Thursday, April 30, 2009

Solar Electricity

Generate cheap, green electricity from sunlight

Solar electricity systems capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

PV cells don't need direct sunlgiht to work - you can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day.
  • How do photovoltaic (PV) cells work?
  • The benefits of solar electricity
  • Is solar electricity suitable for my home?
  • Costs, savings and maintenance
  • Find out more

How do photovoltaic (PV) cells work?

PV cells are panels you can attach to your roof or walls. Each cell is made from one or two layers of semiconducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced.

PV cells come in a variety of shapes and colours, from grey "solar tiles" that look like roof tiles to panels and transparent cells that you can use on conservatories and glass.

The strength of a PV cell is measured in kilowatt peak (kWp) - that's the amount of energy the cell generates in full sunlight.

The benefits of solar electricity

Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green, renewables energy ans doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home PV system could save around 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year - that's almost 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

Cut your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you've paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be greatly reduced. A typical home PV system can produce 50% of the electricity a household uses in a year.

Sell electricity back to the Grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can't use it, someone else can use it - and you could make a bit of money. Read more about selling electricity.

Store electricity for a cloudy day: if your home isn't connected to the national grid you can store excess electricity in batteries to use when you need it.

Is solar electricity suitable for my home?

Solar panels are not light and your roof must be strong enough

To tell if solar electricity is right for you, there are a few key questions to consider:

Do you have a sunny place to put it? You'll need a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south, and isn't overshadowed by trees or buildings. If the surface is in shadow for parts of the day, your system will generate less energy.

Is your roof strong enough? Solar panels are not light and the roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panel is placed on top of existing tiles. If in doubt, ask a construction expert or an installer.

Do you need planning permission? In England and Scotland, you don't need planning permission for most home solar electricity systems, as long as they're below a certain size - but you will if your home is a listed building, or is in a conservation area or World Heritage Site.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to get planning permission before installing a solar electricity system - though the legislation may soon change. To find out how to apply for permission, contact you local authority.

In Asia, especially in Indonesia, you still need to get planning permission from local goverment and PLN as goverment electric producer. But, I think it's no problem to install it without any planning permission for most home solar electricity systems.

Cost, savings and maintenance

Costs for installing a solar electricity system vary a lot - an average system costs between £8,000 and £20,000, depending on its size and type.

In general:
the more electricity the system can generate, the more it costs but the more it could save
solar tiles cost more than conventional panels
panels built into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top but,
if you need major roof repairs, PV tiles can offset the cost if roof tiles

Savings can be considerable - up to 1.2 tonnes of CO2 a year, and around £250 off your electricity bill*. A 2.5 kWp system could provide around half of a household's yearly electricity needs.

Maintenance is generally small - you'll need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don't begin to overshadow them.

Find out more

What's suitable for your home?
To find renewable technologies to suit your home, try the Energy Saving Trust energy selector tool - coming soon

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Generate Your Own Energy

Renewable energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and biomass heaters are becoming increasingly popular. 

These are effective alternatives to fossil fuels and will help you to meet your own energy requirements and reduce your home's carbon dioxide emissions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How To Achieve Energy Saving???

30% savings are available through existing EE solutions, but to really understand where these opportunities are, let’s understand first the main differences between Passive and Active EE.

Passive EE is regarded as the installation of countermeasures against thermal losses, the use of low consumption equipment and so forth. Active Energy Efficiency is defined as effecting permanent change through measurement, monitoring and control of energy usage. It is vital, but insufficient, to make use of energy saving equipment and devices such as low energy lighting. Without proper control, these measures often merely militate against energy losses rather than make a real reduction in energy consumed and in the way it is used.

Everything that consumes power – from direct electricity consumption through lighting, heating and most significantly electric motors, but also in HVAC control, boiler control and so forth – must be addressed actively if sustained gains are to be made. This includes changing the culture and mindsets of groups of individuals, resulting in behavioural shifts at work and at home, but clearly, this need is reduced by greater use of technical controls.
- 10 to 15% savings are achievable through passive EE measures such as installing low consumption devices, insulating building, etc.
- 5 to 15% can be achieved through such as optimizing usage of installation and devices, turn off devices when not needed, regulating motors or heating at the optimized level…
- Up to 40% of the potential savings for a motor system are realized by the Drive & Automation
- Up to 30% of the potential for savings in a building lighting system can be realized via the lighting control system
- And a further 2 to 8% can also be achieved through active EE measures such as putting in place a permanent monitoring and improvement program

But savings can be lost quickly if there is:
- Unplanned, unmanaged shutdowns of equipment and processes
- Lack of automation and regulation (motors, heating)
- No continuity of behaviors

Energy Efficiency is not different form other disciplines and we take a very rational approach to it, very similar to the 6Sigma DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) approach.

