Engineering Research Paper on Sustainable Energy Report

Sustainable Energy Report

1. The causes of global warming

Global warming is perhaps the biggest problem facing humanity in the current times (Thakur, n.d). Debates over the cause of global warming have centered on the idea that global warming is not caused by human activities since the natural forces have much more carbon footprint than human activities. The argument here therefore is that human activities have indeed little, if nothing, to do with global warming (Wang & Chameides, 2007). The truth however is the very fact human activities have everything to do with global warming. Among the causes of global warming are:

a.       Burning of fossil fuel from factories, cars and production of electricity, which has increased the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (Wang & Chameides, 2007).

b.       The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified the emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases as among the major malefactor for global warming (Thakur, n.d; National Geographic, n.d; Jian-Bin et al., 2012)



2 The current and possible future effects of global warming

The increase in the amount of greenhouse gases has adverse effects on the atmosphere and scientists predict that the current effects are nothing compared to the future effects of global warming (National Geographic, n.d.). The effects of global warming on humans include

a.       Currently there is unprecedented increase in temperatures and a change in the normal climatic patterns (Thakur, n.d).

b.      There is also the current increased loss of sea ice, fastened sea rise level and prolonged and extreme heat waves (NASA, n.d).

c.       In the future the increase in temperature will result in melting of glaciers, with adverse effect on seasonal cycle causing drought and flooding.

d.      The rarity of water and if present it will be contaminated (Thakur, n.d)

e.       The destruction of the ozone layer which will increase our exposure to the sun’s radiation increasing cases of cancer especially in Europe and North America (Thakur, n.d).


3 The need for sustainable non-polluting sources of energy

Given the threat of climate change and the need for sustainable energy and economic development, there is need for development and adoption of sustainable non-polluting sources of energy that include solar energy, wind energy, green power, hydropower, ocean energy, hydrogen and Fuel cells. These energy sources are important for a number of reasons:

a.       Fossil fuels are not only great contributors to climate change, they are also finite sources of energy predicted to be depleted in the near future.

b.      Energy remains as the most critical factor for economic development and global prosperity, thus the need for reliable, clean and affordable sources of energy (UN, 2010).

c.       Sustainable energy is economically sound, and is predicted to save the world thereabouts of $180 billion a year (UN, 2010).

d.      Sustainable energy will ensure energy for many generations, since unlike fossil fuel, it does not run out.

e.       Sustainable energy is also additionally important in job creation.

4 Now write about the three power sources.

Solar panels

Wind turbine

Nuclear power


5 Solar panels:


A Description of the source and explanation of how it works
Solar panels are among the most sustainable and clean sources of energy. The panels are a set of photovoltaic cells which are connected and stuck together on within a supporting structure. These cells convert light into electricity (Toothman & Aldous, 2014).


B Advantages of this source

a.       The energy comes free of any cost

b.      Does not cause pollution

c.       It is possible to use panels even in the most remote areas where it can be expensive to connect electricity (Goffman, 2008).

d.      Solar energy cannot be depleted

C Limitations of this source
a.       The initial costs of installing solar panel is steep at approximately $20,000 (Goffman, 2008).

b.      The sun is not available at night and the access to the sun is reduced with cloudy weather and storms (Goffman, 2008).

c.       Power from solar panels and stations apart from being expensive to harness and build, does not also produce as much energy and conventional power stations.

d.      Batteries charged by the panels are expensive to buy, large and heavy to move and also need replacement.

6 Nuclear power:


A Description of the source and explanation of how it works
Nuclear power is produced in nuclear energy plants. These generate heat by reacting atoms of radioactive material such as uranium, which produce a lot of energy during nuclear fission (Brian & Lamb, 2014). The energy produced from the nuclear fission heats water, which is used to drive turbines, which produce electricity from generators.
B Advantages of this source

a.       Technology to create power plant is readily available

b.      Produces enough energy for industrial and domestic use

c.       Does not release smoke unlike fossil fuel (Burgess, 2014).

d.      Cost effective as it produces more kilowatts than coal for less

e.       The waste materials can be reprocessed and used in the reactors (Burgess, 2014).

