ENERGY:We have almost obsessive concern for sufficient supplies of energy, but what is astonishing is that our planet is one vast system of energy. The sun rays that falls on the roads of North America can be converted into more energy than all the fossil fuels used each year in the world. According to World Meteorological Organisation windmills, if placed in a right site, can produce electricity at a commercial rate. Energy is locked up in plants and wastes…
History of Energy Crisis…. Despite of having such vast source of energy…..today we find ourselves surrounded by energy crisis…The year 1973 brought an end to the era of secure, cheap oil. As a result of Arab-Israeli war , there was a fall of 7% supply in oil. In 1978 a second oil crisis began when, as a result of the revolution that eventually drove Shah of Iran from his thrown, Iranian oil production and exports dropped precipitously. Because Iran had been a major exporter, consumers panicked. A replay of 1973 events, complete with wild bidding, again forced up oil prices during 1979. The outbreak of war between Iraq and Iran in 1980 gave a further boost to oil prices. By the end of 1980 the price of crude oil stood at 19 times what it had just been earlier. And now, when the demand of energy has touched the sky, the world renowned Petroleum experts say “ all the oil reserves will have been exploited by the end of 2020”. The recent data shows that the demand of oil supply today is around 80 million barrels per day…
Some Historical Crisis… 1990- oil price was to its peak due to Gulf- War… North Korea has had energy shortage for more than about 10 years during late 1990…. Political riots and conflicts that occurred during 2007 in Burmese anti-g0vernment protest were sparked by rising energy prices..
Some facts regarding oil and gasoline… * The United States consumes 25 percent of the worlds oil and 70 percent of that is imported. * 61 percent of the worlds oil reserves are in the Middle East. The United States has 2.4 percent. * 66.3 percent of the worlds gas reserves are in the Middle East and the Russian Federation. The United States has 3.4 percent Kuwait’s Al Burgan oil field, the world’s second largest oil reserve will be depleted within 40 years.(2007)..
Some Key Facts… U.S. consumption of crude oil is approximately 20 million barrels per day of which 16 million are imported. This produces approximately 384 million gallons of gasoline per day—19.2 gallons per barrel. This results in 7.372 billion pounds of CO 2 produced per day. World consumption of crude oil is approximately 64 million barrels per day. World reserves of crude oil are reported to be 687.43 billion barrels. Using present consumption, this will provide crude oil for 29.2 years. This ignores increasing demand, most notably in China and India. In the year 2005, global demand for oil was more than 84 million barrels per day and climbing. About 134 billion barrels will be found over the next 30 years. That is enough to meet current world demand for 4.37 years.
Quotations- Energy Crisis… “We can’t conserve our way to energy independence, nor can we conserve our way to having energy available. So we have got to do both”- George W. Bush(The Washington Post, 4 may 2007).. “We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil than ever before”-Barrack Obama… “The bottom of the oil barrel is now visible”-Christopher flavin, Worldwatch paper, July 1985… “Solar power is one of the most hopeful technologies, but still produces 0.01% of US. Electricity. The America allocates just $150 million for solar research per year- about what she spends in Iraq every 9 hours.”-Nicholas Krissof..”Our Favourite Planet”, Newyork time, 20 Apr. 2008.. “The use of solar energy has not been opened up yet because no industry owns the Sun”-Ralph Nader “Alternative energy is a future idea whose time has past. Renewable energy is a future idea whose time has come.”-Bill Panden * “The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God. And on that day, for the second time in history of human civilization, we shall have discovered fire.”-Pierre Ticihad de’ Chadrin….
Cont… “Energy conservation is the foundation of energy independence.”- Thomas Allen “Our Future Generation will never forget us, for we will have left nothing for them.”- Unknown
Future and Alternative Energy Sources… In response to the energy crisis, the principle of green energy can gain popularity. This has led to increasing interest in alternate power/fuel research such as, fuel cell technology, hydrogen fuel, methanol, solar energy etc.. People should change their mental fixation regarding fossil fuels and petroleum products that these are the only energy sources that can help built vast electricity systems ignoring the multiplicity and variety of alternative sources which are not exhaustible. There is a need for industrial nations to change their lifestyles based on abundant energy. About 85% of oil consumption takes place in the industrial world. It is time for them to set ambitious targets for energy conservation and develop technologies to tap alternative energy sources. Household consumption of energy which accounts of at least a quarter of all rich nation’s supply of energy can be dramatically reduced( simple precautions like insulating roofs and walls. Lights re to be switched off when not in use etc.) Use of alternative energy sources like biomass, solar energy, Geothermal energy, Nuclear energy can be of great achievement to save ourselves from falling into a dark deep well of ENERGY CRISIS…..