As always, the first thing that we need to do is to measure in order to understand where are the main consumptions, what is the consumption pattern, etc. This initial measurement, together with some benchmarking information, will allow us see howgood or bad we are doing, to define the main improvement axis and an estimation of what can be expected in terms of gains. We can not improve what we can not measure.

Then, we need to fix the basics or what is called passive EE. Change old enduse devices by Low consumption ones (bulbs, motors, etc), Improve the Insulation of your installations, and assure power quality reliability in order to be able to work in a stable environment where the gains are going to sustainable over time. After that, we are ready to enter into the automation phase or Active Energy efficiency. As already highlighted, everything that consumes power must be addressed actively if sustained gains are to be made.

Active Energy Efficiency can be achieved not only when energy saving devices and equipment are installed, but with all kind of end-use devices. It is this aspect of control that is critical to achieving the maximum efficiency. As an example, consider a low consumption bulb that is left on in an empty room. All that is achieved is that less energy is wasted compared to using an ordinary bulb, but energy is still wasted!

Responsible equipment manufacturers are continually developing more efficient products. However, while for the most part the efficiency of the equipment is a fair representation of its energy saving potential - say, in the example of a domestic washing machine or refrigerator - it is not always the case in industrial and commercial equipment. In many cases the overall energy performance of the system is what really counts. Put simply, if an energy saving device is left permanently on stand-by it can be less efficient than a higher consuming device that is always switched off when not in use.

Summarizing, managing energy is the key to maximizing its usefulness and economizing on its waste. While there are increasing numbers of products that are now more energy efficient than their predecessors, controlling switching or reducing settings of variables such as temperature or speed, makes the greatest impact.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How Can Recycling Save Energy?

This one was one of many kind ways to save energy. Recycling means to use something again. Newspapers can be used to make new newspapers. Aluminum cans can be used to make new aluminum cans. Glass jars can be used to make new glass jars. Recycling often saves energy and natural resources through conservation.

It almost always takes less energy to make a product from recycled materials than it does to make it from new materials. Using recycled image of aluminum can with recycling symbolaluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans, for example, uses 95 percent less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum.

Natural resources are riches provided courtesy of Mother Nature. Natural resources include land, plants, minerals, and water. By using materials more than once, we conserve natural resources. In the case of paper, recycling saves trees and water. Making a ton of paper from recycled stock saves up to 17 trees and uses 50 percent less water.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

What Can I Do to Save Energy?

All of us use energy every day—for transportation, cooking, heating and cooling rooms, manufacturing, lighting, and entertainment. The choices we make about how we use energy—turning machines off when we’re not using them or choosing to buy energy efficient appliances—impact our environment and our lives.

There are many things we can do to use less energy and use it more wisely. Two main ways to save energy are energy conservation and energy efficiency. Many people think these terms mean the same thing, but they are different.

Energy conservation is any behavior that results in the use of less energy. Turning the lights off when you leave the room and recycling aluminum cans are both ways of conserving energy.

Energy efficiency is the use of technology that requires less energy to perform the same function. A compact fluorescent light bulb that uses less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light is an example of energy efficiency. The decision to replace an incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent is an example of energy conservation.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]



Basically, saving the energies is depending to our attitudes. While there are a number of factors influencing the attitudes and opinions towards energy savings – most notably the increasing cost of energy and a rising social conscience – it is likely to be legislative drivers that have the greatest impact on changing behaviors and practices. Respective governments internationally are introducing energy saving targets and effecting regulations to ensure they are met. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global target set at the Earth Summit in Kyoto in 1997 and finally ratified by 169 countries in December 2006 enabling the Agreement’s enactment in February 2005.

