Here is a look at some of the largest untapped reserves:
IPCC estimated currently proved economically recoverable uranium deposits for once-through fuel cycles reactors to be only 2 ZJ. The ultimately recoverable uranium is estimated to be 17 ZJ for once-through reactors and ZJ with reprocessing and fast breeder reactors.
However, political and environmental concerns about nuclear safety and radioactive waste started to limit the growth of this energy supply at the end of last century, particularly due to a number of nuclear accidents. Concerns about nuclear proliferation especially with plutonium produced by breeder reactors mean that the development of nuclear power by countries such as Iran and Syria is being actively discouraged by the international community.
Thorium reserves significantly exceed those of uranium, and of course hydrogen is abundant. It is also considered by many to be easier to obtain than uranium.
While uranium mines are enclosed underground and thus very dangerous for the miners, thorium is taken from open pits, and is estimated to be roughly three times as abundant as uranium in the Earth's crust. Nuclear fusion[ edit ] Alternatives for energy production through fusion of hydrogen has been under investigation since the s.
No materials can withstand the temperatures required to ignite the fuel, so it must be confined by methods which use no materials.
Magnetic and inertial confinement are the main alternatives CadaracheInertial confinement fusion both of which are hot research topics in the early years of the 21st century. Fusion power is the process driving the sun and other stars.
It generates large quantities of heat by fusing the nuclei of hydrogen or helium isotopes, which may be derived from seawater. The heat can theoretically be harnessed to generate electricity. The temperatures and pressures needed to sustain fusion make it a very difficult process to control.
Fusion is theoretically able to supply vast quantities of energy, with relatively little pollution. Renewable resource Renewable resources are available each year, unlike non-renewable resources, which are eventually depleted.
A simple comparison is a coal mine and a forest. While the forest could be depleted, if it is managed it represents a continuous supply of energy, vs. Most of earth's available energy resources are renewable resources. Renewable resources account for more than 93 percent of total U.
Annual renewable resources were multiplied times thirty years for comparison with non-renewable resources. In other words, if all non-renewable resources were uniformly exhausted in 30 years, they would only account for 7 percent of available resources each year, if all available renewable resources were developed.
Solar energy Renewable energy sources are even larger than the traditional fossil fuels and in theory can easily supply the world's energy needs. While it is not possible to capture all, or even most, of this energy, capturing less than 0. Barriers to further solar generation include the high price of making solar cells and reliance on weather patterns to generate electricity.
Also, current solar generation does not produce electricity at night, which is a particular problem in high northern and southern latitude countries; energy demand is highest in winter, while availability of solar energy is lowest.
This could be overcome by buying power from countries closer to the equator during winter months, and may also be addressed with technological developments such as the development of inexpensive energy storage.
JapanEuropeChinaU. Most of this wind energy is available over the open ocean. Wave and tidal power[ edit ] Main articles: Wave power and Tidal power At the end of0. These tidal fluctuations result in dissipation at an average rate of about 3. Without forcing, this energy would be dissipated at a dissipation rate of 3.
So, dissipation plays a significant role in the tidal dynamics of the oceans. Therefore, this limits the available tidal energy to around 0. The total power of waves that wash against the earth's shores adds up to 3 TW.
Geothermal power Estimates of exploitable worldwide geothermal energy resources vary considerably, depending on assumed investments in technology and exploration and guesses about geological formations.
Utilizing waste products avoids a food vs fuel trade-off, and burning methane gas reduces greenhouse gas emissions, because even though it releases carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide is 23 times less of a greenhouse gas than is methane.
Biofuels represent a sustainable partial replacement for fossil fuels, but their net impact on greenhouse gas emissions depends on the agricultural practices used to grow the plants used as feedstock to create the fuels. While it is widely believed that biofuels can be carbon-neutral, there is evidence that biofuels produced by current farming methods are substantial net carbon emitters.Enjoy proficient essay writing and custom the growing concerns over americas depletion of its petroleum reserves writing services provided by professional academic writers.
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