Can you Make Solar Panels Without Fossil Fuels?

  • By: Preetam
  • Date: August 28, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Every conscious person who loves his/her family and the nation yearns for clean air among other things.

We have all seen or heard heartbreaking stories about families torn apart due to a loved one having dreadful illnesses from toxins in the air.

And even though solar panels are good to have in our homes for cleaner air, they are still made from toxins, aka fossil fuels.  

More people have started to wonder whether another source that is much cleaner than fossil fuel can be used.

Can something replace fossil fuel that yields much cleaner air we can breathe? The answer is yes. 

Why Have We Been Dependent on Fossil Fuel?

Gooey black oil is the main material for transportation fuel, tons of petrochemicals for pesticides, plastics, solar panels, detergents, etc.

Since the industrial revolution, industrial plants have taken something as ugly and gooey as fossil fuel and made beauty out of it.

They broke down the hydrocarbons in natural gas and oil into simpler components. Then, they assemble those components for the construction of exquisitely complex molecules.

And as a result, industries and American families throughout the nation have been using this fuel as one of the main resources needed in our daily lives.

Even 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions use the industrial chemistry of petroleum. 

Now, more and more scientists and companies believe that using the same compounds could be transformed into renewable energy. So, instead of digging and rearranging hydrocarbons that will spew carbon dioxide waste into the air, this process can produce renewable energy. 

The Process to Produce Renewable Energy

The first step to producing renewable energy includes using renewable electricity to split molecules, such as water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, into reactive fragments.

Then, the chemical pieces will form together by using more renewable electricity. Doing this will create the products that our modern society depends on and is unlikely to give up. 

Daniel Kammen, a physicist from the University of California, Berkeley, stated that this is currently a very prominent topic.

Chemists at industrial plants, at startups, and in academia, are also testing these processes.

Even prototype plants that use wind energy, solar energy, water, and air as feedstock are on board.

Nicholas Flanders, CEO of a startup called Opus 12, stated that they are transforming electrons into chemicals. Located in an office park in Berkeley, CA, this company designed a device, the size of a washing machine, that utilizes electricity to convert carbon dioxide and water from the air into molecules, such as fuel, without using oil. 

Siemens, the manufacturing conglomerate in Munich, Germany, is selling huge-scale electrolyzers that utilize electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

This can serve as chemical feedstock or fuel. Even petroleum leaders, like Chevron and Shell, are pursuing ways to turn renewable power into fuel. 

Of Course, Some Naysayers

Of course, life wouldn’t be life if there were no naysayers. And besides the reasons that deal with money for some, these opponents have some legit reasons why it is currently not feasible to have cleaner sources for fuel. 

Also, the operative word here is “currently”. Other claims by these naysayers were unfounded, like not using fossil fuel will destroy or quality of life.

Yes, the possibility of having this utopia of cleaner air throughout the nation in a year or two is not a reality.

There are significant hurdles to work on. One huge hurdle that these people are saying involves our nation having more dependency on China, which is a big risk.

We are already dependent on them with fossil fuels, and China makes a large portion of solar panels. Yes, we are also dependent on fuel from the Middle East.

However, most of our dependency has been on China. 

Also, 85% of our society is dependent on fossil fuels. And with us being basically in the infant stage of this cleaner fuel revolution, it may take 50 years or more before significant changes occur.

By then, our children may see the hand turn, where 85% or more of our society is using renewable energy.

Nevertheless, using renewable energy is on its way, and more and more scientists say the same thing.

These professionals and possibly lobbyists and government officials are working together. And with all these huge companies and scientists being so confidently happy that this revolution is on its way, they are up to something! 

Conclusion

So, can something other than fossil fuel be used on solar panels? The answer is a resounding yes.

And even though there are hurdles to overcome, more and more major players are linking up to make this more of a huge reality. It may not happen in a year or two, but it is destined to happen.

And who knows, it may happen a lot quicker than several decades. 

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