1. Introduction There is a need for new types

1.    Introduction

There is a need for new types of fuels in our world as
there is a decreasing amount of the Fossil fuels we currently use. Coal, Oil
and Gas all take Thousands of years to be produced and we will run out before
we will be able to get anymore. Due to this we need to find alternative ways to
create energy or we will end up living in a world without power. The Fossil
Fuels we use aren’t just running out, as we burn them to create energy they
pollute the earth which is damaging the ozone layer and causing changes to the
climate causing hotter summer or colder winters 1. A need for a new reliable
and cheap energy source is increasing. There are some efficient options such as
Wind, Solar, Hydro or Biomass.

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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
of UNFCCC is a global legal agreement created in 1992 on the control and
management of Greenhouse Gasses yet it wasn’t entered into force until 1994. It
now has 189 parties. It is made up of 2 annexes. Annex 1 is countries with
obligations to take measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and
Annex 2 is countries with obligations to provide financing to developing
countries for their obligations under UNFCCC. The overall goal for the UNFCCC
is to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future mankind,
and their objectives for the future at to achieve a stabilisation of greenhouse
gas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that would prevent dangerous
interference with the climate system. 2

But Recognising that the provisions of UNFCCC itself was
not enough to achieve the goals they were aiming for to limit the climate
change effect to harmless levels and so the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in to
help change their ways to save the climate. 3

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol adopted in 1997 that gets
the developed countries that have signed the protocol to commit to try to limit
their emission to a specific level compared to the emissions from 1990, The
Kyoto Protocol intended to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions to be 5% the
1990 levels by between 2008 and 2012  4

The Greenhouse effect is a natural process which warms the
surface of the earth, as the suns energy reaches the atmosphere some of it
reflected back into space while the rest is absorbed and Re-radiated by the
Greenhouse gasses. Water Vapour, CO2, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Ozone
and some artificial chemicals are what make up greenhouse gasses. The energy
absorbed warms the surface of the earth and the atmosphere this process keep
the earth’s temperature set at around 33°C which
is warmer than it would be without the greenhouse effect, this is what allows
life to exist on earth. 5

Our current issue is that
human activities like burning fossil fuels, clearing of land and agriculture.
Are causing the concentration of greenhouse gasses to increase. This is what is
causing the earth’s temperature to increase 6. This means hotter summers and
warmer winters, this is also causing the ice caps to melt and the seas to rise.

Scientists predict that
there are many things due to change, global temperatures will start to rise and
this will have many consequences on the rest of the earth. Hurricanes and
storms will become stronger, more intense and more dangerous, the duration of
storms will also increase this will mean the will be much more destructive and
reach much further. The Artic is likely to become ice free, this will cause the
sea’s to rise and land area to decrease from being submerged by the increase in
water, some small islands will disappear under the ocean and other land areas
will become flooded permanently. 7

 

 

2.   
Types
Of Alternative Energy

 

2.1   Solar

 

Solar is a very practical option due to how available it is
due to all its energy comes straight from the sun this is useful as there is
lots of heat energy radiating from the sun that would otherwise go to waste if
we did not use solar panels, the amount of energy produced by the sun in to the
earth in one hour is enough to power the earth for a whole year, yet we are
only able to absorb 0.001 % of it. 8   

Photovoltaic is a direct conversion of light into
electricity at an atomic level. Some of the materials have the ability to
absorb photons of light and release electrons, this is known has the
photoelectric effect. After these electrons are captured an electronic current
is made that can be used as electricity. The Photoelectric effect was first
founded by the French Physicist Edmund Bequerel in 1839. He found that certain
materials were able to produce a small amount of electronic current when
exposed to light. 9 This is because these materials are semi-conductors this
means this materials had the abilities of a conductor like copper yet can also
insulate like glass, These Semi-conductors make up the PV Cell, when photons
strike a PV cell they could either pass through, be reflected or be absorbed by
the semi-conductor. Only the photons which are absorbed are able to provide energy
to allow the generation of electricity. As more solar energy is absorbed by the
semi-conductor electrons are able to become dislodged from the materials atoms,
this then allows them to move freely and start to migrate to the front surface
of the material which is specifically designed to attract these free electrons.
As the electrons each carry a negative charge towards the front face of the
cell this starts to create a negative and positive split in the material
between the front and back surface causing an imbalance of electrical charge
just alike the terminals of a battery. When a conductor is connected to the
material in a circuit to an external load a flow of electricity is created.
10 This is show in the diagram below.

