IntroductionThere is a need for new types of fuels in our world asthere is a decreasing amount of the Fossil fuels we currently use. Coal, Oiland Gas all take Thousands of years to be produced and we will run out beforewe will be able to get anymore. Due to this we need to find alternative ways tocreate energy or we will end up living in a world without power.
The FossilFuels we use aren’t just running out, as we burn them to create energy theypollute the earth which is damaging the ozone layer and causing changes to theclimate causing hotter summer or colder winters 1. A need for a new reliableand cheap energy source is increasing. There are some efficient options such asWind, Solar, Hydro or Biomass.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changeof UNFCCC is a global legal agreement created in 1992 on the control andmanagement of Greenhouse Gasses yet it wasn’t entered into force until 1994. Itnow has 189 parties. It is made up of 2 annexes. Annex 1 is countries withobligations to take measures to mitigate the effects of climate change andAnnex 2 is countries with obligations to provide financing to developingcountries for their obligations under UNFCCC.
The overall goal for the UNFCCCis to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future mankind,and their objectives for the future at to achieve a stabilisation of greenhousegas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that would prevent dangerousinterference with the climate system. 2But Recognising that the provisions of UNFCCC itself wasnot enough to achieve the goals they were aiming for to limit the climatechange effect to harmless levels and so the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in tohelp change their ways to save the climate. 3The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol adopted in 1997 that getsthe developed countries that have signed the protocol to commit to try to limittheir emission to a specific level compared to the emissions from 1990, TheKyoto Protocol intended to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions to be 5% the1990 levels by between 2008 and 2012 4The Greenhouse effect is a natural process which warms thesurface of the earth, as the suns energy reaches the atmosphere some of itreflected back into space while the rest is absorbed and Re-radiated by theGreenhouse gasses. Water Vapour, CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Ozoneand some artificial chemicals are what make up greenhouse gasses. The energyabsorbed warms the surface of the earth and the atmosphere this process keepthe earth’s temperature set at around 33°C whichis warmer than it would be without the greenhouse effect, this is what allowslife to exist on earth. 5Our current issue is thathuman activities like burning fossil fuels, clearing of land and agriculture.
Are causing the concentration of greenhouse gasses to increase. This is what iscausing the earth’s temperature to increase 6. This means hotter summers andwarmer winters, this is also causing the ice caps to melt and the seas to rise.Scientists predict thatthere are many things due to change, global temperatures will start to rise andthis will have many consequences on the rest of the earth.
Hurricanes andstorms will become stronger, more intense and more dangerous, the duration ofstorms will also increase this will mean the will be much more destructive andreach much further. The Artic is likely to become ice free, this will cause thesea’s to rise and land area to decrease from being submerged by the increase inwater, some small islands will disappear under the ocean and other land areaswill become flooded permanently. 7 2. TypesOf Alternative Energy 2.1 Solar Solar is a very practical option due to how available it isdue to all its energy comes straight from the sun this is useful as there islots of heat energy radiating from the sun that would otherwise go to waste ifwe did not use solar panels, the amount of energy produced by the sun in to theearth in one hour is enough to power the earth for a whole year, yet we areonly able to absorb 0.001 % of it. 8 Photovoltaic is a direct conversion of light intoelectricity at an atomic level.
Some of the materials have the ability toabsorb photons of light and release electrons, this is known has thephotoelectric effect. After these electrons are captured an electronic currentis made that can be used as electricity. The Photoelectric effect was firstfounded by the French Physicist Edmund Bequerel in 1839. He found that certainmaterials were able to produce a small amount of electronic current whenexposed to light. 9 This is because these materials are semi-conductors thismeans this materials had the abilities of a conductor like copper yet can alsoinsulate like glass, These Semi-conductors make up the PV Cell, when photonsstrike a PV cell they could either pass through, be reflected or be absorbed bythe semi-conductor.
Only the photons which are absorbed are able to provide energyto allow the generation of electricity. As more solar energy is absorbed by thesemi-conductor electrons are able to become dislodged from the materials atoms,this then allows them to move freely and start to migrate to the front surfaceof the material which is specifically designed to attract these free electrons.As the electrons each carry a negative charge towards the front face of thecell this starts to create a negative and positive split in the materialbetween the front and back surface causing an imbalance of electrical chargejust alike the terminals of a battery. When a conductor is connected to thematerial in a circuit to an external load a flow of electricity is created.10 This is show in the diagram below.
