Global Energy Sources and Present Energy Scenario


Total primary energy consumption (TPEC) in the world is rising daily due to growing population and industrialization. In 2015, the world’s TPEC amounted to more than 150,000,000 GW h and is projected to increase by 57% by 2050 (Hajjari et al. 2017). This rapid rise in energy consumption could potentially lead to more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and more environmental problems (Hosseini et al. 2015). Today, fossil fuels supply more than 80% of the overall energy used in the world, resulting in a significant contribution to environmental and health issues. Because of these issues, significant attempts have been made to identify the best alternative energy sources to address the economic and environmental impacts of fossil fuel use worldwide (Aghbashlo et al. 2015; Dadak et al. 2016).

The United States and China are the topmost energy users in the world. India ranks as the fourth largest energy user worldwide. Since March 2013, India’s gross consumption of electricity is about 917.2 kWh per capita. India’s electricity energy consumption is projected to be around 2280 BkWh and 4500 BkWh by 2021-2022 and 2031-2032, respectively. India’s energy usage has rapidly grown due to population growth and increased standards of living. India’s current integrated energy planning is primarily based on thermal power plants to meet energy demands and its percentage of total installed power plant capacity is close to 70%. This over-reliance generates pressure on fossil fuel. The key question emerges about how to conserve the petroleum-based fuels for our next generation while at the same time using different energy resources for fast and sustainable economic development.

Moreover, thermal power plants also adversely impact the natural climate. It should also be remembered that very high emissions of C02 (0.9-0.95 kg/kWh), SOx, and NOx from thermal power plants lead to an increase in global temperature leading to climate change. Studies and literature have shown in the past century that since the industrial revolution, C02 emission rose by 28%. The global surface temperature has increased by 0.3°C to 0.6°C, and sea level has increased by 10-15 cm over the last 100 years. Scientists expect that if GHG emissions increase and no successful environmental mitigation measures are taken, the average temperature may rise by 1-3.5°C, and sea levels may increase by 15-95 cm. The continuously increasing energy demand and the associated negative effect of fossil fuels on the environment have pushed India towards a deliberate policy of renewables.

India’s government is also trying to meet the country’s demand for electricity while simultaneously protecting the environment from the pollution generated by utilizing fossil fuel energy sources such as coal for electricity generation. Hence, it is necessary to find new energy sources. In these circumstances, renewable energy is the principal alternative. The potential of renewable energy can be explored and exploited to meet electricity needs. Our survival requires numerous renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar, wind, and biomass to address this energy crisis. These renewables could meet future energy demand with great power capacity.

The main aims of this chapter are to explore possible ways of, first, supplying energy to all, even in rural parts of the globe; second, reducing the burden on fossil resources and preserving them for the next generation; and third, protecting the atmosphere from global warming and ultimately avoiding environmental disasters.

Brief History of Fossil Fuels


Coal is a strong material, typically darker brown or black in color, with a significant portion of carbon and hydrocarbons formed from peat under higher pressures. It is one of the most significant and abundant natural resources of energy that can be used as fuel in various applications such as power plants, gasification, coal-powered engines, and liquefaction. Different types of coal, namely, lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous, steam coal, anthracite, and graphite, are available. The types may vary with plant materials, impurities, and degree of coalification. Even though the carbon concentration in the Earth’s crust is not greater than 0.1% by weight, carbon is necessary for life, and is also the primary source of human energy (Coal - Simple English Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia 2020).

Coal is the most abundant fuel in the fossil fuel family and has the most extensive and diverse history. Coal was used for heating food and homes since the days of the caveman. Archaeologists have found that Romans in England were familiar with the usage of coal by 100-200 AD. In the thirteenth century, Hopi Indians used coal to cook food and heat buildings. Later, coal was rediscovered and usage increased exponentially due to the industrial revolution (History of Coal Mining - Wikipedia 2020).

Coal is the leading fuel source for electricity generation—it accounts for a 38% share—and the international coal business increased by 4% in 2018. The world coal need has increased by 1.2% due to a 2% rise in coal power generation in 2018. The coal consumption of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries has decreased by 3.2%, but consumption has increased by 2.5% for non-OECD countries. China is the topmost coal producer in the world, contributing 3550 Mt in 2018. India is the second-largest coal producer in the world, accounting for 771 Mt of the world total in 2018 (Schlissel, Feaster, and Wamstead 2019). The other three countries in the top five producers are the United States, Indonesia, and Australia. World coal reserves were 1055 billion metric tons in 2018, and they are projected to last for 132 years as per the current reserves/production ratio (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019). The distribution of coal reserves in 1998, 2008, and 2018 is depicted in Figure 1.1.

Distribution of coal reserves in 1998. 2008, and 2018

FIGURE 1.1 Distribution of coal reserves in 1998. 2008, and 2018.

India had proven coal reserves of 101 billion metric tons at the end of 2018. The majority of these reserves are located in Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal. Over the last two decades, the consumption of coal has rapidly increased at an average rate of 6.3%. In 2017, coal consumption was 942 billion metric tons: 806, 47, and 89 million metric tons of coal account for thermal, brown, and metallurgical coal, respectively. This is due to the exponential use of thermal coal for electricity generation, which is 70% of the total (Philalay, Drahos, and Thurtell 2019).

