Problems in engineering

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Most nations would abandon nuclear technology in the future. The world's nations have championed the "going green" slogan in order to make the world more habitable for future generations. Over the ages, man has relied solely on fossil-based fuels for his everyday needs such as locomotion and power generation. Nuclear technology, which emits no toxic gases, was warmly received by developing countries, and global awareness of the benefits of using this form of energy was raised. Nuclear disasters that were caused by plants that used nuclear energy to produce power we in many cases catastrophic an uncontrollable by man. Nuclear disasters can be witnessed in countries like Russia, Siberia, some part of Europe and Japan that had advanced technology on harnessing the power of nuclear energy and supplying it to its population. It was quite unfortunate that scientists had invented the breakthrough way of harnessing nuclear energy but had no clue on managing a nuclear attributed disaster. Some nuclear disasters that have happened over the history of use of nuclear energy have been so catastrophic that the areas in which the nuclear plants were located have been left ghost towns due to the high radiation experienced in the area that would be fatal to any living human being. The worst of the disasters was the Fukushima nuclear disaster of Japan. It occurred in 11th March 2011 when an earthquake hit Japan causing damage to the nuclear reactors. This caused harmful radiation leakage led to immediate relocation of residents of the town. The Japanese government acknowledged the disaster to be among the worst ever faced in Japanese history. Was this just like the case of fire being a good servant and a bad master? This led to environmentalist slowing down the nuclear energy championing train. Some countries closed down their nuclear power production plants in totality like Germany. The safest form of energy was now the most feared. Environmentalist have put stringent measures in vetting countries that try establishing nuclear power plants as a source of clean energy denying almost all that show no sustainable ways of managing nuclear disasters. Various citizens of countries that use nuclear as their main source of power production expressed their discomfort and lack of confidence with their countries preparedness in matters of dealing with nuclear energy disasters. In consideration of the challenges faced by nuclear energy generation and the lack of preparedness in managing safely nuclear disasters, it is very unlikely that the use of this form of energy will gain widespread advocacy in the future.

Solar energy: readily available, but still non economical

Solar energy is the most readily available form of energy but it is still among the most non economical to exploit and utilize. The sun is the largest energy source in our solar system. Although we receive almost negligible solar rays, they are still more than enough to run all our day to day energy needs for millenniums. Solar energy being free, presents an untapped energy source that is both clean and renewable unlike fossil fuels which are widely used today. Yet despite of this solar energy remains among the most expensive form of energy to successfully exploit and utilize. Scientist have worked around making the use of solar more affordable with little success. There are various reasons that make solar energy use quite expensive. The first and the main one is the high cost involved in setting up the basic fabrications involved in tapping the sun’s rays and converting them to energy. A wide surface area of solar panels are required to produce a substantial amount of useable energy and this means a larger real estate in terms of solar panels increases the overall cost of the production energy. This has posed as the number one limitation of exploiting solar energy. We have seen innovators like Elon Musk set up solar energy farm where large tracks of land are covered with solar panels. This is not applicable in many instances. Furthermore, despite the large surface area of the solar panels the cost of producing energy will still come at a staggering higher cost when compared to fossil fuels or hydrogenated power. The second limitation faced by solar energy exploitation is the storage of energy into be used in cases when the sun is not available like at night or during cloudy periods. Energy storage has posed as another major engineering problem with almost all storage options with an efficiency of a maximum of 30%. This low efficiency can be partly blamed on the silicon electrical properties. Scientist are still on the drawing board to come up with storage ideas that are more efficient than silicon cells. Milestones in nanotechnology can see more efficient storage cells and more energy absorbent solar panels. This might help in inching closer to an economical solar powering solution. Progress has been made in solar power generation but is scientist can further make improvements to solar cells, making them affordable and come up with ways of using their electricity to create storable fuel then the future of solar energy will be bright. Solar energy has the capability to be superior to fossil fuels in matters of sustainability and environmental preservation. Until this stated reasons above are met solar will remain a non-economical form of renewable energy.

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August 19, 2021

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