Since the mid-1800’s when fossil fuels were first fully integrated into world society during the industrial revolution, energy has been one of the most discussed topics worldwide. How to produce it, manage it, harvest it, clean it, improve it, and many more questions have created a constant forward motion of development in the energy field. From the mid-1800s to around the 1990s, fossil fuels such as coal and oil were the top energy sources around the world. However, the 1970s were a devastating year for energy in the US and British mainland/ colonies.
Between the years 1970 and 1973, oil prices jumped over 350%, and with the distribution of cars still rising, the demand for oil was higher than it had ever been. This crisis — dubbed “the energy crisis” — was the great depression of oil, with people scrambling to buy oil and gas as the prices skyrocketed. This began the development of alternative energy methods to compensate for the extreme lack of supply of one of the major sources of energy.
Thus, the first two clean energies, hydropower and biomass (such as wood pellets or solid waste), were built and integrated into cities and towns across the USA, beginning to claw out of the hold that energy was rooted in at this time. Up until the late 1900s, these two energies were the only viable sources of clean energy. Windmills, of course, had been around for centuries beforehand, but only in the forms of grain processing and food production. Never before was a windmill used until the mid-1800s to provide energy to a source housed outside of the mill itself.
However, these mills were quickly squashed by the fossil fuel movement and were not improved and developed upon until The Crisis of 1970. Solar energy was never developed in its modern form until a similar time, and the overall unit was extremely inefficient until newer developments in the late 2000s and early 2010s by clean energy companies and scientists looking to improve the usability of the units. Biomass also sprung from the 1970s energy crisis, finally making a breakthrough after over a decade of not being used. To complete the general history, clean energy recently got a new addition to the arsenal of options: Piezoelectricity. This energy is produced by the disruption of electrons in crystals as pressure is applied to them, and because of the high efficiency for the small size, they can be put in things as small as phones and watches. With so many options, however, consumers and investors are presented with a steep task to complete in choosing one or more types of clean energy to use. This may be one of the reasons that clean energy is not rising in production value as efficiently as it could be, along with barriers preventing widespread adoption.
Across the world, many countries are making large leaps towards a more sustainable future for the planet. Countries such as Sweden and Nicaragua are planning and implementing clean energy programs within their infrastructure. For example, according to the Swedish Government’s national website on clean energy and energy usage, the Swedish government has funded many companies for integration and research of clean energy, with their goal to be mostly clean by 2020 and to have a completely clean vehicle fleet by 2030. From when this source was published, the United States rated 10th on this list, but as of 2018 and the change in presidency two years prior to now, some values have changed. For example, in 2017 the US pulled out of the United Nations Paris climate accord, which is detrimental since the United States is the 2nd top producer of carbon in the world. Over 50 Countries are pledged to be 100% run by renewable energy by 2050, and other countries are already following in these footsteps. The US may soon be behind in the technological advancement and integration of clean energy. This small advancement in overall goals to become clean is partial because of the way that the president after one who has made major changes treats the previous alterations made to society, usually unraveling them. The person in our federal office and the senators elected have the ultimate control over what happens on our country and how sustainability is handled. Sustainability and clean energy have been successfully promoted and implemented into their society, partially because of the extreme awareness of the problem at hand. Sustainability has not met such a push for awareness, which may be hinged on the lack of federal involvement in the sustainable program nationally and internationally.
