Energy Information Administration uses what is called "levelized cost.
William Schreiber Global warming is now almost universally accepted as a serious problem caused by human activity — mainly burning fossil fuels — that demands strong remedial action as soon as possible.
This note is intended as a contribution to the effort to devise a comprehensive solution to all aspects of the energy problem. Many others have also recognized various aspects of the problem and the need for a rapid response.
I have found that most workers in this field have not completely defined the problem, but nevertheless have some favorite solutions to be exclusively pursued.
When I began my engineering education long ago, I was lucky enough to have had the tutelage of experienced engineers, not scientists. They all said preached, actually that the indispensable first step in devising a solution in the real world was to define the problem.
What is the energy problem? It has several parts. This is now recognized by nearly everyone as caused by greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.
While nuclear power plants are being advocated by some, dealing with spent nuclear fuel is as problematic as greenhouse gases, and energy must be used to produce nuclear fuel. Note there is now a worldwide shortage of nuclear fuel. Others are pushing ethanol, which is such a bad idea that it is hard to understand how its use has become as widespread as it has.
Solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, nuclear power, hydrogen power, methane from buried organic material, and other renewable power sources are advocated by some, but so far, no solution has been proposed that would be both affordable and complete.
The purpose of this paper is to propose such a complete solution, the development of which requires only resources that we already have in abundance. Unless, by some miracle, we find a substitute for petroleum fuel that can be used with the same technology we use today, takes no energy to produce, has no noxious residue, and has no unexpected consequences like raising the price of corn its adoption will require rebuilding our entire energy infrastructure.
This will be neither easy nor cheap, but if we hope to preserve the Earth for our descendents, we have no choice but to act now. This will involve diverting manpower and funds from current uses. If we examine how these resources are now being used, military applications will be found high on the list.
Many of us believe that such diversions would make our world a better place in which to live. The decisions, of course, will be political, which is beyond the scope of this short paper. Though expensive to build, the proposed system, which abandons fossil fuels, should be cheap to operate, as the fuel, which is sunlight, has no operating cost.
Back to top Some preliminaries All the energy the earth has stored and almost all of the energy it receives every day comes from the Sun. Their use produces most of the global warming that has become so obvious. If we were to get most of our useable energy from the Sun, we would solve many of the most important problems, including the price and availability of petroleum as well as 3 the noxious by-products associated with using nuclear power and fossil fuels.
Perhaps we shall discover that if we stop adding these gases to the atmosphere, the existing unwanted gases will slowly dissipate. A way to do this is to move to an electrical economy, producing electricity from sunlight, and then replacing as much of other fuels as possible by electricity.
There is cost associated with this, but mostly new technology is not required. The one field in which this is not yet completely possible is transportation, where better batteries or their functional equivalent are needed. Fortunately, we still have a lot of competence in developing new technology, in spite of losing a good part of our manufacturing skills.
A very promising battery project is underway at MIT. Solar power at present is faulted for being available only during clear days, for requiring expensive solar cells of limited efficiency and life, and for not having enough space for the receptors in crowded areas such as cities.
This proposal concentrates on dealing with these issues. Small collectors concentrated sunlight sufficiently to produce steam of high enough temperature and pressure to operate water pumps. The motivation was that pilferage of electrical components, even copper wire, was then a problem in the outlying areas where the apparatus was often located.
This idea is one of the elements in the proposal. The other [idea] is to collect the sunlight on large steerable, focusable mirrors in geostationary orbit that would direct the reflected light onto much smaller receptors on the ground.
The orbits would be inclined so that the mirrors would never be in the shadow of the earth. Initially, the receptors would be located near existing hydroelectric plants, where solar-powered pumps would be used to move water up into the lake s behind the dam s for energy storage.
At NASA, we have the skills to develop such devices as the mirrors and perhaps even have the money if we give up such projects as the space station, which produce no noticeable benefits for mankind. Should the initial installations prove workable, new plants could be built in more remote locations.
Solar power like the kind I saw in India is still used to some extent in the U. Heating of swimming pools seems to be the largest application. Some is used for domestic hot water and some for space heating.
Numerous small companies are in the business of making and selling the collectors and the receptors for the various applications.Nuclear energy provides electricity without producing large amounts of carbon emissions, as is the case with fossil fuels.
Nuclear generation is amongst the most cost-effective ways of generating electricity and provides long term certainty over electricity costs.
Pros & Cons of Wind Energy In the U.S., the greatest source of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions is the power sector, at about 38%. The largest source of power is coal, which, even though it produces less than 40% of the power, produces over 70% . Sep 06, · The sun is the ultimate source of energy for our planet.
Its energy is found in fossil fuels as well as all living things. Harnessing its energy holds great promise for the world’s energy needs, and it will be heavily .
Find out what the 4 most common alternative energy sources are and their pros and cons. Solar power works by trapping the sun's rays into solar cells where this sunlight is then converted into electricity.
Additionally, solar power uses sunlight that hits solar thermal panels to convert sunlight to heat water or air. (producing steam. About 3% of electricity in the United States is a result of the chemical conversion of petroleum to heat energy for electricity.
Petroleum, like coal and natural gas is a fossil fuel. It is the result of pressure and heat changing ancient plants and tiny sea animals. Renewable energy sources do not suffer from the same long-term resource availability problems as finite fossil resources and their geographical location is less concentrated, but other issues such as dependence on variable flowing resources and competition for scarce land resources .