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Energy density ranking of hydrocarbon fuels  

Energy density ranking of hydrocarbon fuels  

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Article
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Renewables are not green. To reach the scale at which they would contribute importantly to meeting global energy demand, renewable sources of energy, such as wind, water and biomass, cause serious environmental harm. Measuring renewables in watts per square metre that each source could produce smashes these environmental idols. Nuclear energy is gr...

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... return to the heart of energy evolution, decarbonisation. Because hydrogen is much better stuff for burning than carbon, the hydrocarbons form a clear hierarchy ( Figure 5). Methane tops the ranking, with an energy density of about 55 megajoules per kilo, about twice that of black coal and three times that of wood. ...

Citations

... For example, wind facilities require 5-10 times as much steel and concrete per MW e as a nuclear power. Nuclear desalination, though, has the potential to have a significant effect due to its extended development period, and a management strategy is thus required to offer this problem particular consideration (Ausubel, 2007;Damitz et al., 2006). This program involves site-specific operating controls, seasonal limits on other operations, stringent replenishment protocols, planting vegetation, systems on water management, usage of biodegradable materials, etc. ...
... This is worth remembering that windmills have had a disruptive noise impact relative to alternative forms of electricity. Nevertheless, if the activity of the nuclear desalination plant results in noise that disturbs the environment and the residential areas, appropriate acoustic controls will adequately reduce the noise level (Ausubel, 2007;Plan, 2019;Schwarzenegger, 2005). ...
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The present water and energy crisis facing the world at large with the ever-growing population is one that demands careful attention by the research community. The treatment of seawater and brackish water by integrating renewable energy technologies into desalination processes holds a promising future for availing freshwater in areas of water scarcity across the globe. This chapter captures the different desalination technologies (such as thermal and membrane technologies) and different renewable energy technologies (like solar, wind and geothermal energies) that can be integrated into the process of water treatment for salt removal. Utilizing renewable energy technologies in desalination systems will serve as alternative where grid electricity is not available, reduce environmental pollution and cost.
... The scaling up of renewable energy technologies is likely to have adverse environmental impacts, for example, through the extraction and disposal of new critical materials such as lithium (Hanger-Kopp et al., 2019). The scaling up of renewable energy can also lead to damaging landuse changes (Ausubel, 2007). Wind and solar power require lots of land and therefore result in habitat disruption and fragmentation (Gasparatos et al., 2017). ...
Technical Report
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This IRGC policy brief focuses on the risks associated with the transition to a low-carbon society and economy. It is based on a multi-stakeholder expert workshop held in September 2020. It incorporates views and insights from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations and policy- making institutions.
... Due to absorption by the atmosphere, reflection from cloud tops, oceans, terrestrial surfaces and rotation of the Earth (day/night cycles), the annual mean of the solar radiation reaching the surface, is 170W/m 2 for the oceans and 180W/m 2 for the continents, of which about 75% is direct light, while the balance is accounted for as scattered by air molecules, water vapour, aerosols and clouds (Ndaceko et al., 2014). Ausubel (2007) averred that solar energy potential varies from 3.5 -7.0 kWhm -2 /day (about 4.2 TWh /day) if 0.1% of Nigeria land mass is used as solar panel farm to generate electricity. Ndanusa et al., (2014) also averred the solar energy potential available ranges between 3.5 kWh -6.8 kWh with mean values of 4.63 kWh in Niger State which is within the earlier range by Ausubel (2007). ...
... Ausubel (2007) averred that solar energy potential varies from 3.5 -7.0 kWhm -2 /day (about 4.2 TWh /day) if 0.1% of Nigeria land mass is used as solar panel farm to generate electricity. Ndanusa et al., (2014) also averred the solar energy potential available ranges between 3.5 kWh -6.8 kWh with mean values of 4.63 kWh in Niger State which is within the earlier range by Ausubel (2007). Nigeria receives an average solar radiation of about 7.0kWh/m 2 (25.2MJ/m 2 per-day). ...
