That all sounds pretty nifty and dandy, but to be honest, I think they are all wrong or not being honest.
Let me take them one at a time, let us start with the clam of green energy. Those who use that word imply that these energy sources are environmentally friendly and do no harm to nature (unlike the old bad carbon based or nuclear sources). And that is just totally misleading.
As they say, there is no such thing as free lunch. all that you are doing is replacing one harmful effect on nature with another. Let me explain how.
Solar PV for example has multiple harmful effects on nature (and I would argue that for now it is more harmful than any fuel). Here is a list of some of these:
- Many scientists clam that it takes more energy to produce a solar cell than it would generate in its entire life, that means that we consume some other energy (fuel) to make the cells, but then the return is much less that the energy we spent in the first place. Shouldn't we have just used the fuel directly?
- The chemical composition of the cell is toxic and harmful to the environment, so when we need to replace them in 20-30 years we will have to introduce a toxic materiel to the world.
- To generate electricity with solar cells, we need to cover large landscapes. These lands had wild life that depended on the solar energy that was there, so we are harming them. Also, new wild life will now move in under the shade, creating an even bigger instability the the natural order of things.
Secondly let me talk about a clam they all make by stating the word "Energy". They might all say energy but what they really are talking about is "Electricity". You might think that they are one and the same, but the reality of things is they are not.
You need energy to move your car, and that energy is kinetic energy. Today, we use fuel that has chemical energy, we brake it down to get thermal energy that in turn is converted to the kinetic energy we need to move the car. Replacing our fuel with Electricity solves nothing really, in fact I would argue that it is way less efficient than fuel and creates far more problems.
You see every time you convert one type of energy to another you lose part of it in the process, so in the example of our car, we made 3 conversions, chemical -> thermal -> kinetic (or that is what you think, it is actually much more complicated if you think about how we got the fuel).
What if we replace the engine with an electric motor? will you will get a much more complicated process, starting from the end we will get Kinetic <- Magnetic <- Electrical, and the electrical (at least so far) comes from Chemical -> Thermal -> Kinetic -> Magnetic -> Electrical, so we have a total of 7 steps from fuel to our desired Kinetic energy rather than just 3. And even if you replace fuel with any other sources of energy to get electric, you will still need more steps than fuel would. This makes the efficiency of an electric system very low, the only thing that can try to make up for that lost efficiency is the mass central production, by having large scale electric generation facilities.
The other issue with electrical energy is that it issues when stored on a large scale. Electricity can be stored in capacitors and coils, these are nice on the millimeter scale, but if you want to use them on large scale they turn into deadly nightmares. So the solution to this so far is to convert it to some other type of energy and store it, then convert it back to electricity when you need it. Batteries for example is a chemical energy storage. This means that you lose part of the energy when you store it, and again when you want to use it. And unfortunately you cant generate electricity exactly as you need it, the moment you generate it you have to either use it or store it, otherwise you lose it all together. There are many ways to try and manage that, but all in all, this dramatically effects the efficiency of electricity. And it is even much worse when the electrical generation is uncontrollable (solar, wind, etc.).
So why Electrical? will that is very simple, we have already spent lots of money on the infrastructure for Electricity and we want to keep using it. And this would help us focus all our research on just one type of energy rather than investigate all of them.
Is there any other way?
I honestly do not know, but here are my thoughts on the matter:
- Since there is no such thing as green energy, we should not be so possessed by making every thing green. What we should be doing is diversify. I mean by focusing all our energy on one source we concentrate the damage on one part of Earth's echo system, and that can be hard to repair. But if we have small levels of damage on every system, will chances are that the natural immune system of Earth would be able to repair the damage.
- Use and store the energy as you need it. Why not work on new technologies that transmit & store Kinetic energy for example and then supply that to cars? So we take the Kinetic energy from the wind, store it, transmit it to the car, use it as is. Store the thermal energy from the sun and use it for cooking or the light from the sun to use instead of bulbs. You get the picture. We will still need to generate electricity for all of our electronic devises, but that is but a fraction of what we use electricity for today.