Carbon-Free Renewable Energies
Carbon-Free Renewable Energies
Climate change and an increased urge to achieve sustainability compels various groups to embrace practices that would prevent further harm. The long-term changes in weather patterns and temperatures has adverse implications on people, animals, and other organisms that depend the stability of the environment (Adedeji et al., 2014). One of the leading cases of climate change is excessive emission of greenhouse gas that covers the Earth thereby trapping the sun’s heat. The system results in climate change and global warming (Adedeji et al., 2014). Today, the world is heating up faster than at any time in documented history. Various scholars and researchers have tried to suggest options that they think are the best in mitigating climate change and the ensuing global warming. Findings show that generating heat and energy by combusting fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal produces large volumes of greenhouse gasses. Carbon-based fuels also have adverse impact on the environment in terms of pollution. Alternatively, people and organizations can turn their attention to renewable energy that are more effective economically, environmentally, and socially. Even though the various alternative forms have their limitations, they also have several merits that require various groups to prioritize them.
Describing Carbon-Based Fuel
Carbon-based fuel is any fuel chiefly from the burning or oxidation of carbon. Carbon-based forms of fuels are of two main forms, fossil fuels and biofuels. Whereas biofuel are extracted from growth organic materials and are usually harvested, as with harvesting of corn or cutting down trees, fossil fuels form following a prehistoric occurrence, and are often generated from the ground (UNEP, 2018). The dominant forms of fossil fuel include natural gas, coal, and oil. These forms (crude oil, natural gas, and coal) generate nearly 84% of the energy utilized in the world (UNEP, 2018). Many people regard carbon-based fuels as important origins of energy because they have hydrocarbons and other carbon-based elements. On the other hand, hydrocarbons are any of a category of organic compounds comprising only of hydrogen and carbon. The carbon elements create the outer layer and the hydrogen elements serve a binding purpose (UNEP, 2018). Hydrocarbons are the primary constituents of natural gas and crude oil (petroleum), which act as industrial chemicals, solvents, raw materials, lubricants, and fuels among other products.
However, it emerges that continuous reliance on carbon-based fuels has substantial impact on causing air pollution, energy supply problems, and global warming. Carbon-based fuels emit large volumes of carbon dioxide when combusted. These emissions hold heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. In Canada, for example, the combustion of fossil fuels, especially for the transportation and power industries, contribute to nearly three-quarters of carbon emissions (UNEP, 2018). Carbon-based fuels cause pollution because when they are combusted they generate nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere, which add onto the formation of acid rain and smog that cause a wide range of respiratory complications. In addition, the paper already mentions that carbon-based fuels generate large amounts of greenhouse gas when combusted. Such green gas trap too much heat in the atmosphere, resulting in global warming (UNEP, 2018). Presently, the average global temperature has expanded by at least 10C (UNEP, 2018). Another issue with carbon-based fuels is that they are non-renewable, which results in high consumption rates. Therefore, heavy reliance on fossil fuel could be unstainable and unreliable, particularly when considering that they are non-renewable. Also important is that some forms of carbon-based fuels can have adverse effects on the environment. For example, oil spills can have devastating impact on marine ecosystem and can make the soil less fertile (UNEP, 2018). Crops cannot grow on such a land and animals cannot feed on it. The many demerits associated with carbon-based fossil fuels is the reason why various individuals and groups are now considering renewable forms of energy.
An increasing number of people and organizations are embracing renewable energy because of the merits associated with the form of energy. In simple words Qazi et al. (2019) term renewable energy as sustainable energy, which means that it is possible to use it over and over again without becoming depleted. Renewable energy is also known as alternative energy. Renewable or alternative energy often comes from natural, renewable sources. Some of the common forms of renewable energy include biomass, nuclear energy, solar power, hydrogen power, wind energy, geothermal energy, and hydro power (Qazi et al., 2019). Renewable energy is suitable because it does not produce greenhouse gas and minimizes some form of air pollution. Renewable energy is also beneficial because it diversifies the supply of energy and minimizes reliance on imported fuels. Furthermore, renewable energy is beneficial because it fosters economic development and provides job opportunities in various areas, including manufacturing and installation (Qazi et al., 2019). Dwelling on renewable energy is also cost effective and provides an opportunity to use little water. The following is a detailed description of the various forms of renewable energy and their potential impact on users.
Biomass energy is energy produced or generated by living organisms or once-living organisms. Biomass is organic in nature, which means that it is produced from materials that emerge from living organisms, such as animals and plants (Perea-Moreno et al., 2019). The most widely utilized materials for biomass energy are waste, wood, and plants. Biomass is socially and economically beneficial because since it is renewable, providers of energy can get tax incentives and credits. Besides, biomass can help achieve resilience in various fields, including food processing, timber, and agriculture. Moreover, users are able to save significantly, which makes biomass economically beneficial (Perea-Moreno et al., 2019). Biomass production has witnessed significant growth and advancement over the recent past, which presents a suitable opportunity to make further improvements in the area. For example, developers now focus on algal biomass that has numerous nutrients, including phosphorus and nitrogen (Perea-Moreno et al., 2019). Developments have happened in the recycling of algal waste after the extraction of lipids and the invention of the anaerobic digestion system is set to transform operations in this area because the biotechnical approach can add necessary minerals to algal waste having phosphorous and organic nitrogen. Biomass allows for the production of biofuels that are applicable in different areas, including cooking, lubrication, energy production, and transportation among other areas (Perea-Moreno et al., 2019). Biomass is a suitable alternative energy because it is renewable, it is free from carbon, minimizes overdependence on fossil fuels, and is less costly than fossil fuels. Another merit of biomass is that it is possible to produce other products such as methane through fermentation processes (Perea-Moreno et al., 2019). However, the alternative is disadvantageous because it is not efficient in the same way as fossil fuels and it is not completely clean. Another possible concern is that it could result in deforestation because it comes from plants.
