Alternative energy researchers are scientists who look for new ways to
power our world.
Fossil fuels have been the most common way to create the energy we need
to run our homes, cars and businesses. Alternative energy, also called renewable
energy, offers more options and a greener outlook than fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources like oil and coal. They take
millions of years to form. We can use them up much faster than replacements
Natural resources are other sources of energy, which renew quickly once
we use that energy. They include geothermal heat, wind, sunlight, waves and
In 2004, only 13.1 percent of the world's energy supply was renewable energy,
according to the International Energy Agency. Many governments are setting
targets to start using more renewable energy to combat climate change and
use less oil.
Alternative energy researchers are working to find a way to use more renewable
energy. They work every day to make the world a cleaner, greener place.
Alternative energy researchers work as private consultants or scientists.
Some have their own businesses. They also work in universities and government
Often, bringing change to the world comes with long hours. Although a 40-hour
workweek is possible, many people in this field find their passion keeps them
at work longer than that.
Jay Gill says the hardest thing about his job is the long hours. He is
the national sales manager for Global Resource Corporation, an alternative
energy company. He puts in up to 70 hours a week, including work on weekends.
But he points out that the long hours are his choice. Not all workers in
this field must work such long hours.
"My hours are probably not typical, but you can expect at least 50 hours
a week," says Gill. His passion for his job keeps him at work longer. "I
can't go home unless I've cleared my desk."
Those with special needs should be able to work in this field. "It's more
mental work than it is physical," explains Gill.
Craig Dunn does geothermal research. He says most research positions are
desk jobs that require a computer and a keen mind.
"Again, it is important to do your homework as to the actual job description
and workload. As a geologist, I am required to do some field mapping and exploration
in remote areas. Clearly, this requires a fit and able body; but the rest
of my day would involve mapping and rock analysis with a desk, microscope
and computer," says Dunn.