Under the Kyoto Protocol industrialized countries have agreed to reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2% by 2008-2012 compared to the year 1990 (however, compared to the emissions levels expected by 2012 prior to the Protocol, this limitation represents a 29% cut). The target in Europe is an 8% reduction overall with a target for CO2 emissions to fall by 20% by 2020.

Of the six greenhouse gases listed by Kyoto, one of the most significant by volume of emissions is carbon dioxide (CO2) and it is gas that is mainly emitted as a result of electricity generation and use, as well as direct thermal losses in, for example, heating.

Up to 50% of CO2 emissions attributable to residential and commercial buildings is from electricity consumption. Moreover, as domestic appliances, computers and entertainment systems proliferate; and other equipment such as air conditioning and ventilation systems increase in use, electricity consumption is rising at a higher rate than other energy usage.

The ability to meet targets by simply persuading people to act differently or deploy new energy saving or energy efficient technology is unlikely to succeed. Just considering construction and the built environment, new construction is far less than 2% of existing stock. If newly constructed buildings perform exactly as existing stock the result by 2020 will be an increase in electricity consumption of 22%. On the other hand, if all new construction has energy consumption of 50% less than existing stock, the result is still an increase of 18%.

In order to reach a fall in consumption of 20% by 2020 the following has to happen:

- All new buildings constructed to consume 50% less energy

- 1 in 10 existing buildings reduce consumption by 30% each year

Significantly, by 2020 in most countries 80% of all buildings will have already been built. The refurbishment of existing building stock and improving energy management is vital in meeting emission reduction targets. Given that in the west, most buildings have already undergone thermal insulation upgrades such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and glazing, the only potential for further savings is by reducing the amount of energy consumed. Action on existing built environment will almost certainly become compulsory to meet targets fixed for the coming years.

As a result, governments are applying pressures to meet the ambitious targets. It is almost certain that ever more demanding regulations will be enforced to address all energy uses, including existing buildings and, naturally, industry. At the same time energy prices are rising as natural resources become exhausted and the electrical infrastructure in some countries struggles to cope with increasing demand.

Technology exists to help tackle energy efficiency on many levels from reducing electrical consumption to controlling other energy sources more efficiently. Strong regulatory measures may be required to ensure these technologies are adopted quickly enough to impact on the 2020 targets.

The most important ingredient however, lies with the ability of those in control of industry, business and government to concentrate their hearts and minds on making energy efficiency a critical target. Otherwise, it might not be just the Kyoto targets on which the lights go out.

The message to heed is that if those empowered to save energy don’t do so willingly now, they will be compelled under legal threat to do so in the future.

All sectors are concerned and regulations impact not only new construction and installation but as well the existing buildings in industrial or infrastructure environment.

In parallel Standardization work has started with a lot of new standards being issued or in progress.

In building all energy use are concerned:

- Lighting

- Ventilation

- Heating

- Cooling and AC

For industries as well as commercial companies Energy Management Systems standards (in Iine with the well known ISO 9001 for quality and ISO 14001 for environment) are under process in Standardization Bodies. Energy Efficiency Services standards are as well at work.

So you still not want to save our earth by savings the energy?
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Beside environmental problems associated with large-scale use of fossil and nuclear fuels and the problems with sustainability there are also social problems arising from present trends of energy utilization.

Political and economic problems

In the earlier stages of the industrial revolution, fuel sources were local and widely distributed. Industrial activity tended to grow in areas where local sources of coal were available. As the transport associated with industrialization spread and developed, fuels began to be transported from more and more distant places. Now, with the most accessible sources of oil and gas depleted, fuels are transported around the world from small number of major producing areas. The result is that the major industrial nations have become dependent upon supplies from those producing nations, in particular oil from the Middle East, and are highly vulnerable to disruption of these supplies. This vulnerability and dependence has been a major factor shaping world politics. A series of major economic and political crises has resulted from Sues crisis in 1956 to the 1970s, oil crisis to the Gulf war in early 1990s. Since the producing nations are generally weak militarily and the consuming nations are generally stronger, latter are under pressure to dominate the former economically, politically and if necessary, militarily to maintain access to oil (most important fuel today).

Oil price depends on political situation and each conflict in oil sensitive region leads to higher energy prices. World economy is thus shaped with such conflicts.


