Due to the development of production technologies and the significant deterioration of the environmental situation in many regions around the globe, humanity has faced the problem of finding new energy sources. On the one hand, the amount of energy produced should be sufficient for the development of production, science, and utilities, on the other hand, its production should not harm the environment. This question has led to the search for alternative sources that meet the above requirements.
4 Reasons for Further Development
Energy shortages and limited fuel resources are increasingly showing the inevitability of switching to non-traditional, alternative sources. They are environmentally friendly, renewable, based on the energy of the Sun and the Earth. The main reasons for the importance of adhering to energy production from alternative sources are the following:
- Environmental: today it is well known and proven the impact on the environment of traditional production technologies (including nuclear and thermonuclear), and their insufficient use leads to catastrophic climate change in the first decades of the 21st century.
- Economic: the transition to alternative technologies will save the country’s fuel resources for processing in the chemical and other industries. Besides, the cost of energy produced by many alternative sources is already lower than from traditional sources, and the payback period for the construction of alternative power plants is significantly shorter. Prices for alternative energy are falling, for traditional — are constantly rising.
- Social: population size and density are constantly growing. At the same time, it is difficult to find areas for the construction of nuclear and thermal power plants, where the production would be profitable and safe for the environment.
- Evolutionary-historical: due to the limited fuel resources on Earth, as well as the exponential growth of catastrophic changes in the atmosphere and biosphere of the planet, the existing traditional energy seems to be a dead-end for the evolutionary development of society, so it is necessary to switch to alternative sources.
It is possible to reconcile the constant growth of energy consumption with the growth of the negative consequences for the environment in two ways:
- Energy-saving. The extent to which progress has an impact on energy savings can be demonstrated by the example of steam engines. The efficiency of steam engines 100 years ago was 3-5% and now reaches 40%. The use of resource-saving and energy-saving technologies has significantly reduced the consumption of fuel and materials in developed countries.
- Development of cleaner alternatives of production. The development of alternative sources, especially those based on the use of renewable sources, is likely to solve the problem. However, the ways to implement this idea are not yet clear. So far, renewables account for no more than 20% of global energy consumption. The main contribution to this 20% is made by the use of biomass and hydropower.
It is no secret that new technical solutions will be required to replace fossil fuels with alternative inexhaustible sources. The energy source of the future and emerging energy technologies must not emit carbon into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Engineers prefer exotic conductive materials and computer technology in all phases of electricity generation and distribution.
Fuel cells are used when electrochemical combustion of hydrogen with oxygen occurs to produce electricity. Such a fuel cell generates a reliable jet flow, emits only water vapor and high temperature. Such systems are silent and require little maintenance. Solar and wind energy can be used to produce hydrogen, which feeds the fuel cell of a renewable energy source.
Prospects For Alternative Electricity
The main reason for the popularity of renewable sources is their price, which is falling every year. For example, now electricity from solar panels is 4 times cheaper than ten years ago and the price continues to fall.
In addition to the economic benefits of such resources, these technologies are environmentally friendly, and there are no CO2 emissions into the atmosphere during production, which is important given the general environmental situation in the world.
Scientists estimate that by 2040, 60% of the world’s electricity will be alternative. Several countries, including Iceland and Costa Rica, already satisfy 99% of their energy needs with alternative sources. According to Bloomberg analysts, by 2040 investments in green energy will reach $2.5 trillion.
The basis of energy efficiency at this stage is focusing on alternative sources. Sun, wind, water, production waste are all cheap sources of energy. Increasing human needs, a constantly growing population, and production capacity do not leave a chance to stay away from clean energy.