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alternative energy sources pdf

In the beginning of the twenty-first century, our society is faced with an energy challenge: as highly populous, developing countries become more affluent and as the developed nations continue to increase their energy consumption, the energy demand in the entire world has reached levels that cannot be sustained in the future.

At the same time, fossil fuels, which are currently providing more than 85% of the total global energy supply, are limited and, in addition, their widespread use has significant adverse environmental consequences. The combustion of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide, which is one of the causes of global warming as well as of other environmental effects, such as acid rain; higher ozone concentration in urban areas; particulates; and aerosols that are detrimental to air quality.

The limited supply of the fossil fuels and their effects on the global environment indicate the only long-term solution of the energy challenge: a significant increase in the use of alternative energy sources for the production of electricity as well as for meeting other energy needs of the industrial and post-industrial human society.

This book on Alternative Energy Sources is designed to give the reader, a clear view of the role each form of alternative energy may play in supplying the energy needs of the human society in the near and intermediate future (20–50 years). The book is aimed at two types of audience: a. The student of science and engineering who may take an elective course on one of the subjects of ‘‘alternative energy,’’ ‘‘renewable energy,’’ ‘‘sustainability,’’ etc. For this purpose, the students will review and expand on several concepts taught in the traditional disciplines of Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer. If ‘‘repetition is the mother of learning,’’ students in the engineering disciplines will learn a great deal of the material taught in the Thermal Sciences courses by studying this book.b. The educated reader, who has a basic knowledge of mathematics and science (e.g. algebra, elementary physics and elementary chemistry). The book assumes minimum prior knowledge on behalf of the reader and imparts some of thepre-requisite knowledge by including chapters on basic thermodynamics, and elementary financial accounting (investment appraisal methods).

A unique aspect of this book is that it includes two chapters on nuclear fission and one on fusion energy. The reason for this is that nuclear energy does not contribute to the greenhouse effect and is currently viewed by many decision makers as an excellent alternative option for the production of electricity in the twenty-first century. As a result, and despite the recent accident at Fukushima
Daiichi, the licensing process for additional nuclear power plants has accelerated in several countries and the debate for the future of nuclear energy has been recently renewed. Nuclear energy, a perennial pariah of environmental groups, may actually become one of the solutions to the global climate change.

The two first chapters on energy demand and supply and environmental effects, set the tone as to why the widespread use of alternative energy is essential for the future. The third chapter exposes the reader to the laws of energy conversion processes, as well as the limitations of converting one energy form to another. The sections on exergy give a succinct, quantitative background on the capability/ potential of each energy source to produce power on a global scale.