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Exploring Alternative Fuels

Updated on January 16, 2015
A government vehicle using compressed natural gas (CNG). Natural gas is environmentally friendly and more cost efficient than gasoline.
A government vehicle using compressed natural gas (CNG). Natural gas is environmentally friendly and more cost efficient than gasoline. | Source

Focus on alternative energy has increased tremendously in last few decades and Germans have led the crew in case of identifying sources for renewable fuels. In 2006 when many of the nations were just talking about renewable energy, Germans invested over $10 billion (US) in biogas power plants, research & development of alternate energy sources and erection of wind turbines, solar collection cell. Their law for alternative energy “feed laws” was already in place. This law is very investment friendlily which allows the alternative energy producers to sell the excess amount of energy to the existent power Companies at retail price. The incentive given and the investor friendly policies have given a boost to Germans alternative energy production sector and today Germany is a the top of the list of the countries who have implemented alternative energy plants such as solar panels, wind turbines and bio fuel. The installed capacity of these units in Germany is 60 terawatt however; it is interesting to note that this meets only 10% of their power needs annually. One hundred thousand solar energy collection systems were installed in Germany in year 2006.

In order to introduce green fuels, BP Corporation in USA is running and institution named Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). This institution is conducting research on alternative and renewable energy sources. Research on bio-fuels to run green autos is also underway. The institute is running on high cost and the total annual cost of this project will reach 50 million (US) in the next decade when this institution will be housed in University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The expertise of this university will be used to conduct research in bio-fuel techniques and crops, the technical requirements to produce bio-fuels that can be used in automobiles etc. the first mandate for EBI will be to convert hydrocarbon to eco friendly fuels

In USA a serious issue is found at the regulatory level, due to operational tensions between Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) and Congress. Executive Director of GEA is now of the view that before taking any decision of winding up GEA, Congress and the Department of Energy should have a detail session with them to know how useful this research could be. He is further of the view that there are many studies available on the importance of exploring geothermal energy options. The sources of such studies are Western Governors' Association Clean Energy Task Force, National Research Council and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All these institutes unanimously agree on the importance of shifting to alternate energy sources and conducting handsome research in the sector. It is unfortunate to note that at general, public is not aware of the benefits that alternative energy could bring in. Awareness campaigns about its importance and benefits need to be initiated as this energy is already present in earth all we need to do is to dig it out. The sources are not as scarce as oil. The alternative energy options are even cheaper as compared to coal and oil. The companies which are associated with this business are already making a lot of profits in US.


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    • moiragallaga profile image

      Moira Garcia Gallaga 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you for your comment MikeNV, those are indeed interesting points to ponder and consider with regard to the issue.

    • MikeNV profile image

      MikeNV 6 years ago from Henderson, NV

      People need to understand this law of Physics:

      The nineteenth century law of conservation of energy is a law of physics. It states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. The total energy is said to be conserved over time. A consequence of this law is that energy can neither be created nor be destroyed.

      As such energy can only change forms. So one must consider not if an energy supply is renewable, but what damage it does to the biosphere for which it is contained.

      There are plenty of energy resources available to power the earth. But they are all controlled by humans seeking economic gain. Until the human race can figure out a way to put an end to green, you can be assured that only those energy sources that are profitable will be investigated.

      Companies will not produce energy unless it turns a profit, and "renewable" sources like solar (still have to manufacture the panels and the batteries), and wind will not be harnessed until it is cheaper than the alternatives. Pollution doesn't matter in the profit equation.

      Nice read. Voting up.