Reliable Green Energy Solutions for the Future
Mankind has always been searching for alternative sources of energy. Until the year 1500, the fire made using wood was the primary source of energy. However, increasing reliance on wood lead to increasing deforestation, which prompted the need to search for alternative sources. The answer came in the form of coal.
Today, apart from coal, we have a number of other sources of energy, with CNG, diesel, and petrol being the most prominent ones. The problem, however, is that with increasing population, there is an enormous amount of pressure on such exhaustible sources of energy. Burning such fuels also degrades the quality of air. The need of the hour is thus alternative, clean and sustainable sources of energy which will power our future.
Algae are a rich source of fuel as has been proved by research. It is said that they can produce nearly 60% of their dry weight in the form of oil. The algae can be processed into crude oil which is green in color. Even though burning algae leads to the formation of CO2, it gets removed from the atmosphere by the next batch of growing algae. Virgin Airlines and DARPA have even conducted successful trials using jet fuel derived from algae. It is estimated that by 2030, 30 percent of the aviation fuel may consist of fuel derived using plant-based formulas.
Sun is the primary source of energy in the solar system. Its heat provides the much-needed energy for driving winds and waves. Plants which have been long dead is the source of the exhaustible fossil fuels which we use every day.
The best option is to harness energy directly from the sun. The first alternative which comes to mind are solar cells, but they are barely able to make it to the desired efficiency levels. The other alternative lies in the form of carbon nanotube arrays which are being experimented upon by engineers at MIT. These arrays can concentrate solar energy more than 100 times more efficiently when compared to conventional solar cells. The absence of sunlight at night and cloud cover will always cause issues but a new process developed at Princeton University allows carbon dioxide and water to be converted into methanol for use as fuel.
Beneath the surface of the earth lies a massive reservoir of untapped energy. Heat is generated continuously because of the decay of radioactive isotopes within Earth’s crust and mantle. We have been using this energy in the form of hot springs, but recently, a company in the USA started a geothermal facility to generate power on an industrial scale. The use of geothermal energy also provides many advantages as it is cost effective, clean and sustainable.