In today’s world, fossil fuels are the primary sources which are characterized with a high level of dependency on them. Fossil fuels come from non-renewable sources such as coal and oil, which means that they have a limitation of supply, and they may one day get depleted. The effects brought about by fossil fuels are serious environmental concerns like release of greenhouse gases, which have led to climate change and global warming, pollution of air, water and soil. This calls for the need to shift into clean alternative energy, which will have little or no effects like pollution or production of greenhouse gases. At the same time, the resources should be renewable or without the probability of running out. In fact, there are alternative energy sources if fully exploited; they can solve problems presented by fossil fuels. Thus, biodiesel, wind power, as well as hydrogen fuels are appropriate alternative energy to substitute fossil fuels, which can bring about sustainable development.
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Use of wind power is a safe alternative energy to replace fossil fuels. Movement of air causes wind, which has kinetic energy. Using the right technology, it is possible to convert wind energy to electricity and mechanical power. The wind power is natural and at the same time, virtually inexhaustible, a state that is a stark contrast as compared to fossil fuels. At the same time, it does not cause air, soil or water pollution. However, for the effective use of wind power, the location of wind firms has to be done on large tracts and along coastlines for the purposes of capturing greatest wind movement. This conflicts with agriculture, urban development, and waterfront views. Nevertheless, the improving technology and generation techniques increase the feasibility of using wind power, thus, an alternative energy source (Nelson, 2009).
Along with wind power, biodiesel is an alternative energy that can interchange fossil fuels. The Jatropha plant produces inedible oil, which is the primary source for biodiesel. The fuel can be of considerable use in the transportation sector and other energy sectors. This energy source is a suitable substitute for fossil fuel as it emits 80% less carbon dioxide as compared with fossil fuel, and almost 100% less sulfur dioxide; thus, it has little effect on the greenhouse gases production. It also helps in the absorption of carbon dioxide, a gas that causes green house effect. However, the cost of production is relatively high in relation to the site and soil preparation, use of manure application, as well as fertilizers, planting, plant protection, and maintenance. The cost effect is highly felt as a result of relatively small biodiesel industry. This means that the expansion of the industry and increased infrastructure have the positivity in cost production reduction (Demirbas, 2008).
In parallel with other alternative energy sources, hydrogen fuel can serve as a substitute of fossil oil, too. Burning of fossil fuels brings about the greenhouse effect due to the release of gases that promote global warming and climate change. In fact, hydrogen produces less CO2 as compared to any other alternative energy source. On the other hand, hydrogen-powered fuel produces oxygen and water as by-products, thus having no effect in relation to global warming or any other damage to the environment, as well as human health. However, hydrogen extraction has close links with fossil fuels, but other renewable energy, such as wind power, can process the fuel from hydrogen (Hordeski, 2008). Since hydrogen is a natural gas and does not cause pollution output, especially when processed by wind power, it would be a better replacement of fossil fuel. Nevertheless, it has not been easy to manufacture hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles due to the high cost of building. Another problem facing hydrogen fuel is the inadequate hydrogen refueling stations. Many companies fail to set up hydrogen tanks on account of safety, high cost, as well as lack of demand. Consequently, the high cost experience of hydrogen production has the possibility of reducing as the fuel cell vehicles increase in the market. If the option of hydrogen fuel is to be put into consideration in place of fossil fuels, this option has to be supported by other non-renewable sources.
Alternative energy sources to interchange fossil fuels do exist; if exploited, they can reduce the overdependence on fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are at risk of depletion as they are not renewable; thus, they are likely to get exhausted one day. In addition, this kind of energy has caused the environment and the human health a lot of damage. The fuels release greenhouse gases, which brings about the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change. On the contrary, most of the energy alternatives do cause little to no harm to the environment. Some of the alternatives are wind power, bio-fuel, as well as hydrogen fuel cell. The problem facing these alternatives relates more to their cost of production, but the cost of production cannot be compared to the effects brought about by fossil fuels. Thus, energy alternatives are necessary in order to promote sustainable development, not only for the current age group but also for the future groups.
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