Inside: How big is your foot print?
Alternate Energy: What is it?
Build Your Own Alternative Energy City! Oil Sands in your back yard: Alberta Oil Sands
What the heck is Alternative Energy?.......................3 Carbon Footprints……………………………………………….4 Building Blocks of a Carbon Footprint………………….6 Take the Carbon footprint test…………………………….8 Carbon footprint results…………………………………… 16 Reducing Carbon footprints……………………………….18 Build your own alternate energy city………………….20 Alternate Energy City Results…………………………….42 Understanding Fossil Fuels………………………………...44 Looking at the Alternate Energies………………………46 Alberta Oil Sands: Looking Local………………………..50
You may have heard about alternative energy on the news and not completely understand what it means. So what is alternative energy? Alternative energy is any form of energy that does not come from fossil fuels. They are considered alternatives because they can be future replacements for the fossil fuels that now meet a considerable portion of our energy needs. Here are some characteristics of alternative energy sources. First, alternate energy sources are often renewable. Unlike most fossil fuels they are easily available and don’t have a finite supply. The most well known types of such energy are solar power and wind power. The Sun is naturally Earth’s most abundant energy source and will be around for billions of years. This is a resource that essentially human beings won’t be worried about running out of anytime soon. Wind is a constant in Earth’s atmosphere and can also be continually harvested without exhausting the supply. Another factor is that many alternative energy supplies are “clean.” This means they have few or zero carbon emissions and produce few toxic by-products. They are considered to be energy sources that won’t pollute the environment as they are being used. This is why nuclear power is not fully accepted as an alternative energy source. The high toxicity of radioactive materials has made it less popular as a viable energy source. However less poisonous types of nuclear power like nuclear fusion are being studied. Hydroelectric power is a clean alternative energy source because water is the only power source. Beyond the environmental benefits nations and businesses are starting to see the economic perks that an alternative energy source can provide. As the technologies that use them get cheaper and more efficient they reap savings and also provide the seeds for new industries.
The carbon footprint is the amount of land and ocean area required to absorb the carbon emissions associated with a person’s home energy use and transportation. Carbon footprint is a representation of the effect human activities have on the climate in terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases produced. A carbon footprint can essentially tell you how much of the earth’s resources is needed to support your current consumption of earthly goods, such food, water, raw materials, energy and whatever else you use that is produced from the earth. In our current generation, we use so much of the earth’s natural resources that we can use our carbon footprints to measure how many earths it would take to support our current consumption. An average Canadian is said to need about3.4 Earth’s to sustain his consumption and carbon footprint. But in comparison to America, who needs 5.3 Earth’s, Canada is not considered the highest consumer of energy and producer of emissions. Your carbon footprint is the direct effect you actions and lifestyle have on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon footprint is a very powerful tool to understand the impact of personal behaviour on global warming. Most people are shocked when they see the amount of CO2 their activities create! If you personally want to contribute to stop global warming, the calculation and constant monitoring of your personal carbon footprint is essential. There are many factors and contributors that influence how big or small a carbon footprint is. However, the footprint has four main consumption categories: carbon footprint, food footprint, housing footprint and goods and services footprint. Each of these individual footprints can contribute to your overall footprint.
Canada is known for its production in natural resources and energy. Canada's production in energy in 2010 was16454.5 petajoules, which is 16454. 5 x10^15 joules. 41% is crude oil and 37% is natural gas. Based on these statistics, crude oil produces 674,634,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy while natural gas produces 6,088,165,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy. Now thatâ€™s a lot of fossil fuel energy!
Carbon footprint is the area needed to absorb carbon emissions by your home energy use and transportation. Carbon footprint can take how much energy you use in your everyday lifestyle and show the impact it has on the earth. This consists of the energy you use for your home and transportation. This footprint will look at how much energy you use, types of energy source you use, technology used to reduce energy intake and the type of housing or car you have. A carbon footprint will take in account for things like how energy it takes to heat or cool your house, the amount of fuel your mode of transportation takes, and how often you use certain modes of transportation. Two of the biggest contributors to the carbon footprint are the amount of electricity used in your home and the transportation you use. The food footprint estimates and measures the amount of land used for food used for food production and sea area required for fishing. This is both the land used for growing vegetables, cereals, etc. for human consumption, as well as grassland & other crops used to providing animal feed. Land is also needed to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions given off in the process of producing, processing and transporting food. It is the area of forest that would be required to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption.
