleg Amgen) is an eco centre in Powys, mid Wales, dedicated to demonstrating and teaching sustainable development. CAT, despite its name, no longer concentrates its efforts on… … Wikipedia
technology — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ current, existing ▪ emerging, the latest, modern, new ▪ small businesses that are involved with emerging technologies ▪ … Collocations dictionary
alternative — alternate, alternative 1. Both words are adjectives and nouns and come from Latin alternus meaning ‘every second’ and have had closely related meanings over several centuries of usage. Now however, there is a clear distinction which needs to be… … Modern English usage
Alternative fuel vehicle — refers to a vehicle that runs on a fuel other than traditional gasoline or diesel; any method of powering an engine that does not involve solely petroleum (e.g. electric car, gasoline electric hybrid, solar powered). Due to a combination of heavy … Wikipedia
Alternative fuel — Alternative fuels, also known as non conventional fuels, are any materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, other than conventional fuels. Conventional fuels include: fossil fuels (petroleum (oil), coal, propane, and natural gas), and… … Wikipedia
Alternative medicine — Alternative medical systems … Wikipedia