11

This diagram shows how the front and back contact are
separate so the free electrons will migrate towards the front face to allow the
positive and negative split. And how once this process has happened it can be
connected in circuit to allow the transfer of electricity.

There are many benefits of using Solar PV Panels as they
can greatly cut your electricity bills. Solar power is entirely created by sun
light so other than the costs of buying and fitting the Solar it is entirely
free to be creating electricity and this will help to reduce your electricity
costs,

In the UK you can put created energy back into the grid and
be paid for not just giving it back but also paid for generating it. For the
generation of energy you will be paid by the governments Feed-in tariff scheme
even if you use the energy yourself but also you can be paid if you allow your
unused energy to go back into the grid for use of others.

Using Solar Electricity also allows you to be greener and
environmentally friendly and reduce your carbon footprint. Solar energy does
not release any harmful gasses or any other types of pollutant. And just a
small typical house Solar PV System can help reduce your carbon use by 1.5 to 2
tonnes a year. 12

Another useful thing is that solar energy created during
the day can be stored for use over night when there is no sun light to produce
any energy this can be good as this means you can store extra electricity while
you can’t create any more.

While there are some great benefits of using solar there are
also some disadvantages of using Solar. A Big one is the fact that the solar
panel needs the sun lights energy to produce electricity and the weather or
time of day can greatly effect this, if the sun is not in direct view of the PV
Panel there will not be any power produced, the same issue stops power being produced
at all over night as there is no sun light to create any energy to the PV
Panel.

The Cost of buying and fitting PV Panels is also a large
disadvantage as it can be very costly and can take quite a few years for it to
have saved you enough to cover its own costs.13

As this graph shows you can save between £91 and £305 per
year depending on the size of the panel you have bought, for the 1kW solar
system it will take about 15 years to cover the initial costs of paying for the
solar panel, while the 4kW panel would take about 20 years, this is not
definite as the Tariff costs can change yearly and so will your annual earning
depending on how much you give back into the grid.

 

Solar Cells can be classified as 1st, 2nd
or 3rd Generation Cells.

The 1st Generation cell can also be known as
traditional, conventional or Wafer-Based, this is made up of crystalline
silicon, and this is the most used PV Technology.

The 2nd Generation cell is made of a thin firm
solar cells, this includes amorphous silicon, CIGS and CdTe cells, these are
used for PV power stations, and buildings with integrated photovoltaics.

Amorphous silicon is a non-crystalline form of silicon. It
is a thin film technology and is the most developed of them all. It is what is
used in calculators, private homes and remote facilities. As it can be used in
small or large quantities and still very efficient.

CdTe or Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell is based from the use
of cadmium telluride, which is a thin semiconductor designed to convert and
absorbs sunlight to electricity. An advantage of this materials is that it’s
the only thin film technology with costs lower than the conventional solar
panel.

CIGS or Copper Indium Selenide
Solar Cells are one of the most controversial yet most interesting materials involved
with solar. They are also a thin solar technology which a generally use to
convert sunlight into electricity. The material is an alloy made up of a range
of materials such as copper, indium, gallium and selenide on a glass or plastic
backing.

The three mainstream thin-film
PV technologies are CIGS, CdTe and Amorphous silicon. All of these materials
are thin enough to be flexible, this allows them to 3

The 3rd Generation cells consists of a number of
thin-film technologies often known as emerging photovoltaics- many of these are
yet to be commercially applied and are still in research and development stage.
There is a lot of research invested into this tech as there is a promise to
achieve a goal of producing highly efficient and low cost solar cells. 14

 

 

2.2   Biomass

Biomass can be directly converted into liquid fuels these
are known as biofuels. The 2 most common types of biofuels in use today are
biodiesel and ethanol. Biodiesel is made up of combining oils, fats or grease
with methanol, this can be used as an additive to help reduce vehicle emissions
or just as an alternative renewable fuel for diesel engines. Ethanol is an alcohol,
it’s most common process of creation is by fermenting biomass high in
carbohydrates through a similar process to brewing