Chapter

Biofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems

pp 259-294

Our Food and Fuel Future

  • Edwin KesslerAffiliated with

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Abstract

During the past century, inexpensive fuels and an outpouring of new science and resultant technology have facilitated rapid growth and maintenance of human populations, infrastructures, and transportation. Developed countries are critically dependent on the liquid fuels required by present day transportation of goods and services and by agriculture and are dependent on various fuels for generation of electricity. Authorities and the media present physical growth as an economic and social need, but consumption and its growth ultimately cause declining availability and increasing price of fuels and energy. Increased burning of carbon fuels with increase of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is the principal cause of increasing global warming, which is well-measured and a probable source of future disruption of world ecosystems.

Regrettably for humanity, the power of new technologies has not yet been accompanied by vitally needed political and cultural developments in the U.S. and in many other countries. The political system in the U.S. seems unable to mitigate processes that contribute to global warming nor adequately address declining supplies of liquid fuels, nor does it discourage social pressures for continued physical growth.

Search for alternative sources of liquid fuels for the transportation sector in developed countries and in the United States in particular produce strong connections among energy supply, food supply, and global warming. Various current U.S. programs are examined and none appear effective toward prevention of a future disaster in human terms. The social organism is not ready now to sacrifice for future gain or even for sustainability.

Keywords

Energy sources alternative energy sources traditional batteries biodiesel coal ethanol geothermal energy global warming hydropower natural gas nuclear fission nuclear fusion petroleum political and social conditions solar power wind rivers and tides