We all know (or at least should be aware of) how the energy we use everyday is created. This really depends on where we live and the resources these places have at their disposal. Think about the oil rich countries in the Middle-East – they would obviously use their abundant natural resources as their main source of energy, however, they are aware that it is finite and they must have alternatives available. Countries with less natural resources at their disposal may choose to generate nuclear energy, which is very expensive to set up, but is very cost effective in the long run. We shall look at these different types of energy sources, including a few you may not have immediately thought were possible.
1) Fossil fuels
Oil, coal and natural gas are all fossil fuels, meaning that they are created organically over a period of many millions of years. These are the most commonly used sources of energy due to their relative abundance and the ease with which they can be converted into usable energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, meaning that they can only be used once, and that poses a big problem – their use causes pollution and contributes to climate change. Their popularity, especially now in many rapidly developing countries means they will be around for a longtime to come, unless a cheaper and easier alternative is developed.
2) Renewable energy
These are seen as the way forward as they do not require us to burn fuel in order to generate energy. This is great for the environment but the downside is that we are at the mercy of the elements. A few of the main examples of renewable energy are solar, wind and thermal, but at the moment, we are yet to be able to harness the energy effectively and use them as efficiently as fossil fuels, although this is constantly improving. Many countries are investing in renewable energy as it is clear that fossil fuels are harmful, and can be overly affected by the state of global politics. Countries which may not see eye-to-eye tend to use their resources as leverage over those who rely on them. Renewable energy not only removes that issue, but is infinitely better for the environment.
3) Alternative fuels
This may be the one you are less familiar with but make great alternative sources of energy aside from using fossil fuels and renewables. Think of all the waste that could end up in landfill, surely much of it could still be of some use? Well you’d be right in thinking that – much of the waste that ends up there could still have its uses if handled properly. The process of waste recycling to energy is not as widespread as it should be, but when many types of waste are shredded down to fine grains, they make a great fuel when put through the process of combustion. Not only will less waste be taking up space in the landfill, but this could also reduce the need to extract more new fossil fuels in the meantime.