Due to depleting resources such as gas, oil, and coal, it has been necessary to think ahead and find alternative sources of energy and power as a nation. The UK has made a stance that from 2030 conventional petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from sale. Even hybrids are to be eliminated from production lines after 2035. The proviso, though, is that these vehicles must be capable of “significant distance” in zero-emission mode. What exactly is meant by that is still to be clearly defined.
So, let us explore electric vehicles a bit more and see how other alternative power sources are becoming a significant part of our lives now.
Something that you may not know is that the first electric car was built as far back as 1884. It was designed by Thomas Parker, an innovator from London who was in charge of tramway electrification for the city. It was run on high-capacity rechargeable batteries.
Electric cars of today, which have taken a long time to catch on, are reliant on charging points. This is, however, something for the various countries around the world to sort out to make them more purposeful for everyone as an alternative to traditional gas or petrol-fuelled vehicles.
An advantage of electric cars, as they come down in price to buy, is that they have low maintenance and running costs. This is because they have fewer parts than gasoline cars. Their batteries do have a life to them but will give drivers many years of service. They have low energy consumptions, using just 0.18 kWh per mile, and equating to only 1.75 pence per mile. Conversely, a vehicle powered by gasoline will mean 10 pence per mile.
The technology of photochromic solar cells has meant that the sun’s energy can be captured effectively and converted into electricity. The alternatives of coal, gas, or oil are unsustainable because they are sources of energy that are rapidly depleting. The environmentally friendly option now is to have solar panels on our roof and power our homes that way in terms of heating and gadgetry. Electricity can also be collected and stored and surpluses produced sold back to the grid. This is then making everyone as environmentally friendly as the homeowner electing to invest in solar panels. Long term they are a good investment because they lower fuel bills and add value to a home.
In terms of the affordability of solar panels, their costs have fallen by 99% since 1977. This, along with the majority of us now having a desire to do all we can to save our planet, might explain why the solar industry recorded record-breaking growth in 2020, despite the pandemic.
Wind turbines out to sea and in farms inland may not be the prettiest sight to see but they are serving a purpose in producing renewable energy.
Wind energy was first used to propel riverboats on the Nile. Today, it is China that has the largest capacity in terms of wind energy. By the end of 2020, this was 288 GW.
Rather than being used in domestic situations, wind power has been helping decarbonise our industries. Our heavy industries are now wanting wind rather than seeing it as a costly energy resource. Industries making use of it are those involved in steel, aluminium, chemicals, ICT, transport, food and drink, and pharmacology. Companies are now sourcing their power directly from these wind farms and through long-term supply agreements.
In summary, it is electric cars, solar power, and wind power, that are leading the way at the moment in helping everyone steer away from using up the planet’s fossil fuels. It is the mission of governments to have us convert to electric vehicles sooner rather than later. More and more householders are embracing solar energy by having solar panels fitted onto their roofs. At the moment, it is our industries that are making the most use of wind power. In the future, it will be necessary for us all to embrace all the methods of sustainable energy open to us so that our planet can continue to power our activities and the rate of pollution be reduced.