SELA wishes to demonstrate how engineering could have an impact in tackling the myriad of sustainability issues which plague our society before irreparable damage is done.
Today, we are looking at renewable energy and the issues and potential solutions it offers in the future. We have researched exciting up and coming technologies and brainstormed to find an area that was not only relevant but was also facing challenges. We all know that renewable energy is great, but how do we power our homes when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine?
Fossil fuels currently supply about 80% of the world’s energy, but these resources are limited and produce harmful greenhouse gases. In order to keep up with the demand for energy from an ever expanding population, we need to invest in new, cleaner renewable energy sources. Current predictions suggest that we will run out of fossil fuels by 2060. If we don’t put the infrastructure in place for greener solutions now, we will have global energy shortages later on, hugely impacting the way of life for billions of people. Not only are these sources finite, the harmful emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are closely linked with the increase of the number of people affected by respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Although a very serious issue, there are fortunately a number of ways engineers can work to help fix this problem. There is a large amount of research going on into how we can make the current forms of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, more efficient, producing more energy in shorter amounts of time.
It’s fair to say greenhouse gas emissions affect all of us. When people are aware of their energy usage it becomes much easier to make change, and small things can help to make a big impact. Turning off lights when leaving a room and switching to more energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs really does make a difference. We hope that reading this article may inspire you to think more carefully about your energy consumption.