Energy use in the world and the benefits of cogeneration
The substantial growth in wealth level in the world since the beginning of the twentieth century is primarily based on energy use. Fossil fuels feed the machines and processes that enable a tremendous productivity growth and supply of consumption articles. A modern diesel tractor is at least by a factor 1,000 more powerful than a human labourer with a spade. Nitrogen fertiliser is produced with fossil fuel and drastically enhances agricultural productivity. Containerships with a propulsion power of up to 90 MW and aeroplanes with up to 140-MW jet power enable global trading and travel. Electricity allows easy communication and offers tremendous calculating power with computers. Air conditioning facilitates comfortable living in otherwise uninhabitable climates and refrigeration makes long-time storage of food possible. So far, energy has been very affordable compared with the benefits it offers. Consequently, energy consumption has increased at a speed as if the resources would be infinite. People in the deprived regions of the world can only be lifted out of poverty by offering them affordable energy. Fear of depletion of the cheap-fuel resources coupled with increasing anxiety of excessive global warming have led to advocate cogeneration of heat and electricity and to support for a drastic increase in renewable energy. This section will describe the relationship between energy use and the global economy.