Impacts and protection of the air

Energy is an indispensable element to guarantee the well-being and development of the planet. Without a regular supply of energy, cities, industries, transportation and infrastructures would come to a halt. Moreover, the growth of the world economy and consumption in the 20th century, has been based mainly on exploiting  fossil fuels: first coal, then petroleum and natural gas. These sources of energy, however, are not renewable and are destined, in the future, to become depleted. Furthermore, these sources of energy emit polluting substances during combustion, even if the amounts vary greatly, depending on which fuel is used.
Among the most important substances are: carbon oxides (COx), sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and total particulate solids (TPS). These pollutants can be harmful for human health and for the environment if they exceed determined concentrations in the air. Among these are: the greenhouse effect, acid rain, air pollution caused by traffic in the cities and all the serious problems that experts and communication media discuss extensively for which, very often, a solution still has not been found.
The desire to protect the environment, the oil crisis of the Seventies and Eighties, and  the current increase in the price of petroleum, have led the Governments of a number of industrialized countries to incentivize the development of sources of energy that are alternative to the ones that are dominant today. Notwithstanding these incentives and the rapidity of scientific and technological progress, it is estimated that these sources  will cover a significant share of energy consumption only in many years’ time. And therefore, in the short and medium period, most of the energy required by man will probably still be provided by the traditional fossil fuels (specially petroleum and natural gas). However man must learn to use the energy produced by fossil fuels in an increasingly efficient manner, (with a decrease in the amount of waste and an increase in the energy yield of different production processes) and must search for and make use of technological applications which will lead to a decrease in the emissions of pollutants in the air provoked by their  combustion.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section

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    Total primary energy supply in 2013

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    Fossil fuels world reserves

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    Electricity production in Italy

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    Italy: electricity production from renewables (2014)

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    Installed capacity of renewable power plants in Italy

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    Primary energy consumption by energy source in Italy

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  • energy

    Primary energy consumption in Italy

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    energy

    Final energy consumption by energy source in Italy

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    energy

    Final energy consumption in Italy

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  • energy

    Total primary energy supply in 2013

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    energy

    Fossil fuels world reserves

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  • energy

    Electricity production in Italy

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    energy

    Italy: electricity production from renewables (2014)

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  • energy

    Installed capacity of renewable power plants in Italy

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    energy

    Primary energy consumption by energy source in Italy

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  • energy

    Total primary energy supply in 2013

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  • energy

    Fossil fuels world reserves

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  • energy

    Electricity production in Italy

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Facts

  • Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

    Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

  • Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

    Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

    Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

  • Hydrogen from biomass

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier that allows to generate energy in an environmentally sustainable way...

    ITER fusion reactor

    The reactor that will be able to produce electronuclear energy without risk of explosion or radioactive waste...

    Phyto-depuration

    A very interesting project has been carried out by Lombardy region...

  • 2 March 2011

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

    Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

  • Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

    Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

  • Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

  • Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…