Fossil fuels have been providing an “easy” energy source for man, but there is a limited amount Non renewable energy such as fossil fuel is known to cause serious damage to the environment, through the emission of greenhouse gas (any gaseous compound in the atmosphere that is capable of absorbing infrared radiation). Greenhouse gas traps and holds heat in the atmosphere. By increasing the heat in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases are responsible for the greenhouse effect, which ultimately leads to global warming.
For the past 150 years oil and coal have been the main energy sources used in industrialized countries. There is more energy stored in fossil fuels than in any other available energy source. No other source of energy is as cheap and powerful.
of fossil fuel on Earth. It is not “renewable” and there is no known way to make more.
In 2005 a presidential directive was given to the NNPC for the exploration of Renewable Energy as a source of energy i.e. energy collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.
Types of Renewable Energy
This form of energy relies on the nuclear fusion power from the core of the Sun. This energy can be collected and converted in a few different ways. The range is from solar water heating with solar collectors or attic cooling with solar attic fans for domestic use to the complex technologies of direct conversion of sunlight to electrical energy using mirrors and boilers or photovoltaic cells. Unfortunately these are currently insufficient to fully power our modern society.
The movement of the atmosphere is driven by differences of temperature at the Earth’s surface due to varying temperatures of the Earth’s surface when lit by sunlight. Wind energy can be used to pump water or generate electricity, but requires extensive areal coverage to produce significant amounts of energy.
This form uses the gravitational potential of elevated water that was lifted from the oceans by sunlight. It is not strictly speaking renewable since all reservoirs eventually fill up and require very expensive excavation to become useful again. At this time, most of the available locations for hydroelectric dams are already used in the developed world.
Biomass is the term for energy from plants. Energy in this form is very commonly used throughout the world. Unfortunately the most popular is the burning of trees for cooking and warmth. This process releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere and is a major contributor to unhealthy air in many areas. Some of the more modern forms of biomass energy are methane generation and production of alcohol for automobile fuel and fueling electric power plants.
Hydrogen and fuel cells
These are also not strictly renewable energy resources but are very abundant in availability and are very low in pollution when utilized. Hydrogen can be burned as a fuel, typically in a vehicle, with only water as the combustion product. This clean burning fuel can mean a significant reduction of pollution in cities. Or the hydrogen can be used in fuel cells, which are similar to batteries, to power an electric motor. In either case significant production of hydrogen requires abundant power. Due to the need for energy to produce the initial hydrogen gas, the result is the relocation of pollution from the cities to the power plants. There are several promising methods to produce hydrogen, such as solar power, that may alter this picture drastically.
Energy left over from the original accretion of the planet and augmented by heat from radioactive decay seeps out slowly everywhere, everyday. In certain areas the geothermal gradient (increase in temperature with depth) is high enough to exploit to generate electricity. This possibility is limited to a few locations on Earth and many technical problems exist that limit its utility. Another form of geothermal energy is Earth energy, a result of the heat storage in the Earth’s surface. Soil stay at a relatively constant temperature, the yearly average, and can be used with heat pumps to heat a building in winter and cool a building in summer. This form of energy can lessen the need for other power to maintain comfortable temperatures in buildings, but cannot be used to produce electricity.
Other forms of energy. Energy from tides, the oceans and hot hydrogen fusion are other forms that can be used to generate electricity. Each of these is discussed in some detail with the final result being that each suffers from one or another significant drawback and cannot be relied upon at this time to solve the upcoming energy crunch.
Nevertheless, an investment in renewable energy in Nigeria would yield amazing benefits. This can go a long way in solving the pollution and power problems in the country. Some of the benefits includes;
- Good returns on investment
- Increased local production of Fuel, Food and Power
- Lower pump price for fuel blends
- Increased energy security and energy mix.
- Rural wealth and job creation
- Social Equity
- Promotion Sustainable Development
- Environmental Integrity
- GHG emission reduction
- Potential to curb restiveness and socio-political tension across the country.