A related aspect of vulnerability in the present form of industrialization is the centralized nature of fuel production and distribution. Electricity is generated in relatively few, very large power stations, and distributed through the country. Oil is imported in giant tankers, and converted to fuel in large refineries for further distribution. Concerns have been expressed that these large, vital installations offer potential target for terrorists or military opponents. As has been seen in recent years in the Middle East (Gulf War), the result can be massive ecological damage as well as economic devastation. The normal response to such vulnerability is to put greater resources into security and to increased level of protection. High level of centralisation leads also to problems with employment. Decentralized energy production and utilization which is the case of renewable energy sources can create much more new jobs than centralized fossil fuel installations.


Nuclear weapon proliferation is one of the biggest threat to the world peace today with several countries already in or trying to be a member of “nuclear club”. In developed countries nuclear electricity industries grew out of nuclear weapons development. The earliest nuclear reactors were built to produce material for nuclear bombs. There has always been a close connection between the two terms of the technology used, so that military spending on research and development for nuclear weapons technology has in effect been a major subsidy for civilian nuclear electricity industries. Nuclear fuel is not directly useful for nuclear weapons. Much further processing is needed. However, for a country wishing to develop nuclear weapons without publicly revealing the fact, an obvious approach would seem to be combine weapons development with a nuclear electricity generation industry.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Most important environmental impacts caused by energy sources are global climate change and acid rain – both of which have the origin in the combustion of fossil fuels and lead to global or trans boundary effects.

During the last few decades, concern has been growing internationally that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will change our climate in ways detrimental to our social and economic well-being. Climate change or global warming means a gradual increase in the global average air temperature at the earth’s surface. Abundant data demonstrate that global climate has warmed during the past 150 years. The majority of scientists now believe that global warming is taking place, at a rate of around 0,3 deg. C per decade, and that it is caused by increases in the concentration of so-called “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. The most important single component of these greenhouse gas emissions is carbon dioxide (CO2). The major source of emissions of CO2 are power plants, automobiles, and industry. Combustion of fossil fuels contributes around 80 percent to total world-wide anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Another source is global deforestation. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air as they grow. When they are cut and burned that CO2 is released back into the atmosphere. Massive deforestation around the globe is releasing large amounts of CO2 and decreasing the forests’ ability to take CO2 from the atmosphere. The second major greenhouse gas is methane (CH4). It is a minor by-product of burning coal, and also comes from venting of natural gas (which is nearly pure methane). Different fossil fuels produce different amounts of CO2 per unit of energy released. Coal is largely carbon, and so most of its combustion products are CO2. Natural gas, which is methane, produces water as well as CO2 when it is burned, and so emits less CO2 per unit of energy than coal. Oil falls somewhere between gas and coal in terms of CO2 emissions, as it is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbons. The amount of CO2 produced per unit of energy from coal, oil and gas is in the approximate proportion of 2 to 1,5 to 1. This is one of the reasons why there is a move towards greater use of natural gas instead of coal or oil in power stations, despite the much greater abundance of coal.


The earth’s atmosphere is made up of several gases, which act as a “greenhouse”, trapping the sun’s rays as they are reflected from the earth’s surface. Without this mechanism, the earth would be too cold to sustain life as we know it. Since the industrial revolution, humans have been adding huge quantities of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. More greenhouse gases means that more heat is trapped, which causes global warming. By burning coal, oil and natural gas increases atmospheric concentrations of these gases. Over the past century, increases in industry, transportation, and electricity production have increased gas concentrations in the atmosphere faster than natural processes can remove them leading to human-caused warming of the globe.

Recently, alarming events that are consistent with scientific predictions about the effects of climate change have become more and more commonplace. The global average temperature has increased by about 0.5 deg. C and sea level has risen by about 30 centimeters in the past century. 1998 was the hottest year since accurate records began in the 1840s, and ten of the hottest years have occurred during the last 15 years.

Official confirmation of global climate change came in 1995, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an officially appointed international panel of over 2,500 of the world’s leading scientific experts, found that “… the balance of the evidence suggests a human influence on the global climate.” It has been concluded that the temperature on this planet during this century has steadily risen with the higher concentration of carbon dioxide, at a rate in accordance with theoretical prediction and that this is an effect which would continue to raise the temperature for another 75 years even if carbon dioxide emission was stopped today.

