Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Happy Medium

Sup guys,

I'm just going to rant here for a bit...

To be honest, I've never been that interested in the environment because it was never an issue I ran into at home.

Living in L.A., I've never had a close living experience with nature like the most of you guys have had. Conservation and taking care of the environment just wasn't a number one priority for me.

Yes, I did know about the amount of pollution and the growing worry about our energy sources running out, but I never really had a personal problem with it.

I have recently joined the Engineering Microproject Group dealing with Biofuels this semester, and it really is opening my eyes to the tremendous amount of potential we have in working with renewable energy sources.

However, people should not be automatically drawn to these new energy sources. The initial sounds of "zero-carbon emission" and "no pollution" are great, but one must actually research these himself.

The fact remains that the world needs a tremendous amount of energy to run. It is an engine that constantly needs to be fed fuel. The world uses 98 quadrillion Btu every year, and that number is only going to increase as the world's needs increase as well.

Between fossil fuels, biodiesel, and ethanol, the most efficient source in terms of output vs. input is fossil fuels. No matter how good biodiesel sounds, the world cannot purely run on it: It just isn't realistic.

I don't want to end on such a pessimistic note. It is not about "this" or "that." The world needs a happy medium between all the energy sources in order to work at an optimal level.

- Edward Chang


  1. While I agree that Bio-fuels are not the answer to all of our energy needs and that we need to keep our energy sources diversified. I don't believe that fossil fuels are the answer to our future. We have a finite amount of these resources and they are not the most efficient. A typical Fossil Fuel engine runs at about 15% efficiency, while an electric motor runs over 65% efficiency. We need to start adding more renewable resources to our energy portfolio. If we don't start taking advantage of these new technologies that will allow us to live more sustainability in the future then we will face an energy crisis in the near future.

  2. I'm curious to know what made you want to join the microproject group? It is fascinating to me that where someone grew up might have such a big role in how we view the environment and its future. What does that mean for the future? What role should public education have in increasing student awareness? Should it be a focus at all? How to we inspire new ideas in the energy debate and get younger creative people thinking about ways to make an impactful change for the future? hmm... I wonder....

  3. I am largely in agreement with the fact that biofuels will not satisfy our ever-growing demand for energy. That said, I think Jordan is right that fossil fuels are not the right answer either. This leads me to conclude that the one solution is taking advantage of various alternative energy sources. One thing about this I find very interesting is that we have the technology, namely solar and wind power, to satisfy 100% of our current demand. It would work and the potential in these fields is tremendous. However, such renewable resources have not been fully implemented yet; they can be (especially with oil becoming less feasible), but they’re not. This makes me think that we are the ones standing in our own way to a sustainable future. Should spreading awareness then be our priority as environmental leaders?
    -James B