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Why are fossil fuels so important to society, and why do we need to develop renewable fuels for the future?

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Introduction

Why are fossil fuels so important to society, and why do we need to develop renewable fuels for the future? Fossil fuels are substances, which were created several hundred million years ago through the decomposition of prehistoric organisms and plants. Machines such as televisions, cars and computers we take for granted in our daily lives, need energy to run. The energy used to power these energy things come from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels can be categorised into three types; petroleum, natural gas and coal. Examples of petroleum fuels include gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuels. Because of petroleum's importance to our energy needs, infrastructure necessary to extract oil from the ground and refine it is already in place, and this oil is relatively economical source of energy. One of the major forms of natural gas is propane, which is also useful in a number of applications, including transportation. We burn natural gas to heat our homes, hot water and for industrial processes. Another form of fossil fuel is coal. ...read more.

Middle

Most common alternative is capturing falling water to generate electricity. Hydropower is a very effective source of electricity, which has already proven as a non-pollution alternative to fossil fuel. Drawbacks however are that since hydropower is generated by turbines in dams which capture the power of the rivers, fish stocks is disrupted therefore threat to species living in rivers is grater. Another source of renewable energy being exploited is wind power, where the wind turns large turbines to generate electricity. There are a number of interesting benefits. Firstly it is economical and becomes more economically as efficiency increases. Secondly, although many wind turbines are requires to produce significant amounts of electricity, wind turbines occupy very small area on the ground. However like solar energy, the practicality of wind power varies by region, wind thus cant be a complete replacement to fossil fuels. A true alternative to fossil fuel may lie in harnessing the energy of hydrogen. "Hydrogen accounts for about 80% of all matter in universe." Already used in commercial hydrogen production, electrolysis with its use of electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen is the simplest method. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the other hand nuclear energy is very economical. After food, fossil fuel is humanity's most important source of energy. Fossil fuel plays a major role in our economy and many of our current technology have been developed with fossil fuel in mind. We cannot deny however that the burning of fossil fuel is damaging the Earth's environment with the release of pollution to the atmosphere. In addition ecosystems are becoming damaged by the extraction of fossil fuel. Fossil fuel is highly integrated in society and this then must be phased out slowly. For this reason fossil fuel must be replaced with clean source of energy discussed in this essay. First, all current source of renewable energy, be it solar, hydro, wind or nuclear based, must remain on-line. Technology is available to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. It is not a matter of whether or not these energies should be introduced on a large scale, but rather a matter of how long this harm to the environment can be tolerated. It may be impossible to reverse the effects of fossil fuel- generated pollution. Only the clean energies of the future cal assure a healthy future for the Earth and its occupants. ...read more.

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