Options for energy crisis and their drawbacks… ETHANOL………. Cost of producing 1 gallon of ethanol is approximately $1.75. Cost of producing 1 gallon of gasoline is $.95. Corn yield is approximately 7110 lbs. per acre. To replace gasoline with ethanol would require that 97% of the land in the United States be growing corn. Biodiesel is considerably better than ethanol, but with an EROEI of three, it still doesnt compare to oil, which has had an EROEI of about 30. Conclusion Since ethanol is a net energy loser with an EROEI of 1:1.3 ethanol will not be a viable energy replacement for fossil fuels to any significant degree. It would appear that government support of ethanol is nothing more than political pandering. [See Final Comments]
Nuclear Power……. Each 1 Gigawatt plant requires more than 150 tones of uranium per year, which would cost about $8,250,000 per year at $25 per pound. Inventories of uranium are falling and there has been little response to that in the way of more mine supply.. Nuclear power leaves a toxic legacy to all future generations; it produces global warming gases, most notably CO2 , chlorofluorocarbon gas which is responsible for ozone depletion and which is 10,000 to 2000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and radioactive isotopes such as krypton, xenon, argon and tritium, which cause gene mutations; it is far more expensive than any other form of electricity generation; and it can trigger proliferation of nuclear weapons.. Four of the most dangerous elements made in nuclear power plants are Iodine 131, Strontium 90, Cesium 137, and Plutonium 239, one of the most dangerous elements known to humans—so toxic that one- millionth of a gram is carcinogenic. More than 200kg is made annually in each 1000-megawatt nuclear power plant. Plutonium lasts for 500,000 years.. Conclusion Nuclear power plants will provide some temporary relief from the oil shortfall. However, the more that are built, the less time uranium will be available. If ten percent of the need (1000 plants) is met by nuclear power then the supply of uranium will be depleted in less than 15 years. The product, electricity, has little direct benefit to the transportation industry. As a short-term solution, nuclear plants will not be available in time to offset the decline in the U.S. Nuclear, as a long-term solution, is a dead-end street
Solar and Wind Power… To replace the amount of energy produced by a single offshore drilling platform that pumps only 12,000 barrels of oil per day, you would need either a 36 square mile solar panel or 10,000 wind turbines. Approximately 2/3 of our oil supply is used for transportation. Solar and wind cannot be used as industrial-scale transportation fuels unless they are used to produce hydrogen from water via electrolysis. The electrolysis process is a simple one, but unfortunately it consumes 1.3 units of energy for every 1 unit of energy it produces. In other words, it results in a net loss of energy. You cant replace oil—which has a positive EROEI of about 30/1—with an energy source that has a negative EROEI. Less than one-sixth of one percent of our current energy needs now comes from solar or wind. A predicted growth rate of 10 percent per year isnt going to do much to soften our oil shortfall Conclusion On a household or village scale, solar and wind are certainly worthy investments. But to hope/expect they are going to power more than a small fraction of our global industrial economy is very unrealistic. Solar and wind power is likely to provide less than five percent of the energy required for our industrial society.
Coal.. There is some disparity in the facts available for coal consumption. One source says world consumption is 2.58 billion tonnes and another sources says 4.56 billion tonnes. World reserves are approximately 984 billion tonnes. In a worst case scenario, that means 215 years of coal at present consumption. Population growth could reduce this considerably and creating other uses for coal could reduce it to less than 100 years. The environmental concerns of using coal would not be trivial. Coal is a dirty fuel and produces impurities such as mercury, arsenic, and sulfur, as well as CO2. It would not be very long until coal mining would reach a point at which it would take as much energy to process as it would produce—an EROEI of 1:1. At that time mining would halt. Conclusion Coal could provide a source for gasification, for fueling power plants, and for home heating. It is not, however, a long term solution, and will be used only for several decades due to fact that the alternatives are minimal. At that point it will become depleted or not worth the energy costs of being mined.
Final Comments… It seems that we have no options to replace the energy sources that are in use today and can satisfy our daily needs of energy..It may be possible to make a wide selection of energy to fulfill our household needs…Because of our numbers and our technology, we humans greatly influence the ecology of Earth. We humans, qualified or not, are at the controls. Earth does not come with an operating manual. We humans need to look to science to create one. The coming era of limited and expensive energy will be very difficult for everyone on Earth but it will be even more difficult if it is not anticipated. It is of utmost importance that the public and especially policymakers understand the global energy crisis and the underlying science……and hope we should not discover fire for the second time human history………. .