Electricity is the most versatile kind of energy used on Earth. It plays an important part in almost every modern technology. Electricity can be transmitted easily over a distance via cables. It can be transformed into several other energy forms. A settlement on Mars can hardly be imagined without electricity.
Electrical energy can be produced directly in several ways.
The conversion of photons to electricity.
 Mechanical Generators
 Thermoelectric Generators
A thermoelectric generator produces electricity from differences in thermal energy between two or more areas.
Piezoelectricity is the generation of electricity as a direct result of mechanical deformation.
 Uses of Electricity
Electricity can be directly used to produce
- Movement of machine parts.
 Significance for a Martian colony
For some settlement applications electricity can not be avoided. This is true for radio link and night time lighting.
Although there is some comfort in using electricity for a variety of applications, there are on the other hand some disadvantages to be considered. The storage of large amounts of electrical energy is a problem. Moreover, every transformation causes some loss of energy. The following alternatives may provide an advantage:
- Movement of machine parts can alternatively be created by muscle work, pneumatics or hydraulics. Muscle work is, for a certain degree, always available. Combination with physical exercise should be considered. Compressed-air is an easy storage for pneumatic energy.
- Heating can be avoided with a thick thermal insulation. At best the human metabolism and the lighting cause enough heat for a comfortable room temperature.
- Automation can be implemented with pneumatics.