THE NEED FOR ENERGY

Energy sources are needed by everyone for cooking, heating, lighting and transportation.

Water, sunlight and wind are three natural energy sources which have been used for centuries along with oil extracted from plants, vegetables and animals.

Wood, coal and tin have also all been used as an energy source while domesticated animals such as horses, dogs and cattle have provided the power.

Vegetable oils extracted from palm, soybean, sunflower, coconut and olive have traditionally been used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Oil produced from the blubber of the sperm white whale fuelled a market demand, especially for the upper classes, for nearly two centuries during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

The oil proved to be a valuable commodity for lighting lamps, lubrication, soap, paint and varnish manufacture while along with whalebone was also utilized in the manufacture of textiles and rope.

Whalebone, although not an actual energy source by itself, was considered the forerunner of plastic today.

Such a quest for whale oil would inspire the fictional Moby Dick based on an actual true story of the Essex Ship which supposedly met its fate to a white bull whale in 1820.

Cost, Technology and the importance of energy efficiency would play a major role in what would happen in the energy world, notwithstanding a time blip with the American civil war of 1861-1865.

The modern petroleum industry really began in 1859 when a former railroad constructor named Colonel Edwin Drake pioneered the first oil producing well in a creek in Pennyslvania in the United States.

The well produced kerosene or paraffin which competed at the time with cemphene, a blend of alcohol and turpentine, as an energy-efficient source.

This was fossil fuel by another name, organic matter of plants and animals in the ground which had decayed over millions of centuries.

It was exciting, enterprising and ievitable but man was yet to understand the consequences of the rape of the planet in this way and the emission of carbonic dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere

The next significant development was the invention of the combustion engine which used petroleum as an energy source to power vehicles.

It would not be long before electricity became a major competitor to oil and gas in the energy market-place..

The supply and demand for natural oil and gas was, however, set to expand on an an unprecedented scale.

Before too long, pipelines were constructed under both the land and sea to transport the sourced gas to a refinery for worldwide commercial distribution.

For those who did not have piped gas available to their home, a portable cylinder for the storage of  liquidated petroleum gas was manufactured which could be refilled when empty which proved particularly useful for cooking.

It is still the prevalent cooking method today in many countries around the world.

As the petroleum industry expanded, oil rigs were set up off-shore and became floating cities for those who worked there.

History has, however, a habit of repeating itself and mankind does not seem to learn the lessons of the past.

Depleting the natural resources of trees, mines and sealife such as the sperm white whale has had a drastic environmental impact on the planet leading to pollution, extinction of living species and natural disasters.  There have been horrifying oil spills and large-scale contamination of water supplies.

Today, manufactured gas, both piped and portable, competes with electricity as a major energy source, alsobeit with an unnatural, uneasy dependency on them.

The world, meanwhile, looks at renewable energy in the next spin of the wheel as a sustainable energy source for all inhabitants – humans, animals and plants alike.

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