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The Path to More Sustainable Energy Systems

Book Description

What do we want from sustainable energy? What is possible to achieve and when? Energy professionals and political leaders need a solid, holistic understanding of where the world finds its energy—the limits of that energy—and what must change in the future if we are to have a more environmentally sustainable world, all without sacrificing our modern technologically-based civilization. This book sheds some much needed light on that conundrum. It • provides a broad overview of our current energy resources and their limitations; • includes considerations of political and economic constraints, especially the enormous “energy density” advantage that oil and gas currently provide over alternative energies and how that must always enter into any rational plan for future energy supplies; • investigates societal uses of energy and potential for supplying projected future needs for both the Developed and Developing Worlds; • discusses energy production methods that contribute to sustainability challenges; • clarifies the urgency behind the sweeping changes in the world’s energy needs and available supplies; • discusses the transition viability of nuclear, biomass, solar, wind, hydro, wave, tidal, and geothermal energy sources; and • offers rational evaluations of time frames and energy development directions to accomplish sustainable mixes of fossil and renewable energy sources, with an emphasis on contexts, including energy needs in poor countries.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. 1 Concepts, Definitions, Measures
    1. 1.1 Defining Energy
      1. 1.1.1 Work
      2. 1.1.2 Heat
      3. 1.1.3 Light
      4. 1.1.4 Electricity
      5. 1.1.5 Power
      6. 1.1.6 Efficiency
    2. 1.2 Key Energy Resource Definitions
      1. 1.2.1 Sources and Resources
      2. 1.2.2 Reserves
      3. 1.2.3 Production
      4. 1.2.4 Comparing Units and Magnitudes of Measure
    3. 1.3 “Renewable” Versus “Nonrenewable” Energy
      1. 1.3.1 Stock and Flow Limitations
      2. 1.3.2 Fossil and Nuclear Fuels: Nonrenewable, Stock-Limited Energy
      3. 1.3.3 Solar Energy: Renewable, Flow-Limited Energy
      4. 1.3.4 In-Between Resources: Renewable, Stock, and Flow-Limited Energy
      5. 1.3.5 Briefly Comparing Current Use of Energy Stocks and Flows
    4. 1.4 Energy Use in Societies
      1. 1.4.1 Visualizing Energy Use
      2. 1.4.2 Energy Use by Economic Sector
      3. 1.4.3 Energy Use by Example: The United States
    5. 1.5 Environmental Impacts of Energy Use
      1. 1.5.1 Classification by Pollutant or Harm
      2. 1.5.2 Classification by Scale
    6. 1.6 Defining Sustainability and Sustainable Energy
      1. 1.6.1 Sustainability
      2. 1.6.2 Sustainable Energy
    7. 1.7 Sources of Energy and Environmental Information
      1. 1.7.1 United States Energy Information Administration
      2. 1.7.2 International Energy Agency
      3. 1.7.3 World Energy Council
      4. 1.7.4 World Resources Institute
      5. 1.7.5 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
      6. 1.7.6 Industry Reports
  8. 2 “Nonrenewable” Energy Resources
    1. 2.1 Fossil Fuels
      1. 2.1.1 Oil and Gas
      2. 2.1.2 Coal
    2. 2.2 Nuclear Fuels
      1. 2.2.1 Fission
      2. 2.2.2 Fusion
      3. 2.2.3 Uranium Distribution
      4. 2.2.4 Uranium Exploration and Production
  9. 3 “Renewable” Energy Resources
    1. 3.1 A Note
    2. 3.2 Earth’s Energy Allowance
    3. 3.3 The Solar Resource
      1. 3.3.1 Solar Photovoltaic Technology
      2. 3.3.2 Concentrating Solar Power
      3. 3.3.3 Passive Solar Energy
      4. 3.3.4 Solar Energy Distribution and Installed Capacity
    4. 3.4 Biomass and Biofuel Resources
      1. 3.4.1 Ethanol
      2. 3.4.2 Biodiesel
      3. 3.4.3 Biogas
      4. 3.4.4 Biomass and Biofuels Distribution and Production
    5. 3.5 Hydropower
      1. 3.5.1 Hydro Potential Distribution
      2. 3.5.2 Tidal and Wave Power
    6. 3.6 Wind Power
      1. 3.6.1 Wind Turbines
      2. 3.6.2 Wind Distribution and Installed Capacity
    7. 3.7 Geothermal
