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There are many different types of energy in use today. Some of the most common include charcoal, coal, coal gas, wind energy, solar energy and crude oil. Some of the common forms of energy will be explored further here to gain a better understanding of the energy sector as a whole.
The continuing rise in the price of crude oil has caused many countries in the world to look for alternative sources of energy. In the third world in particular, charcoal is seen as a convenient and inexpensive form of energy. The anaerobic burning of wood forms charcoal, which is later
used as a fuel.
The process of making charcoal is also quite easy and inexpensive, thus its appeal especially in the third world. Charcoal is normally made in remote places away from human activity or settlement. The preferred location is cleared of any vegetation, and one or more pits dug where the wood is then placed to be burned.
The quality and price of the charcoal is usually determined by the kind of wood that it comes from. The desired trees are cut down, split into small pieces. Dry leaves are placed at the bottom of the pit, then the pieces of wood, then more dry leaves. The pit is set on fire then covered in earth. The process will take anywhere from 5 to 7 days, after which time the pit will be uncovered to remove the charcoal. Holes are usually made in the earth to allow for aeration.
Charcoal in the first world or developed countries is not used as a primary fuel, but rather for smaller applications such as grilling. The making of charcoal has a devastating impact on the environment especially because trees have to be cut down and vegetation cleared. This is the main reason as to why the use of charcoal as a primary source of energy is largely not acceptable in many countries around the world.
Coal is entirely different from charcoal. This is referred to as a fossil fuel. It is mostly used as a solid fuel, and is primarily used in electricity production and heat production. The fuel works through combustion to supply energy or heat.
The use of coal is increasing every year, and is largely used for industrial applications. In electricity production, coal is burned in a furnace to heat up a boiler. The end result is the production of steam (coming from the boiled water in the boiler), which is sued to power or spin turbines. The turbines are actually responsible for generating the electricity.
It is estimated that at least 40% of the total electricity produced in the world is produced using coal. There is however a marked reduction in the reliance of coal in the United States. This is largely due to the fall in the price of natural gas and other alternative sources of energy.
Modern coal powered plants are now looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce on the wastage of energy. There is also a real shift to alternative sources of energy although coal still occupies a large portion in the energy sector. Coal pollutes the environment a great deal, which is why efforts are being made to shift the reliance on coal to other cleaner sources of energy.
Coal gas is a type of natural gas which is found where there are significant coal deposits. This is widely considered to be an alternative source of energy, and many countries are now looking to explore this option, with Australia leading the pack in this area.
There is no doubt that a lot of work goes into the extraction of natural gas. Some of the things that are involved in this process include tubing, water pimping and heavy drilling. Although the extraction process is work intensive, it is still considered to be a potentially lucrative industry.
Pipelines are also being constructed to be able to transport the coal gas. Projects are ongoing especially in North America and Australia, where the production of coal gas continues to increase every year.
Research shows that coal gas is a great source of alternative energy, and will reduce the reliance or fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources of energy. The coal gas is also considered to be a much cleaner source of energy, and generally better for the environment.
Coal carbonization is the process in which coke fuel is extracted from coal. Although coke fuel is largely extracted from coal, it also occurs naturally. Some of the distinctive features of coke fuel is it is porous, grey and hard.
Coke fuel is especially used in the manufacturing industry, especially in the production of iron.
Coke fuel also has some domestic applications. It is used for cooking, and is favored as a better source of energy for a number of reasons. First, it is considered to be a clean source of energy, meaning that it is environmentally friendly. It is also smoke free, which cannot be said to other similar forms of energy such as coal or charcoal.
The coke making process takes place in designated ‘coke ovens’. Here, coal is combined and blended and heated to produce coke. The end result is a carbonaceous and combustible solid that is commonly referred to as coke.
Crude oil is no doubt the largest source of energy today. Crude oil is often referred as a fossil fuel, and is a non-renewable source of energy. It is formed through thousands of years of fossils buried deep underground including plants and animals. There are many different oil reserves all around the world. The world today is hugely reliant on crude oil, and everything we see or do has in one way or another been made possible by crude oil.
