The mini-rough guide to Energy and our Planet by Shell

By Shell

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It would require a 700-fold expansion of solar energy, replacing coal. As with wind energy, the sheer physical space these would take up is a challenge, but it is not an impossible one. Solar panels are typically mounted on walls and roofs, and, again, HVDC technology will allow electricity to be carried across long distances from the planet’s sunniest areas – which are often also the least populated ones. As ever, investment is necessary for such technologies to work. And, furthermore, no small amount of political will.

The main reason for this is that, at least until the recent rises in fuel prices, customers have been voting with their wallets for bigger and more powerful cars. For example, American freeways are full of SUVs (sports utility vehicles), big, heavy and with poor aerodynamics, which have also been growing in popularity in other countries. These heavy, four-wheel-drive cars are sometimes only capable of as 57 B chapter 3 little as 13mpg. One useful response to the problem would be for individuals to switch to diesel-engine vehicles.

Though currently manufacturing costs are restrictively high, pure hydrogen can be created from natural gas or coal (a process that itself produces CO₂) or by passing an electric current through water, which again somewhat defeats the purpose, unless the electricity used comes from renewable sources. 38). Also, because hydrogen is a completely new type of fuel, it would require an entirely new delivery infrastructure, which would need to be closely linked with the mass introduction of hydrogen fuelled vehicles.

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