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Consumption and use of fossil fuels leaves behind major economic, climatic and social change in addition to irrevocable environmental damage. There are a number of ways to solve the major challenges that United States of America is facing today: poor air quality, reliance on petroleum imports and emissions from greenhouse gas. The United States of America fails to take the necessary measures to ensure sustainable, healthy and clean energy for current as well as future use. This discussion will focus on fossil fuels’ detrimental impacts on the economic and environmental factors as well as proposal for renewable energy investment in the future; hydrogen, ethanol, solar power and wind power. It also gives an explanation on how the replacement of fossil fuel relates to values of Stewardship, responsible and integrity as required by Saint Leo.
This is the 21st century; hence the expected Energy systems have to be reliable, cleaner, flexible, and much more efficient than they used to be a century ago so as to ensure energy security and environmental viability of the US. According to Herbst & Hopley, hydrogen can satisfy various energy needs in this country while at the same time reduce (and ultimately eliminate) greenhouse and carbon dioxide gas emissions to the environment.
Generation of Hydrogen can be made from a wide range of domestic resources through use of different technologies. Hydrogen has the capabilities of providing a storage medium for seasonal and intermittent renewable technologies. Moreover, it can be utilized in combustion processes along with fuel cells to give various energy services like mobility, lighting, heating, cooking and cooling. A list of companies that are currently carrying out research into Hydrogen as energy source include Ford, Texaco, Exxon, Chrysler, Toyota.
Solar power is another promising alternative source of energy. The power from the sun is limitless. Therefore, if we (the Americans) can effectively and efficiently use it to power our nation, we could possibly eliminate our reliance on oil. Even though we are currently using solar cells to capture sunlight and convert it to electricity to power our electric cars and households at small-scale, we should extend it large scale. The only negative aspect of solar energy is its associated cost. If the government and nongovernmental organizations can come in and reduce the cost of solar energy production, it would be a better alternative to oil.
Ethanol is an additional potential alternative source of energy as a replacement of fossil fuels. It is capable of being exploited in our present gas stations and vehicles with diminutive modification. This practice would make the transformation from gasoline to ethanol not only economical but also easy. Besides, Ethanol is a renewable and natural source of energy and so it can be produced from different crops like grass, sugar cane and corn. If the prices of gas keep on increasing and ethanol production becomes cheaper, then it would really become an outstanding alternative source of energy .
Wind power is another alternative. This is because its production involves use of wind to turn huge turbines that generate electricity. Such electricity produced from wind can then be utilized to power a number of items. Fräss-Ehrfeld explains that currently, wind power is being exploited in developed countries and in Utah. It is very easy to use and is relatively inexpensive. In the United States of America, a lot of people go an extra mile of making their own tiny wind turbines. They later set those turbines in their schools or backyards to generate power. The key prerequisite is that the wind turbines are required to be placed in windy areas. Since wind power produces no Carbon Dioxide, it causes no global warming hence it is not harmful to the environment. It is therefore a good alternative to fossil fuels.
Being a tertiary institution founded on Christian values, Saint Leo University should upholding environmental conservation by adopting clean sources of energy. It could begin by the use of solar and wind before venturing to other sophisticated sources like ethanol and the like. In addition, through its curriculum, it should set up research projects that will ensure that they come up. To eliminate this rising problem every individual must turn to alternative sources of energy. Solar power has been shown as a good alternative. Fräss-Ehrfeld states that, if all Americans can harness this power from the sun, we shall be assured of this limitless energy supply.