The following are events which consistent with scientists predictions of the effects of global warming. The past two decades have witnessed a stream of new heat and precipitation records. Glaciers are melting around the world. There has been a 50 percent reduction in glacier ice in the European Alps since 1900. Alaska’s Columbia Glacier has retreated more than 12 kilometers in the last 16 years while temperatures there have increased. A huge section of an Antarctic ice shelf broke off. Some scientists think this may be the beginning of the end for the Larsen B ice shelf, which is about the size of Connecticut. Severe floods like the devastating Midwestern floods of 1993 and 1997 are becoming more common. Infectious diseases are moving into new areas. Corresponding with global warming, sea levels have risen, and climatic zones are shifting. All these changes exemplify the environmental impact of global climate change. Global warming and climate change pose a serious threat to the survival of many species and to the well-being of people around the world.

The IPCC estimates that air temperatures will increase by another 1-3,5 deg. C, and sea levels may rise by up to 1 meter over the next 100 years. Changes of this magnitude will affect many aspects of our lives. Here are some of them :

Seas level will rise. Rising sea level will erode beaches and coastal wetlands destroying essential habitat and leaving coastal areas more prone to flooding. Just a 50 centimeters sea level rise would double the global population at risk from storm surges.
Food crop yields will be affected. A warmer climate will increase irrigation demands and the range of certain pests, but it will also extend the growing season for some areas. While some countries will find their food production increases with a warmer climate, the poorest countries that are already subject to hunger are likely to suffer significant decreases in food production.
More people will die from heat stress. Severe heat waves like the one that killed hundreds of people in Chicago in 1995 will become more frequent. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to heat stress.
Tropical diseases will spread. Infectious diseases such as Malaria, Dengue fever, encephalitis, and cholera that are spread by mosquitoes and other disease-carrying organisms which thrive in warmer climates will be able to advance into new areas. This will lead to more incidents like malaria outbreaks in New Jersey and Dengue fever in Texas.
The water cycle will be disrupted. As the water cycle intensifies, some areas will experience more severe droughts, while others will have increased flooding. This variability will stress areas that are already prone to water quality and quantity problems.
Endangered species will suffer. Some of the most vulnerable plants, animals, and ecosystems will suffer major changes. Ten species at high risk from global warming are: Giant Panda, Polar Bear, Indian Tiger, Reindeer, Beluga Whale, Rockhopper Penguin, Snow Finch, Harlequin Frog, Monarch Butterfly, and Grizzly Bear.

Coral reefs will be harmed. Overheating of ocean waters, as a result of global warming, can lead to coral bleaching, which is a breakdown of the complex biological systems that corals have evolved in order to survive.

Another side effect of fossil fuels combustion and resulting emissions of pollutants is acid rain (or acid deposition). In the process of burning fossil fuels some of gases, in particular sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are created. Although natural sources of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides do exist, more than 90% of the sulfur and 95% of the nitrogen emissions occurring in North America and Europe are of human origin. Once released into the atmosphere, they can be converted chemically into such secondary pollutants as nitric acid and sulfuric acid, both of which dissolve easily in water. The result is that any rain which follows is slightly acidic. The acidic water droplets can be carried long distances by prevailing winds, returning to Earth as acid rain, snow, or fog.

Natural factors such as volcanoes, swamps and decaying plant life all produce sulphur dioxide, one of the contributing gases to acid rain. These natural occurrences form some kind of acid rain. There are also some cases where acid rain may be produced naturally, which is also bad for the environment but occurs in much lower amounts and quantities than that of those found in urban areas. Between the 1950’s and the 1970’s the rain over Europe increased in acidity by approximately ten times. In the 1980’s however, acidity levels decreased, but although many countries have started to do something about pollution that causes acid rain, the problem is not going away.