The housing footprint includes the area occupied by your home and the area needed to supply resources used in construction and household maintenance. It looks at the size of your house, the location of your house and the type of house. The bigger your house is, the bigger you housing footprint. It will also look at how many people are living in your house. A house, especially in North America, can use up a lot of energy and contribute greatly to the CO2 emissions. Many of our houses are heated using natural gas, and judging by the size our houses, we burn a lot a year. The appliances you use in your home effects your footprint as well.
Goods and services footprint includes the area needed to supply consumer items you purchase and to absorb carbon emission from their manufacturing, transport and disposal. Everything that you buy has been transported around the world many times and uses a lot of the Earrthâ€™s resources to be manufactured. The amount of CO2 emissions created for you to receive that good or service can contribute greatly to your carbon footprint. Increasing globalization makes much easier for your goods and services footprint to become very big.
Depletion of Resources Large carbon footprints deplete resources on large and small scales, from a country's deforestation activities to one home's increased use of air conditioning. The more those with large carbon footprints use resources, the more greenhouse gases increase and spur further climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that consideration of different energy supplies and conservation of current ones will be needed to balance energy demand. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions as much as possible and off-setting the remaining emissions by planting trees, for example, or supporting alternative energy efforts, will help to reduce the negative effects of carbon footprints.
Climate Change Climate change is the ultimate effect of large carbon footprints. Greenhouse gases, whether natural or human-produced, contribute to the warming of the planet. From 1990 to 2005, carbon dioxide emissions increased by 31 percent. By 2008, the emissions had contributed to a 35 percent increase in global warming. From 2000 to 2009 was the warmest decade on record worldwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Indicators Report.. CO2 and ozone are the main by-products from our energy consumption, and these are the most contributing greenhouse gases.
Environmental Effects Having a large carbon foot print doesnâ€™t just contribute to global warming, there are many other environment al side effects along with it. Using a lot of fossil fuel, for example, not only release massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, it also produce a lot waste that enter the fresh water and harm many habitats. The toxic compounds that leach from these non-renewable resources can have adverse effects on the organisms living in the local environment and potentially be thrown into the food web, causing mutations to happen.
Based on my everyday lifestyle, this is how big my carbon footprint is. Everything that I do, from the house I live in, the car I drive, the food I eat and even what I throw out can all contribute to the damage I do to the earth. But I am just one person. How is the world supposed to sustain if everyone lived this way?
There are many simple ways to reduce the footprint you leave on the planet. Learn how to reduce your footprint in each consumption category-carbon, food, housing, and goods and services-but don't stop there. Amplify your impact by encouraging others to follow your lead. Engage your friends and community with local and global movements for social change, or start your own movement!
Use cleaner transport
Walk, bike, or take public transit whenever possible.
Avoid allowing your car to idle. If you'll be waiting for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine (except in traffic). And don't take the drive-through-park the car and walk inside instead.
Have your vehicle serviced regularly to keep the emission control systems operating at peak efficiency. Check your car's air filter monthly, and keep the tires adequately inflated to maximize gas mileage.
Avoid short airplane trips-take a bus or train instead.
Add energy-saving features to your home
Install compact fluorescent bulbs in all your home light fixtures-but remember, look for low-mercury models and dispose of old bulbs safely through your local hazardous waste program. Weatherproof your home. Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated, and consider double-pane windows. Eliminate drafts with caulking, weather strips, and storm windows and doors. Insulate your water heater. Choose energy efficient appliances.
Adopt energy-saving habits
Keep thermostat relatively low in winter and ease up on the air conditioning in summer. Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters. Unplug your electronics when not in use. To make it easier, use a power strip. Even when turned off, items like your television, computer, and cellphone charger still sip power. Dry your clothes outside whenever possible. Make minimal use of power equipment when landscaping. Defrost your refrigerator and freezer regularly. Choose green electricity. Many utilities give you the option to purchase electricity generated by wind and solar power for a small rate surcharge. Purchase carbon offsets to make up for the energy use you can't eliminate.
Eat more local, organic, in-season foods. Plant a garden-it doesn't get more local than that. Shop at your local farmer's market or natural foods store. Look for local, in-season foods. Choose foods with less packaging to reduce waste. Eat lower on the food chain-going meatless for just one meal a week can make a difference.
Choose sustainable building materials, furnishings, and cleaning products.
