How Long Can Fossil Fuel Sustain Our Energy Needs?
Fossil fuels have been exploited for use in energy production for around 5000 years. In the grand scheme of the planet’s existence, this is a very short time – about .00012% of our planet’s timeline. In this time, we have almost completely drained its fossil fuel resources.
There are many sustainable methods of creating energy, some of which have already gone into widespread use. However, there will come a time when these methods are our only sources. While all renewable power sources cost money for initial set-up, they pay for themselves many times over with use.
Solar energy is the one renewable resource that has gotten the most press in recent years. Solar panels, while currently quite expensive on the initial purchase, are a free source of energy once installed. They are virtually silent, collect and store energy for use when sunlight is unavailable, and can be installed on rooftops to avoid having to find an area on ground-level to place the panels.
Wind power has been in use for more than five centuries, so it is far from being a new idea. Wind turbines can be placed on land or offshore to conserve land area. Ideal positions for turbines are high altitude and offshore areas, where winds are stronger and more constant than over low altitudes. Views on the appearance of wind turbines vary from the belief that they are appealing, to thoughts that they are eyesores. Modern designs can be quite attractive.
Biofuel is separated into categories of biodiesel and bioethanol. Bioethanol is created by fermenting the sugar in plant materials that contain high starch or sugar and can fuel vehicles in its pure form. Pure biodiesel has the lowest emission of any type of diesel. It is made from recycled animal fat, vegetable oils, and greases. While production is becoming easier, producing biofuels currently uses almost as much energy as the fuels can generate themselves, unfortunately.
Hydropower can be produced in a number of ways. Many dams, though they can possibly impact the number of fish in surrounding waters, are used to create electricity. Energy can be harnessed from the movement of the ocean’s tides and currents. Even a slow stream has the ability to produce electricity. Hydroelectric plants have already been in use for years – some have existed for nearly a century.
The demand for fuel is not levelling off – quite the contrary. Our demand for fossil fuels increases each year. We are profoundly reliant on these quickly dwindling sources of energy, and we will require forms of renewable energy long after fossil fuels supplies have been exhausted.
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