Category Archives: Alternative Fuels

Hydrogen Powered Vehicles Are Getting Closer

With the demise of the American car industry such as it is now, manufacturers are looking for the next thing on the horizon to keep their companies out of bankruptcy. It would appear hydrogen powered vehicles are fitting the bill and already there is a call to have hydrogen powered vehicles replace those running on fossil fuels which are currently polluting the environment. Since hydrogen is not implicated in any harmful activities when burned – unlike carbon monoxide in gasoline powered cars – it is widely believed to be the substance of the future.

Before you go out looking for hydrogen powered vehicles, however, consider that the process required to make these cars a reality is still rather costly. As such, manufacturers cannot hope to make any profit with their hydrogen powered vehicles until and unless they manage to greatly reduce their overall cost to the consumer. This accounts for the vast amount of experimentation currently going on in the car industry and also related industries.

While there have been rumors at least one major American car manufacturer will produce hydrogen powered vehicles by 2010, the odds are good recent industry upheaval will put these plans by the wayside. This opens up the race to the national scene and it is only a matter of time until one of the big competitors will take the bull by the horns and devise a viable product. Since the market is ready and consumer behavior is decidedly shifting toward greener shores, the motivation is undoubtedly there.

Saving the Forests in the 19th Century

Should there be a discussion of old school energy policy – conservation – saving the forests in the 19th century and also the use of at-home means of cutting back? In the past it was considered the only feasible means of reducing a household’s energy intake.

Unfortunately, even a momentary lapse in dedication to the cause results in a reneging on the actual energy savings; what is more, in some cases a homeowner who is not entirely well versed in old school energy policy – conservation – saving the forests in the 19th century, and green living, actually may do more harm than good.

To this end, old school energy policy is no longer considered the only form of reliable conservation, and saving the forests in the 19th century is now recognized as a national problem rather than simply a neighborhood issue.

This necessitates the recognition and introduction of renewable power options, such as solar, wind, biofuel and of course also hydroelectric power. It is only when sufficient funds may be allocated to this venture, and of course 20th century forest concerns are combined with these issues, that change can have a chance of actually becoming popular enough to take a more permanent hold.

Is Growth In Renewable Energy Declining

With so much talk about environmental responsibility, there is a recession in progress. As such, there is the question if it is true growth in renewable energy is declining? Private industry is usually the driving force behind the generation of a new technology, but at this point it is woefully absent. So, is growth in renewable energy declining?

The answer is a somewhat frustrating, ?maybe.? While private industry is not nearly as gung-ho over the idea of gambling large chunks of operating capital on new forms of technology which may or may not catch on, governmental intervention has worked hard to sweeten the deal. When faced with the question ?is growth in renewable energy declining,? various governmental entities are quick to point out because of various incentive programs, it is actually taking off.

Who is right? Depending on your perspective, you may be tempted to believe the federal government. The incentive programs are indeed tempting for private companies with some liquid assets at their disposal, and it stands to reason that any company which can carve out a niche early on in this business is sure to be prosperous in the long run.

In the short term, however, there are cash strapped consumers to consider. It is the customer without the needed money for home improvements that might throw a monkey wrench into the machinations over renewable energy. If there is nobody to purchase the technology, then no government incentive program can sustain the industry that goes out on a limb to provide it to unqualified customers.

The Top 5 Sources For Renewable Energy

Exploring the top five sources for renewable energy leads to an in depth examination of tidal and wave power, solar technology, wind energy, chemically derived energy and energy storage. While these are touted as the top 5 sources for renewable energy, there has not be significant fiscal backing for them which would encourage and fund the availability for the average household.

Granted, at this point solar energy – at the forefront of the top five sources for renewable energy – is the horse on which private industry and public officials are betting, but overall there is little guarantee it will yield sufficient results on a mass scale. What is more, the technology is still so prohibitively priced that not many homeowners are ready and willing to switch over.

