Power from Plants; Power from the Earth; Power from the Wind
Digital version – browse, print or download
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
Wayland's 'Alternative Energy' series came out in 1990/91 and was notable for its clarity, up-to-dateness and relevance. The Books for Keeps Green Guide saw it as a real good help in the field of energy information. The only thing really wrong with the series was its title, for it dealt with sources of basic natural energy - sun, wind, water, etc. - to which fossil fuels are in fact a sophisticated alternative. So it's very pleasing to see this revamping of the original series to reach a lower age range just called 'Energy' and to find that the volume titles are simplified too.
Wind and Earth are competent filletings of their predecessors. Wind power is pretty easy to understand (sails and turbines) so Hazel Songhurst has been able to give us a very simple text which serves the illustrations well (although can it be right that one of the turbines has a blade-span of 'nearly one kilometre'?). Earth is rather more complex, as is the concept of geothermal energy, but both hot springs and hot dry rocks are considered and properly explained.
The greatest change has happened in the bioenergy volume where Power from Plants is not just a re-write but a whole new text, with some new pictures too. This makes it a fresher and more lively offering than the other two. Plant energy as food or fuel are explained before the methane digesters and alcohol fermenters get going. Plenty of space is given to the ways in which we can get energy from waste, and this is right for, these days, waste and wind are all that most of us produce.
In serving up a series whose members stand quite confidently away from their parents, the publishers have provided a useful junior-wards extension of the energy-information spectrum, as well as providing us regulars at The Plough with the idea of running the lights on the collected methane that we produce.