Explore green design features for your building, like passive solar heating, or a rainwater catchment Choose efficient appliances, including low flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets. Choose furnishings that are second-hand, recycled, or sustainably produced. Plant drought tolerant plants in your garden and yard. Use biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products. Adopt water-saving habits
Take shorter, less frequent showers-this not only saves water, but the energy necessary to heat it. Don't use the garbage disposal. Compost instead. Run the dishwasher and the laundry machine only when full. Wash cars rarely, or better yet, take them to a carwash. Avoid hosing down or power-washing your deck, walkways, or driveway. Regularly look for and fix leaks.
Buy less! Replace items only when you really need to.
Recycle all your paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Don't forget electronics! Compost food waste for the garden. Garbage that is not contaminated with degradable (biological) waste can be more easily recycled and sorted, and doesn't produce methane gases (a significant greenhouse gas contributor) when stored in a landfill. Buy recycled products, particularly those labeled "post-consumer waste."
Meet some of the people in your city. Stake holders represent the people who have a vested interest in your city: homeowners, business people, teachers, scientists, children, senior citizens, etc. There are 5 groups of stake holders that demand different and specific things throughout the game. Without their co-operation and their valuable insight, you will have a difficult time achieving your green goals for the city. The 5 groups include the Residents, the Scientists, the Health Council, the Business Community and the Students. Each group will have their own demands, and if you succeed in fulfilling their demands, they will lend a helping hand in turning the city into an Alternate Energy City. Letâ€™s meet these groups!
In year one, Pele Island relied solely on its 3 oil plants for energy. These oil plants created sufficient amount of energy to keep the city running, however, the oil plants created massive amounts of pollution that damaged the air quality and the global environmental health. In the picture above, you can see the 3 oil plants giving off ait pollution. The sole consumption of oil had such a negative impact on the environmental health of the city that I decided it was time to take action. I invested some money into building a wind farm, which can be used to produce energy in two years. However, building the wind farm came with a cost. It took a toll on the limited budget of the city and it decreased the global environmental health from the pollution created to build the wind farm. Hopefully, the wind farm will be able to produce enough green energy to balance off these consequences.
This chart tells you how diverse your energy consumption is. During year one, the oil plants was the only source of energy for the city so there is no diversity in the chart.. Consequently, exhaustible fuel (fossil fuel) is the only energy source that is used. If the city continues this trend of only relying on oil, it citizens will not be able to survive in the polluted city. Therefore, a wind farm has been built, which can be used in two years.
Using exhaustible fossil fuel like oil does not only harm the health of the city, but the environmental health of the world as well. The air pollution created contributes to the whole world’s warming and the carbon cycle, putting it off balance. Using oil at such a fast rate exhausts the world supply of oil much faster and uses up a lot of the world’s fresh water. It also contributes to the production of acid rain. This can really affect Pele Island, as it is a global tourist attraction.
The air quality of Pele Island is at a steep decrease because of the consumption of oil. Oil is a form of fossil fuel, so it is required to be burned to produce energy. Burning fossil fuel produces massive amounts of CO2 and ozone, which can contribute to global warming and the decrease of air quality. This trend has to be reversed to protect the health of the citizens and to keep a steady flow of tourists coming to Pele Island.
Using the oil plants costs money as well. A lot of the year’s budget went towards funding the oil plants. It is obvious that new technology has to be invested soon to prevent the trend of using fossil fuels from continuing. A considerable amount of the budget was used to wards building a wind farm, which can be used in two years. The wind farm is considered a good investment since it will produce cleaner energy. The budget must be used wisely in order to continue in the building of the city.
Two years later, and the city is already beginning to see some improvements. The city is still mainly reliant on oil plants to fuel its city, but the addition of a wind farm allowed the city to cut back on the use of oil by 25% at one of the oil plants. The city also invested money into research for residential planning and transportation planning so the citizens can help contribute to a greener city. These were requested by the stake holders to be fulfilled. Since their requests were fulfilled, they either contributed energy production or help minimize air pollution. The research helps minimize the amount of energy the city needs and the pollution it creates. In year 3, the city has also invested money into researching about hydroelectricity power. The Pele Island is surrounded by water, which is a rich opportunity for the island to incorporate water energy. However, after 3 years, the Pele Island still has far to go.
The wind farm built in year one has finally been finished and year 3 welcomed the energy of renewable energy. It only produces a small amount of energy in comparison to the oil plants, which still remains the main source of energy. However, it is a good beginning for the city, and it is hopeful that the research for hydroelectricity will help continue the trend of renewable resources.
