Fuels play a crucial and irreplaceable part in human development. Ever since man discovered fuel, and methods to utilize the energy that fuels produce, man’s industriousness has increased in leaps and bounds.
Till now, we are utilizing the fuels that we discovered centuries ago. Now, man is trying to invent and search for better, cleaner and limitless sources of energy. But what are conventional sources of energy? What are unconventional sources of energy?
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A Brief Glimpse
The vehicles we drive like cars, scooters, the public transport like buses, rickshaws, long distance locomotives all still work on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels form naturally, when organic matter like trees, plants and other vegetation, the remains of animals etc. get decomposed under a lot of pressure.
The energy contained in those remains, get converted into burnable solids, which are then converted to the fuels we use daily, example: petrol, diesel. Petrol and diesel are the most widely used conventional fuels, since transport vehicles are all designed to run on these fuels.
Though most industries have shifted to electricity, there still exist machines that run on diesel. The generators we use, as a backup, run completely on diesel. These generators are crucial, since they are used in hospitals, offices etc. as a backup source of electricity.
They play their role in situations like, when a delicate operational procedure is taking place, and the electricity goes off. Conventional sources of energy aren’t limited to vehicles fuels though. We’ve been using them for a long time and are since using it now.
The ‘chulah’ or wooden stoves that people used are also a conventional source of energy. Though they are a thing of the past, ‘chulah’ are still used in the rural regions of India and other places too. The other unconventional sources include kerosene, different types of oils which are used as sources of illumination.
Earlier, before the advent of electricity, oil lamps we’re used as sources of lights in streets, homes etc. Electricity can be a conventional or unconventional source of energy, depending on the way it is produced.
Electricity produced by the burning of coal is classified as unconventional, and electricity produced using ways like, tidal energy, hydro turbines, nuclear power are classified as unconventional energy.
Unconventional sources are new-age sources of fuel, which have been created to reduce the usage of fossil fuels. Why has the world been forced to invent new spruces of energy? Are there any adverse effects of the conventional sources?
Side effects and Solution
Conventional sources mostly involve the fuels that need to be burnt to generate energy. As with everything that is burnt, fuel produces smoke and other byproducts. These remnants are usually harmful, to us and the environment.
Cars produce harmful carbon monoxide gas that has adverse effects on the environment. It has been observed that people working on wooden stoves or ‘chulah’ suffer from respiratory problems after being exposed to the harmful smoke and particles left over after burning wood. To remedy this, we have been working on unconventional sources of energy.
These sources are clean, easily obtained and are limitless. Conventional sources include energy from the sun or solar energy, wind energy, energy generated by the waves called tidal energy, nuclear energy etc. These sources have been continuously researched on and put to use.
Their only limitation is that they are comparatively more expensive that conventional sources like petrol and diesel. But once deployment, these are one time investments. Example, once you install a solar panel, you barely need to worry about it again, as it well continuously uses solar energy and generate electricity. Same is the case for wind Energy.
Once you install a windmill, it will continuously provide you with energy. Nuclear reactors have been controversial as accidents occurring at a Nuclear Plant can be catastrophic.
An example is the Chernobyl incident, where the reactor faced meltdown and cause destruction over a large area. Chernobyl and surrounding cities are still inaccessible due to radiation.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both the energy sources. But since the conventional sources are getting exhausted, it has become essential for us, to make the unconventional safer and better accessible.