Fueling Our Future: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy

Fueling Our Future: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy

Robert L. Evans

Language: English

Pages: 193


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

One of the most important issues facing humanity today is the prospect of global climate change, brought about primarily by our prolific energy use and heavy dependence on fossil fuels. Fueling Our Future: An Introduction to Sustainable Energy provides a concise overview of current energy demand and supply patterns. It presents a balanced view of how our reliance on fossil fuels can be changed over time so that we have a much more sustainable energy system in the near future. Written in a non-technical and accessible style, the book will appeal to a wide range of readers without scientific backgrounds.













used for a more centralized generating system, however, if that is seen to be a more appropriate way to finance large-scale renewable energy development. The largest centralized solar PV powerplant in the world, shown in Figure 7.3, is the Springerville Generating Station (Tucson Electric Power, 2005) in the USA. This plant is located in the Arizona desert, one of the sunniest locations in the continental USA, and has a peak generating capacity of 4.6 MWe. The plant incorporates nearly

recent years, therefore, to small-scale hydroelectric installations, which are often community based in rural or fairly remote areas. These installations are typically less than 1 MWe in capacity, and do not usually involve construction of a dam, but rather rely on the flow of water in small rivers or streams. These small-scale, or ‘‘microhydro’’ (less than 100 kWe) power plants are often built as stand-alone units to supply a small community, or perhaps a farm or small business, without

the capacity factor for a tidal powerplant (as we have noted for both the LaRance and Annapolis plants) is limited to approximately 30%, which is much lower than for most large hydroelectric plants. This low capacity factor results in poor utilization of the large capital investment normally required for the civil works needed to trap sufficient water behind the barrage, and drives the cost of producing electricity even higher. The second way to capture energy from the power of the tides is to

which use batteries charged from the grid to provide all of the motive power for short journeys, and a small engine to recharge the batteries if a longer range was required. In a later chapter we will examine these alternative transportation energy scenarios using the energy conversion chain approach. The ‘‘energy problem,’’ that is, the provision of a sustainable and non-polluting energy supply to meet all of our domestic, commercial, and industrial energy needs, is a complex and long-term

for the long-term storage of nuclear waste materials have been proposed. These include disposal in the deep ocean, underground retrievable storage in stable geologic formations, and even disposal by launching waste containers into deep space using well-established, but expensive, rockets or space vehicles. So far, the international consensus appears to be that the safest, and most economic, form of waste disposal will be the storage of high-level waste deep underground in stable geologic

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