Endless desert if lies ahead and a blazingly hot sun, glares atop one’s head, then a man lost amidst the dunes should and really must value each drop contained in his bottle. For if the last drop ends before the desert does, the man might be in serious trouble.
However irrelevant the above paragraph could seem, its accurately relevant to the scenario that our world faces today. Replace the water with petroleum, the bottle with our oil wells, the man with the global economy and the desert with its sole dependence on petroleum as source of energy and voila, we could have the seriousness of the situation perfectly laid out. Wells of oil and gas are ceaselessly churning out greater amounts of petroleum from under the bottom yearly. WAIT!
Greater amounts yearly? But why?
That is a simple question with a good simpler answer. The quantity of petroleum being sucked out of earth is getting bigger because we are demanding for it. Its getting bigger because, I buy my son a bike to ride to school on, because my wife needs a car to go to the neighborhood grocery store and since I need a 3000 cc SUV to go to my office which happens to be 3 km from my home. And also because I won’t turn off my SUV’s engine at crossings as I am rich enough to find it ‘uncool’.
And so as ‘I’, who can easily afford to purchase fuel have taken it as a right and am using it in essentially the most inefficient manner, am demanding for more of it. This ‘I’ is not just me or us. ‘I’ stands for every person around the globe who has got used to living with fuel and burning it to get energy. But its high time that ‘I’ must realize that the water in my bottle will not last long enough, if its not valued with the seriousness that it deserves. And ‘I’ who has learnt to live with fuel must learn to live with its conservation too.
But this does not imply that we stop using petroleum products all together. Our economy depends on it so much, that it is impossible to do that. And thus involves light the importance of how of using this fuel ‘Efficiently’. This word efficiently implies that we do the utmost amount of work, using the least amount of energy. Leading organization world wide have put their best brains to the duty of bring efficiency into all phases of their work. Manufacturers of automobiles, computers, kitchen appliances, industrial equipments and every other product that uses fuel or power, are taking a look at making their products more energy efficient. And so as citizens of the world, even we must contribute.
So, apart from I selling my SUV to purchase a 600 cc fuel efficient car, my wife walking to the grocery store and my son using the public transport, there are several other ways by which we will conserve petroleum. We should make our selves aware of them and make them a way of life.
A study sponsored by PCRA itself shows that vehicles at halt on traffic lights, waste as much as Rs.994 crore worth or petroleum products yearly. Even in case your vehicle is poorly maintained, you’re contributing to the loss of fuel worth in excess of Rs. 5000 crore all over the country, including both commercial and non-commercial users. Approximately 75% of the total LPG used in the country is used for domestic purposes. Studies suggest that if we use LPG at our homes with care, we can save upto 8-10%. As an example, cooking in utensils with lid closed, using gas on simmer mode for cooking(which uses only 3/4th amount of gas as compared to high mode) etc. Along with LPG, other fuels like kerosene are also used at home, for which standard equipments must be used. Use of below-standard equipments, leads to high consumption.
And why only petroleum, even electricity which is supplied at our homes is generated from fuels like gas, diesel and coal. A study in UK suggests that if every house uses 3 CFLs, it saves enough electricity to power streetlights of their country for 1 year. Aside from CFLs, air-conditioners, microwave-ovens, heaters, geysers etc must be purchased, keeping their power ratings in mind. TV consumes 25% of its power required, when on stand by and so do many other appliances, which should be switched off when not in use. A unit of electricity saved is roughly equal to three units of electricity produced. Moreover, 1 unit of electricity produced, results in 943 gm of carbon emission.
Industries are major users of petroleum, using approximately 40% of the whole commercial energy used in the country. Thus conservation initiatives by the industries, aided and enforced by the federal government save energy on a large scale. Especially small and medium scale industries, which use out dated machinery, have high energy consumption as in comparison with their production. Commercial buildings like Malls and offices, use around 33 billion units of energy per annum. Proper power management and use of higher efficiency equipments can save up to 5% of this energy.
But this is only one side of the story. As I said earlier, we’re lost in a desert, the desert being our sole dependence on petroleum as a source of energy. So it is impertinent to discover a way out.
Solar water heaters, as promoted by administration of Banglore or small scale water turbine based power stations as promoted by Uttaranchal government, or compost gas power units as promoted in sunderban region by W Bengal Government, or solar lamps as promoted in rural areas of Rajasthan, all are steps in the precise direction. Further renewable sources like wind power and solar, that are still not used as much as their potential must not be ignored by the government. In today’s scenario, where power generation is increasingly becoming a profitable business for private companies, government must enforce and encourage conditions for production from alternate sources of energy by these private players.
If properly directed and enforced, innovative methods will be use to save petroleum in scenarios mentioned above. Government being the enforcer and citizen being the aware user, can make the water in our bottle last a bit longer.