This has led to the discussion that a search for the top five sources for renewable energy should actually focus more on region specific energy sources. For example, desert areas prone to high winds and endless sun will be served well with wind power and solar energy, while coastal regions may greatly profit from the use of tidal and wave power.

Rather than focusing solely on one aspect of renewable energy, this multi faceted approach would permit for the concurrent development of a variety of potentially lucrative and environmentally friendly means of energy generation. Of course, the downside is the cost involved at the onset. This in many ways has caused the majority of funds to be allocated to only one rather than the top five sources for renewable energy.

Why Monitoring Your Energy Use Makes Sense

You may have heard it said, monitoring your energy use makes dollars and cents. But, did you know it also makes sense? Energy use is generally defined as the residential consumption of electricity for the sake of powering appliances and conveniences.

Yet, did you know monitoring your energy use goes far beyond just electricity? It’s also important to think about your consumption of gasoline, natural gas used for heating and cooking and water.

In some states (such as California), water usage is already curtailed for the sake of conservation. But, environmentalists contend that monitoring your energy use is directly affected by your ability to also watch your water usage, simply because of the energy associated with getting potable water to you in the first place.

To a staunch environmentalist, the use of any good or service brings with it the opportunity to make a positive or negative choice when it comes to having an environmental impact.

Even if you are one of the consumers who might not be quite as concerned about the environment, monitoring your energy use make a lot of sense, especially if you are also keeping an eye on your expenses. Energy usage is usually broken down into several tiers, and crossing over into a higher tier leads to an increase in cost.

This can be at times rather significant, making energy conservation a cost saving measure. Even small steps, such as the installation of a kill all switch for the evenings when you no longer anticipate any further electricity use, can have a huge impact in the long run.

The Latest Non-Fossil Fuel Transportation Option

Scientists are constantly working on a non-fossil fuel transportation option. With America’s high dependence on traveling by car, there is a reason to believe they will find successful options within the next few years. The demand is certainly there so science is such to catch up eventually.

One of the newest methods involves recycling all the carbon dioxide wasted in the production of biofuels. This would make the process more efficient and scientists believe it would offer enough fuel to power cars all over America.

The hybrid hydrogen-carbon process could essentially make diesel fuel from coal or biomass, without putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Because biofuels can lose CO2 into the atmosphere during the conversion process of making them, it can be an inefficient process. The new process allows for the wasted carbon dioxide to create more fuel. The hydrogen used is gleaned from water using non-fossil fuel energy (like solar energy).

It’s hopeful that while cars would still be generating CO2 emissions, the CO2 would be reabsorbed and used in the process once again, balancing the cycle of CO2. The process is a much cleaner version than the other coal options. In addition, it offers things electricity and hydrogen alone cannot provide.

The only drawback to this plan is storage. For large trains, planes and cars it would be difficult to store. The driving distances would be limited as well and the energy costs associated with this process could be very expensive.

Overall, there is hope in science finding a viable solution for the environment and for the needs and demands of driving Americans.

A History of Alternative Fuels

Alternative fuel history dates back all the way to the early 1900s. When gasoline cars were difficult to start, electricity seemed like a great fuel alternative. Of course, history shows a solution was not available immediately then. During the 1970s, there was a large gas shortage in America. Modern alternative fuels began being considered seriously at that time. The dependence on gas and oil was recognized and scientists first turned to ethanol (corn).

Scientists also looked into methane, propane and hydrogen for fueling. The problems came with finding a way to run the alternative gases through regular engines. Thus, the act of refining alternative fuels still presents a challenge today.

Many people think the alternative fuel issue has more to do with politics than technology. Because global warming is a big issue, politicians all want to be the “world saver”. Thus, they will funnel great amounts of money into alternative fuel development. Of course, since alternative fuels do help the environment in many ways there is no complaint from citizens. Thus, the motivation behind the research is irrelevant, since it benefits everyone.