Petrol and Diesel

Petrol and diesel are significant sources of energy for various sectors but are also used as a source for chemical and synthetic materials. These fuels can be derived from crude oil by refining. Dead animals and other organisms sank into the seabed, which formed the crude oil. Over time, these deposited bodies turned to black oil under higher pressures and temperatures of 60-120°C. Crude oil can be found in the seabed and underground (Petroleum - Wikipedia 2020). In 1853, the first crude oil refinery was established in Baku for the production of kerosene, which was used for lamp heating. Also, people started to use crude oil as a fuel for transportation in 1858 (Jeffery 2020). Later, the modern crude oil industry was developed by John D. Rockefeller around 1870. The global petrol price decreased from 2.56 USD in 1876 to 0.56 USD in 1892 due to rapid production in the United States and Russia (History Of Crude Oil Events That Drove The Oil Price History IG UK 2020).

The global oil demand rose by 0.9% in 2018 because of the need for petrochemicals and notably increased fuel consumption in the transport sector. In 2018, the use of oil was increased by 2.5% in the United States (leading consumer globally), followed by China (6%), and India (2.7%). At the same time, fuel consumption in Latin America and the European Union decreased by 3.3% and 0.6%, respectively. At the end of 2018, the total oil reserves of North America, South and Central America, Europe, the CIS, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asian Pacific were 35.4, 51.1, 1.9, 19.6, 113.2, 16.6, and 6.3 Mt, respectively. The world reserves/production ratio shows that oil reserves in 2018 represented 50 years of current production. The top oil reserve countries in the world are Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, and Iraq; they account for 17.5%, 17.2%, 9.7%, 9%, and 8.5%, respectively, of total oil reserves (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019).

India is the largest oil consumer in the world and its projected energy demand for 2035 is 1516 Mt. India’s oil demand was 5.156 Mt barrels per day in 2018 and it is projected to be 5.05 Mt barrels per day in 2020. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019, India’s oil reserves are 4500 Mt and production is 39.5 Mt at the end of 2018. The diesel and petrol consumption during 2018-2019 rose to 83.5 Mt and 28.3 Mt, respectively. In order to meet this demand, USD5.615 billion worth of petrol and diesel was imported during 2018-2019 (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019).

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a hydrocarbon mixture composed largely of methane. However, it also composed of alkenes and small amounts of CO,, N2, and He. It occurs when layers of decaying plant and animal matter are exposed to extreme pressure and temperature below the soil surface for millions of years. Natural plants convert the sunlight into gas, in which the solar energy is stored in the form of chemical bonds (Natural Gas - Wikipedia 2020). Natural gas is a non-renewable source of energy that is used for cooking, heating buildings, and producing power. Since ancient times, natural gas has been known, but its commercial uses are comparatively recent (History of Natural Gas 2020). The Chinese used bamboo pipelines to transport natural gas to convert seawater to drinking water in 500 BC. In 1785, natural gas was produced from coal and used for commercial purposes. The first natural gas well was found in the United States in 1821.

Nowadays, natural gas is an essential part of the world’s energy supply. Natural gas currently contributes 50% of the world’s energy consumption for residential and commercial purposes. Approximately 41% of natural gas is consumed by US industry. Natural gas is a clean, safe, and widely used source of energy as compared to other sources (A Brief History of Natural Gas - APGA 2020). In 2018, world natural gas reserves were increased from 0.7 to 198.9 trillion cubic meters (Tcm). This is due to gas reserves in Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, and Qatar increasing by 0.8, 38.9, 31.9, and 24.7 Tcm, respectively.

India’s total natural gas reserves at the end of 2018 were 1.3 Tcm, which is 0.7% of the entire world gas reserves. The current Indian reserves/production ratio shows that natural gas reserves in 2018 accounted for 46.9 years of current production. The natural gas production was decreased from 29.4 Tcm in 2008 to 27.5 Tcm in 2018. Hence, the production rate was reduced by 0.7%. On the other hand, the natural gas consumption rate rose to 8.1% in 2018 as compared to 2008, which accounted for 1.5% of total world consumption (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019).

Other Fossil Fuels

Uranium is another kind of fossil fuel. Uranium is available in various concentrations in different sources, namely, granite (20 ppm), coal (20 ppm), and seawater

(0.0005 ppm). Uranium content and quality increase with decreased ore grade. The primary source of uranium is Precambrian granitic rock that was buried and subjected to extreme pressure and temperature (List of Fossil Fuels Environment 2020). Kazakhstan, Canada, and Australia are the world’s largest uranium producers. They contributed 41%, 13%, and 12% of the total world uranium share, respectively. Fifty percent of uranium is produced through in situ leaching. Uranium production from mines was increased from 80% in 2009 to 83% in 2018. In 2009, India’s uranium production was 290 metric tons, and this rapidly rose to 423 metric tons in 2018 (World Uranium Mining - World Nuclear Association 2020).

Nuclear energy comes from the rearrangement of the nuclei of the atoms, and its high energy release is due to the fact that the forces between them are much higher than the forces between the outer electrons of the atom. The energy released from nuclear is 100 times higher than the energy released from chemical reactions. The first fully commercialized nuclear power plant with 250 MWe was established in 1992 at Westinghouse, United States. Around the same time, the Argonne National Laboratory developed the first boiling water reactor (BWR) (Nuclear Power in India - Wikipedia 2020). The world’s consumption of nuclear energy increased by 2.4% in 2018. The United States, France, and China are the top three nuclear energy consumers around the globe, at 192.2, 93.5, and 66.6 Mt oil equivalent, respectively, at the end of 2018. India’s fifth primary source of energy is nuclear power. As of 2018, India has 22 reactors with a capacity of 6780 MW; in these, seven nuclear power plants are successfully running. The nuclear energy share for electricity was about 3.22% in 2017. The consumption of nuclear energy has increased two-fold over the last ten years (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019).

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