||Ghazi A. Karim
- - - - - - download - - - - - -
The rate of consumption of the energy resources available continues to increase in spite of the significant progress being made to enhance the efficiency of their usage. Contributions to this increase in consumption include the rise in world population, improvements in the average standard of living, and the increase in average life expectancy. It is expected that the combustion of fossil fuels will continue to be the prime source to rely on for energy for some time to come. This will be constrained, however, by the continued depletion of crude petroleum resources of quality, the need for ever-cleaner exhaust emissions, and the rapid progress being made in the development of renewable resources. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly evident, especially more recently, that the availability of natural gas, as well as other gaseous fuels, is increasing. This has come about mainly as a result of the improvements in the long-range transportation of gas and the increased availability of unconventional sources, such as those of shale gas, biogases, and coal bed-derived gases. Moreover, the increased exploitation of unconventional resources of liquid hydrocarbon fuels, such as tar sands, is bringing with it the potential production of large amounts of gaseous fuel mixtures, albeit of varied quality and having lower heating values than those of the conventional processed pipeline natural gas. On this basis, there are many opportunities to increasingly exploit such gaseous fuel resources while at the same time economizing on the consumption of other nonrenewable type liquid fossil fuel resources. Such approaches would need to develop further new means for the production of power while continuing the overall reduction of exhaust emissions, including those associated with their contribution to global warming.