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Futures of Energy


Hydrogen seems to have the lowest potential negative environmental impact, provided that its production is clean. Among other expected benefits, one is that if hydrogen is produced from water, there is no need to build and maintain a special infrastructure to supply the power source: no fuel trucks, no new pipelines are needed. The vision on the picture is a bit idealistic, it reflects the broad scale. There will be cases when use of other energy sources is more justified, e.g. a small household may use biomass it produces without damaging the environment. Hydropower (dams constructed to regulate water flow) or biomass are more likely to have adverse impact on the environment. For example, dams often require large land areas to be flooded. In addition, life and reproduction of many fish species is disturbed. Biomass, even waste, is an organic part of ecosystem and, therefore, its impact is direct. If you produce large volumes of some special biomass (e.g. palm oil, cow dung), you are changing a corresponding ecosystem significantly. If you utilize existing waste (e.g. dry firewood), you take away someone’s food and nutrition. And you still produce CO2. Geothermal sources of energy are not as versatile as others (are not efficient for transport use, for example) and not so renewable: they may get depleted after several years/decades of use.

#2Thoughts