What renewable energy sources could replace fossil fuels?

Homemade renewable energy inventions

From Greenpeace and in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center after the publication of the Energy [R]evolution Report 2015, it is shown that in 2050 the world could be supplied exclusively with renewable energy.

– Transportation is the most challenging sector, requiring a technical revolution and more R&D, especially in aviation and shipping. Aircraft and ships could be powered using biofuels, hydrogen and synthetic fuels produced using electricity. So the demand for electricity would go up even if generated using renewable energy.

– The solar energy sector would provide 9.7 million jobs, equivalent to the number of people working in coal today. Wind energy jobs would create more than 7.8 million, which is double the number of jobs in oil and gas today. (See also employment in renewable energy).

Replacing fossil fuels is possible

Renewables are transforming the global energy scene. Innovation in alternative technologies is revolutionizing the market and many research centers, companies and start-ups are developing systems that are capable of helping to decarbonize the economy, and although many of them are not yet commercially viable, they soon will be.

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These are ten of the most unusual inventions that want to change the consumption of fossil fuels for others that are more sustainable or that do not emit CO2, but science is advancing at full speed and in a very short time, new discoveries will improve those that today seem to be thought of as science fiction.

Photovoltaic sunflowers are creating a trend. And Smartflower POP wants to be the world’s first ‘all-in-one’ photovoltaic system, which can generate clean energy to self-supply the consumption of a home. This giant flower is made of solar panels and mimics the way sunflowers absorb solar energy. The flower has a solar tracking system in the same way that real flowers do.

Fossil fuels are renewable

But if we look beyond the electricity sector in our overall energy consumption, renewable energies are still only token. Heating, transportation and industrial processes are still dominated by fossil fuels, and many of these systems cannot run on electricity; they need fuel.

That’s where power-to-X (also known as P2X or PtX) comes in. An umbrella term, it encompasses several processes that convert electricity into heat, hydrogen or synthetic fuels, meaning that an increasing part of our energy system could say goodbye to coal, oil and natural gas.

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Power-to-X could also solve another of the biggest hurdles in the energy transition: storage. Solar thermal solves the problem with molten salts in sunny regions, but not in other latitudes.

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Why is it necessary to look for alternatives to replace fossil fuels?

Traditionally, the use of some fossil fuels such as oil, coal or gas has been encouraged by their high energy yield. In other words, the cost of extracting energy from these sources is negligible compared to the amount of energy that can be obtained from them.

However, all that glitters is not gold, since these calculations only take into account the costs of extracting the energy and do not include the cost of transforming the energy into finished fuels. This data shows that fossil fuels are not the most profitable energy alternative, since if we calculate the overall computation of all the costs incurred during the process, we discover that this type of fuels offer a rather poor return compared to the investment they entail.

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On the other hand, clean and renewable energies not only contribute to mitigating the devastating effects of climate change, but another of their most notable characteristics is that they are inexhaustible. The United Nations has sought to encourage the development of this type of energy, and has set the goal of guaranteeing access to electricity for the entire world population by 2030.