Acid rain is often phrased as “acid precipitation”. On the pH scale, rain usually measures 5.6. Anything below this measurement is said to be acidified rainfall. The chemical equation for acid rain is as follows:

Acid rain =
SO2 (Sulfur dioxide) + NO (Nitrogen Oxide) + H2O (Water)

Water solutions vary in their degree of acidity. If pure water is defined as neutral, baking soda solutions are basic (alkaline) and household ammonia is very basic (very alkaline). On the other side of this scale there are ascending degrees of acidity; milk is slightly acidic, tomato juice is slightly more acidic, vinegar, lemon juice is still more acidic, and battery acid is extremely acidic. If there were no pollution at all, normal rainwater would fall on the acid side of this scale, not the alkaline side. Normal rainwater is less acidic than tomato juice, but more acidic than milk. What pollution does is cause the acidity of rain to increase. In some areas of the world, rain can be as acidic as vinegar or lemon juice.

This acid rain can cause damage to plant life, in some cases seriously affecting the growth of forests, and can erode buildings and corrode metal objects. The primary component involved in corrosion is acid rain. It is estimated that the damage to metal buildings alone amounts to about 2 billion dollars yearly. The highest emissions of sulphur come from those sectors, which use the most energy and the highest sulphur-content fuels, that is solid fuels and high sulfur heavy fuel oil. Solid fuels are the most polluting fossil fuels locally and globally. These fuels range from hard coals to soft brown coals and lignite's, which have high proportion of combustion waste and pollutants such as sulfur, heavy metals, moisture and ash content.

One of the major problems with acid rain is that it gets carried from a mass acid rain producing area to areas that are usually not as badly affected. Tall chimneys that are built to ensure that the pollution that is produced by factories is taken away from nearby cities, puts the pollution into the atmosphere. When these particles get picked up by the moisture in the air, they form acids. As a result they become a part of the clouds. Then these clouds get carried off by wind, which means that when the rain falls it may be a long distance away from where the acidic particles were picked up from. An example of this would be Central and Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Sweden suffer from acid rain because of huge sulphur emissions from Eastern European power plants with low emission standards and because of wind blowing the particles over to their country.


When acid rain falls, it can effect forests as well as lakes and rivers. In many countries around the world, trees are suffering greatly because of the results of acid rain. A lot of trees are losing their leaves and thinning at the top. Some trees are affected so severely that they are dying. To grow, trees need healthy soil to develop in. Acid rain is absorbed into the soil making it virtually impossible for these trees to survive. As a result of this, trees are more susceptible to viruses, fungi and insect pests and they are not able to fight them and they then die.

Acid rain can have a severe effect on buildings. Materials such as stone, stained glass, paintings and other objects can be damaged or even destroyed. It slowly, but gradually, eats away at the material until there is virtually nothing left. Building materials crumble away, metals are corroded, the color in paint is spoiled, leather is weakened and crusts form on the surface of glass. In certain parts of the world many famous and ancient buildings are been damaged by acid rain. St. Paul’s’ Cathedral in London is having it’s stone work eaten away by acid rain. In Rome the Michelangelo statue of “Marcus Aurelius” has been removed to protect it from air pollution.

Acid rain damages soil when it falls onto the ground. It also has a noticeable effect when it falls directly into or is washed into lakes. Most of the animal and plant life in clean lakes and rivers are unable to tolerate acid rain. They can be poisoned by substances that the acid washes out from the surrounding soil into the water. All over the world there are examples of plant life and animal life suffering a lot or even not surviving the effects of acid rain. For example, thousands of lakes in Scandinavia are without any kind of life, whether it be animal or plant. Over the past years they have received a lot of acid rain as a result of the wind blowing the particles into their country form places such as England, Scotland and Eastern Europe. Since the 1930’s and 40’s some Swedish lakes have increased acidic levels in their rain water by up to 1,000 times.

The interactions between living organisms and the chemistry of their aquatic habitats are extremely complex. If the number of one species or group of species changes in response to acidification, then the ecosystem of the entire water body is likely to be affected through the predator-prey relationships of the food web. At first, the effects of acid deposition may be almost imperceptible, but as acidity increases, more and more species of plants and animals decline or disappear. As the water pH approaches 6.0, crustaceans, insects, and some plankton species begin to disappear. As pH approaches 5.0, major changes in the makeup of the plankton community occur, less desirable species of mosses and plankton may begin to invade, and the progressive loss of some fish populations is likely, with the more highly valued species being generally the least tolerant of acidity. Below pH of 5.0, the water is largely devoid of fish, the bottom is covered with undecayed material, and the near shore areas may be dominated by mosses. Terrestrial animals dependent on aquatic ecosystems are also affected. Waterfowl, for example, depend on aquatic organisms for nourishment and nutrients. As these food sources are reduced or eliminated, the quality of habitat declines and the reproductive success of the birds is affected. Both natural vegetation and crops can be affected.


