The Race for Energy – Can We Lower Gas Prices?
The call is made. For years now we knew we couldn’t keep living like this, yet, we still did. Now (for America), the reality is coming light a freight train toward a brick wall. We keep pulling those brakes, yet we’re not stopping.
Ever since the first windmill, we have been trying to pull energy from resources to make our jobs easier. Powering a light, running a car or using a laptop. Energy is a way of life, and we take it for granted way too often.
Recently, there have been some who have jumped out of the gate to say they have an energy source that would help. There’s even an inventor that says he has created a device that will give free energy which he plans to unveil it on June 20th. With all those claims, we still seem to be stuck in the same conundrum we have been for the last 20 years. Will we ever break free and have a clean, reusable energy for our daily routines?
Let’s take a look at probably one of the biggest energy resources – oil. We use it from powering our devices to making simple compounds. Ever since the cultivation of Oil we have been using it to work and play. According to the Department of Energy, the US uses 20 million Barrels of oil a day. That is 7 Billion barrels in a Year, for the US alone.
Let’s break down the Barrel to understand it all. A barrel of Oil is 42 Gallons – but when refined, the amount of oil is 44.77 Gallons. From each barrel, 43.9% is turned into Gasoline (19.65 Gallons). 22.4% goes to Diesel (10.03 Gallons), 9% goes to Jet Fuel (4.07 Gallons), 1% is lubricants (.46 Gallons) and the rest is other items. Therefore, if oil goes up, then the cost of everything also goes up.
So if we rely on it so much to create items and make them run, how can we ever get off this resource? Maybe the answer is to not totally get off of it, but make it less of a necessity. For example – if we had a mixed resource, a barrel of oil might still cost the same, however you would need less oil to do things like make gasoline.
This is where the race is on. Alternate fuel could mean lower cost and better environment. Ethanol has been thought to be the alternative resource, however, although e85 runs cleaner, it contains less energy than gas. Therefore, you might spend less filling up, but overall you would spend more because gas millage would go down with E85.
Enter in Coskata – a biofuel startup in Illinois who claims they can make ethanol for less than a dollar a gallon, using a bacteria applied to organic material to turn into ethanol. This would mean that everyday trash could get converted easily. So Doc Browns “Mr. Fusion” might just be a reality after all.
Another set of researchers – one at UMass, and the other at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been working on “Green Fuel”, a way to pull gas from biomass sources, like poplar trees and switchgrass. The UW-M’s idea is to also fuse the green fuel with Jet fuel – which would make a gasoline that you could put into the current car you drive.
Oil and Gasoline is not the only advance in the last year. SUNGRI, a solar energy design and developer, has put together a system that takes sunlight and amplifies it over 1600 times to extract and charge power cells. This form of Solar Power could drop the cost from 20 cents per kWh to 5 cents per kWh, therefore making solar power a reality cost-wise.
Wind Power hasn’t advanced too much, however it still can do it’s part in reducing the use of Fossil Fuels. Alone, wind power might not power our needs, but added in with solar and other alternate energies, wind power could easily enhance our need.
All of these answers won’t solve our problems right this moment. If you look at current production, some analysts say if more refineries were built, we could focus on Heavy crude oil, which costs less than light crude. It would also reduce the strain on the 149 refineries in the US and result in less problems that could shut the plant down.
The best solution would be to use less energy. Unfortuneately, we may never see that option, so the better solution would be to become resourceful. All these plans will at least take one to two years to push off the ground. That’s considering if they work night and day to get processes perfected and refineries built. Add another year to put together stock to actually push out. It’s a great start to solve the issues and they can be great advancements to multiple years of research. If green is a viable option at a great price, then we might get back on track to power the world in a safe way.