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The demand for electrical power to drive the economy of Nigeria as a nation is on the rise geometrically, while its availability is either stagnant or in a decline due to inefficient or decay in the available sources of power energy generation and the interconnectivity to form national grid. This work examines the potentials of solar energy that could be tapped as an alternative source of power energy generation in North central states of Nigeria using experimental approach of measuring daily solar radiations across all the study area at interval of one hour using light meter (LX 101A) from which daily and monthly mean were then evaluated. The results obtained showed that north central states has an average solar radiation value of 9.8MJm-2 (2.7 kWhm-2) and 27 MJm-2 (7.5 kWhm-2) as minimum and maximum, obtain in August and December respectively in 2018 and with 0.1% of land mass of states dedicated as solar panel farms, North Central, Nigeria has the potentials of generating 29,168.29 MW of Electrical energy which is far more than the current power energy demand of the Nation.
... Besides better land use, nuclear power plants require lower specific use of materials, such as concrete and steel, for construction. For example, in comparison with wind power plants, the nuclear option requires five to ten times less steel and concrete per MW of electrical power generation capacity [195,197]. Again, this gives nuclear desalination an advantage over other co-located facilities. ...
Article
Thermal desalination is an energy intensive process that satisfies its requirement from conventional fossil fuel sources. Current research efforts aim at finding alternatives for fossil fuels to power thermal desalination. Nuclear energy offers a feasible option for power cogeneration and production of fresh water due to the significant amount of recovered useful heat. The heat is exploited to produce steam and generate electricity on-site to power thermal and membrane desalination facilities. Large or small/medium nuclear reactors (SMR) can be used. This paper reviews the various aspects of nuclear desalination, the different nuclear reactors that have been coupled with desalination processes, and the hybrid desalination systems coupled with nuclear reactors. It also discusses the safety and public acceptance for the nuclear desalination practices as well as the latest economic studies and assessments for on –site nuclear desalination power plants. Ten main projects around the world are primarily operated as nuclear desalination plants. The major desalination processes coupled with nuclear SMRs are MSF, MED and RO. The cost of water production using nuclear desalination was estimated to range from 0.4 $/m3 to 1.8 $/m3 depending on the type of reactor and the desalination process used.
... By assuming 2-to 6-times the observed capacity den- sity but ignoring the atmospheric limits, these esti- mates resulted in power densities that are 2-to 6-times higher than observations. Note that some important prior estimates from energy systems experts such as Ausubel (2007), MacKay (2013a) andSmil (2015) are much closer to our data-driven estimate. ...
Article
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Power density is the rate of energy generation per unit of land surface area occupied by an energy system. The power density of low-carbon energy sources will play an important role in mediating the environmental consequences of energy system decarbonization as the world transitions away from high power-density fossil fuels. All else equal, lower power densities mean larger land and environmental footprints. The power density of solar and wind power remain surprisingly uncertain: estimates of realizable generation rates per unit area for wind and solar power span 0.3–47 We m⁻² and 10–120 We m⁻² respectively. We refine this range using US data from 1990–2016. We estimate wind power density from primary data, and solar power density from primary plant-level data and prior datasets on capacity density. The mean power density of 411 onshore wind power plants in 2016 was 0.50 We m⁻². Wind plants with the largest areas have the lowest power densities. Wind power capacity factors are increasing, but that increase is associated with a decrease in capacity densities, so power densities are stable or declining. If wind power expands away from the best locations and the areas of wind power plants keep increasing, it seems likely that wind's power density will decrease as total wind generation increases. The mean 2016 power density of 1150 solar power plants was 5.4 We m⁻². Solar capacity factors and (likely) power densities are increasing with time driven, in part, by improved panel efficiencies. Wind power has a 10-fold lower power density than solar, but wind power installations directly occupy much less of the land within their boundaries. The environmental and social consequences of these divergent land occupancy patterns need further study.
