The Importance of Non-Conventional Sources of Energy

As the world's finite supplies of traditional fossil fuels are consumed at a voracious rate by a continually industrializing world, the development and use of non-conventional sources of energy is becoming ever more important for the future of the planet. Some research has shown that fuels such as oil and gas, and even nuclear, have a remaining lifespan of as little as 70 years.

  1. Green Energy

    • There is considerable debate about the efficiency of "green", or non-conventional, energy and its ability to supply the world, particularly the developed countries, with enough electricity or fuel for their ever increasing needs. Despite campaigns to encourage people to the principle of the "three Rs" -- reduce, reuse and recycle -- to minimize the consumption of energy and natural resources, the rate at which fossil fuels are consumed continues to rise and, consequently, damage the environment.

    Renewable Solutions

    • The contribution of renewable sources of energy to demand and consumption remains small, at around just eight per cent of the total in the United States, for example. However, it is a growing sector and expanding levels of investment in some countries has seen renewables forming a larger share of the supply in those nations. Wind turbines, wave and tidal generators, solar capture, geothermal harnessing and hydroelectric projects are all capable of providing a limitless supply of clean energy.

    Clean and Green

    • All over the developed world, the importance of non-conventional energy has been recognized, with international targets for a massive increase in renewable generation output being set. However, almost everywhere these ambitious targets have been missed. For instance, the United Kingdom generates just 6.5 percent of its energy from green or renewable sources so will need a massive increase to achieve the 30 percent of output demanded by the European Union by 2020.

    Fuel Types

    • But it is not only in electricity generation that non-conventional energy sources are growing in importance. If we want to continue to drive automobiles, many experts believe we will all need to embrace electric cars or biofuels to power those with more traditional engines. Biofuels are derived from a number of areas, including such as ethanol or diesel from plant materials, methane from animal waste, and liquids made from wood and bark chippings, and straw.

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