What are The Main Pros of Fossil Fuels Today
Fossil fuels meet our energy needs but what are the pros of fossil fuels? Today we talk about renewable energy and worry about burning fossil fuels. Yet we continue to use coal, oil and natural gas in our daily lives.
The fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago. Decomposing bodies of dead animals and plants were compressed by the weight of the earth's crust and exposed to high heat from the earth's core.
The result is what we refer to as fossil fuels. Though plentiful, fossil fuels are finite. At some point these energy sources will no longer be available as we will have taken and used every bit of coal, oil and gas available.
Until recently we believed fossil fuels would be available in the foreseeable future. However, in the past one hundred years the use of fossil fuels has doubled every twenty years.
It won't be long before coal, gas and oil are in short supply. As these resources become less available the prices will increase out of the range of many people who depend on fossil fuels to maintain their life and comfort.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of fossil fuels is how easy they are to use. Oil and coal are easily transported to a power plant where they can be quickly turned into electricity energy.
Fossil fuels are not difficult to locate. Past studies have shown us the areas of the globe where oil reserves are located, areas where coal veins run deep under mountainous terrain and where we can most easily tap into natural gas.
There is a huge transport network in place to move oil and gas from one part of the world to another. Huge oil tankers cross the oceans and pipelines cut through countries and states with oil and natural gas flowing through them.
Years of utilizing fossil fuels as an energy source has provided us with efficient power plants adding to the electrical grids across the nation and to ships, trucks and trains as part of a massive transport system.
Power plants are not limited to being built where the fossil fuels are mined or drilled. Renewable energy such as solar power and wind energy can only have plants built near the region where the energy is being captured.
You can't pump sunlight or wind through a pipeline or load it into a truck or train car. Production of solar and wind energy requires locating power plants close to the wind turbines or solar panels used to capture renewable energy resources.
Those limitations don't exist for fossil fuels. Plants can be anywhere and located near any town. Weather is not a limiting factor nor is the number of days of sunlight a year or the average wind speed. As long as large quantities of fossil fuels can be delivered, a power plant can be located almost anywhere.
There are pros of fossil fuels when you look at natural gas. Natural gas burns much cleaner than coal or oil because it is highly combustible and produces few byproducts when burned. The stores of natural gas have not been used at the same pace as coal and oil.
Gas is relatively inexpensive and clean burning and does not leave soot and particulates behind. Natural gas also produces 70% less carbon dioxide when burned which makes it preferable to coal and oil.
The problems with natural gas are transportation and the public's perception of gas as a safe energy source. Those who have homes powered by natural gas love the clean burning and efficiency while others are fearful of huge gas pipelines that can rupture and lead to massive explosions.
Increasingly, the U.S. look at expanding the use of natural gas and pipelines are being approved even though there are consumer complaints about the proposed pipelines.
It's not surprising that corporations working in the fossil fuels area tout pros of fossil fuels that are the lifeblood of their business.
Coal companies focus on mining safety improvements and on the fact that coal can be found domestically while much of our oil must be imported from other countries.
Large oil companies advertise the safety of their transportation network and their cooperation with other governments to keep oil flowing into the U.S. Oil companies are some of the highest profit industries in the world.
The risks are great as one damaged tanker or a leaking oil well in the Gulf can yield bad press and public sentiment against the company. Accidents and spills can also cost fossil fuel companies billions of dollars in damage claims.
The pros of fossil fuels still outweigh the risks today. Even though there is much discussion of renewable energy it is the old tried and true coal, oil and natural gas that power our homes and businesses today.