The need for new ways of producing energy in the world today

These technologies are proven.

The need for new ways of producing energy in the world today

Open electrochemical systems, known as fuel cellscan be used to extract power either from natural fuels or from synthesized fuels. The average US citizen still consumes more than ten times the energy of the average Indian, times that of a Brazilian, and three times more than China.

Some labs and companies are trying out the grown-up version of a child's magnifying glass: giant mirrored bowls or troughs to concentrate the sun's rays, producing heat that can drive a generator. Both the US and UK peaked in terms of per capita energy consumption in the s, plateauing for several decades until the early s.

Alternative ways of generating electricity

The fuel would last millennia. In the visualisation below, we have plotted global energy consumption from through to There are issues around who builds that and who pays for that. Historical and current energy systems are dominated by fossil fuels coal, oil and gas which produce carbon dioxide CO2 and other greenhouse gases — the fundamental driver of global climate change. By this had shifted significantly: the largest share now lives in Sub-Saharan Africa which is now home to nearly two-thirds of the world population without electricity access. The search for renewable sources of energy began, to ensure a sustainable future. In the first section of this entry, we saw that our progress in decarbonising our total energy system including transport, heat and electricity has been slow. All those panels could fit on less than a quarter of the roof and pavement space in cities and suburbs. The economics vary considerably around the world, resulting in widespread residential selling prices , e. Many are still scratching their heads about what to do when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing yet electricity demand is low. Energy security is already the main driving force in the geopolitical landscape. But along with its familiar woes—the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chornobyl, poor economics compared with fossil fuel plants, and the challenge of radioactive waste disposal—nuclear power is far from renewable. Ethanol produced from corn goes into gasoline blends in the U. But they all require one more thing of us humans who huddle around the fossil fuel fire: We're going to have to make a big leap—toward a different kind of world. Estimates suggest that powering all the world's vehicles with biofuels would mean doubling the amount of land devoted to farming.

Hot fusion is tough because the fuel—a kind of hydrogen—has to be heated to million degrees Fahrenheit million degrees Celsius or so before the atoms start fusing.

China, facing a shortage of electric power, has started to build new reactors at a brisk pace—one or two a year.

world energy production by source

Proposals for a European supergrid and one in the United States have been discussed for decades.

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Historical Timeline