The University of California introduced a new study on how electric vehicles are being implemented into California infrastructure. As aesthetic aspects of these vehicles are shown to be important to hybrid electric vehicle purchase and use, as well as their construction and communication, is essential for manufacturers and policymakers hoping to promote these new types of vehicles. Fully electric and hybrid electric vehicles were previously unavailable from automobile manufacturers. With the new and improved electric car distribution from frontline companies like Tesla, many researchers still struggle to figure out why people choose not to buy hybrid of electric cars. Observers may identify buyers as uninformed about the benefits of saving gas money and additional benefits. Through the gathering and analysis of buyers’ own stories, this study takes a robust approach to understand the creation and spread of new symbolic meanings in the automotive market. However, through this study, no clear and decisive conclusion is found when considering the topic of why people buy electric cars in the first place. A portion of this gap is filled by a study conducted in Australia, where Chua Et. al, a group of researchers from the University of Western Australia, investigate and summarize the overall implications of purchasing hybrid/ fully electric cars in Australia that could be generalized to other portions of the world based on their findings and similarities to other studies. Buyers of conventionally fuelled vehicles reported that they considered quality and performance as the most important determinants of choice. They rated as least important, the image they derive from driving a particular car and social influence. On the other hand, petrol-electric hybrid car buyers reported that social influence and projecting a “green” image were the most important considerations and quality and appeal were the least important. These findings provide social marketers with a crucial understanding that helps in the selection of an appropriate model to promote the diffusion of eco-friendly vehicles.
Besides national participation and corporate funding, it is also important to note the overall impact of non-corporate companies in newer versions of clean energies. One such advancement is the harvesting of these energies. The harvesting of various forms of mechanical energy, ranging from kinetic to surface strain is identified in this paper as a method of monitoring hydroelectric functions and overall energy output from various types of vibrational energies and computers. In Neill Evans’ book, Advances in energy harvesting methods, Evans identifies state-of-the-art research advances in clean energy research, as well as new developments in piezoelectric compatibility and introduction into more complex areas of study. A similar paper was written by Seven Hossain et. al., a group of scientists and researchers from the department of chemistry in McMaster University. This study identified an increasing interest in additional methods if using instruments to assist in the enhancement of this unit. Given as an example from their paper, the detection of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors such as neurotoxins and organophosphates has implications for neuroscience, drug assessment, pharmaceutical development, and environmental monitoring will assist in improving the unit as a whole, possibly even in storage. Through a densely written analysis of the different chemical compounds and methods of reactions that piezoelectricity utilizes to produce energy, the scientists found that much of what can advance clean energy, especially the storage of collected energy, is something called acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors, which have the ability to efficiently transport the stored energy to a battery of sorts. Companies can utilize these components easily and efficiently especially on a mass level. The point at which where the corporate companies outplay the smaller companies, however, is in their outreach and their ability to get people to purchase their products.
After understanding the reasons why clean energy is produced and what types of clean energy exist, theories can begin to be developed on why people buy clean energy for personal use in the first place. Several organizations, such as Tesla, are mass producing their version of clean energy in the form of electric cars, which while driving on a bumpy road, has made significant improvements to production value and efficiency over the past quarter. This increased distribution of clean energy provides consumers with more options when buying, either in a long-term or short-term investment. A similar situation presents itself in the incredible amount of options that each energy source provides. Companies have continuously improved their products, ending in a plethora of confusing options to improve the consumer’s experience. Companies such as Vulcan, which provides street lights powered by solar energy as well as house and outdoor lighting powered by the same, are victims of this variety of options, which may be deterring customers. A study is thus required to fill this gap of a lack of confirmed information regarding why people buy clean energy and what makes people buy it in the first place. This may be accomplished by analyzing the qualitative aspects of what clean energy a local provider offers, and then questioning its consumers on what pushed them to buy is.
Clean energy is a difficult topic to do a study for a few reasons. One is the fact that there are many stones already overturned for this topic and coming up with an original study that has no similar counterparts is incredibly tedious. Taking this into account, the direction of looking at this task should be based on location and quantitative aspects such as income, housing, and geography. However, because of the issues with privacy, many of these aspects cannot be tested, which led the study in a more mixed direction. Taking studies in this field such as the one mentioned above conducted by the University of Western Australia, it is clear to see that a study such as this would require a large magnitude of participants. Instead of questioning consumers of a single company (most likely individual as opposed to corporate) it may be more beneficial to contact a corporate function and question its wider variety of customers. However, any study conducted will run into many restrictions within the process, mainly the willingness of participants to divulge information that while is allowed to be collected, may seem a private for some.