Like my local air quality, global environmental health is still at a decline. Although the wind farm was a welcome addition to the city, it does not produce enough energy to become the main energy contributor. Pele Island still has long way to go to increase the environmental health.
The local air quality is still at a decline because the oil plants are still being used as the main source of energy for the city. However, because the wind farm has been added to the city, there has been a slight slowing down of the downhill trend.
The budget is still being used at a steep rate due to the many investments made buy the city. In the past three years, the city has invested in wind farms, hydroelectricity research and research to decrease the cities pollution production and energy consumption. The first few years of Pele Island revamping will require a lot of money to invest in greener alternative for energy.
Year 6 has arrived and the city has made a few changed since the last 3 years. The city has upgraded the wind farm so it produces even more energy than before. This is making a great contribution towards changing the cities main energy sources from exhaustible to non-exhaustible. The wind farm produces clean energy, meaning there is no air pollution, water pollution or waste products. It only requires a minimum amount of money to function. The city has also invested in further research in tidal power production and was able to begin building a tidal power plant. This plant will generate clean energy for the city at a much larger rate than the wind farm. It will require 3 years to build so it will not be ready for use until year nine. There has also been improvements made within the city. A bike path has been built, which improves the local air quality and green roof tops has been implemented, which contributes towards energy production. The city has also run into economic troubles, where job growth has slowed. This has cut the budget back by 5 units.
In year 4, the city had invested in upgrading the wind farm so it can produce more energy. This allowed an increase of renewable energy for the last 3 years. The addition of an upgraded wind farm allowed the city to completely stop using one of the oil plants. This had been an improvement for the city. The city has also done more research about tidal power and has commenced the building of a tidal power plant. It will be finished in 3 years. A bike path has also been built, which will add to energy production.
Despite the upgraded wind farm, the local air qulity is still very low. Oil plants is still the main source of energy in the city and pollution is still being created within the city. However, the graph shows that the downhill trend is starting to down a lot, almost to a flat line. So while the air quality is still very low and not satisfactory, an increasing trend is predicted to start soon.
The global environmental health status is similar to the local air quality. It is still at a decline due to the fact oil power plants are still in use but the decline has slowed down over the last 3 years. The use of the upgraded wind farm has replaced 50-75% of one of the oil plants so the global environmental health has slowed down.
Many new investments have been made over the last 3 years that will greatly benefit the city in the future but it has cost the city a lot of money. The budget has almost bottomed out over the last 3 years and the failing economy has not improved the situation. The addition of the tidal power plant, the upgraded wind farm and the many additions to the city has taken a toll on the cities budget.
Pele Island has finally begun to see big improvements to its city. The addition of the tidal power plant has dramatically changed the quality of life in Pele Island. After 3 years of construction, the tidal plant is ready for production. It produce 100% clean energy and produce much more than the wind farm. Year nine has been the first year where non-exhaustible energy production is higher than oil production. While oil productions still needed, the production has been cut by almost 50%! Two out of 3 plants has been left unused in year 9. Pele island has also invested in a biofuel power plant. It uses renewable resources like plants to produce energy. It is considered green energy and if will help Pele Island cut oil power out of its city.
Year 9 had a sharp increase of non-exhaustible power production. The addition of the tidal power plant and upgraded wind farm was able to bring more than 50% of energy productions. The use of fossil fuels has decreased dramatically. While my energy use is still not considered to be diverse, the addition of nonexhaustible energy will greatly improve the quality of life. Once the biofuel plant is finished and ready for use, the oil plants will no longer be needed and the energy consumption of the city will be more diverse.
The global environmental health is on the verge of beginning to rise again. The addition of the tidal power plant and wind farm has omitted much of the pollution caused by the oil power plants. The environmental health is beginning to increase due to the fact the city green additions improves the environmental health every year.
The local air quality has been continually increasing since year 6. The use of the oil power plants has decreased enough to allow the local air quality to start improving. It is a slow trend but it is hopeful for the island. The local air quality went down slightly in year eight due to the fact the biofuel power plant was built. Every time a power plant is built, there is pollution from the construction. The city upgrades from the years before has began to contribute to growing health of the air quality.
The budget of the city is beginning to recover from its deep splurge in years 4-6. In the last 3 years, only the biofuel power plant has been built so there hasnâ€™t been any expensive investments being bought with the city budget. The cityâ€™s economy is also slowly beginning to recover. The cities expenditures has sharply decreased in year 9 because the tidal plant cost a lot less than the oil power plants to function but it still produces more energy. The tidal power plant was expensive to build, but is cheap to maintain.
