Feb 3, 2014 Energy Talks
The urge for wider adoption of renewable energy is emerging as an irreversible worldwide trend. Apart from looking at renewables from the environmental angle, the search for new energy sources as substitutes for fossil fuels is another reason providing the drive.
With a projected world population of 10 billion by the year 2050, the increasing global energy
demand will bring about more rapid depletion of the world’s fossil fuel reserves. The possible tightening of energy supplies in future will inevitably result in higher prices of fuels and electricity.
Renewable energy can reduce the reliance on exhaustible sources of fossil fuel. Developed countries are now making more and more investments on the development of the related technology on renewable energies. We would envisage that when those equipment and systems for harnessing renewable energies are to be produced on a massive scale, the unit price of electricity so generated could be comparable to conventional electricity generated from fossil fuels.
Feb 2, 2014 Energy Talks
The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity releases carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and is one of the constituents causing abnormal climatic changes and global warming. Global warming is a phenomenon of the gradual rise of the global average air temperature at the earth’s surface, due to increased insulating effect by the greenhouse gases in upper atmosphere preventing heat dissipation at the usual rate. The consequence of global warming has far-reaching impacts on our ecosystems, affecting agricultural production, and causing rise of sea level.
The burning of fossil fuels also generates atmospheric pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), respiratory suspended particulates (RSPs), etc. Increased level of air pollutants will affect human health, with particular adverse effect on the young and the aged, as well as people with chronic health problems. Exposure to SO2 and NOX may cause impairment of respiratory functions and aggravate existing respiratory and cardiac illnesses. Similarly, RSPs are harmful to the respiratory system and at higher levels it can increase morbidity and mortality rates.
On the other hand, the fossil fuel reserves on earth have their limits. Fossil fuels, in their crude forms, are found below the earth’s crust, where they were formed under immense pressure from the remains of plants and animals in the pre-historic era. Over the past decades, human activities in pursuit of energy supply have resulted in the rapid depletion of these limited natural resources.
The shortage of fossil fuels in the not-too-distant future could seriously affect the activities of all walks of lives and impede economic development, and could eventually cause a global degradation of living standard to every economy. The development of renewable energy technologies has become one of the prerequisites in ensuring a sustainable future for mankind.