The Question About Energy!
Have you ever wondered what would happen if suddenly we had no reserves of crude oil?
Well, this is what the world will be facing in the not too distant future, even if we discover more oil reserves in various parts of the globe.
Let us assume that there is no longer crude oil being shipped or pumped anywhere, how the world will look and how this type of fossil fuel shortage can affect us, on the long and short term basis?!
Well, you may say renewable energy sources will fill the gap and make our environment a much better place to live in, and consequently reduce or even balance the danger of the global warming that everyone is concerned about these days! Wrong, renewable energy will not be able to fill the gap of the missing crude oil, which is, as we are all aware, a big part of our daily lives. Even if we say that the world has huge reserves of coal which can last for hundreds of years, the answer is still the same, i.e. coal can never replace the crude oil either.
Now let us take each scenario and explain why it is not possible at least during our lifetime – for the above sources of energy to replace the crude oil.
There are five types of known renewable energy sources, these are: Wind, Hydropower, Geothermal, Solar and Biomass. Apart from Hydropower, all the other types are either still part of research programs, or being implemented on a trial basis, or used on a limited or local commercial scale. The commercial viability on a very large scale is still, in various parts of the world, in the realms of “prediction” by scientists, engineers, economists, and politicians, rather than the reality of today. Obviously, we are talking here not just about generating electricity, but all other aspects of our lives where energy is needed, this includes, of course the two important parts such as our transportation and heating systems.
The renewable energy sources still need time and economical investment to mature to a reliable and economical way of producing energy, worldwide. This kind of success for the renewable energy systems may be possible over a long period of time, if and when the renewable sources, the engineering and the economical aspect, are all possible to implement together at the same time. Clearly, this has not been achieved yet on international scale, therefore it is still beyond the world’s reach, as a whole. A world which as we are all aware, is increasingly struggling and demanding more energy, as every day passes us by.
We are told that USA, Canada, Australia, Russia and China, as well as other countries, have large reserves of coal, but we are not told that some of these reserves of coal can be more expensive to dig out than the cost of importing crude oil. In addition, coal is mostly useful for generating electricity and for heating systems, not for the vital transportation systems or machinery or for certain types of functions within the large manufacturing industries.
Even if we take into account what has been termed as “clean coal” (for a cleaner environment) and liquidised coal derivatives, the energy gap without crude oil available in the market is still very wide and very unacceptable.
A world therefore with only coal is not the solution, neither a world with mere claims that “this-or that-“type of source of energy may work in the future.
Is there a solution?
This outlook is not meant to be a negative or pessimistic comment about our present and future energy needs, but rather trying to be realistic about what can be achieved within a reasonable period of time, and what is not possible. Rather than spending millions and millions on certain types of projects, such as what is going on in the USA concerning “corn” for energy, which clearly will not be able to solve the energy problem, not even within USA itself, we should concentrate instead all our efforts on international co-operation on a much bigger scale on energy and related issues, with every country contributing actively to this kind of work in one way or another.
The above need for co-operation is urgent. International co-operations should be able to implement already successful commercial energy projects (regardless of the source, as long as they are environmentally friendly) on a global scale, as this is the only way where various groups of people with various backgrounds will be involved for faster, viable, energy solutions.
These kind of large, international, co-operations can speedily benefit parts of the world where energy for a better living is in dire need. The hope here is also to overcome bureaucracies and political blockades, which in many cases can bury alive the best ideas, as well as successful projects, before giving them the chance to be tried on a wider commercial scale.