Invention Energy Is the Basis of Industrial Term Paper

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Invention

Energy is the basis of industrial civilization and modern society. There is little doubt that without energy, modern life would cease to exist. Over the last two hundred years, human beings have relied heavily on fossil fuels for their energy needs. Fossil fuels, however, are non-renewable and in limited supply and if we continue to use the earth's fossil fuel resources at the present rate, we would soon run out of the earth's fuel reserves. Moreover, burning of fossil fuels contributes to air pollution, acid rain, and global warming that could ultimately make life unsustainable on our planet. With several promising alternate energy sources such as 'geothermal,' 'nuclear,' 'wind' and 'solar' power having proved either too expensive, too dangerous or impractical, the need for a new invention that provides an alternate fuel was never more urgent as it is today. The invention that I have in mind is the solution to the energy needs of humankind -- it derives its power from one of the most abundant resources on earth: water.

We all know that water (H2O) consists of two atoms of hydrogen bonded to one atom of oxygen.
Hydrogen is also the ultimate 'green' fuel because it burns in air without producing pollution and being part of water, it is abundantly available. The problem, however, has been to extract hydrogen from water. It can, of course, be done by the conventional method of 'electrolysis' -- a method in which more energy is expended in extracting hydrogen than the energy that would be produced by burning it. Another drawback of electrolysis is that it involves the use of electricity, which is usually produced by burning fossil fuel, and burning of fossil fuel pollutes the environment. So if we could develop an alternate method of extracting hydrogen from water that does not have the drawbacks of 'electrolysis', it would be the answer to humankind's energy problem -- an invention we have all been waiting for!

Some alternate methods for splitting water do exist. For example, the energy of light ('photocatalysts') can be used to break the molecular bonds. It is the same method through which green plants get their energy. Photocatalytic decomposition of….....

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