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Energy Source Comparisons

Energy Source Comparisons

There’s a whole host of different energy sources that we utilise to meet our energy requirements. Some of these yield high amounts of energy, but others may be greener or more accessible. In this month’s article, we’ll be outlining the differences between the different types of energy and showing how heating oil is one of the most efficient heating solutions for customers in the UK.

Solar & Wind

Both of these energy sources are renewable, and once the systems have been put in place there is no carbon footprint. However, sourcing the materials to create solar panels and wind turbines can be carbon intensive. Also, the technology is still quite expensive, so without government subsidy, for example, the means to utilise wind and solar energy remains an implausible option for most. Energy yield also depends on the quality of the technology and the conditions of the weather.

Geothermal and Hydro

While geothermal energy plants have low emissions and a lower maintenance cost than others, they have expensive start-up costs and only a few locations in the world can provide geothermal energy. Similarly, hydropower has zero emissions once set up, but can only be located where there are rivers or oceans and are extremely expensive to build. Moreover, if the water current is too strong, the system has to be turned off. On the whole, though, they have a very high yield.

Nuclear

Although electricity production from uranium is extremely high, many would argue that the costs of nuclear power far outweigh the benefits. It has zero emissions, but it is costly to facilitate – in terms of structural facilities, safety measures and disposal, to name just a few cost areas. Environmental damage can also be done by heated waste water, too – large amounts of water are required to cool the reactor, and the heated waste water can damage the local ecosystem. Uranium reserves are abundant, however, and refueling is only required once a year.

Gas

Gas is a highly plentiful energy source that we have local access to in the UK. Out of all of the fossil fuels, natural gas burns the cleanest, though it still has emissions. Nonetheless, it is exceptionally useful for heating homes via boilers. However, infrastructure, such as a pipeline, is expensive to construct and maintain, and often negatively affect ecosystems, too. As such, some areas are cut off from the National Grid and must find alternative means to heat their homes.

Coal

For the most part, coal is the foundation upon which we built our society. It is plentiful, cheap, and yields a great amount of energy when burnt. However, it emits large amounts of greenhouse gases and can cause acid rain. It is also potentially dangerous for miners to extract.

Biofuels

Although many see biofuels as being carbon neutral, their situation is in fact more complicated. Biofuels require large amounts of land and have to be farmed. The benefits of biofuels aren’t immediate, and crops must be tended for months to improve the yield, then converted into combustible fuel. This is a pollutant-intensive production method. Nevertheless, it is a greener fuel for powering motor vehicles.

Oil / Petroleum

Crude oil is the energy source upon which most of our society acquires its energy. It can be refined into a plethora of different types of petroleum, each of which can be utilised for different purposes. Whether it’s powering cars in the form of petrol, fuelling power stations and machinery, or even heating homes, oil is a versatile, high-yield energy source that is readily available and cheap to transport. Though emissions can be high, cleaner technologies are being developed in the form of more efficient devices and techniques. Furthermore, the value for money you can expect from oil is great, especially where heating oil is concerned, as detailed in our previous article here. To find out just how cost effective a heating solution it is, FC Dawes are here to help.

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