Nukes Spoiling Future, Let’s Have An Eco Friendly Approach

Posted on February 2, 2010 in Environment

Ashweeni Kumar:

Today it is impossible to imagine life without electricity. The energy demand is going to increase by leaps and bounds in future. To meet this demand, we have to set up some long term strategies. Recently India has signed a nuclear pact with the USA for setting up nuclear reactor for civilian purpose.

One of the scariest things about nuclear power is that if the slightest thing goes wrong, an accident occurs. Radiation is released into the environment and people get hurt. Two of the most famous nuclear accidents occurred at the Three Mile Island reactor 2 in the United States and the Chernobyl reactor 4 in the former Soviet Union.

Any Nuclear accident is always covered up. There is no independent body to look into security lapses. For instance, the recent case of tritium mixed in drinking water cooler at Kaiga atomic power station which was a minor accident; but at any nuclear power plant even minor accidents can lead to major health problem. In the past, there have been many nuclear accidents which took toll on human life and the natural environment. The slightest mistake will make the reactor a nuclear bomb with destructive effects similar to that of bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. Security reason is other big thing.

Here are some of the things/alternatives that I think can help in meeting our energy demand without using Nuclear Energy and also with a totally eco-friendly approach.

There are many coastal countries which can harness wind energy from windmills. For instance, if we consider India, it has 7516 km of coastal plains of peninsula which has suitable wind condition. If we set up windmills throughout the coastal plains, India can produce 45000 MW of electricity. Wind and solar energy can compensate each other throughout the year as India is a tropical country. Constructing huge arrays of solar panels in combination with windmills can produce decent MW of electrical energy. In 2002 a Firm called Nanosolar was set up in San Jose, California which is producing very cheap and high efficient (14.6%) solar cells. It has developed a critical mass of engineering advances that profoundly change the cost efficiency and production scalability of solar cells and panels. They are claiming that there product’s energy payback period is less than one month. More companies based on Nanosolar technology should be set up to meet the demand for setting standard for affordable green power. Such cheap and high efficient solar cells should be used in combination with windmills in countries having similar climatic condition as that of India.

At present, majority of people live in villages, in most of the developing countries. The government of these countries should set up a department under Renewable resource Ministry to construct and maintain Biogas plants (a pit in which animal and vegetation waste is mixed and stirred which gives methane as output) in each of the villages. If this is implemented successfully throughout the rural world, the people residing there would get very cheap cooking gas. Also, the country side will become more hygienic as the cattle; kitchen and vegetation waste will be utilized in those plants. The byproduct which forms high grade natural manure can be used as fertilizer. The urban world has big gutter lines. The waste in these gutters can also be converted to cooking gas in large scale Biogas plants which can further be used to run large power plants. Again, the byproduct can be processed and used as natural fertilizer.

Almost 70% of our earth crust is covered with water and still there is water scarcity. We can use this water for generating electricity as well as for drinking and irrigation purpose. For e.g., if from pipelines drawing water from Arabian sea to arid areas of north Gujarat or further up towards Rajasthan (both western states of India) and carry out reverse osmosis (RO) and distillation in very large distillation and RO plant. The pure water can be stored in reservoir or big dams. This all should be done at higher level then sea level, then the by product that is salt can also be utilized. Water from higher level when made to fall on turbines will again produce electricity. This type of desalination-hydroelectricity plant can be constructed in any countries that are not landlocked.

We get wind energy when there is temperature difference in atmosphere. Heating of atmosphere take place due to solar energy because of which also our PV panels work. Further in sun, hydrogen fusion is taking place which gives tremendous heat energy. So, ultimately hydrogen is energy carrier and potential future energy. Hydrogen is “a renewable, versatile, simple sustainable domestic energy” and there is no danger of running out of hydrogen because it is the most abundant element in the universe. Hydrogen can be produced through a thermal, electrolytic, or photolytic process from fossil fuels, biomass, or water. The Hydrogen Economy is the term used to mark the shift from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas to hydrogen. The vision of a Hydrogen Economy is one of an unlimited source of fuel that would be used to generate energy without releasing carbon and other pollutants into the air.

Specifically, the Hydrogen Economy may be even more beneficial to developing countries because it will generate more economic opportunities, reduce poverty and offer a dramatically cleaner renewable resource to bypass at least part of the expense of building a fossil fuel infrastructure. The Hydrogen Economy could produce total decentralization of the global energy market controlled by giant oil companies and utilities, and result in vast redistribution of wealth and power. The Hydrogen Economic revolution must overcome major challenges in regard to the safe production, storage and transportation of hydrogen, and in developing new sensor technology. “World Hydrogen Energy Roadmap” must be developed to address hydrogen production, delivery and transportation, storage, conversion, public-private partnerships, research, codes and standards, testing, public education, and end use products. This effort must include government, industry, universities, and research laboratories.

I believe, hydrogen fuelled car should get the top most priority by big motor companies to realize the same. Hydrogen fuelling stations should be set up along with all petrol pumps available. If significant progress is desired, government and private partnerships must be established to concentrate development efforts. Hydrogen has the potential to do for the energy revolution what the computer and the Internet have done for the information revolution.
So I suggest, if these four steps taken all together, will bring revolution in no time. To summarize we need:

1. Windmills and Solar Firms based on Nanosolar technology.
2. Desalination-hydroelectricity plants wherever applicable throughout the world.
3. A committee of dedicated engineers at United Nations and all nations’ government having special department for renewable resource utilization, the department having highest importance in the governance. This department should specifically work on Bio gas implementation throughout the rural areas on the earth and
4. Hydrogen fuelled vehicles’ mass production along with building up hydrogen fuel stations at all petrol pump stations.