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Unlimited Power: The Quest for Renewable Resources

Renewable energy will become a competitor of fossil industry / Photo by Malp via 123RF

 

As the world continues to grow rapidly and the ecosystem is slowly dwindling, the hunt for the safe and alternative source of energy became more critical. The world’s current source of energy is slowly becoming scarce and it greatly affects the current situation of Earth’s condition. This also affects the numerous lives that are residing on this planet. The near disappearance of energy agenda is apparent in the scant attention given to energy topics by the media and by public figures.

Without adequate energy supplies, society cannot function. The transportation sector is particularly vulnerable to energy disruptions and uncertainties. Economic growth, as well as projected population growth of 1% per year for the U.S alone and 1.7% per year for the world, will create increased energy demands. This is an important issue that which concerns everyone as all will be greatly affected once the transportation sector became affected due to the scarcity of adequate fuel.

Fortunately, the awareness raised by the different public and private environmental organizations are not put in vain. Cleantechnica recently posted on their website that many people in America want to try using renewable energy resources. In a survey conducted by GFK for Consumer Reports, the results showed that 81% of the people asked in the survey believed that it is necessary to make a move against the current problems of pollution.

Newer scientific studies have shown that some pollutants can harm public health and welfare even at very low levels. An extensive body of scientific evidence shows that long and short-term exposures to fine particle pollution, also known as fine particulate matter, can cause premature death and harmful effects on the cardiovascular system, including increased hospital admissions and emergency department visits for heart attacks and strokes.

 

Cheap is Better

Renewable energy may not be completely replacing fossil fuel just yet, but it’s undeniable that society is warming to the idea of using solar and wind power in place of coal. In the coming years, it is possible that most part of the world will see renewable energy to become a real competitor in the fossil fuel industry. BBC explained on the website that renewable or green energy is obtained from the sun, wind, and water which is always abundant and it never runs out immediately.

Recent studies also showed that the cheapest energy to use is wind energy. However, the costs of onshore wind and solar photovoltaic, the most widely used renewable technologies are generally shrinking while coal and gas-fuelled generation are more expensive compared to the first semester of this year. Wind and solar power are continuing to get cheaper in 2015, helped by cheaper technology but also by lower finance costs.

Onshore wind has dropped from $85 to $83 globally and solar photovoltaic has declined from $129 to $122. Wind-generated electricity met nearly 4% of global electricity demand in 2015, with nearly 63 GW of new wind power capacity installed. Wind energy was the leading source of new capacity in Europe, the US and Canada, and the second largest in China. The long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times the total of current global energy production, or 40 times current electricity demand.

 

Biomethane can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality / Photo by Aigars Reinholds via 123rf

 

Biomethane Gas, the Future of Fuel

In a web post by Snam, they defined biomethane as a renewable source obtained from the natural breakdown of organic material which can be found everywhere. The process of breaking down this material in an oxygen-free environment produces biogas which is then purified to become biomethane. The use of biomethane is proven to help in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and improve the air quality. Biomethane is produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter such as animal manure, sewage, and municipal solid waste.

On the other hand, biomass is the term for energy from plants. Energy in this form is very commonly used throughout the world. Some of the modern forms of biomass energy are methane generation and production of alcohol for automobile fuel and fuelling electric power plants. Biogas typically refers to a gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. It originates from decomposed biogenic material making it a type of biofuel and it is primarily used for direct uses such as heating and cooling, but this renewable resource can also be used in many different applications that benefit the environment and the economy from heating to power generation and even upgrading to natural gas quality.

The utilization of biomethane as a source of energy is a crucial step toward a sustainable energy supply. Biomethane is more flexible in its application than other renewable sources of energy. Its ability to be injected directly into the existing natural gas grid allows for energy-efficient and cost-effective transport. This allows gas grid operators to enable consumers to make an easy transition to a renewable source of gas.

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