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Alternative Energy Resources: The Quest for Sustainable Energy

ISBN: 978-0-471-77208-8
272 pages
March 2006
Alternative Energy Resources: The Quest for Sustainable Energy (0471772089) cover image

Description

A balanced introduction to tomorrow's energy sources


Over the course of the next fifty years, there will be a shift in the quest for sustainble energy, including a major change in transportation from internal combustion engines burning petroleum-derived fuels to newer technology engines using new transportation fuels. Alternative Energy Reources examines our options for energy sources with a focus on hydrogen as a large-scale, secondary energy vector parallel to electricity.

As the price of petroleum products increases, the world is scrambling to find a suitable replacement energy source. In this comprehensive primer, Professor Paul Kruger examines energy use throughout history and the exponential expansion of our energy use beginning with the Industrial Revolution through the present day. The book then analyzes the various alternative energy sources available, including renewable energy (hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal), nuclear, and hydrogen. He addresses each energy source's pros and cons based on our needs, availability, and environmental impact aspects. Finally, Dr. Kruger proposes the use of hydrogen as a fuel to sustain our energy supply produced by appropriate technology mixtures of renewable and nuclear energy.
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Table of Contents

Foreword xxi

Preface xxiii

1 Human Ecology on Spaceship Earth 1

1.0 Introduction 1

1.01 Axiom 1 2

1.02 Axiom 2 5

1.03 Axiom 3 6

1.04 Philosophical Questions for the Quest 9

1.1 Development of Human Ecology 9

1.11 Major Ages in Human History 10

1.12 The Biosphere: ‘‘Spaceship Earth’’ 10

1.13 Limits to Growth 11

1.2 Summary 13

References 14

2 The Unending Quest for Abundant Energy 16

2.0 Historical Perspective 16

2.1 Characteristics of an Industrial Nation 17

2.11 Flow of Abundant Energy 20

2.12 Capital and Income Energy Resources 22

2.2 Exponential Growth Dynamics 24

2.21 Linear Growth 24

2.22 Exponential Growth 25

2.23 Doubling Time 26

2.24 Exponential Growth Scenarios 27

2.25 Calculation of Growth Rates by Regression Analysis 29

2.3 Current Growth in Energy Consumption 31

2.31 Trends in Energy Consumption 31

2.32 Energy Intensity 33

2.33 Projections of Energy Intensities 35

2.34 Projections of Future Primary Energy Consumption 35

2.4 Summary 38

References 38

3 The Fossil Fuel Era 40

3.0 Historical Perspective 40

3.01 Fossil Fuel Consumption in the United States since 1900 41

3.1 Fossil Fuels 42

3.11 Coal 43

3.12 Heating Value of Coal 43

3.13 Crude Oil 44

3.14 Natural Gas 45

3.2 Forecast of U.S. Energy Consumption through 2025 46

3.3 How Long Will Fossil Fuels Last? 48

3.31 Estimation of Fossil Fuel Reserves 48

3.32 The McKelvey Diagram 49

3.33 Production of a Finite Resource 52

3.34 The Logistic Production Curve Method 53

3.4 Growth of Fossil Fuel Demand for Generation of Electricity 59

3.5 Summary 60

References 61

4 Sustainability of Energy Resources 63

4.0 Sustainable Economic Development 63

4.01 Indicators for Sustainable Energy Development 64

4.02 Sustainable Energy Supply 65

4.1 Sustainability of Electric Energy Demand 65

4.11 The Electronic Way of Life 66

4.12 A Continental Superconducting Grid 66

4.13 The Hydrogen Fuel Era 68

4.2 Natural Gas in Sustainable Energy Supply 69

4.21 Petrochemical Use of Natural Gas 70

4.22 Growth of Natural Gas Consumption in the United States 71

4.23 Forecast of Natural Gas Consumption through 2025 73

4.24 Natural Gas Supply and Reserves 73

4.3 Natural Gas Commitment for Electric Power Generation 75

4.4 Sustainability of Natural Gas as an Energy Resource 77

4.5 Nonfossil Energy Resources 80

4.51 Growth of Alternative (Nonfossil) Energy Use 80

4.52 Forecast of Nonfossil Energy Supply 81

4.6 Summary 82

References 83

5 Environmental Impact of Energy Consumption 84

5.0 Historical Perspective 84

5.1 Basics of Environmental Impact 85

5.11 Relationship between Magnitude and Severity 86

5.12 Consequences of Environmental Threat 86

5.13 A Hypothetical Example of Magnitude-Severity Analysis 87

5.2 The Saga of the Greenhouse Effect 90

5.21 Components of the Saga 91

5.3 Local Air Pollution from Automobile Exhaust 101

