Translator: Mariam Aboud. Auditor: Hussain Laghabi [I would have invested my wealth in solar energy as an energy source I hope we don't wait until we run out of oil and coal before we touch on this "Edison] Every year, the world uses 35 billion barrels of oil. This large scale of dependence on fossil fuels is polluting the Earth Nor will it last forever. Scientists estimate that we used about 40% of the world's oil. According to current estimates, At this rate, we will run out of oil and natural gas after 50 years or so, And coal will run out in about a century. On the other hand, we have a lot of sun, water and wind. These are renewable energy sources, Meaning, they will not wear out with our use of them over time. What if we could replace our dependence on fossil fuels By relying only on renewable resources? We have pondered this question for many decades.
Yet renewable energy still supplies only 13% of our needs. This is because reaching 100% requires inexpensive renewable energy. Getting to it is easy. This is a huge challenge. Even if we ignore the interference of politics, and focus on science and engineering. We can understand the problem better if we understand how we consume energy. The global use of energy is a diverse and complex system. And the different elements need their own solutions. But for now, we'll focus on two of the most common elements in everyday life: Electricity and liquid fuels. Electricity supplies melting furnaces, elevators, computers, And all kinds of things in homes, businesses, and industries.
While liquid fuels play a major role In almost all forms of transportation. Let's take the electricity part first. The good news is that the technology is already advanced enough To get all energy from renewable sources, There is an ample supply of them. The sun is shining continuously Nearly 173,000 billion watts of solar energy to Earth, That's roughly 10,000 times our current needs. It has been estimated that the existence of the surface extends many hundreds of thousands of kilometers It is what we need to supply humanity with the necessary energy according to our current levels of use. So why don't we build that? Because there are other obstacles on the way, Like efficiency And energy transfer. To maximize efficiency, Solar plants should be in areas with plenty of sunshine throughout the year, Like deserts. But these areas are very far from populated areas Which has a high energy requirement. There are other forms of renewable energy from which we can derive energy, Like hydroelectric, Geothermal, And biomass, But there are restrictions on them as well, based on availability and location.
In theory, it is a connected electrical power grid With power lines intertwined around the world It enables us to transfer energy from where it is produced To the location of her need. But building a system of this size costs astronomical sums. We can reduce the cost by developing advanced technologies Capture energy more efficiently. The energy transmission infrastructure also needs to be radically changed. Current electricity lines lose about 6-8% of the energy they carry Because the material the wire is made of dissipates energy in the resistor. And longer lines mean greater energy loss. One solution might be good conductors of electricity. These materials can transfer energy without dissipating it. Unfortunately, these materials only work if cooled to a lower temperature. Which takes energy, and in doing so opposes the target. So, let's take advantage of this technology, We need to discover new good conductive materials for electricity It can work at room temperature.
And what about the most important: liquid fuel derived from petroleum? The scientific challenge here is renewable energy storage In an easy-to-transport format. And recently, we have gotten better at producing lithium batteries. It is light in weight and has a high energy density. But even the best of these batteries store about 2.5 megajoules per kilogram. This is about 20 times less than the energy contained in a kilogram of gasoline. In order to achieve the competitive advantage, car batteries must store much more energy No additional cost. Challenges only increase for larger vessels, such as ships and aircraft vessels. In order to extend a flight across the Atlantic Ocean to a plane, We need a battery that weighs 1000 tons. This also requires a technological shift in the direction of discovering new materials. Higher energy density, And better storage. One promising solution may be to find effective methods To convert solar energy into a chemical. And this actually happens in the lab.
But the efficiency is still too little to allow the idea to move to the market. In order to find new solutions, we will need a lot of creativity, Innovation, And bold initiatives. Switching to only renewable energy is a complex problem Includes technology, economics, and politics. The priorities in how to deal with this challenge depend on certain assumptions We have to take it while trying to solve such a multifaceted problem. But there is a good reason to be optimistic about our finding a solution. And it is that the greatest scientific minds around the world are working on these problems And it's making progress all the time. And many governments and businesses are investing in technology That invests the energy around us everywhere..