We eat food, drink water, and breathe air that has come in contact with acid deposition. Canadian and U.S. studies indicate that there is a link between this pollution and respirator problems in sensitive populations such as children and asthmatics. Acid rain also makes some toxic elements, such as aluminium, copper, and mercury more soluble. Acid deposition can increase the levels of these toxic metals in untreated drinking water supplies. High aluminium concentrations in soil can also prevent the uptake and use of nutrients by plants.


Beside greenhouse gases, SO2 and NOx emissions that cause acid rain, emissions of particulate matter contribute to bad air quality. Fuel combustion is the most important source of anthropogenic nitrogen oxides, while fuel combustion and evaporative emissions from motor vehicles are the main sources of anthropogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Motor vehicles account for a considerable fraction of the total emissions of nitrogen oxides and VOCs in Europe and North America. NOx emissions also contribute to the formation of tropospheric photochemical oxidants. Photochemical oxidants, especially ozone (O3), are among the most important trace gases in the atmosphere. Their distributions show signs of change due to increasing emissions of ozone precursors (nitrogen oxides, or VOCs, methane and carbon monoxide).
According to World Health Organization air quality guidelines for ozone limit values are frequently exceeded in most parts of developed countries. In the lower troposphere, close to the ground, ozone is a strong oxidant that at elevated concentrations is harmful to human health, materials and plants. In the upper troposphere, ozone is an important greenhouse gas and contributes greatly to the oxidation efficiency of the atmosphere.

Smog over city.

There are reported several ozone and other photochemical oxidants effects on human health, materials, and crops. Increased ozone level can cause premature ageing of lungs and other respiratory tract effects like impaired lung function and increased bronchial reactivity. Increased incidence of asthmatic attacks, and respiratory symptoms, have been observed. Ozone contributes to damage to materials such as paint, textile, rubber and plastics. In the case of crops and some sensitive natural types of vegetation or plant species, exposure to ozone will lead leaf to damage and loss of production. Other photochemical oxidants cause a range of acute effects including eye, nose and throat irritation, chest discomfort, cough and headache. As a second consequence of increases in global trace gas emissions, a further decrease is expected to occur of the self-cleansing capacity of the troposphere. This would result in longer atmospheric residence times of trace gases and, consequently, an enhanced greenhouse effect and an increased influx of ozone-depleting trace gases into the stratosphere.

Heavy metals like arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) are also released during fuel combustion. Lead pollution as the result of road traffic emissions have decreased markedly since early 80s due to increased consumption of unleaded gasoline and use of catalysts in cars. Nevertheless this sector remains the main source of lead in atmosphere.
Beside emissions of pollutants there are also some other impacts of fossil fuel combustion on local environment. Here microclimatic impacts like origination of fogs, less sunshine etc. are the results of large amounts of water vapour effluents from cooling towers of power plants.


Damage caused by the transport of oil is related to the pollution of the seas. Here as the scale of oil production has increased during the twentieth century, the quantity of oil transported around the world, most of it by the sea, has also increased. To cope with this increase, in a highly competitive market, the size of oil tankers has increased to the point where they are by far the largest commercial ships. Even in routine operation, this results in large quantities of oil being released into the seas. The tankers fill up with water as ballast for return journeys. When this is emptied, significant quantities of oil are released as well.
Despite the fact that the transport of oil is generally a safe industry, the scale of it, and the size of tankers, means that when accidents do occur they have a large effect. Although the number of accidents is small in proportion to the number of tanker journeys, thousands of minor incidents involving oil spills from tankers, and oil storage facilities occur annually.
Between 1970 and 1985 there were 186 major oil spills each involving more than 1300 tonnes of oil. In 1989, the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off Alaska, releasing 39.000 tonnes of oil to form a slick covering 3.000 square kilometres and causing widespread environmental damage. People usually tend to think of the seas as a vast reservoir which can soak up limitless quantities of whatever we put into it. In fact, the scale of pollution from oil is such that clumps of floating oil are now common almost anywhere in the world’s oceans.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]