Another type of renewable energy is nuclear power that emanates from disintegrating atoms in a reactive component to transform water into steam, turn turbines, and produce electricity. Nuclear energy also comes from breaking down uranium atoms through a process known as fission. Typically, nuclear plants do not combust fuel, therefore depriving them of greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions such as sulphides and dust (Obregon et al., 2019). Consequently, it safeguards the environment from the effects of climate change that continue to impact adversely on the environment (Obregon et al., 2019). It is the reason why this form qualifies as one of the most environmental beneficial resources. The alternative is socially beneficial because it contributes to a free-carbon electric mix and helps to protect air quality by generating large volumes of carbon-free energy. Economically, nuclear energy production supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributes an approximated $60 billion the country’s GDP annually (Obregon et al., 2019). In terms of potentiality, nuclear energy has the highest capacity factor compared to other renewable forms of energy with a rating of 92.5% followed by geothermal at 74.3% (Obregon et al., 2019). It is beneficial to use nuclear energy because the alternative safeguards national security. Using nuclear energy makes it possible to uphold nonproliferation and safety measures globally, and supports a robust electric grid. Another merit is that nuclear energy offers numerous amounts of carbon-free energy, which plays fundamental roles in safeguarding the environment. Nonetheless, the application of nuclear energy may encounter some constraints because it is costly to establish, it may cause accidents, causes security threats, and has some adverse effects on the environment (Obregon et al., 2019). It is imperative to pay considerable attention to nuclear fission energy because the approach has significant promise towards meeting global energy needs.
Solar energy is based on the sun’s radiation and heat that is collected and harnessed utilizing a broad range of approaches such as solar power to produce electric power, solar thermal energy encompassing solar architecture and solar water heating mechanisms. Using solar energy presents certain social impacts from reduced heating bills for low-income households, reduced reliance on public utilities and advanced job opportunities (Bicen & Vardar, 2018). Economically, solar energy allows people to save much money as opposed to using carbon-based fuels. Individuals and groups that install solar power systems can also enjoy quick return on investment. Developments in the production of solar power continues to impact on how the area works (Bicen & Vardar, 2018).). The production of more effective products such as the silicon solar cell has the potential to save much energy. It is important to consider the potential benefits of solar energy such as it being a renewable source of energy, providing affordable power option, and it is possible to use the technique in varied settings and appliances. Nonetheless, it is important to understand some of the potential limitations of solar energy such as being dependent on weather and the high cost of trapping and storing solar energy (Bicen & Vardar, 2018). The demand for solar energy continues to grow, but this calls for appropriate and effective use of solar energy to achieve global energy needs.
Hydrogen is a renewable form of energy. It is also an energy carrier that can be utilized to move and store energy generated from other origins. It is possible to generate hydrogen through various forms but the most common approach is electrolysis. The source of energy benefits the society because it does not present any threat to the environment (Energy.Gov, 2021). Typically, when oxygen combines with hydrogen the only byproducts are heat and water. No greenhouse gases or other elements are generated by the use of hydrogen energy. The economic benefit of hydrogen power is that it presents an opportunity to develop theme parks that attract local and international tourists who contribute significantly to the economy (Energy.Gov, 2021). People can also secure jobs in hydrogen power plants. Hydrogen power is beneficial because it is clean and efficient, but its limitations are its costly nature and cannot sustain high demands. The future of hydrogen power will depend on how much groups come up with more innovations to increase production.
Wind is the primary element to generate wind energy through mechanical means. Wind energy can be put into different tasks, including pumping water or grinding hard substances such as grain. The social and environmental impact of wind energy is that it is safe on the environment and less likely to expose people to diseases that emanate from a polluted environment (Kumar & Khan, 2018). In terms of economic benefits, many people can secure jobs at the various wind energy generating firms. Wind energy has the potential to serve a large area and developers are coming up with more creative forms, including more sophisticated turbines that have the capacity to generate large amounts of power (Kumar & Khan, 2018). However, the primary limitation of wind energy is that it depends on the weather. Nevertheless, it is apparent more people will embrace wind energy moving forward.
Geothermal power comes from within the Earth’s surface. The renewable form of energy is socially beneficial because people do not have to worry about air pollution and the economic benefit is that people get an opportunity to earn income through the jobs they secure at production sites (Rybach, 2010). Generation of geothermal power has made significant strides and the demand is expected to go high in future (Rybach, 2010). Nonetheless, the option is costly and requires advanced skills and knowledge to extract energy.
Hydroelectric power also known as hydroelectric energy is a kind of energy that regulates the power of moving water such as moving over a waterfall to produce electricity. The approach is socially beneficial because it helps to control floods through the dams constructed to collect water (Tkac, 2018). Economically, hydropower plants offer working opportunities to many people. Developers in this area are embracing more advanced forms to apply approaches that increase efficiency and present an opportunity to generate more power (Tkac, 2018). For example, deploying techniques such as hydropower flexibility and hydropower digitalization will facilitate hydro power generating moving forward. However, a drop in water levels could affect power production.
More people and organizations are switching their attention to renewable energy that present significant environmental, economic, and social benefits while turning away from carbon-based fuel. Fossil fuels are inappropriate because they contribute towards climate change and has devastating effects on the environment. As opposed to carbon-based fuels, renewable energy does not pose any threat to the environment and it is possible to use it over and over again. Consequently, people and organizations should consider using alternative forms such as biomass, nuclear energy, solar power, hydrogen power, wind energy, geothermal energy, and hydro power. Users of these alternative forms should consider the potential limitations of each form to avoid inconveniences.
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