The Future of Fuel

Throughout the history of mankind, fuel has had two predominate uses, to produce light and heat. Heat in this context includes heat for cooking and heat for keeping warm. In much of the developing world, these are still the two primary uses for fuel, although that is starting to change. In the 1800’s, mankind started to develop new uses for fuel. Fuel could be used as a power source for transportation and industrial uses in the form of the steam engine, and it could be used to produce electricity. Historically, some of the major sources of fuel have been wood, coal, oils, and to a certain degree, wind. Think of the centuries that wind was used to power ships and facilitate trade. Over the last century or so, additional sources of energy have been discovered, developed and refined. Weatherby Energy recognizes that there are a wide variety of fuel sources such as solar, wind, gas, oil, hydroelectric, nuclear, hydrothermal, and bio-fuels.

Weatherby Energy, among others, wonders what the future of fuel will be. There has been, and will continue to be, emphasis on developing alternatives to fossil fuels in order to reduce the global effects of energy production. While this is a worthy goal, Weatherby Energy thinks that there needs to be as much emphasis on how much fuel will be needed as there is about what kind of fuel will be needed. Think about how much fuel will be needed globally. Demand for fuel continues to rise is developing countries, but it is beginning to skyrocket is developing countries. As more and more countries begin to join and contribute to a global economy, the standard of living is improving in many developing countries. That means a growing demand for electricity as people start to be able to afford refrigerators and televisions. It also means more demand for gas, oil and other vehicle fuels as people start to be able to afford personal automobiles. Weatherby Energy views this as a good thing.

Weatherby Energy has seen some estimates that in the next ten years, Asia will add the equivalent electrical generating capacity as is currently installed in all of Western Europe. Many also estimate that the number of cars worldwide will double in the next 50 years. Although renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biofuels will continue to develop and grow in their share of the fuels market, it will be a number of years before they can claim a significant portion of the market. Think about the recent push for hybrid/electric vehicles. Even though they offer a method for vehicles to cut down on burning fossil fuels, they will also require an increase in the production of electricity as demand grows. And, fossil fuels are still the main source of fuel for electrical generation. That means that focus also needs to be put on developing cleaner uses of fossil fuels. Companies like Weatherby Energy see this as a remarkable opportunity for growth.

One emerging technology that Weatherby Energy is excited about is Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG. CNG can be used to power vehicles, and is already being used in many cities as a fuel for buses and taxis. If you compare CNG to gasoline, its emission of pollutants such as sulfur oxides, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are considerably less. Natural gas is also being used more as a replacement for coal in power plants. By converting to natural gas, power plants can emit about half the CO2 as they did burning coal.


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