Crude oil has many different applications today. One of the most common is in the making of gasoline or petrol. Gasoline is simply refined crude oil. Automobiles rely on gasoline or petrol to be able to work. Others include generators and other kinds of motors that need gasoline or petrol to run. Diesel is also made from crude oil. It is heavier than gasoline, and is used mainly to run diesel powered automobiles.
Crude oil is also largely used in the making of industrial solvents such as toluene and benzene among others. Kerosene, residual fuels, asphalt, lubricants and heating oil are among other by-products of crude oil.
Electricity is used all over the world, and has an impact on all industries today. Electricity is used to power homes, electrical devices, machinery and many other things that we use in day to day life. Electricity has come a long way since its introduction. Prices have fallen a great deal, making it a viable and fairly inexpensive source of energy.
Some of the fuels that are used to create electricity include fossil fuels, water, wind, steam and nuclear power among others. There is great demand for electricity today, and particularly what is being referred to as clean and renewable energy.
The world is now seriously looking in to alternative forms of generating electricity including solar power, hydro power and wind energy.
Industrial fuels are fuels that are used as reference or test materials, and almost never have any applications in day-to-day life. They cannot be purchased in the consumer markets, and ordinary people have no access to industrial fuel.
Industrial fuel is largely used in automobile testing, research and development as well as specialized industrial units. Industrial fuels are widely considered to be the purest form of fuel as they do not have additives to increase performance.
One common application of industrial fuel is to measure and calibrate automobile engines. Most automobiles use industrial fuel the first time they are started.
Natural gas is considered to be clean energy, and is found deep underground. Natural gas is extracted through a process known as fracturing. During this process, layers of rock are fractured, a process which allows for gas to be extracted.
In the United States for example, nearly a quarter of the overall power produced each year is from natural gas. The total use of natural gas globally accounts for about 22% of the overall energy produced in the world.
Natural gas is favored because it is clean, and therefore environmentally friendly. It is also a versatile source of energy, which can be used for a number of different applications. In addition to this, there are much less harmful emissions from natural gas than you would expect to find from other sources of energy. Many countries around the world are now working to maximize on the benefits of natural gas.
Petro chemical products come from crude oil. They are actually the second products to be gotten from crude oil during refining. There are many different applications for petro chemicals, and are used to make many different products.
There are three basic types of petrochemical products (based on chemical structure). These are aromatics, synthesis gas and olefins.
Olefins include ethylene and propylene. These are the major components that can be found in plastic products and most industrial chemicals.
Aromatics include benzene and toluene.
Petro chemical products include everyday products. These include synthetic fibers, plastics, detergents and polyurethanes among others. Synthesis gas includes hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which are generally used in the production of methanol and ammonia.
Solar energy is another form of green energy, and the world is now looking to encourage the use of solar energy. Although the installation of solar panels can prove to be expensive in the beginning, solar energy is a lot cheaper in the long run. The initial cost of installation of solar panels discourages many people to take advantage of this green and renewable source of energy.
Depending on the amount of energy needed in the household, the returns on investments can be quite fast. There are also some financial incentives from the government that reduce the initial cost of installation of solar panels. In addition to this, you stand to save a lot of money from the long term use of solar energy. There are a lot of savings to be made especially where electricity
bills are concerned.
Another reason as to why there is a real push to the wide scale adoption of solar energy is because it is clean energy, and is renewable. This helps to protect the environment, and is also sustainable. This is the main reason as to why solar energy is being favored all over the world.
Yet another available source of renewable and clean energy is wind energy. Wind energy is considerably cheaper than crude oil, and not to mention more environmentally friendly. There is also no damaging by products, and is therefore simply a cheap and clean source of energy.
The problem comes with the original cost of installation of wind generators. Similar to solar panels, the initial cost of installation of wind generators can prove to be very high. Although it might take some time for the investment to pay itself back, it is ultimately a much cheaper source of energy.
There are some DIY kits for wind energy that are easy to assemble and install. This reduces the price of installing kits, and ensures that you can get the benefits of wind energy at a considerably lower price. Some of the things to consider when installing a wind generator include location. For the generator to be effective there needs to be constant wind where the generators are located.
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