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Impact of Climate Change & Alternative Energy Sources By City Tech Blogger Gamage Garusinghe

Climate change is one of the major topics everyone is talking about nowadays. The past two centuries have shown us in multiple ways the many impacts of climate change  including the increase in atmospheric temperature, changing of the seasons, more precipitation in certain regions, more droughts in some regions, and some natural disasters are examples of the bad side of climate change. It has also changed our daily lives and the economic values of most countries. Climate change has pointed the way  to move on to alternate energy sources and to minimize the release rate of environmentally unfriendly gasses.

According to some research, burning fossil fuels is one of the major impacts of air pollution and people do not consider the effects on the environment.  Atmospheric temperature increase causes trapped carbon dioxide staying a long period of time inside Earth’s atmosphere and these molecules are heated by the sun over time. According to the laws of thermodynamics, adding heat to the substance changes the property of that substance. Such as it increases entropy, enthalpy, these energies directly release into the environment. Using biofuel as an alternative energy source, we can decrease the impact which directly comes from burning oil and coals.

Biofuel is one of the energy sources which are becoming famous due to the environmental impact from  fossils and oil. Biofuels come from different kinds of biomass as shown in the diagram below.  Biofuel mainly comes from  woods and wood processing waste, agricultural crops and waste materials, food, yard and waste in garbage, animal manure and human sewage. This biomass stores energy absorbed directly from the sun. We use these energies in a burning process. Biofuel is renewable energy from plants and animals. There are so many ways to get these organic materials easily than others. Ethanol and biodiesel are the two main biofuel products mainly in use today.

Ethanol yields 25% more energy than the energy invested in its production, whereas biodiesel yields 93% more. Compared with ethanol, biodiesel releases just 1.0%, 8.3%, and 13% of the agricultural nitrogen, phosphorus, and pesticide pollutants, respectively, per net energy gain. Relative to the fossil fuels they displace, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced 12% by the production and combustion of ethanol and 41% by biodiesel. Biodiesel also releases less air pollutants per net energy gain than ethanol. These advantages of biodiesel over ethanol come from lower agricultural inputs, and more efficient conversion of feedstock to fuel.

The other major reasons to find  alternative energy sources are to reduce greenhouse gasses, and lower the effects of global warming. Biofuels are one of the best energy sources proven by scientists and researchers. However, there are other impacts we still need to consider: greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer, water scarcity, habitat destruction and larger scale agriculture. Even though using biomass releases less amount of carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels, biofuel still have some effect on the environment.

By increasing the efficiency and decreasing the environmental impact, we can introduce biofuels instead of fossil fuels. There are a number of ways we can apply to get higher efficients by applying some of the following methods. Thermal processing of municipal solid waste (MSW) and various other types of waste is one of the methods for improvements in sources of biofuels. The focus is on the waste-to-energy approach; various criteria for this approach, as well as the inconsistent attitudes about waste management approaches are present in various countries in the European Union. Application of the proposed method to an agrochemical facility has shown savings of more than 75% in the external utility stream consumption. I believe that small steps we take today can make big issues lessen for future generations.

References:-

  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. 2010. Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2) Regulatory Impact Analysis. (Accessed Sept. 10, 2013) https://www.co2.earth/global-co2-emissions
  2. http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/fleet/technology/alternativefuels/biodiesel
  3. Biodegradability, BOD5, COD and Toxicity of Biodiesel Fuels” (PDF). National Biodiesel Education Program, University of Idaho. 2004-12-03. https://web.archive.org/web/20080410055942/http://www.uidaho.edu/bioenergy/BiodieselEd/publication/04.pdf
  4. http://biofuel.org.uk/second-generation-biofuels.html
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20090419194948/http://css.snre.umich.edu/css_doc/CSS08-09.pdf
  6. https://unfccc.int/process/the-kyoto-protocol
  7. http://webarchive.loc.gov/all/20060719210750/http://reports.eea.europa.eu/eea_report_2006_3/en/term_2005.pdf

Image: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Biomass-feedstocks-and-their-utilization-in-the-production-of-biofuels-bioenergy-and_fig3_280494105

 

 

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