Energy Sources of the Future that Can Steer the World In a Better Direction
Sophia Smith is a lifestyle blogger, graphic designer and a food enthusiast. Sophia has contributed to a number of publications including Eco Warrior Princess, Naughty Nutrition, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Yoga Trade, Sivana Spirit, Bonvita Style, Carousel, and Cause Artist.
You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter (@sophia_bri)
The world is facing an energy crisis. As populations across the globe continue to rise and the demand for rapid urbanization continues to increase, there is no denying that governments around the world are facing a tough challenge. How do we keep supplying every home and business with energy without consuming natural resources at an alarming rate, how do we prevent costly energy production and grid upkeep, and how do we meet the requirements of a rising population without worsening the effects of global warming?
One thing is for sure, the answer to these questions are complex, and the possible solutions will take years to reach commercial and affordable use. Some of the alternative energy solutions we’ll be talking about today are more promising than others, while some are still ways a way. In the years and decades to come, though, we can expect to witness a symbiosis of many different solutions that will probably include the energy sources and conservation features we’ll be talking about today. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five energy sources of the future.
Nuclear power is on the rise
Nuclear fission is nothing new in the scientific and commercial scenes, but that doesn’t mean that we are maximizing the potential of nuclear energy. In fact, nuclear reactors around the world account for little over 10% of the global energy production pool, while coal, gas, and hydro energy sources are still the biggest mass producers. Some countries have adopted nuclear energy more than others in pursuit of a cleaner way to create sustainable energy with minimal carbon by-production, with France leading the pack with over 78% of the country’s energy demand supplied by nuclear fission.
As you might have guessed, this is not enough to meet the demands of a growing global population. Nuclear power is the second largest source of low-carbon power, making it highly sustainable and “clean”. It is also one of the most powerful energy sources we have to date, and its popularity is rising around the world now that scientists are educating the public of its benefits while debunking the myths that have slowed down the adoption of nuclear energy on a grander scale.
Important scientific advancements
While there are many existing clean energy sources that scientists and engineers are constantly perfecting throughout the decades, it’s important to note the involvement of global universities and STEM research teams in designing and creating innovative solutions for energy conservation and harvesting. One such notable team is currently working on the innovative triboelectric nanogenerator that’s used to harvest water energy with slippery surfaces, developed at CityU, City University of Hong Kong.
The super-slippery surfaces used to repel various liquids have a wide array of possible applications, including wearables and flexible devices, all of which can be used to generate clean power. In the years to come, scientific advancements are expected to revolutionize the way we consume and generate clean energy, creating a more sustainable environment for the commercial and civil sectors.
Wind power is in higher use
We call it wind power, but in reality wind turbines represent yet another way to collect solar energy from the winds generated by the sun-warmed air – but the difference between turbines and solar panels is that the former work in cloudy weather and are more efficient. Wind energy has experienced a true boom in the past decades, with Europe leading the way in wind-generated energy sources that collectively produce over 35,000 megawatts. Putting that into perspective, the collective energy production from wind in Europe equates to 35 large coal-driven power plants, according to National Geographic.
Unsurprisingly, wind is yet another promising prospect for a cleaner, more efficient tomorrow, but it has its limitations. From upkeep costs to civil protests against the less-then-ideal aesthetics of these mechanical giants, all the way to frequent downtimes caused by low and even non-existent winds, there is no denying that wind energy is only part of the more broader answer to our global energy crisis.
Solar energy comes at a price
When people think of clean energy, you can bet that the image of a solar panel is the first thing that pops into their heads. This should come as no surprise, as indeed solar panels are used to generate solar energy around the world, however they are not the be-all-end-all solution. In fact, they have many limitations that prohibit widespread, global use, even though we are seeing a rise in solar farms in the sunniest regions of the world.
The main problem with today’s photovoltaic panels is simply their cost. Currently, the cost of solar panels that can actually generate adequate amounts of energy is astronomical. For a decent solar rig, one household can pay as much as fifteen thousand US dollars, while the cost of building and maintaining solar farms in desert regions is up in the billions of dollars. While solar might be the future, we are still ways away from making it sustainable in terms of price and upkeep.
There is no denying that the world is in dire need of a grand shift in energy production. By slowly decreasing the use of traditional energy sources like burning coal and oil and investing in sustainable energy such as nuclear fission, wind, and various scientific advancements, we hope to steer the world towards a more prosperous future.