Because there is still a need for an effective and reasonable alternative fuel, research in alternative fuels is still going strong. New technologies emerge each day and the history of alternative fuels continues to be written. Other countries are certainly doing their part to research these issues as well, making more progress than the United States in many sectors of alternative fuels.

Obama’s Energy Plan

Most of the country’s mind is on the economic plan the new President-elect is devising. However, Obama’s energy plan is also continuously getting attention from Americans. This plan outlines many things, including the goal of America being energy independent.

The plan begins by stating it provides relief to struggling families and urges Americans to work together to eliminate the need for foreign oil. It talks about creating a cleaner energy future as well.

Highlights of the plan include:

•Reduction in gas prices.
•Creation of five million new positions to build a clean energy future (with $150 billion invested over ten years).
•The goal of saving more oil than currently imported, over the next ten years.
•The goal of putting 1 million Hybrid cars on the road by 2015.
•The goal of ensuring 10% of all energy comes from renewable sources by 2012 and 25% by 2025.

Obama planned to force oil companies to provide relief to Americans financially by taking their profits and giving it to the citizens of the country as an energy rebate. He also planned to decrease all loopholes in the current oil exchange market that makes it unfair that oil companies can make such large profits while the public suffers.

The President-elect vows to focus on global climate change by putting into place a Cap and Trade Program. This program would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%. It forces companies to pay for every ton of emissions they release.

Overall, the Obama Energy Plan focuses on foreign oil dependence and global climate change.

Fossil Fuels Are Non Renewable Energy Sources

Americans today are more and more dependent on fossil fuels. These fuels consist of oil, coal and natural petroleum. Coming from the fossilized remains of plants and animals, it would seem these sources of energy would never run out. However, with the entire world relying heavily on fossil fuels, they will one day be depleted.

The fact is it takes years and years for these energy sources to develop. With humans over consuming them, there is no chance they will last for years to come. In fact, there are fewer and fewer amounts of fossil fuels in the world today. Instead of venturing more toward renewable power sources like solar energy and wind energy, humans are trying to prolong the inevitable.

They are trying to find ways to stretch these non renewable energy sources as far as they can, to make them ultimately last longer. For example, auto makers are developing hybrid cars which use much less of these fossil fuels than the traditional auto. However, the rate of their use in even a hybrid car will not put a dent in the overall “big picture”.

The non renewable energy sources from fossil fuels are not only becoming depleted, but they are also harming the environment. Any type of combustion of the fuels results in pollutants being released into the environment. These atmospheric releases contribute to the “Greenhouse Effect” everyone worries about.

Yes, global warming is directly related to the use of non renewable fossil fuels. Scientists understand fossil fuels will not last forever, thus they are trying to find renewable energy sources to take their places in the world. While technology and discovery is somewhat limiting, the largest limitations for this are created by humans. Humans are not willing to make changes in their lifestyles to accommodate new or renewable energy sources, creating a difficult situation for the future.

The Problems with Fossil Fuels

What are fossil fuels? Fossil fuels are generally such fuels as oil, natural petroleum and coal. These materials were derived from the fossilized remains of plants and animals. The United States and much of the world have relied upon these fuels for decades and more. As the years go on, the sources of these fuels have become less and less.

The problem with fossil fuels is they will someday run out. It takes time for these energy sources to develop within the crust of the earth. At the current rate of consumption, there is no way that these fuels can develop naturally and not be used up. Currently there are ways being developed to sustain these fuels.

More efficient uses are these energies are being produced. Cars with better gas mileage are being manufactured. Hybrid cars which use electricity as well as gas are just one of the many products which have been developed to sustain the use of fossil fuels. Still these fuels are being depleted.

Another problem with the use of fossils fuels is no matter how safely and efficiently these fuels are being used, they still have an impact on the environment. The combustion of these fuels contributes pollutants to the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect. This effect increases global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps.

Alternatives are being developed. Fossils fuels cannot last forever at the current rate of consumption. Alternatives are being developed to sustain the lifestyles that we have become accustomed too. In time, fossil fuels will be a thing of the past.