A characteristic that clearly distinguishes man from other animals is his ability to use energy sources other than his own vital energy. As soon as man learned to use and control fire to cook meat, harden his clay pots and melt metals, he began the long chain of using energy sources that allowed him to gradually climb the evolutionary ladder.
Dependence on animal power for transportation persisted well into the Industrial Revolution, just over two centuries ago. As the need for more energy became apparent, other sources such as peat, coal, and finally oil was developed. With the exception of remote regions of the world where the use of energy from animals is still part of their culture, reliance on animal energy has been virtually replaced in industrialised countries by coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear sources. They provide more than 95% of the energy used in the world today.
With the exception of nuclear energy, all these energy sources are of chemical origin, that is, they are produced as a result of an oxidation-reduction process in the different fuels. The combustion of these primary energy sources is used in various ways. Perhaps the best known are the propulsion of both gasoline and diesel combustion engines and electricity plants.
The practical performance obtainable through these fuels does not even reach 50% of their energy potential stored in the chemical structure. Additionally, inefficient combustion causes costly damage to the environment due to contamination with carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, among other dangerous compounds.
Lastly, we must say that oil, coal and natural gas are non-renewable natural resources, which is why it is essential to apply a practical, rapid and really efficient conservation policy to rationally exploit the few deposits that still exist, in order to obtain from them the optimal benefit for future generations.
——————————————————————————————-In the last half-century, large corporations and politics have been in charge of delaying the possibilities of other energy sources such as those from the sun, wind, waves and geothermal heat, we are at the dawn of massive clean energy sources, in a world in which pollution and overpopulation endanger the species itself.