A Look at the Compelling Reasons Why Fossil Fuel Energy Can’t be Completely Phased Out
Despite numerous efforts from governments and other public organizations across the world, the demand for fossil fuel energy hasn’t reduced to the levels which was expected. Some of the compelling reasons as to why complete phase out of fossil fuels seem unlikely include efficiency of fossil fuels, the convenience offered, and the infrastructure put in place by fossil fuel energy companies. Additionally, ingenious solutions like ethanol blending have expanded the number of growth opportunities available to the market.
In the last few decades or so, the number of eco-friendly initiatives taken by governments across the globe have mushroomed rapidly. Many of these programs, schemes, and initiatives have focused on cutting down the use of fossil fuels and thus bringing down carbon emissions. Though there has been some success in cutting down the use of fossil fuels, the demand for fossil fuel energy is still very high as compared to what was the intended target of these initiatives. The global energy crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war is a solid testament to the fact that majority of the world, including both the developed countries of the West and the developing countries of the Asia-Pacific depend on fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas.
Why is it So Hard to Quit Using Fossil Fuel Energy and Switch to Green Energy?
Any discussion on fossil fuel energy usually refers to the three primary fossil fuels- oil, coal, and natural gas. These fossil fuels are made up of hydrocarbons or pure carbon, which upon burning release carbon dioxide and other similar greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases trap the outgoing radiation, thus increasing the average temperature of the atmosphere which is also known as global warming. Hence, one of the most pressing issues in front of the global community is to reduce the fossil fuel energy demand. But despite these efforts, the global fossil fuel energy market is showing no signs of slowdown. In fact, as per a report published by Research Dive, the global fossil fuel energy market is predicted to grow at a healthy CAGR of 5.3% and garner a huge revenue of $10,646.50 billion by 2031.
One of the main reasons why global efforts are falling short in reducing the demand for fossil fuel energy is that these fuels are much more efficient than the green energy sources that have been developed lately. Fossil fuels are formed over million years of decomposition of dead animals and plants and, hence, are much denser than their counterparts and have condensed form of energy stored in them. For example, natural gas has an energy per weight value of 53.1 MJ/kg; similarly, diesel and coal have a value of 45.8 MJ/kg and 30.2 MJ/kg respectively. A lithium-ion battery, which powers most of the electric vehicles, on the other hand, has an energy per unit weight value of just 0.504 MJ/kg. Naturally, unless an eco-friendly energy source which is as efficient as fossil fuel energy is found, it will be hard to quit using fossil fuels.
Another important factor which makes it difficult to replace fossil fuel energy with green energy is that fossil fuels are much easier to use. Consider a scenario, you are driving on a deserted highway at odd hours and the gas levels in your car are pretty low. All you have to do is find the nearest gas station and refuel the vehicle. On the contrary, any electric vehicle battery requires 2-3 hours of charging before that vehicle can be used again.
Apart from the two advantages of fossil fuels energy mentioned above, another important consideration is the infrastructure that is already in place. The infrastructure and logistics that have been established by the fossil fuel energy companies is much more widespread than any of the green energy technologies like solar or wind energy. Hence, fossil fuel energy is easily available as compared to renewables. It is due to such factors that more than 60% of the global electricity is still generated using fossil fuels. Thus, unless the green energy generation companies put in place a logistics model that competes with the fossil fuel energy infrastructure, replacing fossil fuels with green energy seems unlikely.
The Bottom Line
Despite all these advantages, the growing environmental concerns regarding use of fossil fuel remain the biggest hurdle in the full-fledged growth of the market. Reducing the carbon content of fossil fuels to reduce emissions is one unique solution suggested by many experts which can increase growth opportunities for the market. Several governments, to give effect to this idea, have started ethanol blending programs which effectively reduce carbon emissions. Such ingenious programs and schemes are expected to push the growth of the fossil fuel energy market in the next few years.
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