Despite the real possibility we (as in the human race) will run out of fossil fuels in our lifetime, and that fossil fuels, which power our cars, heat our homes and enable the manufacturing of consumer gadgets etc also contributes to climate change, we don’t seem anywhere near finding a replacement.
Maybe part of the problem is that we’re looking for that one, all-encompassing renewable fuel source that will allow us to live our consumer oriented lives uninterrupted. It likely doesn’t exist. A more plausible reality is that various alternative energy sources will need to be cobbled together in a customized, individualized way.
The ideal all-in-one energy solution would embody these five characteristics:
2. High energy density
3. Environmentally friendly to extract and utilize
4. Predictable and reliable
5. The energy yield must be far greater than the capital cost of extraction and utilization
When you think about it, no current energy source fulfills all the above requirements. Coal, while meeting most of the criteria, isn’t environmentally friendly by a long shot. Neither is oil or natural gas.
Hydroelectricity, on the other hand, is environmentally friendly but to make it requires altitude and rainfall. It also doesn’t have a high energy density.
The intermittent nature of wind makes wind power fail number four, although it seems to meet the other criteria when you include deep and shallow offshore wind sources.
Solar power is unquestionably the most abundant renewable energy, but it fails on cost, specifically the cost of installation.
Biomass is a renewable energy source derived from garbage, wood, waste, landfill gases, and alcohol fuels. Being renewable doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly however. Biomass produces air pollution at levels that rival or even surpass coal or natural gas.
Nuclear power meets most of the criteria handily, but while radioactive waste is less than one percent of total industrial toxic wastes, much of it remains hazardous indefinitely.
So as you can see, there is no “one size fits all” solution to our imminent fossil fuel troubles. Then again, even if fossil fuel supplies went on forever, our current rate of consumption can’t. Every product we buy puts more pressure on our planet and on the finite natural habitats we are stewards of.
Because we’re nowhere near finding a replacement for Mother Nature.
We are CB Power and Industrial Equipment, supplying new, replacement and spare parts on major power and industrial equipment. For expert advice or a quote, call 1-888-317-8959 today.
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