Sustainable Energy

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Sustainable Energy. How to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and maintain quality of life. Reading: Ch. 1, 2 in Sustainable Energy – Without the H ot Air , by David MacKay http://www.withouthotair.com/Contents.html. Fossil fuel CO 2 emissions: Burning buried sunshine.
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Sustainable EnergyHow to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and maintain quality of lifeReading: Ch. 1, 2 in Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKayhttp://www.withouthotair.com/Contents.htmlFossil fuel CO2 emissions: Burning buried sunshineCarbon emissions rising faster than estimatesGlobal C emissions mapWhere emissions come fromAtmospheric CO2:Last 50 years (2.0 ppm/year increase, or 0.5%)391 ppm1769: James Watt patents the steam engineSustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKayHow much is a gigaton (Gt)?
  • One billion metric tons (1012 kg)
  • It is about 2750 Empire State Buildings.
  • Global C02emissions are about 32Gt as of 2012.
  • Carbon Emissions (year 2000)Global emissions are 32 Gt CO2 per yearPer capita emissions: ~5.5 tons CO2 per year Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKay74% emissions from “energy”rest is from agriculture, deforestationSustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKayEnergy and Power
  • Energy is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh)
  • Example, a 40 Watt bulb left on all day (24 hours) is about 1000 Wh or 1 kWh
  • Power is the rate of energy use, measured in kWh per day
  • Average European uses 125 kWh per day per person (total energy)
  • Average American uses 250 kWh per day per person.
  • Energy sourcesEnergy usesUS average = 250 kWh per day per personSome Observations on US energy use
  • We waste a lot of energy
  • We use a lot of oil for getting around
  • Natural gas is increasing
  • Renewables are nowhere (for now)
  • http://grist.org/climate-energy/2011-04-06-americas-energy-use-in-one-nifty-chart/US energy use is diverseCan we live without fossil fuels?Wind • solar • hydro • wave • tidal • geothermal • nuclearSustainableEnergy use < renewable sourcesUnsustainableEnergy use > renewable sourcesSustainable energy components
  • Land wind turbines
  • Offshore wind turbines
  • Solar: Thermal and PV
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectricity
  • Wave energy
  • Tidal energy
  • Geothermal
  • Nuclear
  • Assumptions
  • This is only an exercise to see IF renewables can meet current total energy demand (not just electricity).
  • Book focuses on United Kingdom.
  • US per capita consumption is twice that of UK!
  • No attempt to HOW this can be done. MacKay did not address cost, social impact, community values, priorities
  • WINDSolarHydroelectricityTidal and WaveGeothermalTheoretical vs. Practical renewable resource plans for UKActual “plans”are quite modest and don’t meet demandSustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKay…then there is social realityThe NIMBY effectHard choices to makeOther people’s renewables…Desertec – ambitious plan to power EuropeAny renewable energy plan must provide the energy you need
  • For the UK, the per capita energy draw is 125 kWh per day.
  • USA is DOUBLE this!
  • MacKay outlines 5 plans for 5 constituencies (Diversity, NIMBYs, Greens, Economically viable)
  • Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKaySustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKayA renewables plan that meets ALL of current UK energy needsBallpark cost: $1.4 trillionPer capita cost: $22,000Plan MSustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, by David MacKayEfficiency gains – the simplest, cheapest (partial) solution
  • Infrastructure ideas:
  • Electrify Transport
  • Solar and heat pumps for hot water
  • MacKay’s home efficiency gainsSustainable energy lessons
  • It’s hard to meet UK energy needs with renewables only, It’s doubly hard for US.
  • Any viable sustainable energy plan involves hard choices.
  • It’s expensive, but within the range of other major initiatives (wars, space program).
  • It quickly exposes waste and inefficiencies.
  • What’s lacking is not technology, but social and political will.
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