Year 12 has brought good news for the Pele Isles. The island no longer relies on fossil fuels to produce its energies! Through the production of energy from the tidal power plant, the wind farm and the newly added biofuel plant, the oil power plants are no longer in business. Even though the energy need of the city has increased from 70 to 91, the cities new power investments are starting to pay off. The city has also begun to invest its money in fuel cell technology research. This research can help reduce the pollution and energy consumption of the cars and buses in the city. Cars and buses are one of the biggest polluters and energy consumers in the city. Last but not least, the city has also invested in an green incentive, where it promotes green energy to the local businesses of Pele Island. Education is key, and investing money into the green incentive was a smart move to make.
Itâ€™s year 12 and the Pele island no longer relies on its oil power plants anymore. The main source of energy for the city is non-exhaustible energy sources like the tidal power plant and the wind farm. This is definitely good news since the resources they use will never run out. Biofuel helps make up the other portion of the energy production for the city. It is green energy and it uses renewable resources.
The global environmental health has improved drastically as well. Without the use of the oil power plants, there hasnâ€™t been any source of water pollution or acid rain within the city. There has also been the arrival of a habitat awareness group to the city who has preserved a few hundred acres of endangered habitat and this has brought up the global environmental health.
The local air quality has improved drastically since 3 years ago! It is now approximately the same quality as year 1, when the green city project first started. The discontinued use of the oil power plants has helped eliminate much of the pollution created in this city. There hasnâ€™t been any construction for new power plants either, so there is nothing hindering the increasing trend of the local air quality.
The budget has not changed too much since year nine. The investment made into fuel cell technology , the green incentive and commercial planning has prevented the spending of the city from decreasing. However, the spending of the city has improved greatly from its first few years.
There hasnâ€™t been too many additions of the Pele Isles in the last 3 years. The energy need has increased by 10 units over the last 3 years and new energy sources needed to be added to help produce for energy for the city. The city has turned its focus to solar energy. Over the last two years, Pele Isles was able to conduct research on solar energy and has built solar panels around the city. This has helped with reducing energy consumption and increasing energy production . This is also considered a non-exhaustible resource. Since the last 6 years barely used the oil power plants built around the city, the quality of the environment has improved greatly, almost to the point of perfection. The citizens of the city has been very pleased with the work of improving the quality of life in their island.
The addition of the biofuel power plant has completed the diversity of energy sources Pele Island. Over 50% of energy production still comes from non-exhaustible energy sources like the tidal power plant and wind farm, which is good because the resources they use will produce zero waste and is reusable. Biofuel, while is considered green energy, still requires the use of plants, which can run out if not monitored properly. The addition of city implements like bike paths has reduced energy consumption.
Global environmental health is almost perfect in Pele Island. Omitting oil power plants has ceased the production of water and air pollution so the Pele Isles no longer contribute to the declining health of the world. Pele Isles was also nominated the top 20 places to live on Earth.
The local air quality is at an all time high for the part 3 years. It has even surpassed the air quality from year one. Omitting much of the oil power plant use has greatly improved the air quality of Pele Isles. New technology implemented around the city like fuel cell cars has also contributed to the increasingly good air quality. The energy consumption of the city has risen once again, which is why a little bit of oil was used in year 15, causing a slight decrease in air quality just in year 15.
The expenditures of the city has improved a lot over the last 3 years as well, seeing that no new power plants have been built. However, there is a decline in year 14 because of the solar power research and another decline in year 15 due to the purchase of solar panels in the city. However, these purchases were required by the business stake holders in the city because money must be invested to create more business.
Itâ€™s year 18 and the economy is booming un Pele Isles. However along with a good economy comes with a higher demand for energy. The energy consumption of the city has risen to 109, a vast difference from 70 from year one. The tidal power plant, biofuel power plant and the wind farm is no longer sufficient for providing all the energy the city needs. It has resorted to using some of the oil power plant to make up for the energy deficit , The city has decided that it is ready to invest in another tidal power plant after seeing the success of the first one. Hopefully, with the new tidal power plant being ready in 3 years, the city can once again completely omit the use of possil fuel production in the city. The city has also invested in commercial solar panels to help with the production of energy.
The city is now widely diverse in the energy production in the year 18. The research done within the city and the new solar panels has also contributed to the production of energy. There was a increase in demand for more energy in year 18 and fossil fuel was used to keep up with the cityâ€™s demands. A new tidal plant has been built as well, ready to be used in 3 years.
