Tuesday, January 7, 2020

How to Reduce Dependency On Fossil Fuels

We live in the era where most of our energy needs come from fossil fuels. We travel by cars and motorcycles that use gasoline and diesel fuel, we use electricity at homes supplied by utility companies whose generators run on coal, diesel or compact natural gas. We travel to cities in overseas countries by aircrafts that use jet fuel (avtur). Everyday we emit greenhouse gases that are responsible for global warming. We may used up our oil in the next 50 years and coal in the next 100 years.
Take up cycling as an environmentally friendly lifestyle
Cycling lifestyle is good for our health & environment
Renewable Enery and Hydrogen are now being considered as the most suitable solution to reduce CO2 emmision. Electricity generated drom solar and wind powerplant can be used to electrolized water to produce green hydrogen. When brought to -253 °C, the hydrogen will become liquid. This fuel can be used for a large varieties of application including cars, ship, airplanes, factories and a lot more. Countries like Japan, Germany, South Korea, Australia, the United States, French, Spain, China and etc. are investing huge amount of money on building hydrogen society. The policy of shifting from fossil fuel economy to hydrogen economy is seen as the solution for creating an environmentally friendly society. 
In addition to addoption of carbon neutral economy through the use of hydrogen, there are a lot of conventional ways that we can do to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels:
  • Conserve Energy - The simplest way to do is by reducing our use of fossil fuels. At nights when we sleep, we turn off the lights in our houses. When we go to nearby shops whose distance is less than 1 km, instead of riding motorcycles, we can walk. When we travel by cars or motorcycles, we can use gps aided navigation software such as google map and waze to help us find the shortest route for us. This free to use application greatly help us in saving fuel. Most of us now use LED lights. This technology converts around 95 percent of electrical energy into lights and only 5 % that becomes heat. We can also install solar thermal collector to heat water at homes instead of using electricity.
  • Create fuel efficient vehicles. This can clearly be seen in aviation industry. Aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing, Airbus, Comac, Irkut, and ATR are developing passenger planes that use less fuel. Certain parts of modern aircrafts are made of carbon fiber and other compound materials that are lighter but strong and safe for long flights. Jet Engine manufacturers such as CFM International, Pratt and Whitney,  MTU, Rolls Royce, Aviadvigatel and etc. use advanced materials such as monocrystalline metal compounds, CMC (Ceramic Matrix Composites) to make high bypass jet engines that are lighter, powerful but consume less fuel. In the automotive industry, the trend is also the same. The availability of GPS Navigation Apps such as Google Map and Waze greatly help motorcycle and car drivers to reach their destinations efficiently.
  • Take up cycling as our lifestyle - countries like China, the Netherlands, and Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and Norway have got significant percentage of their populations who use bicycles in their daily life. Bicycle manufacturers have improved their products by creating lighter but stronger bikes for their users. There are also with gears that can be used to climb steep slopes. Shimano is one of the leading companies that manufacture derailleur gears for mountain bikes. This technology has greatly helped cyclists when they want to ride their bikes in hilly countries. Electrical bikes with rechargeable batteries are now available in the market. If an owner recharges his or her electric bikes using electricity that is produced by photovoltaic or other renewable energy resources, he or she has reduced the use of fossil fuels.
  • Use organic fertilizer - In agricultural sector, we use natural gas to make nitrogen fertilizer. We also use train, large ships, and big trucks that use diesel fuel to transport it from factories to farmlands. We can reduce the use of this synthetic fertilizer or urea by using organic fertilizer. Traditional farmers in Asian countries have done this since ancient times for their rice crops. Certain farmers apply crop rotation methods to increase the productivity of their farmland without significantly increase the use of urea fertilizer.
  • Increase the use of renewable energy - Solar power (both photovoltaic and concentrated heat), hydropower, wind, and ocean thermal conversion as well as biomass are needed to completely replace fossil fuels. Huge percentage of our energy is spent for transportations. With the development of electric vehicles, we are now seeing electric cars that can be recharged faster and that can travel in longer distances. Technological companies are now investing huge amount of their money on trying to create batteries that are smaller but can store energy in higher density.
Some readers may disagree when I mention biomass in the last point above because the burning of wood and other organic materials to create heat and generate electricity is not a wise plan. I understand that wood burning will produce carbon dioxide and other toxic gases. However, proper preparation of the fuel materials before burning coupled with good and well thought design of the powerplant can reduce the emission of toxic gases and other harmful particles into the atmosphere. The extraction of scrab lumber, forest debris, and agricultural wastes is important in removing highly flammable debris from the forest and its surroundings. In other words, biomass powerplants that use forest debris play significant roles in reducing forest fire. The extraction of forest debris enhances the health of the forest itself.
It is not easy to create a modern carbon neautral society that 100% use renewable energy and other environmentally friendly means to survive. We have got the technology to do that. All we need now is strong will and serious commitment to achieve it. - written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Bike Commuting
How factories can reduce dependency on fossil fuels
Renewable Energy can Support our Life

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