We have been relying on fossil fuels for too long. The only reason we have been exploring an alternative source of energy is because of the finite nature of traditional fuel sources. The other factor which has resulted in shifting the focus from fossil fuel is global warming.
If we compare both the fuel sources, we see that in the present day and age, oil has become redundant as a fuel. The demand for energy is increasing, but it will be some time if we can ultimately bridge the gap.
To answer the question of whether an alternate source like solar, wind and nuclear energy can take over completely, we must look at its uses first.
It is in use as a primary source of providing power to industries. The fossil fuel is burnt to produce electricity, and as a heating source for different reactions. People use it to create different products.
Crude oil is processed through refineries to give us different products. These include paraffin wax, petrol, diesel, motor oil, kerosene, petroleum coke, and asphalt.
Fossil fuels are used to provide central heating during the cold season. Similarly, in the warm weather, we can use it to generate electricity to run air conditioners, lighting features etc.. There are a lot of products that we create from these fuels, which we use such as rubber, cooking oil, and plastics. We also use fossil fuel for cooking, as they provide a cheaper fuel source.
Most of the car that we have on the road run on fossil fuels. These vehicles can transport us from one place to another. The motors that we are making are getting more and more fuel efficient. Since the mechanism in a car that runs on petrol or diesel is simple, that is why it is easy to maintain it.
The uses of fossil fuel are quite extensive. If we compare it to alternate energy sources such as solar and wind power, we have just barely scratched the surface.
The introduction of alternative fuels has revolutionized the industry. New things are being built daily, which rely on them for the source of energy. The mode of work supported by alternative energy are:
To Produce Electricity:
The first way a wind or solar energy can be used to provide us with work is by converting it into electrical energy. The wind turbines on the power of the wind blowing on it, this results in the revolving of the turbofan, which runs a dynamo of a generator. It produces electricity, which is carried by wire to a nearby grid station or powerhouse.
Solar energy, on the other hand, has many ways of generating electricity. We can use it both directly and indirectly. We use it directly by placing a large number of different mirrors in a solar park. These mirrors than in conjunction with each other focus the light on a single point. The point is usually a water boiler which when heats up produce steam and that steam runs the turbine.
Subsequently, it also creates electricity directly with the help of a solar panel. These panels contain photodiodes which emit power when light shines on them.
The new generation of a motor either run on a hybrid system(petrol and electric) or is completely running on electricity. They are powering through charging stations. It essentially means that they are free from air and noise pollution to a greater extent.
These are some of the applications where the alternate source of energy is showing remarkable progress. However, coming to the question of whether they can completely take over as the only power source? The answer is no; they cannot.
There are several factors due to which at present it seems highly unlikely. Some of the arguments are:
1. The efficiency of the engine depending on these power sources is not as much as those fossil fuels. Battery power can only last for a couple of hours at most. It means that there is a constant need to replenish the energy directly as the storage capacity is not that great.
However, fossil fuel power plants are high maintenance, so they require a change of parts regularly. Aside from that, you also need to have top-quality pipes and a dependable valve manufacturer, but still, they’re not as cost-effective as alternative energy production.
2. The technologies we are manufacturing are not less able than those running on fossil fuels. Since fossil fuels have been around for quite some time, so the devices we connect to them are quite good performance wise. That is why the machines that run on petrol, diesel or gas have a higher efficiency than those of an electric one.
3. The technology to develop capture energy through different devices is relatively new. Hence it is quite expensive and not available in developing countries. Though we are spending a lot of money on such technologies. The economically stable countries are not showing much interest, so the funding is not sufficient to do much research. Private entrepreneurs are funding most of the research that is being carried out.
When you are comparing the different source of energy, it is essential to keep in mind the various factors. One does have to look at the pros and cons of both the fuels sources. The energy source needs to be not only efficient, but it should cause fewer problems in the long run. If we look at the present conditions of fossil fuel, we can see that they will gradually fade away.
The havoc that fossil fuel has caused to the environment and us is enough to render it harmful for us. Sooner or later, we will have to stop using oil-based fuels and turn to green energy. Though only time will tell how we manage to turn over centers of power abuse.