5.31 Environmental Impact of Smog 103

5.32 Nitrogen Oxides in Photochemical ‘‘Smog’’ 104

5.33 Magnitude-Severity Aspects of Nitrogen Oxides 106

5.4 Value of Air Quality Improvement in Transportation 106

5.5 Some Data for the Los Angeles Air Basin 108

5.6 Summary 109

References 109

6 The Nuclear Energy Era 111

6.0 Historical Perspective 111

6.1 Basic Elements of Nuclear Science 112

6.11 The Atomic Nucleus 113

6.12 Isotopic Composition and Abundance 113

6.13 Atomic Mass 114

6.14 Equivalence of Mass and Energy 115

6.15 Binding Energy 116

6.16 Nuclear Stability 118

6.17 Types of Radioactive Decay 119

6.18 Properties of Radionuclides 120

6.2 Basic Elements of Nuclear Power 121

6.21 Nuclear Fission 122

6.22 Available Energy from Uranium Fuel 123

6.23 Nuclear Power Reactors 125

6.24 The Light-Water Uranium Fuel Cycle 126

6.25 Generation IV Nuclear Reactors 129

6.26 Nuclear Safety 130

6.27 Nuclear Waste 131

6.3 The Oklo Natural Nuclear Reactors on Earth 132

6.4 Thermonuclear Fusion 133

6.5 Summary 135

References 135

7 Renewable Energy Resources 137

7.0 Renewable Energy 137

7.01 Types of Renewable Energy 137

7.02 Consumption of Renewable Energy 138

7.1 Hydroelectric Power 140

7.2 Solar Energy 142

7.21 The Solar Constant 144

7.22 Solar Energy ‘‘Reserves’’ 145

7.23 Solar Electricity 146

7.3 Wind Energy 150

7.31 Wind Power Rate 153

7.32 Wind Turbine Conversion Efficiency 154

7.33 The Wind Energy Resource 156

7.34 Estimated Cost of Wind Power 156

7.4 Biomass Energy 158

7.41 The Solar Biomass Resource 159

7.42 Biomass Conversion Processes 160

7.43 Environmental Aspects of Bioenergy Fuels 161

7.5 Other Renewable Resources 163

7.51 Tidal Energy 163

7.52 Geothermal Energy 164

7.6 Summary 166

References 167

8 Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier 169

8.0 Historical Perspective 169

8.01 Physical Nature of Hydrogen 170

8.02 Chemical Nature of Hydrogen 171

8.03 Energetics of Hydrogen 173

8.1 Hydrogen and Electricity as Parallel Energy Carriers 173

8.11 Why Hydrogen? 173

8.12 Competitive Uses for Hydrogen 174

8.2 The Hydrogen Energy Fuel Cycle 175

8.21 Hydrogen Production 176

8.21a A Wee-Bit of Electrochemistry 177

8.22 Hydrogen Storage 188

8.23 Distribution of Hydrogen 191

8.24 End Uses for Hydrogen Fuel 192

8.25 Cost Factors of Hydrogen Fuel 194

8.3 Summary 196

References 198

9 Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel 200

9.0 Historical Perspective 200

9.01 Hydrogen Fuel in Aviation 200

9.02 Hydrogen Fuel in Marine Technology 201

9.1 Hydrogen Fuel Cells in Vehicle Transportation 202

9.11 Just What Is a Fuel Cell? 202

9.12 A Wee-Bit of Thermodynamics 204

9.13 Aspects of Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel 207

9.14 Hydrogen Fuel Vehicles by Application Type 208

9.2 Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles 209

9.21 Characteristics of Alternative Fuels for Fuel Cells 211

9.22 Methanol as a Fuel for Fuel Cells 212

9.23 Natural Gas as a Transportation Fuel 213

9.3 What More Is Needed? 214

9.4 Summary 215

References 216

10 The Hydrogen Fuel Era 217

10.0 Perspective on an Era 217

10.1 Potential for Air Quality Improvement 218

10.11 Emission Standards 218

10.12 Factors That Affect Vehicle Emissions 220

10.13 History of California Emission Standards 221

10.2 Modeling Health Benefit from Hydrogen Fuel Transportation 222

10.21 Model Development for the Three-City Hydrogen Air Quality Study 223

10.22 The Metropolitan Tokyo Air Quality Study 226

10.3 Electric Energy Requirement for Hydrogen Fuel 230

10.31 Extrapolation of Historical Transportation Fuel Data to 2010 231

10.32 Growth of Demand for Hydrogen Fuel and Electric Energy: 2010–2050 234

10.4 Prospects for the Future of a Sustainable Energy Supply 236

10.41 Potential Distribution of Energy Resources 238

10.42 Possibilities to Resolve the Impasse 240

10.5 Wrap-Up 242

10.6 Summary 242

References 242

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Author Information

PAUL KRUGER is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. He has worked in both industry and academia in the areas of energy and the environment.
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Reviews

"…makes for an excellent introductory text on a subject whose importance is sure to last well into the future." (Civil Engineering, 5/2006)
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