"We may only succeed by leading with ingenious educative activities and innovative application activities, and not only by following others in acquiring their existing technology." by M. Kostic
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Kostic, M., Energy: Physics, in Encyclopedia of Environmental Management DOI: 10.1081/E-EEM-120046144, p. 808-823, Taylor & Francis, 2012.
M. Kostic, Energy: Global and Historical Background (Abstract); and Physics of Energy (Abstract), In Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology (B. L. Capehart, Editor), ISBN: 978-0849336539, Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, 2007. [Amazon]
M. Kostic: Work, Power, and Energy article in the Academic Press/Elsevier's Encyclopedia of Energy (C.J. Cleveland, Editor-in-Chief), Volume 6, pp. 527-538, ISBN: 0-12-176480-X, Elsevier, 2004.
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Energy Future Outlook: Let us not be fooled by lower oil prices now due to unforeseen technological development and economic recession! If the man-made Global Warming is debatable, the two things are certain in not distant future: (1) the majority of world population (poor now) and their living-standard expectations will substantially increase, and (2) the fossil fuels’ economical reserves, particularly oil and natural gas, will substantially decrease. The difficulties that will face every nation and the world in meeting energy needs over the next several decades will be more challenging than what we anticipate now. The traditional solutions and approaches may not solve the global energy problem. New knowledge, new technology, and new living habits and expectations must be developed to address both, the quantity of energy needed to increase the standard of living world-wide and to preserve and enhance the quality of our environment.
However, regardless of imminent issues about fossil fuels and related environmental impact, the outlook for future energy needs and environmental sustainability is encouraging. Energy conservation “with existing technology” (insulation, regeneration, cogeneration and optimization with energy storage) has real immediate potential to substantially reduce energy dependence on fossil fuels and enable use of alternative and renewable energy sources. There are many diverse and abundant energy sources with promising future potentials, so that mankind should be able to enhance its activities, standard and quality of living, by diversifying energy sources, and by improving energy conversion and utilization efficiencies, while at the same time increasing safety and reducing environmental pollution.
World Energy: At present, most of the World energy consumption is supplied by the fossil fuels (about 85%). However, the proven fossil fuel reserves are limited, and if continued to be used at the present rates, it is estimated that the coal (as used under current conditions) will be depleted in about 250 years, oil in 60, and natural gas in about 80 years. We have to keep in perspective that ‘proven reserves’ refers to the customary and economical ‘mining’ and utilization of fuels, but new reserves and more efficient technologies are being discovered, and make new fuel reserves economical. At present, a substantial amount of World electricity is obtained from nuclear and hydro energy, about 17% and 18%, respectively, and use of other renewable energy resources is increasing, namely geothermal, wind, biomass and solar, as well as development of alternative synthetic fuels, including development of hydrogen, etc. It is worth noting that some countries produce almost all or most of their electricity from hydro energy (like Norway, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria and Switzerland), and France produces most of its electricity from nuclear fuel (76%). The nuclear fuel reserves are orders of magnitude higher than fossil fuels, and it does not contribute to CO2 and green-house pollution.
... and Kostic's Energy Vision: The current challenges could be overcome by available and to be developed potentials: A probable scenario … in the wake of a short history of fossil fuels’ abundance and use (a blip on a human history radar screen), the following, sustainable future activities, in order of practical urgency but all (diversity) are critically important:
1. Creative adaptation and innovations, with change of societal and human habits and expectations (life could be happier after fossil fuels’ era).
2. Intelligent hi-tech, local and global energy management in wide sense (to reduce waste, improve efficiency and quality of environment and life).
3. Energy conservation and regeneration have unforeseen (higher order of magnitude than thoght) and large potentials, in industry, transportation, commercial and residential sectors.
4. Nuclear energy and re-electrification for most of stationary energy needs.
5. Cogeneration and integration of power generation and new industry on global scale
(to close the cycles at sources thus protecting environment and increasing efficiency).
6. Renewable biomass and synthetic hydro-carbons for fossil fuel replacement (mobile energy, transportation, and chemicals).
7. Advanced energy storage (synthetic fuels, advanced batteries, hydrogen…).
8. Redistributed solar-related and other renewable energies (to fill in the gap…).
Furthermore, advances in energy conversion and utilization technologies and increase in efficiency, including advanced computerized control and management, contribute to energy conservation, increase in safety, and reduction of related environmental pollution. Actually, per capita energy use in the U.S. and other developed countries is being reduced in recent years. However, the increase of World’s population and development of many underdeveloped and fast developing and very populated countries, like China, India, Brazil and others, will influence continuous increase of the World energy consumption and related impact on the environment
After all, in the wake of a short history of fossil fuels’ abundance and use (a blip on a human history radar screen), the life may be happier after the fossil fuel era! (by M. Kostic).
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