The city is experiencing great air quality. Even though the use of oil has slightly decreased the air quality in year 18, the air quality is still very high. Most of the energy production is clean energy that produces no pollution.
The city is experiencing high global environmental health as well. The building of the new tidal power plant has taken a small tole in the last year but the environmental health is virtually perfect. There has been no pollution from the power plants or the city. This is a hopeful trend for Pele Island.
The city has spent a considerable amount of money in year 16 and 17 because the city has decided to purchase another tidal power plant and to purchase commercial solar panels. The city must spend the money to keep up the high energy demands of the citizens while still keeping a high global environmental health and good local air quality.
Year twenty has finally arrived and with it come great news. The new tidal plant has been finished and it has once again replaced the oil power plants in the city. The city is experiencing an all time high for local air quality and global environmental health. There is no pollution being created in Pele Isles, and the city can been changed into a greener version, with new commercial solar panels and fuel cell buses. The city is ready to keep the trend going!
The new tidal power plant is a great addition to the city and has taken over the oil power plants once more in providing the city with its high demand for energy. Currently, the city is using tidal power plants,, biofuel power plants, wind farm and inner city resources. The biofuel power plant has been upgraded so it produces even more energy than before.
The global environmental health has reached 100 due to the fact that there is no pollution being created!
The local air quality has reached 100 due to the fact that there is no pollution being created!
The budget is seeing decrease due to the ac the residents has requested for more research to be done in year 20. The budget never reached the same as year one but it has improved a lot., taking account of the numerous research done and power plants built.
Challenges, Obstacles and Victories: Summary of Pele Isles We all may agree that alternate energy is the way to go for the future, but we donâ€™t always realize the challenges that come with changing a city to alternate energy. There are many factors that you have to consider: the cost of the project, the needs and demands of the citizens, the amount of space you have, the environment you are in and the global effect your city has. When building Pele Isles, there were many challenges and obstacles I had to face. The biggest challenge was ommiting the reliance on the three oil power plants from the beginning while staying within my budget. It took al ot of money at first to do the research necessary to build alternate energy sources and to actually build the plants. However over time, I was able to completely omit the use of the oil power plants. This allowed me to succeed in having clean air quality and good global environmental health. Another challenge for me was to meet the demands and needs of the stakeholders within my city. They were an important part of my success because without their insight, I wouldn't always have taken the risks needed. The citizens also contributed to the increasing trend of healthy environment Overall, I can see that changing a city that is solely reliant on fossil fuel to alternate energy sources is not an easy task, and it takes much time an money. However, that being said, it is not impossible! I hope to see Canada improve this way as well!.
Nearly 90% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. Because fossil fuels are the main source, they are not alternative energy sources. Fossil fuels include coal, natural gas and petroleum (commonly known as oil). They are called fossil fuels because they have been formed from the organic remains of prehistoric plants and animals People use fossil fuels to meet nearly all of their energy needs, such as powering cars, producing electricity and running factories. Fossil fuels are popular because they are considered convenient, effective, plentiful and inexpensive. But along with it comes with massive amounts of consequences. How It Works:: Fossil fuels generate energy by burning. Coal is crushed into fine dust before being burnt, while oil and gas can be burned directly. Devices that use fossil fuel burn them so that people can take advantage of the heat.
Fossil fuels are readily available in certain parts of the world.
Fossil fuels are currently very cheap to buy and to generate energy from them
Easy transportation, especially with developments of pipelines
Produces enormous amount of pollution, through the mining, processing, transporting, burning and disposing of its waste Biggest contributor to acid rain and global warming
Very limited quantity that is not sustainable
Takes millions of years to replace
Damage to landscape from mining and destruction of habitats
Big contributor to air pollution because of its production of carbon dioxide, ozone and smog
Oil spills from transporting the fossil fuels is incredibly damaging
Environmental Impact of Fossil Fuels: For the last two decades in particular, it has become clear that petroleum is a leading greenhouse gas contributor. Over the years oil tankers have broken apart at sea, creating vast, toxic coastlines. In our homes petroleum based materials give off-gas heavy toxins. . Air pollution is another problem arising from the use of fossil fuels, and can result in the formation of smog. Other than causing human illness, smog can also affect the sustainability of crops. Smog seeps through the protective layer on the leaves and destroys essential cell membranes. This results in smaller yields and weaker crops, as the plants are forced to focus on internal repair and do not thrive.
