We are putting an end to our dependence on fossil fuels

Publié le 16 November 2020

Lecture 3 min

For decades, fossil fuels have been used without fully considering their longevity or their impact on the environment. In the face of this two-fold realisation, renewable gases are emerging as a responsible alternative for the future.

Energy sources are becoming increasingly rare…

The main fossil energies are oil, coal, and gas. They are created from living organisms that have decomposed over millions of years the Earth’s subsurface. Fossil fuels exist in limited quantities and can only be regenerated at the rate of the geological time scale.

 

To compensate for the scarcity of conventional gas reserves, new unconventional methods of gas exploitation have been undertaken in recent years, such as shale gas in the United States for example. These new forms of exploitation cause chemical pollution, consume a lot of water, and have a significant impact on biodiversity and ecosystems.

 

What are the most widely used fossil energies in the world?

Oil 31.4%
Coal 29%
Gas 21.3%
Biomass 10%
Nuclear 4.8%
Hydroelectric 2.4%
Other (wind, solar, geothermal) 1.1%

 

 

… and their exploitation has a significant environmental impact

To date, the energy demand in developed countries is still substantial, meanwhile, in emerging economies it continues to increase. Nations consuming fossil fuels, and in particular oil, have therefore become dependent on supplier countries and are subjected to significant price fluctuations. The thirst for these raw materials can sometimes even be a source of international tension. Extraction, exploitation, consumption… The direct and indirect environmental impacts of fossil fuels make us question the merits of using them. Burning them causes considerable greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for global warming. This explains how the average temperature of the earth has already increased by 0.85°C in just 100 years, causing undeniable climate change (desertification, melting of polar ice, an increase in adverse climate events, etc.)1.

Renewable gases free us from fossil fuels

Renewable gases provide a responsible alternative to fossil fuels. A true alternative for the future because their environmental impact is low. Renewable gases are beneficial to our quality of life and due to their innovative production processes, they significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Because they are produced from waste and various materials that are recovered from our activities (agriculture, industries, etc.), they have an abundant supply of resources.

 

Unlike fossil fuels, renewable gases are produced near where they are used, and they can be used on French territory. Therefore, there is a low risk of a disruption to supply. Thanks to renewable gases, we are bolstering our energy independence and our trade balance is improving! They also give rise to activities that are sources of added value and create non-relocatable jobs.

 

Renewable gases also enable us to transition towards an energy mix plan that doesn’t pit sources of energy against each other. In the future, innovative technologies such as Power-to-Gas, for example, will only enhance their compatibility, which makes it possible to transform and store intermittent renewable electricity surpluses (wind, solar) in the form of gas.

 

Although they are still costly today, costs are falling rapidly thanks to the various technological advances deployed and their strong development potential. As a result of this positive momentum, renewable gases are clearly an asset to making the energy transition a reality and thus ending our dependence on fossil fuels.

 

1 Agirpourlatransition.ademe.fr – article L’énergie en France – September 2020