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Power density : a key to understanding energy sources and uses

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, [2015]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In this book, Vaclav Smil argues that power density is a key determinant of the nature and dynamics of energy systems. Any understanding of complex energy systems must rely on quantitative measures of many fundamental variables. Power density -- the rate of energy flux per unit of area -- is an important but largely overlooked measure. Smil provides the first systematic, quantitative appraisal of power density,  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Vaclav Smil
ISBN: 9780262029148 0262029146
OCLC Number: 897401827
Description: ix, 306 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: How power density matters --
Quantitative keys to understanding energy --
Renewable energy flows --
Fossil fuels --
Thermal electricity generation --
Energy uses --
Making sense of power densities --
Energy transitions.
Responsibility: Vaclav Smil.

Abstract:

In this book, Vaclav Smil argues that power density is a key determinant of the nature and dynamics of energy systems. Any understanding of complex energy systems must rely on quantitative measures of many fundamental variables. Power density -- the rate of energy flux per unit of area -- is an important but largely overlooked measure. Smil provides the first systematic, quantitative appraisal of power density, offering detailed reviews of the power densities of renewable energy flows, fossil fuels, thermal electricity generation, and all common energy uses. Smil shows that careful quantification, critical appraisals, and revealing comparisons of power densities make possible a deeper understanding of the ways we harness, convert, and use energies. Conscientious assessment of power densities, he argues, proves particularly revealing when contrasting the fossil fuel--based energy system with renewable energy conversions. Smil explains that modern civilization has evolved as a direct expression of the high power densities of fossil fuel extraction. He argues that our inevitable (and desirable) move to new energy arrangements involving conversions of lower-density renewable energy sources will require our society -- currently dominated by megacities and concentrated industrial production -- to undergo a profound spatial restructuring of its energy system.

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