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Powering Planet Earth: Energy Solutions for the Future

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Powering Planet Earth: Energy Solutions for the Future

Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani, Nick Serpone (Translator)

ISBN: 978-3-527-66741-3 November 2012 254 Pages

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Description

In their book Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani and Nick Serpone uncover the background details associated with a transition to sustainable energy production that are routinely swept under the table in public discussions. They are not only concerned with the (alleged) advantages
and disadvantages of any one energy generation technology from a technical viewpoint, but also with the ecological, economic, political and social consequences of an inevitable transition. In a highly readable manner aimed at an international audience, the authors introduce the often misused and sometimes abused term 'energy' and give a lucid account of the development of energy production from timber to nuclear energy and renewable energies. They compare various energy generation methods with respect to their efficiency and practicability for large-scale implementation and examine if, and how, these methods live up to the expectations and promises their proponents make. In addition, the authors juxtapose the political and economic prerequisites in different regions of the world that advance, or hinder, an energy turnaround. They round off their book by debunking the seventeen most popular myths often cited in discussions on energy issues. As a result, the authors provide ammunition for debate, underpin (and unsettle) opinions using facts, and challenge comfortable and popular chains of reasoning.
PREFACE

WHAT IS ENERGY?
Energy and Related Terms
From One Energy Form to Another
Sources of Energy
The Pillars of the Universe
Particles in Motion
Heat (Warmth) - an Exchangeable Energy
You Can't Run Away from Them - the Principles of Thermodynamics
Einstein's Equation: E = mc2
From Kilowatt-hour to the Barrel of Oil
From a Chemical Bond to a Tsunami

YESTERDAY AND TODAY
The Energy Slaves
From Coal to Coal?
Hidden Energy
From Faraday to Blackouts
From Muscle Work to Jet Aircraft
Petroleum to Food
From Fire to Air Conditioning
From Horseback Messengers to E-mails
From Gunpowder to the Atomic Bomb
Emerging Issues

HOW MUCH ENERGY GOES TO WASTE?
The Largest Explosion of All Time
Obese and Miserable
Fruits Out of Season
From Whale Oil to Pollution by Light
At Full Throttle
A Desperate Case - the Transportation System
Let's Get a Move on

ENERGY IN THE SPACESHIP?S HOLD
Crude Oil
Peaking of Oil Production?
Natural Gas
Coal and CO2 Rise
The Most Traded Commodities
The Hidden Treasure
Energy Also Travels
Costly Energy Invoices
Alliances, Tensions, Wars

COLLATERAL DAMAGE
The Planet Overheats
Agreements and Disagreements
Jailing the Offender?
A Subtle Danger
Rain Is No Longer What It Used to be
Financial Compensation
Minimize! Save the Planet

ENERGY FROM THE ATOM
Splitting the Atom
Nuclear Accidents
An Inconvenient Legacy
Where Do We Store Nuclear Wastes?
We'll Settle the Bill Later
Current Nuclear Power Plants
Tomorrow's Nuclear Power Plants (Maybe)
The Harsh Reality of the Marketplace
Solution or Problem?
Nuclear Fusion: if Not Roses . . . Then What?

ENERGY FROM THE SUN
Conversion and Exploitation of Sunlight
From Light to Heat
From Light to Electricity
Concentrating Sunlight
Light to Chemical Energy - Natural Photosynthesis
Light to Chemical Energy - the Sunshine Vitamin
Biomass and Biofuels: Yes, but . . . !
Artificial Photosynthesis
The Hydrogen Myth

ENERGY FROM AIR, WATER, AND LAND
Wind Changes
Wind Farms
Water - between Past and Future
Geothermal Energy
Sea Power

FUKUSHIMA AND THE FUTURE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY
What Happened at Fukushima Daiichi?
The Consequences for the Population
A Lesson from the Fukushima Disaster
What Is Today's Cost of Nuclear Energy?
Should Italy Go Back to Nuclear Energy?
The Fate of Nuclear Energy
Global Expansion of Nuclear Power?
Is It Worthwhile to Get Energy Using Technologies Exposed to Great Risks?

ENERGY ITALY
Stop Navigating Blind
Conserve Energy! Where? How?
Italy - a Country with an Abundance of Sunlight
Wind, Geothermal Energy, Biomass
Conservation and Renewables - a Summary

ENERGY CANADA
Primary Energy Resources
Oil Sands or Tar Sands?
Oil Sands and Their Environmental Impact
Water Usage
Natural Gas Usage
Greenhouse Gases
Coal in Canada
Natural Gas
Nuclear Energy and Electricity
Electricity
Renewable Energy - Wind Power
Renewable Energy - Solar Power
Renewable Energy - Biomass Energy
Renewable Energy - Geothermal Energy
Renewable Energy - Sea Power
Canada and Energy - Doing More

ENERGY USA
Primary Energy Resources
Coal - Supply and Demand
Natural Gas - Supply and Demand
Nuclear Power
Historical Notes
Present Situation
Nuclear Renaissance
Water Usage in Nuclear Reactors
Plant Decommissioning
Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy - Wind Power
Renewable Energy - Solar Thermal Power
Renewable Energy - Solar Photovoltaic
Renewable Energy - Geothermal Energy
Renewable Energy - Biomass
Renewable Energy - Biofuels

ENERGY UK
Primary Energy Resources
Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuels - Coal
Fossil Fuels - Natural Gas
Nuclear Power
Nuclear Waste Management and Disposal
Windscale Fire and Decommissioning
Renewable Energy
Renewable Energy - Wind Power
Some Historical Notes
Renewable Energy - Solar Power
Renewable Energy - Geothermal Energy
Renewable Energy - Wave and Tidal Power
Renewable Energy - Biofuels
Electricity in the United Kingdom

GLOBAL TRENDS
A Shot at the Wrong Target
Sustainability of the Photovoltaic Option
Will Renewable Energy Sources Suffice?
But There Is Always a Limit

SCENARIOS FOR THE FUTURE
(Un)Sustainable Development
America's Big Footprint
The More We Consume, the More We're Happy?
That's Enough
Strategies
At the Crossroads
Transition to Renewable Energy Resources
The Scientist's and the Politician's Responsibility
Challenges and Opportunities

APPENDICES

INDEX

"The book can be read by generalists who want to expand their knowledge of energy and by those concerned with energy policy and energy advocates who want to deal with a leading challenge to the continued existence of the world as it exists today."  (Energy Technology, 14 February 2014)

“As a result, the authors provide ammunition for debate, underpin (and unsettle) opinions using facts, and challenge comfortable and popular chains of reasoning.”  (ETDE Energy Database, 1 December 2013)

“A valuable resource for both serious students of the field and general readers.  Summing Up: Highly recommended.  All students, researchers/faculty, professionals/practitioners, and general audiences.  (Choice, 1 November 2013)