      1. 3.7.1 Geothermal Distribution and Installed Capacity
      2. 3.7.2 Direct Use Applications
  10. 4 Energy Consumption in Economic Sectors
    1. 4.1 Broadly Characterizing Energy Consumption
    2. 4.2 Energy Consumption in Industrialized Society
    3. 4.3 The Electric Power Sector
      1. 4.3.1 Electricity Generation
      2. 4.3.2 Electricity Delivery
      3. 4.3.3 Energy Consumption in the Electric Power Sector
    4. 4.4 The Transportation Sector
      1. 4.4.1 Vehicular Technology
      2. 4.4.2 Automobiles Versus Mass Transit
      3. 4.4.3 Commercial Transportation
      4. 4.4.4 Energy Consumption in the Transportation Sector
    5. 4.5 The Industrial Sector
      1. 4.5.1 Petroleum Refining
      2. 4.5.2 The Steel and Aluminum Industries
      3. 4.5.3 Energy Consumption in the Industrial Sector
    6. 4.6 The Residential and Commercial Sectors
      1. 4.6.1 Lighting
      2. 4.6.2 Heating
      3. 4.6.3 Cooling
      4. 4.6.4 Appliances
      5. 4.6.5 Consumer Electronics
      6. 4.6.6 Energy Consumption in the Residential/Commercial Sectors
    7. 4.7 Improving Energy Efficiency in Economic Sectors
  11. 5 Petroleum and Other Energy Resource Limits
    1. 5.1 Earth’s Energy Resource “Bank Account”
    2. 5.2 Growth and Limits
      1. 5.2.1 The Growth Function
      2. 5.2.2 Physical Limits
    3. 5.3 Peak Oil: Understanding Oil Limits
      1. 5.3.1 Specific Details
      2. 5.3.2 Analysis
      3. 5.3.3 A Closer Look at the Character of a Peak
      4. 5.3.4 What We Can Know
    4. 5.4 Limits of Other Resources
      1. 5.4.1 Solar Energy Limits
      2. 5.4.2 Wind Energy Limits
      3. 5.4.3 Hydro Energy Limits
      4. 5.4.4 Geothermal Energy Limits
    5. 5.5 What Does All of This Mean to Sustainability?
  12. 6 Environmental Impact
    1. 6.1 The Environment and Humans: Interconnected Systems
      1. 6.1.1 The Energy and Environment Focus
    2. 6.2 Characterizing Environmental Impacts
      1. 6.2.1 Toxins, Poisons, and Toxicity
      2. 6.2.2 Radiation
      3. 6.2.3 Human Safety and Welfare
      4. 6.2.4 Land Use and Ecosystem Disruption
      5. 6.2.5 Water Usage and Pollution
      6. 6.2.6 Air Emissions and Pollution
      7. 6.2.7 Green House Gas Emissions and Climate Change
    3. 6.3 Environmental Impacts of the Sources
      1. 6.3.1 Coal
      2. 6.3.2 Oil and Gas
      3. 6.3.3 Nuclear
      4. 6.3.4 The “Renewables”
      5. 6.3.5 Biofuels and Biomass
    4. 6.4 Comparing Impacts
  13. 7 Global Social Contexts
    1. 7.1 Modern Energy’s Essential Role
    2. 7.2 Energy Requirements to Meet Human Needs and Wants
      1. 7.2.1 Human Needs
    3. 7.3 The Advantage of Consuming Energy
      1. 7.3.1 In-depth: The Energy/Quality-of-Life Nexus
    4. 7.4 Consumerism
    5. 7.5 Energy Security Considerations
    6. 7.6 Comparing the Values of Different Energy Systems
      1. 7.6.1 Fossil Fuels
      2. 7.6.2 Renewable Resources
      3. 7.6.3 Nuclear Power
      4. 7.6.4 Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
    7. 7.7 Externalities in Energy Value Metrics
  14. 8 Next Steps
    1. 8.1 Entering a New Age
      1. 8.1.1 The Transition that Brought us Here
    2. 8.2 Petroleum’s Role in the Next Transition
      1. 8.2.1 Petroleum’s Response to the Shortage
      2. 8.2.2 The Time Factor
      3. 8.2.3 Higher Prices
    3. 8.3 Energy Poverty’s Role in the Transition
      1. 8.3.1 The Need for an Energy Labor Force
    4. 8.4 A Brief Note on Climate Change’s Role in the Transition
    5. 8.5 Energy Dreams
      1. 8.5.1 Easy Energy Transitions
      2. 8.5.2 Solar
      3. 8.5.3 Unproven Technologies
      4. 8.5.4 Ridiculous Technologies
    6. 8.6 Comparing the Options
    7. 8.7 New Lifestyles Around Sustainable Energy
    8. 8.8 Optimized Energy Mixes for Space and Time
      1. 8.8.1 Using Everything, as We Always Have
      2. 8.8.2 Context-Based Solutions
      3. 8.8.3 Local, Decentralized Energy Development
      4. 8.8.4 Conservation
      5. 8.8.5 Evolving Energy Mixes
    9. 8.9 Brief Summary of Agency and Industry Forecasts
    10. 8.10 So, What Is the Path Forward?
  15. Index
  16. Ad Page
  17. Back Cover