Introduction - thirst for energy

Introduction - thirst for energy

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The fossil-fuel era is coming to an end. Thus far, it has spanned about 250 years from 1760 to 2011, and according to the historical record, these years have represented a period of immense change in technological terms, encompassing brilliant scientific breakthroughs and engineering innovation. But, what history generally fails to report is that it has also been a period of inexcusable profligacy in relation to our treatment of the planet's initially bountiful energy supplies. S.E. Lindsay's desire, in 1920, for the responsible delivery of engineering progress has not occurred. This is largely due to the fact that, despite their finiteness, the primary sources of power: coal, oil and gas, have been inordinately cheap throughout this time span, since these products of ancient sunlight, and the pollution they cause when combusted, have largely been treated as uncosted 'externalities' in the classical economic science, which underpins our global capitalist system.

Chapter Contents:

  • 1.1 Fossil-fuel era
  • 1.1.1 An age of engineering inefficiency
  • 1.1.2 Profligate energy usage
  • 1.1.3 End-user wastage
  • 1.2 Energy-constrained era of renewables
  • 1.2.1 Renewable energy sources
  • 1.2.2 Potential power limits
  • 1.3 Inefficiencies in electrical equipment
  • 1.3.1 Electrical loss mechanisms
  • 1.3.2 Thermal losses
  • 1.4 Summary
  • 1.5 References

Inspec keywords: oils; history; renewable energy sources; coal

Other keywords: global capitalist system; fossil-fuel; coal; oil; energy supply; engineering innovation; economic science; gas; historical record

Subjects: Fossil fuels; Energy resources

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