Renewable Energy vs Fossil Fuels
Energy is a very important part of everyday life. Anything electricity-related, gas-related and heat-related is connected to the world of energy and fuels.
Imagine a world without energy, electricity, and fuels—your car wouldn’t be able to move an inch, the Internet would cease to exist, and there would be no air conditioning or central heating. The world revolves so much on the use of fuels, that life just wouldn’t be the same without them.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels
Fossil fuels are one of the Earth’s greatest energy sources. The process of creating these fuels began long before the dinosaurs walked the earth. Millions of years ago, tiny plants and animals lived and died in the earth’s oceans. As they died, their bodies would sink to the ocean floor and would eventually be covered by layers of rock, sand and mud. These layers would then be subjected to high pressure for millions of years, thus creating the fossil fuels everyone knows and loves.
The secret to the high-energy concentration that fossil fuels have, is their slow decay rate. The organic matter buried millions of years ago had very little chance to decay, enabling their energy to be stored and later converted to fossil fuels.
The abundance and relatively low cost of these fuels also supply power plants with enough energy to generate electricity for the world. Fossil fuels are also necessary for the production of numerous household products like paints, detergents, medicines, cosmetics, and many more.
Millions of households and businesses around the world use fossil fuels for heating, cooking, and other purposes. In fact, most of the world’s fossil fuel supplies come from the Middle East. It’s good for their economy and enables them to easily engage in business with other countries.
But while fossil fuels have many advantages, they aren’t perfect. They may be extremely helpful and valuable, but they can take millions of years to form and can’t be artificially generated in labs.
Furthermore, fossil fuels give off harmful green gases when burned. Large amounts of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide are released into the atmosphere every time power plants burn fossil fuels on a massive scale. This greatly contributes to global climate change, and puts everyone at risk.
Is There An Alternative To Fossil Fuels?
If you’re wondering about whether or not fossil fuels are the be-all and-end-all of the fuel industry, they’re not. Renewable energy is a newfound alternative to fossil fuels.
While it hasn’t been in the industry that long, it’s a steadily developing science. Scientists from all over the world are developing new ways of producing sustainable energy from substances that are safe for the environment.
Nowadays, the most common sources of renewable energy come from natural resources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, geothermal heat, and biomasses. All these are materials that are continually replenished and are safe to use as energy sources.
What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Renewable Resource?
• Solar Energy
Solar energy is the most abundant and renewable form of energy there is. It’s cheap, you can literally find it anywhere during the daytime, and it can be used for a variety of purposes. Believe it or not, sunlight can be used for heating and lighting homes and buildings, for generating electricity, and more.
The main disadvantage of solar energy is that it’s limited to just a few hours of each day. Luckily, scientists are currently developing ways of storing solar energy so that it can be used even during the nighttime.
While there aren’t enough solar powered devices that could power up an entire society at present, the number of new solar powered inventions is steadily increasing. Soon enough, solar energy will be the world’s leading source of energy and will power millions of houses and power plants all around the world.
• Wind Power
Wind power is one of today’s fastest growing energy sources. It can be used to pump water, generate electricity, and power up wind turbines. The only problem that comes with wind power is the fact that it requires a huge operating area in order to produce large amounts of energy. Windmills take up a lot of space, which limits the usage of wind power on a global scale.
Biomass is the energy produced from organic materials like plants and animals. When these organic substances are burned, they give off energy as heat, which can in turn be used for producing fuels and heating. Modern forms of biomass energy make use of methane gases, ethanol, and biodiesel fuels to supply energy for electric power plants and to serve as fuel for automobiles.
The most unfortunate disadvantage that comes with biomass energy is the burning of trees for warmth. Wood fueled heating causes the cutting of millions of trees worldwide, which puts humanity at a disadvantage.
• Geothermal Power
Geothermal energy comes from the heat the Earth gives off. Hot springs and geysers are one of the most common examples of geothermal energy. While they were often used for bathing and heating homes in earlier times, modern technology has now created ways to generate electricity through the heat they give off.
• Hydroelectric Energy
Hydroelectric energy comes from the movement of water. It’s one of the oldest and cheapest ways of generating power, and is a well-known competitive source of energy. A major advantage hydroelectric energy has is that it doesn’t use fuel. It also has the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for power generation.
Some disadvantages hydroelectric energy has, are major land losses and water evaporation. Large reservoirs also have the tendency to submerge and destroy large areas of biologically rich and productive lowland, which can greatly affect the lives of those who live in the area.
Which Is Better?
Fossil fuels have always been a main source of energy throughout the years. But since they can’t be replenished and can do the environment harm, renewable sources of energy are slowly taking their place.
Renewable energy is paving the way for an environmentally safer means of producing power and electricity. While the two types of energy do have their own advantages and disadvantages, one source definitely stands out. Given the state our planet is in, renewable energy is definitely the best choice when it comes to creating new technologies and ways to save our planet.
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