C Limitations of this source

a.       Accidents in the reactors can have devastating effects on the environment, humans and ecology as was seen in Chernobyl (Burgess, 2014)

b.      Exposure to radioactive material causes cancer and other health complications.

c.       Uranium deposits are bound to be depleted soon and it is therefore not an infinite source of energy as solar and wind (Burgess, 2014).

d.      The reactors generate close to 30 tons of nuclear waste, which is dangerous.

e.       Any accidents or mishandling can release dangerous doses of the material, hazardous to more than 12,000 generations

7 Wind turbine:


A Description of the source and explanation of how it works
Wind is a clean source of energy. It works in that huge turbines utilize the wind to generate electricity. The blades are turned, spinning a shaft connected to a generator that consequently generates electricity (US Department of Energy, n.d).
B Advantages of this source
a.       Wind power is a renewable source of energy (The Guardian, 2012).

b.      Reduced greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere

c.       Promotes the economy by using local material for turbine construction

d.      Research is in progress to store wind energy during times of excesses to be used when the wind is low.

C Limitations of this source
a.       Wind power is only available when the wind is blowing (The Guardian, 2012).

b.      Onshore wind power has been indicated as having visual impact (The Guardian, 2012).

c.       Wind power generation has been known to kill birds from the turning turbines


8 Description of the geography and climate of the United Arab Emirates
UAE is located in Southwest Asia and is a combination of seven emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah covering thereabouts of 83,000 square kilometers (Ministry of Energy, 2006). It borders countries such as Oman (North) and Saudi Arabia (West and south). The UAE’s weather is generally hot and dry, with temperature going above 400 C.


9 Solar panels :
A Arguments for its use in the United Arab Emirates
Given the climate, solar energy will be most appropriate for use in the emirates.

Emirates such as Dubai have predicted depletion in their oil reserves, it is therefore important to turn to this clean and renewable source of energy

UAE has a large carbon footprint and the need to reduce it by use of solar panels.

Lowers electricity bills

B Arguments against its use in the United Arab Emirates
The initial cost of installing solar panels is steep. Currently the country is expected to use $100 million for the installation of solar panels (Yee, 2013).
10 Nuclear power:
A Arguments for its use in the United Arab Emirates
The regions developmental pace requires sufficient energy, which nuclear reactors can supply (Alderman, 2010)

The emirates’ oil deposits are bound to get depleted

B Arguments against its use in the United Arab Emirates
The Fukushima accident in Japan brings fear over the impact of such an accident in UAE (Khlopkov, 2011).

Solid waste management is still a problem in UAE, will they be able to hand nuclear waste (Alderman, 2010)

11 Wind turbine:
A Arguments for its use in the United Arab Emirates
It is a clean and renewable source of energy

The UAE has the largest consumption of energy in the world, and the need for sustainable energy to substitute fossil fuel (Shadbolt, 2014).

B Arguments against its use in the United Arab Emirates
The construction of the turbine is expensive

It may not provide enough energy to supply the power hungry UAE.




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Goffman, E. (2008). Why Not the Sun? Advantages of and Problems with Solar Energy. Discovery Guides. Retrieved from

Khlopkov, A. (2012). Prospects For Nuclear Power In The Middle East After Fukushima And The Arab Spring. UNIDIR. Retrieved from

Ministry of Energy (2006). The United Arab Emirates: Initial National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Ministry of Energy. Retrieved from

NASA (n.d). The Current and Future Consequences of Global Change. NASA. Retrieved from

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Thakur, S. (n.d). Global Warming-Causes, Dangers and the Solutions. Retrieved from Papers-Ecology – Life/Social Sciences/Download/1272

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Yee, A. (2013). Dubai has to invest estimated $100m in solar panels to meet Expos target. The National, 8 December. Retrieved from