• What Energy Sources Are We Moving Towards?

Biofuel Industry News

What Energy Sources Are We Moving Towards?

Jul 24 2022

Fossil fuels aren’t just driving global warming and intensifying climate change. They’re also a major public health risk, with a recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine exploring the link between climate change, fossil fuel air pollution and children’s health.

“The combustion of fossil fuels has created a parallel crisis of air pollution, because the burning of these fuels releases massive amounts of airborne fine respirable particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or less (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), mercury, and volatile chemicals that form ground-level ozone,” write the authors. “One billion children worldwide are exposed to very high levels of air pollution.”

Air pollution a public health crisis

The authors warn that ongoing exposure to polluted air can disrupt development during infancy and childhood. Airborne pollutants can also hinder the vital biologic defence mechanisms that help the body repair DNA damage, protect the immune system and filter out chemicals. This can increase the risk of psychosocial stress and heighten vulnerability to physical toxicants.

Carbon dioxide is a major culprit, with emissions rising sharply over the past 70 years. In 2020 a huge 35 billion metric tons of CO2 was released into the atmosphere. This is an enormous jump compared to the 5 billion metric tons recorded in 1950. As a result, average surface temperatures on Earth have spiked by 1.1°C since the pre-industrial era. Without immediate action on a global scale, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns the consequences will be catastrophic.

Tackling greenhouse gas emissions with renewable energy

Replacing fossil fuels with climate-friendly energy sources will play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, addressing the air pollution crisis and safeguarding the health of the planet. So, what energy sources are we moving towards? Find out more below:

Solar energy

The sun has been generating solar radiation for billions of years and has incredible potential as a renewable energy source. New technologies are making it easier to capture this energy and convert it into useable heat, power and electricity. Together with Dutch startup SolarDuck, German-based energy giant RWE is spearheading an exciting new project that will see a “floating solar park” installed in the North Sea. The panels will form a floating carpet over water off the coast of Belgium and will generate up to 500kW of energy.  

Biofuels

From cars and buses to commercial jets, biofuels have the potential to slash transport-related emissions. Produced using biomass from plant and animal matter, these eco-friendly fuels have a low carbon footprint and are often compatible with fossil fuel-powered engines.  

Find out more about the latest biofuel breakthroughs, including a facility that transforms landfill waste into hydrocarbon synthetic gas, in ‘Energy Transition Guide - Fossil-based to Biobased Energy Sources’.


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