streda, 20. mája 2009
Alternative Energy and the Future of the World
The current addiction of the world economy to fossil fuels is unsustainable in the long-run. Fossil fuels are a finite resource and will run out. Currently we can see that most of the easy to get to oil fields are getting depleted and oil companies have to drill in harder to reach places to get more oil. This of course brings the oil prices up, as it is rentable to drill in those places if the prices of oil are high. Plus fossil fuels are dirty and contribute to global warming. That's why the world needs alternatives. One long-run possibility that is being discussed is to replace the hydrocarbon economy (fossil fuels) with a hydrogen economy. In a hydrogen economy, things such as cars would run on fuel cells powered by hydrogen, houses and the entire economy would be powered by hydrogen. Hydrogen is not a primary energy source, but instead an energy carrier. Hydrogen will give off energy, when it is combined with oxygen. The problem with this is that in order for this to happen, some other type of energy needs to be used first. At the moment this is very expensive. However scientists are trying to find way to bring this about, for example by using alternative energies. Maybe when the price of alternative energies such as solar power will come down enough, then a hydrogen economy might be more rentable.
"Why we need the solar-hydrogen economy now" Hydrogen Now
"How the Hydrogen Economy Works" HowStuffWorks
How the Hydrogen Economy Works
There is an interesting proposal on how Europe could generate its power in the future. North Africa and the Middle East are full of desert and sunlight, ideal places for solar energy. There is a plan that in the future that area would be dotted by concentrated solar power stations. These would then bring the electricty through undersea cables to Europe.
"How Africa's desert sun can bring Europe power" The Guardian
CSP in the desert plan