... While subsidies for the deployment of clean energy or steep carbon taxes may help a country decarbonize its own economy, they may also inadvertently push technologies that are not necessarily globally competitive or even relevant into the market. One of the most problematic examples of such technologies may be energy forestry which clearly cannot be scaled up to power a country like China, at least not without devastating consequences for both biodiversity and the amount of land available for food production (Ausubel, 2007;Marland & Obersteiner, 2008;Pimentel et al., 2009). Yet, as the climate crisis worsens, it is likely that the political momentum will shift even further towards the immediate deployment of existing technologies despite their inherent limitations in terms of global scalability. ...
Article
While the notion of differentiated responsibility has always included an element of technological transfer, the growing disparity between the deployment of non-scalable renewable energy sources in the rich countries and the massive expansion of fossil infrastructure elsewhere has brought new urgency to issues of climate leadership. Breakthrough innovation into technologies capable of providing an abundance of clean energy now appears necessary not only to broaden energy access but also to ensure that fossil fuels are quickly displaced globally (including in those countries that have failed to take climate change seriously). Moreover, it is reasonable to expect that a climatechanged world in itself will demand abundant energy to facilitate everything from carbon dioxide removal to mass desalination for agriculture and other adaptation measures. Considering the moral and political impossibility of treating sustained poverty as the “solution” to the climate crisis, this paper suggests that rich countries have a moral obligation to invest in breakthrough innovation into technologies that are compatible with a future global economic convergence around OECD-levels.
... However, hydrogen has found a performance niche in certain industrial processes. Annual production in the United States from 1971 to 2003 increased more than tenfold, and production costs were reduced by a factor of fi ve, without any subsidies and despite the material challenges associated with handling hydrogen (Ausubel, 2007). ...
... Satisfying the U.S. 2005 electricity demand via wind power, would need an area equal to the combined area of Texas and Louisiana. Using biofuels to generate the same amount of energy that can be produced by a 1000 MW nuclear powerplant would require 2500 square kilometers of land (Ausubel, 2007). ...
... − energy sources are "replaced" continuously, passing from firewood to natural gas (from biological to fossil fuel); − at each transition, the market rewards the energy sources with the highest energy density and the lowest carbon content (the so-called "de-carbonization" of energy (Ausubel, 2007)); − a long period of time is required before an energy source passes from a fraction of 1 or 5% to 50% of the market, becoming the dominant source. This take-over time can be calculated from the results of the logistic model via Eq. ...
... If highly motivated states decarbonise using technologies that cannot be scaled up for global application, then the political enthusiasm for climate action might be exhausted without significantly shifting the emissions trajectory of the global economy (Karlsson & Symons, 2015). This appears to be the case in states such as Sweden, the UK and Germany that have used generous subsidies to deploy capital intensive and diffuse energy sources (such as biomass and wind) that it is not technically possible to scale to meet the energy demand of fast-industrialising developing states (Ausubel, 2007;Moriarty & Honnery, 2012;Trainer 2010). If affluent states expend their intellectual and financial capital on measures that do not address developing world energy needs, then an opportunity to contribute to a global solution will be lost. ...
Article
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The implications for Green political theory of the international community’s failure to avert dangerous warming are evaluated. An emerging conflict is identified between the Green-romantic value of restraint and the Green-rationalist value of protection, between a desire to preserve biotic systems and a distrust of scientific solutions to problems that are intrinsically social. In response, approaches are outlined that can help to navigate the current period of overshoot beyond safe planetary boundaries by informing choices among bundles of environmental harms. An ethic of restraint, encompassing non-domination and post-materialist values, can validly be justified without reference to ecological catastrophe. Meanwhile, in respect of preservation from climate-linked harms, the need for cooperation in support of scalable abatement measures suggests the necessity of accelerated research into ‘breakthrough’, low-emissions energy technologies. However, since technophilic preservationism is incompatible with existing environmental ‘logics of practice’, this strategy must mobilise political support outside the traditional environmental movement.