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What are Non Fossil Fuels?

Energy generated by solar panels is a form of non fossil fuel.
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  • Written By: C. Martin
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2014
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Non fossil fuels are alternative sources of energy that do not rely on burning up limited supplies of coal, oil, or natural gas. Examples of these fuels include: nuclear energy, wind or water generated energy, and solar power. These tend to be renewable energy sources, or means of generating power that can be utilized indefinitely.

Non fossil fuels are considered by many to be extremely important to the future of power creation. This is because they are usually renewable energy sources that could be tapped for hundreds of years and not run out. In addition, energy production using non fossil-based fuels usually generates much less pollution than other energy sources. This is considered crucial by many governments who are looking for ways to reduce the amount of pollution produced by their countries.

Fossil fuel advantages are often considered to include ease of production. The burning of fossil fuels produces a lot of energy quickly and easily. Many people now believe that because of the huge impact on the environment, however, non fossil fuels are a much better way to generate energy. Various initiatives now exist, especially in Western countries, to encourage corporations and energy companies to invest in methods of producing energy from renewable sources.

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These types of fuels are even being used by individuals in some countries. In the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, householders can, in some cases, receive funding to help pay for the installation of solar panels. Some home owners who have gone down this route can then receive free electricity for all or part of the year, and even sell excess electricity generated back to the energy companies.

Fossil fuel disadvantages include pollution. When a fossil fuel material such as coal is burned to create energy, carbon dioxide is released. This carbon dioxide pollutes the atmosphere and contributes to the greenhouse effect. Non fossil fuels do not have this disadvantage. While there are now methods of burning gas and similar products very efficiently, as clean fossil fuels, a certain amount of pollution is still generated.

This also does not address the issue of renewability. The history of fossil fuels is that these materials were created over millions of years from deposits made up of the remains of prehistoric plants, animals, and micro-organisms. Non fossil fuels, on the other hand, don't rely on limited resources.

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Comparables
Post 3

@ Istria- that is an interesting idea, but the government would only consider passing something like this if the price of oil shot up above $125 per barrel again. I do not believe that most of the politicians in congress have the backbone for something like this. The lobbying arm of the fossil fuels and non-renewable energy industry is too long, and their pockets are too deep. I would like to see the government focus on domestic policy for once though.

istria
Post 2

@ GenevaMech- One of the most interesting ideas I have heard so far is to create a price floor for fossil fuel based energy. This is much different from a tax or cap and trade system, and it would create a stable market for alternative energy sources. This would also bring stability to the fossil fuel energy market, take some of the power away from OPEC, and lessen the impact of speculators. A price floor also causes steady increases in efficiency, and reductions in consumption. Best of all, the country still benefits when oil prices are low.

For example, if a price floor of $100 per barrel were set, the federal government would tax anything below this price while anything above this price would be left as is. At today's price, the government would receive about $27 per barrel. The revenue stream from this could go into a fund to increase R&D in energy, cleaning up super fund sites, infrastructure improvements, etc. The OPEC nations would not be able to control (increase) American consumption by reducing prices. This would actually reduce their oil revenue, thus reducing their ability to subsidize their own energy. Their energy subsidies are what prevent their people from pushing back against their authoritarian regimes. It would be a way to influence foreign policy by focusing on domestic policy.

GenevaMech
Post 1

What is the best way to go about managing non-renewable energy resources? I mean, how do we go about phazing them out? We obviously cannot leave it to the free markets to switch over because it will take too long. From what I understand there is still over a trillion dollars in easily accessible coal and oil resources locked up in the ground. If it was left up to the free market, the transition would not happen until all or almost all of these fuels were siphoned and dug from the earth. At the same time, things like cap-and-trade would require a new regulatory system that would be prone to corruption and would likely be ineffective. We cannot even monitor our Medicare system, so how will we be able to monitor a cap and trade system?

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