Compare and contrast fossil fuels and the sun as direct sources of energy.

Fossil fuel and solar energy are rich energy sources. Both types of fuel have positive and negative effects. 

Fossil fuel

Fossil fuels are the fuels formed by natural processes such as the decomposition of dead and buried organisms. Fossil fuels are buried flammable geologic deposits of organic substances such as dead plants and animals that got deposited under several thousand feet of silt. These deposits decayed with the passage of time and got converted to natural gas, coal and petroleum due to the extreme heat and pressure inside the earth’s crust.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Fossil Fuels

Advantages:

  • Fossil fuels can generate a large amount of electricity at a single location.
  • They can be found very easily.
  • They are cost-effective.
  • Transportation of oil and gas can be done easily through pipelines.
  • They have become safer over time.
  • Despite being a finite resource, it is available in plenty.

Disadvantages:

  • Fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide when burnt which is a major greenhouse gas and the primary source of pollution. This has contributed to global warming.
  • They are a non-renewable resource, i.e., once used they cannot be replaced.
  • Combustion of fossil fuels makes the environment more acidic. This has led to unpredictable and negative changes in the environment.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is defined as the transformation of energy that is present in the sun and is one of the renewable energies. When the sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere, most of it is in the form of visible light and infrared radiation. Plants utilise it to convert into sugar and starches and this process of conversion is known as photosynthesis. Solar cell panels are used to convert this energy into electricity.

Solar Energy Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages 

  • It is considered to the cleanest form of energy as there is no emission of carbon dioxide like in case of fossil fuels which is one of the causes of global warming.
  •  There is an ample amount of energy available on earth as long as the sun exists.
  • The energy can be stored in the batteries and so there is no question of unreliability.
  • Reduction in utility costs.
  • Free energy because it can be trapped easily.

Disadvantages

  • The production is low during winters and on cloudy days.
  • Installation and the initial cost of the materials are expensive.
  • Space consumption is more.

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