Economical Impact of Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuel supply nearly all of the worldâ€™s energy because they are plentiful and more inexpensive that other energy sources. Almost all modes of transportation and industries require fossil fuel, which is why prices of consumer goods and services are partly determind by the cost of fuel. When the prices of oil go up, so wil most goods and services. Even though fossil fuels will most likely run out in our lifetime, industries still rely heavily of fossil fuels because they are still the cheapest source of power in the modern world. When the reserves of fossil fuel bottoms out and there is no alternate energy replacement, the world will fall into a serious economic crisis.
Societal Impact of Fossil Fuels: Modern life would be impossible without fossil fuels, and in many ways fossil fuels have become an addiction for the todayâ€™s society. The fact that fossil fuels are almost everywhere means that it is nearly impossible to take any action without them. In many houses, turning on a light will use fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are an important global issue. Countries have clashed over the issue of oil. Air and water pollution are also global issues. The pollutants from fossil fuel can spread from country to country. Developing and developed country are struggling to reign in their use of fossil fuels.
Hydroelectricity What it is: It is any electricity generated by the energy contained in water, but it is often associated with hydroelectric dams. These dams take the kinetic energy contained in moving water and converts it to mechanical energy through the use of turbines. The turbines than converts the energy into electrical energy .
Benefits: A big benefit is that fossil fuels do not have to be burned, so virtually no air pollution is produced. It also does not require fuel to produce energy. The biggest benefit of hydroelectricity is that it is renewable. As long as there are rivers, there will be hydroelectric power. It produces a lot of electricity. They also provide flood control.
Drawbacks: Damming rivers floods large areas of land, which can wipe out habitats. Dams also affect the wildlife around the river by disrupting their system. Biggest challenge of hydroelectricity is that it is very expensive to build hydroelectric dams.
Tidal What it is: It is the use of the oceanâ€™s tides to generate electricity. The way tidal power works is very similar to hydroelectricity. A tidal barrage, similar to a dam, captures water from incoming tides and converts the kinetic energy of the water into electricity.
Benefits: The main benefit of tidal power is that it is clean, renewable and does not consume resources like fossil fuel so it does not contribute to global warming. Further, the energy source is free. Tidal barrages can also act as bridges.
Drawbacks: The biggest drawback is the expense. Building a tidal barrage costs millions of dollars. Another drawback is that not every coastal is not suitable for tidal power. Third drawback is that tides are in motion only 10 hours a day.
Wave What it is: Wave power is actually another form of solar power. A wave is produced when a wind that has been warmed by air transfers kinetic energy into the ocean. As the wave crashes onto a shore, massive amounts of kinetic energy is transferred to electricity.
Benefits: It does not require burning of fossil fuel, the energy is entirely clean and endlessly renewable. It can be built on virtually any seacoasts, unlike tidal.
Drawbacks: The biggest drawback of wave power is that is disrupts the natural environment it is in. Wave power stations produces a lot of noise. Wave power stations are also prone to being damaged by storms and hurricanes.
Nuclear What it is: Nuclear energy originates from the splitting of uranium atoms in a process called fission. At the power plant, the fission process is used to generate heat for producing steam, which is used by a turbine to generate electricity. The splitting of uranium atoms produces massive amounts of heat, which can be converted to electricity.
Benefits: Nuclear energy produces virtually no emissions and a small amount of uranium will produce massive amounts of energy. One truckload of uranium is equivalent to over 10, 000 truckloads of coal. It is one of the most efficient source of energy.
Drawbacks: Nuclear plants are expensive to build and maintain. The waste product of nuclear plants is very dangerous and hard to dispose of. Nuclear reactors are always at a chance of having a meltdown and the radiation can leave devastating impacts.
Geothermal What it is: geothermal energy is energy created by the heat of the Earth. Under the crust lies a layer of hot rock that will heat up hot springs on the surface. This hot water can be used as virtually free source of energy. It uses the hot water or steam to generate power. Geothermal energy is nonpolluting, inexpensive n and a promising source of power for the future.
Benefits: It is clean and nonpolluting. It does not require consumption of fossil fuel. Does not have harmful emissions. They are efficient: a geothermal plant usually can produce more power than a fossil fuel burning plant of the same size. They are very reliable because it does not rely on exterior source of heat so it can run 24/7,
Drawbacks: The major limitation of geothermal power is that it can only be implemented in areas where there is a ready supply of hot water underground. This limits the use to geologically active areas. Also, only the hottest water can be used to generate electricity.
