Fuel Conservation – Essay
Fuel conservation in the context of resource management means using fuel efficiently in only the necessary, justified quantity. Any kind of unnecessary use or wastage should be avoided.
Fuel makes the world around us go. Factories transport and many important energy requirements are met by fuel of different types. Modern day development is happening at such a speed and the demand for fuel is so high that the sources of fuel are depleting at an alarming rate. Before we run out of these resources, we need to rethink our strategy and move towards conservation and repletion of these resources which we use as fuel.
We need to save and use whatever reserves we have without the effect spilling over on the future generations and without is causing a dent in the functioning of the industries.
Types of fuel
- Wood: Wood is the most basic type of fuel, used by mankind since fire has been found. Trees are cut down for wood. It is even now used for making fires, in homes for warming and sometimes for cooking. Lately the felling of trees has been so extensive that the deforestation has upset the ecological and environmental balance.
- Coal: Use of coal also has been known for a very long time. Coal is a type of fossil that takes millions of years of decomposition and formation. Coal is used mainly for generation of energy. Typically, thermal power plants, foundries and other factories using thermal energy require a large supply of coal.
- Petrol and diesel: The entire transportation world is currently, heavily dependent on petrol and diesel. The world politics is also therefore centred on the control of the regions rich in these fuels. Like coal, petrol and diesel also are fossil fuels which are formed over millions of years.
- Natural gas: Natural gas is a popular medium for warming in the western world and also for cooking all over the world. Seeing the environmental effects of petrol and diesel, many automobiles are being recommended to move to natural gas as the fuel. It is also a fossil fuel.
Importance of fuel conservation
All the resources that go towards being used as fuel come from nature. Some of these can be replaced over time and some take thousands, even millions of years to be replaced. The speed at which the utilisation of these resources is happening is very high. It is already being felt that the reserves of these resources is going to diminish in the near future and end possibly even come to an end.
To meet the demands of the industrialised world, either the supply of these resources must be generated not just to meet the current demands but also those of the future generations.
However, the problem arises in the time gap required to meet the demand. While wood from trees can take a few years, Fossil fuel takes millions of years. Now that it has been realised that there isn’t enough to meet the demands even for our generation, the importance of conserving whatever resources are available, has suddenly come to the centre stage.
Afforestation is feasible in time but less so in space as urbanisation claims more and more of the land.
The reserves of fossil fuel cannot be replaced. Hence alternatives to fuel are being found. Electricity, solar, wind powers are being encouraged. However, for the alternatives to become mainstream fuel, it will take some time. In the meantime, the sole option of conserving whatever reserves are existing will have to be strictly practised and enforced.
Ways to conserve fuel
- First and foremost, people must be educated to reduce fuel consumption voluntarily.
- Electricity is replacing fuel in many automobiles. This also concurs with the policy of controlling environmental pollution.
- People are being encouraged to switch to solar power to reduce reliance on thermal power, which depends on the supply of coal. Germany is a pioneer in using solar power for all it electric uses. Wind power is also being promoted since sunlight and wind are both non-depleting resources.
- The public transport system needs an overhaul to be able to cater to the population of all classes. So different modes for affordability, comfort and speed can be made available to attract the daily commuter from using cars individually. Buses, trains with premium seating can achieve this. Alternatively, company provided premium transport and carpool systems for employees need to be encouraged.
- Other natural resources such as uranium are being used for generation of nuclear energy. It is estimated that the Uranium reserves can take care of several decades of fuel requirements yet.
- Lithium could also be used as fuel, and its production and reserves sustainability is under study.
- The natural gas used for cooking may be conserved by supplementing it with biogas and electric stoves. Also solar cookers are used to supplement the cooking bay gas.
Traditional fuel has had a major role in the industrial economy. For it to continue and grow the fuel reserves have to be used responsibly. Given the state or reserves and with the future generations in mind, fuel conservation is currently the most sensible way ahead towards sustainable development.