11This diagram shows how the front and back contact areseparate so the free electrons will migrate towards the front face to allow thepositive and negative split. And how once this process has happened it can beconnected in circuit to allow the transfer of electricity.There are many benefits of using Solar PV Panels as theycan greatly cut your electricity bills. Solar power is entirely created by sunlight so other than the costs of buying and fitting the Solar it is entirelyfree to be creating electricity and this will help to reduce your electricitycosts,In the UK you can put created energy back into the grid andbe paid for not just giving it back but also paid for generating it. For thegeneration of energy you will be paid by the governments Feed-in tariff schemeeven if you use the energy yourself but also you can be paid if you allow yourunused energy to go back into the grid for use of others.Using Solar Electricity also allows you to be greener andenvironmentally friendly and reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy doesnot release any harmful gasses or any other types of pollutant.
And just asmall typical house Solar PV System can help reduce your carbon use by 1.5 to 2tonnes a year. 12Another useful thing is that solar energy created duringthe day can be stored for use over night when there is no sun light to produceany energy this can be good as this means you can store extra electricity whileyou can’t create any more.
While there are some great benefits of using solar there arealso some disadvantages of using Solar. A Big one is the fact that the solarpanel needs the sun lights energy to produce electricity and the weather ortime of day can greatly effect this, if the sun is not in direct view of the PVPanel there will not be any power produced, the same issue stops power being producedat all over night as there is no sun light to create any energy to the PVPanel.The Cost of buying and fitting PV Panels is also a largedisadvantage as it can be very costly and can take quite a few years for it tohave saved you enough to cover its own costs.13As this graph shows you can save between £91 and £305 peryear depending on the size of the panel you have bought, for the 1kW solarsystem it will take about 15 years to cover the initial costs of paying for thesolar panel, while the 4kW panel would take about 20 years, this is notdefinite as the Tariff costs can change yearly and so will your annual earningdepending on how much you give back into the grid. Solar Cells can be classified as 1st, 2ndor 3rd Generation Cells.The 1st Generation cell can also be known astraditional, conventional or Wafer-Based, this is made up of crystallinesilicon, and this is the most used PV Technology.The 2nd Generation cell is made of a thin firmsolar cells, this includes amorphous silicon, CIGS and CdTe cells, these areused for PV power stations, and buildings with integrated photovoltaics.Amorphous silicon is a non-crystalline form of silicon.
Itis a thin film technology and is the most developed of them all. It is what isused in calculators, private homes and remote facilities. As it can be used insmall or large quantities and still very efficient.CdTe or Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell is based from the useof cadmium telluride, which is a thin semiconductor designed to convert andabsorbs sunlight to electricity. An advantage of this materials is that it’sthe only thin film technology with costs lower than the conventional solarpanel. CIGS or Copper Indium SelenideSolar Cells are one of the most controversial yet most interesting materials involvedwith solar. They are also a thin solar technology which a generally use toconvert sunlight into electricity. The material is an alloy made up of a rangeof materials such as copper, indium, gallium and selenide on a glass or plasticbacking.
The three mainstream thin-filmPV technologies are CIGS, CdTe and Amorphous silicon. All of these materialsare thin enough to be flexible, this allows them to 3The 3rd Generation cells consists of a number ofthin-film technologies often known as emerging photovoltaics- many of these areyet to be commercially applied and are still in research and development stage.There is a lot of research invested into this tech as there is a promise toachieve a goal of producing highly efficient and low cost solar cells. 14 2.2 BiomassBiomass can be directly converted into liquid fuels theseare known as biofuels.
The 2 most common types of biofuels in use today arebiodiesel and ethanol. Biodiesel is made up of combining oils, fats or greasewith methanol, this can be used as an additive to help reduce vehicle emissionsor just as an alternative renewable fuel for diesel engines. Ethanol is an alcohol,it’s most common process of creation is by fermenting biomass high incarbohydrates through a similar process to brewing