Fossil Fuels Essay

1809 words - 7 pages

Fossil Fuels which include Petroleum and Natural Gas were formed million years ago from the remains of plants and animals, are responsible 40% and 20% respectively for the world's energy. They were first discovered about 700-900 years ago, however since the first modern petroleum industry began in 1859, the demand for fossil fuels has escalated beyond our control. It had taken 50-300 million years to form, and yet we have managed to burn roughly half of all global oil reserves in merely 125 years. It is crucial to decrease our usage of energy, and find alternate sources. Natural Gas and Petroleum are organic compounds that consist of only Hydrogen and Carbon atoms- Hydrocarbons. Through fractional distillation of Petroleum, desired smaller compounds are obtained. They are insoluble in water, and when burnt in sufficient oxygen- the only products are water and carbon dioxide. But when burned in insufficient oxygen- Carbon monoxide and Soot are produced, and these products are harmful both for health and the environment.The consumption of a finite resource is simply a finite venture and the faster we use the quicker it peaks" (M. Simmons)The rate of oil being consumed is 4 times faster than they are discovered. Each year, the oil consumption increases while oil production has decreased/remain constant. 95% of all the recoverable oil in the world has been found and half of the world's total reserve which is about 2.5 trillion barrels of oil has already been consumed. The rate to produce high-quality and economically extractable oil is rapidly reaching the maximum level possible( Peak Oil )even after natural gas and expensive, risky deepwater and polar oil is included in the calculation. Alternate SourcesBiomass: Biomass is solar energy stored in organic compounds; it can be converted to methane gas, ethanol or biodiesel. The most effective source of biomass is rapeseed with 5,87kcal/kg, where 1.46 kg of rapeseed is equal to 1 liter of fuel, and produces 6.83kW/h (per kg). Large areas of lands are required to plant the necessary species, people might be unwilling to plant a type of plant that is not normally planted and cannot be consumed as food. Recent studies shows that ethanol based fuels produce more pollution than fossil fuelsSolar: It harnesses light energy emitted by the sun and converting into electrical energy Solar cells must be large to deliver useful amount of power and constructed in places not obstructed by buildings or mountains, and where it is sunny, preferably in the tropics as there is sun the whole year long. The solar cells also have to be facing certain direction to ensure maximum absorption. It provides 1KW/m2 when there are no clouds. Wind: Converts wind energy (kinetic energy) from wind turbines into electrical energy. It has the value of 197GW, 50kW for small scale wind power small turbines, and is already commercially used in 83 countries. However the wind turbines require large, remote, windy sites, and can spoil the...

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