The majority of the world population relies on fossil fuels for energy purposes. However, there are many negatives associated with using fossil fuels, and there is an increased push for people to switch from fossil energy to clean energy. It’s so vital that ‘Affordable and clean energy’ is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015. The world is going green, and the drive to renewable, sustainable energy is one way of doing this.
A renewable energy source is that which is infinitely available, like wind energy, solar power, hydroelectric and geothermal energy. Sustainable energy should meet the current needs of people without compromising the needs of future generations. A Renewable and Sustainable engineer’s role is to work on producing energy from sustainable and renewable sources. To research, design, and implement machinery, production processes, and methods that produce energy that has the least negative impact on the environment.
Why Consider a Degree in Renewable and Sustainable Engineering
One way to become a Renewable and Sustainable energy engineer is to pursue a bachelor’s degree or masters in this line. If you are wondering why you should consider doing this, here are four reasons.
1. Fossil Fuel Sources Are Becoming Depleted
There is a reason why fossil fuels have gained so much popularity. For starters, they are easy to transport, and they produce highly concentrated energy. However, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, we may only have 50 more years of crude oil supplies before we need to find alternative fuel sources. According to the Wood Mackenzie Report, by 2040, the world will still get 85% of its energy from fossil fuels. No matter how lucrative these energy sources are, they won’t be available forever. In a few years, energy engineers will need to come up with new energy sources that can meet people’s high energy demands.
2. Fossil Fuels Contribute to Climate Change
Global warming is a crisis. The burning of fossil fuels for energy is responsible for a considerable amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. This is because burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. According to the article by National Geographic, the world’s cities are responsible for up to 70% of the world’s carbon dioxide output. There is a large body of evidence that links global climate change and carbon dioxide emissions, meaning that fossil fuels are most likely a large cause of the global warming crisis.
3. Health and Safety Risk
Carbon dioxide is not the only chemical that is released when fossil fuels are burned. For example, the burning of fossil fuel releases nitrogen oxides, which play a hand in acid rain and smog formation. Mining and drilling operations generate volumes upon volumes of wastewater containing radioactive materials, heavy metals, and other pollutants, which, when released into water sources like rivers or streams, are dangerous for both humans and aquatic life.
4. Land Degradation
For underground gas, oil, or coal deposits to be unearthed, large strips of land have to be stripped and blasted. These mining companies have to have space to dig, process, store the useful fuel, and store water products. These pieces of land suffer from this abuse and rarely return to their previous state. Many people are displaced, animals and plant life are displaced and killed. Essentially, these lands are destroyed.
In essence, mining and burning of fossil fuels not only destroys the land and endangers human, plant, and animal life it also pollutes our water and air and tampers with our climate. Renewable and sustainable energy engineers, on the other hand, work to develop new energy sources that are less taxing on the environment so that future generations can find our planet the same or better than it is now.
Benefits of Switching to Renewable and Sustainable Sources
- Renewable energy sources produce little to no greenhouse gases. – This is great for an environment paying the price for high greenhouse gas emissions in the past.
- Renewable energy sources emit little to no air and water pollutants. – We need air to breathe, and cleaner air supports the health of most living organisms. Clean waters allow aquatic life to thrive.
- Renewable sources are of low cost. – Most renewable sources are unaffected by price spikes and geopolitical crises as they are mostly produced locally. For example, you cannot compare the cost of mining, processing, and transporting crude oil to the price of getting wind energy from windmills.
- Renewable energy sources create jobs and are good for the local community. – The process of setting up the production of energy sources can use local workmanship and materials. Afterward, the money saved from not importing fuel can be redirected into local development while citizens enjoy lower energy costs.
The world requires energy engineers, and their demand is bound to increase with time. There are many compelling reasons why countries and the world, in general, should move from fossil fuels to renewable, sustainable energy. The shift from fossil fuels to clean energy will not only reduce the adverse effects of using unclean energy but also positively impact the planet for good.
Author’s bio: Phil Collins is an educator and a professional freelance writer who works for a research paper writing service. He enjoys writing useful pieces and teaching college students.
He is an author of numerous posts and articles published both online and in print media.