Solar Photovoltaic What it is: It uses solar panels that have 3 layers with a conductor material like silicon in between plates of metal coated glass. Sunlight that hits the silicon atoms dislodges electrons and is then made into a flow by the plates. This results in a current stored in batteries connected to the power grid.
Benefits: The positioning of the solar panels is flexible and it suitable almost anywhere. It is clean energy and it uses non-exhaustible resource. They can be used on top of buildings so they can generate their own power
Drawbacks: To create enough current to power a building,, large solar panels are needed and they take up a lot of space. Also, it is ineffective during bad weather so power may be prone to going out.
Wind What It is: Large wind mills, usually in a cluster called windmill farms, are placed on land or in the ocean. The wind will spin the propeller of the windmill, which will convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy. Wind farms can found almost anywhere.
Drawbacks: Wind turbines are very Benefit: noisy, and it cannot be built The cost of generating around residential areas. power through wind turbines has been decreasing Wind farms also require a quickly. Wind turbine does very large area of land because many wind turbines not require any water, are required to produce making it an ideal source sufficient amounts of enerof energy for drought stricken areas. Wind pow- gy. It also has to be powered by another energy er is inexhaustible and source. renewable, so it is clean
Concentrated Solar What it is: It uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy, onto a small area. Electrical power is produced when the concentrated light is converted to heat, which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator.
Benefits: It is reliable, flexible and dispatchable. Generation is not constrained to when the sun is shining . It is environmentally sustainable. Concentrating solar power reduces carbon emissions and improves air quality for local communities
Drawbacks: Uses water to cool down overheated panels which causes a strain on local water supplies. They are not effective in areas with little or no sunlight., and they do not work in bad weather. It is also expensive and complex to build.
Hydrogen Energy What it is: The reaction between the molecule of the hydrogen and the molecule of the oxygen when burnt in the presence of the air gives some amount of energy, that is hydrogen energy. It captures the high amounts of heat from the reaction and turns the thermal heat into electricity using generators.
Benefits: There are no harmful emissions made from hydrogen energy. The only byproducts is water and heat., which can be expelled into the environment with no negative impact. It can also be used anywhere, as the only fuel needed is the very abundant hydrogen and oxygen.
Cons: It is very expensive to create and to make the generator. The technology used to generate the energy is very expensive and so is the process of compressing hydrogen for transport. Hydrogen is also very vulnerable to the extreme cold.
Since the 1960s, investors and developers have been working to extract crude oil stored in the oil sands of Alberta Canada. Some experts put the amount of proven oil reserves in the western Canadian oil sands at roughly 175 billion barrels. This would put it third only to Saudi Arabia, with 260 billion, and Venezuela, with 211 billion in terms of proven oil reserves. Others Believe that the amount of reserve oil in Alberta is much higher, possibly 300 billion barrels, with more potentially buried underground. Thought peple dreamed for decades of striking it rich by getting the oil out of Canada’s sand, techniques are still in the early stages because of the difficulty of removing it. When compared to the relative ease of getting the oil that comes gushing out of oil fields in the Middle East and Texas, the existing process for turning oil sand into crude oil is difficult and expensive. It requires oversized trucks and shovels to dig out the sand and various machines to crush it, mix it with hot water, spin it to separate out the oil, and heat it to remove impurities. The expense concerned oil investors until political issues in the Middle East and other oil-producing nations and increasingly high demand in the early 2000s drove up oil prices to record levels, finally making oil removal from Alberta's sands profitable. With the demand for crude oil on the world market growing, in particular to meet the needs of the United States and China, many of the residents and government officials of Alberta and Canada saw the potential for job creation and huge profits for the province and the rest of the country. In addition to making money by selling the oil, Canada could also potentially use the oil to negotiate with other countries on trade and political issues. In the decades to come, Canada may become one of the biggest players in the fossil fuel economy, though the benefits may come at a high cost. The large amount of natural gas and water used in the separation process create concerns for environmentalists. So does the excavation of thousands of tons of mud and sands, which creates larges mining puts in Alberta’s landscape. Though the oilmen who run Alberta’s oil sand industry have promised to improve their technology to clean up their greenhouse gas emissions and refill the mines and replant trees, groups have their doubts whether technology will progress fast enough or trees grow fast enough to make it worth the environmental damage. With little encouragement for conservation and the use of alternate energy sources by the worldwide community, demand for crude oil will most certainly transform Canada’s economy and landscape as the oils sand become a valuable energy source for the world.
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Published on Jan 21, 2013