Monday, June 9, 2008

Rise of Fossil Fuel, Rise of Renewable Energy

by Charles Roring

Recently the price of fuel has risen up to 138 dollars per barrel in the international market. This influences all countries around the world. While most oil rich nations enjoy prosperous time, poor countries are facing chaotic situations. People took to the streets protesting their own governments for not being able to keep the fuel price low. The rise of oil fuel price causes the rise of food price and other products. Millions of people are starving. Governments are overthrown.
Governments have decided to reduce their subsidy on fuel in order to save their annual budget plan. This reduction is rejected by the people. In response to the policy, people launched massive protests. We all know that the use of fuel oil is increasing rapidly. Former communist countries such as Russia, China and Vietnam as well as the second most populous country, India, are accelerating their industrial and economic development. Unfortunately these countries gave little attention on the development of bio-fuel.
The only developing country that seriously develops its alternative energy source is Brazil. Gas stations in that country sell up to 85% bio-ethanol or gasohol as substitute for gasoline. The money which car owners pay doesn’t go to oil rich nations in the middle-east but sugar cane farmers in Sao Paulo area. With more money circulating among the farmers, the economic activities in the villages of the country is getting better. Such activities influence the overall economic condition of Brazil. Now it is not only famous for its football players but also for its bio-fuel.
Actually, this kind of policy must also be followed by other countries which are facing similar problems. Oil deposit lies in countries that sometimes are not stable enough to ensure adequate supply of oil to the world market. Any instability in the middle-east can easily trigger the rise of fuel and effect the whole global economic activities. Oil is important but its strategic role on livelihood of world population is very dangerous.
Therefore, it is very important for countries around the world to reduce their subsidy on fuel price and begin investing more money on the development of renewable energy.
Bio-fuel in the form of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol, as well as other sources of renewable energy, can reduce the strategic role of fossil fuel. Countries around the world have to increase the use of alternative energy. Besides they can open more jobs for their own people, they can give great contribution in creating more peace and stability in the world.
In Brazil, bio-ethanol is extracted from sugar cane. A big country like Brazil needs to open huge areas of sugarcane plantation in order to be self sufficient in bio-fuel. Such huge areas of plantation can endanger the biodiversity of the local environment. Deforestation is not recommended in this case. It will do more harm to people. So, more diversifications of renewable energy will help minimize that negative impact. Solar photovoltaic, hydro power and wind energy will bring more prosperity to human kind in the future.
Sugarcane is not the only plant in ethanol production. Other tropical plants such as Saguer, Coconut and lontar trees can produce sugar. Sap from these trees can be fermented and destilled to make alcohol.