The reality of oil being permanently exhausted has been realised. Its demise will most likey come in the next 40 years. This reality has launched companies into researching viable alternatives to take its place.
The hydrogen alternative dominates the candidates. Its the most abundant element on earth. It is a non-pollutant as it expels water vapour when used. It can be incorporated with existing internal combustion engines albeit with certain modifications. It can also be contained in a fuel cell manner therefore eliminating the internal combustion altogether. It is non-toxic and considered less dangerous than any of the combustible gases used today. It can also one day be produced and utilised in such a manner where it would be classified as a renewable energy source.
However there are currently downsides with hydrogen as an energy source. To extract hydrogen fossil fuels must be used which consequently defeats the purpose of trying to produce a clean renewable resource. With the usage of fossil fuels pollution issues arise adding to the complexity. The current production costs of hydrogen far exceed those of oil. Hydrogen fuel cells made up of mainly copper motors are expensive to produce and maintain. The transportation of hydrogen is also an issue as it occupies more space than any other fuel for the equivalent amount of energy. This makes storage a problem and it is more convenient to have hydrogen stations not too dissimilar to gasoline petrol stations to be situated as near to the site of production as possible. However these are all current issues which may be resolved as technology in the industry progresses.
The hybrid car-a combination of the electric and internal combustion motor is increasingly becoming a popular alternative to the common gasoline powered vehicle. The technology manages to optimise fuel efficiency and maintain noise levels at a minimum. As a result pollution levels drop and environmentalists have little to complain about. Having said that there are drawbacks associated with the technology. To produce electricity which is used to charge up the fuel cells fossil fuels are burnt, most likely coal. Coal is a non-renewable resource and a pollutant when burnt. Electric cells in cars can't operate solely on their own, as they don't give out enough energy for the vehicle to reach satisfactory speeds and must rely on the assistance of internal combustion motors to push a vehicle.
Then there is solar and wind energy. Solar energy has been around for a while now. Clean, environmentally friendly and readily available makes solar energy convenient. Houses and light industries are able to utilise and store solar energy via solar panels. But solar energy could never be an alternative to oil as the manufacture of solar panels is costly and it is near impossible to modify it to be used in everyday life. Wind energy isn't as vast as solar energy but does carry similar qualities. Wind farms are in existance but are not significant enough to be considered as an alternative.
Nuclear energy can be considered as an alternative although not many governments these days want to invest in nuclear programs. Nuclear energy always attracts controversy as it can be disastrous to the environment if an accident in a nuclear powerplant was to become and the storage of nuclear waste has always been a hinderance and an environmental issue.
Eventually hydrogen looks like to be the most appropriate alternative to the world's
energy needs and it is where most of the money and research is currently invested in. We can only hope as technology progresses a definite alternative can be established. Or we might find ourselves on carts being towed around by horses again.