Comparison of Oil and Alternative Energy Sources - Research Paper Example

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Comparison of Oil and Alternative Sources of Energy Name of Course Your Name Name of University Background Oil accounts for over 40% of the world's total energy consumption (May and Caron, 2009). This means that the world relies heavily on oil for its energy needs…
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Comparison of Oil and Alternative Energy Sources
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Download file to see previous pages This makes it an abundant resource that can sustain various energy requirements around the world. Also, when the appropriate technology is put in place in a given area, it is fairly easy for oil to be explored in perpetuity with little additional costs. Although oil machinery and infrastructure is expensive, when they are set up, they can extract crude oil at costs at as low as $2 per barrel. With a high market rate of between $30 and $100, the profit margins are always high for these petroleum companies and they recover their costs in a short time. It must also be pointed that there are two inherent weaknesses in the use of oil. First of all, oil is a non-renewable energy source. This means that once it is extracted from the earth, it cannot be replaced. As such, it is prone to exhaustion. This implies that there will be a time where oil will no more be available to people in the world. Nagle and Guinness (2011 p364) indicate that the International Agency has identified that peak oi will occur in the period between 2013 and 2037. In other words, within this timeframe, oil production will be at the highest levels. And due to declining levels of oil reserves around the world, oil production will begin to fall after this time. This means that the levels of oil will fall in the near future after oil reserves are used up. It is speculated that based on current production levels, known oil reserves will run out between 15 and 80 years (Nagle and Guinness, 2011 p364). Although these figures might be generated through pessimistic estimates, there is a genuine cause for alarm, because if production continues, it is a known fact that oil reserves are going to run out. This therefore presents a strong case for the identification and exploitation of alternative sources of energy. Also, oil leads to high carbon emissions which lead to global warming and climate change (May and Caron, 2009). This is because the oil taken from the earth directly, known as crude oil needs to be refined. In refining crude oil, it needs to be burnt at high temperatures in the process of fractional distillation. This leads to high degrees of emissions into the atmosphere. Also, the usage of oil in cars and other machines leads to combustion which causes the emission of high degrees of pollutants into the atmosphere. These pollutants get into the atmosphere and modify the character of the ozone layer. This leads to a situation where the ozone layer traps the reflection and release of heat from the earth into space. Due to this, the temperature in the world becomes high and this affects the balance in the natural environment. These two inherent weaknesses present compelling case for the introduction of a new and more efficient method of satisfying the energy needs. Research Framework This paper explores the research question: Are alternative energy sources the answer to ending human dependence on oil? In answering this research question, the writer will address the following objectives: 1. A critical analysis of alternative energy sources. 2. A comparison of the alternative energy sources to oil. 3. An evaluation of how appropriately the alternative energy sources could be used in lieu of oil. Alternative Energy Sources Turk and Bensel (2011 p252) identify a paradox relating to the dangers of using fossil fuels and oil. They state that: “Can the global society make the massive shift to using windmills, solar panels and other renewable ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Nice paper! Used it to finish an assignment for a environmental studies course. It was easy as ABC, for the first time in my life.

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