With our political environment being so focused on the government spending of billions of dollars on Green Energy and companies dealing in green energy manufacturing, an analysis of the truth involved in the practicality and feasibility of the comparative sources of energy must be clarified and understood by all of us. Enormous amounts of money and resources are being redirected and diverted to areas that are not even understood by the politicians who are spearheading this.
President Obama continues to spend and infuse money into companies like Solyndra , nextra energy. NRG energy, Evergreen Solar, First Solar, and other companies with questionable viability. President Obama, in response to vociferous criticism, responds by doubling down on the policy of “green” investments. It is with this political environment, that I submit the following summary on energy evaluation which I found extremely enlightening. While I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject of energy, the following information is taken entirely from the book, “Power Hungry, The myths of ‘Green’ energy and the real fuels of the future”, by Robert Bryce, ( Public Affairs, NY 2010). We can no longer afford to remain ignorant on this otherwise specialized information, since it affects our economy, our businesses and our political policies.
Robert Bryce, explained the measuring of energy as follows:
Energy is only reviewable by the scientific classification of energy productiveness. International system of Units, SI, was created as a uniform system of measurement for distance, mass, time, current, power, pressure, and temperature, and symbols for number s in the thousands, millions and billions. SI facilitates analysis and is appears as , kilo-, kilowatts, giga ( meaning billion). Energy value and quality is measured by the joule, named after james Prescott Joule. It is a unit of measuring any kind energy, regardless of form. The watt, named for james Watt, is the only unit of measure for any kind of power.
The total amount of energy produced is measured in JOULES, while power generation is measured in WATTS.
The Quantity of energy consumed is measured in JOULES, while the how quickly that energy is gets consumed is measured in WATTS. Thus, operating a 60 watt light bulb requires power, which is measured in watts. After an hour, when you switch off the light, you can measure the amount of energy that was consumed by the light, which is measured in joules, or kilowatt-hours or in BTU- all are measures of energy.
Calculating power requires knowing the amount of energy and the time over which it is used. The equation is:
Power = Energy divided by Time
One watt is equal to 1 joule per second. 1 joule = 1 watt -second.
Horsepower is also a common way to refer to measure power when referring to the power of engines and machinery. Watts and horsepower are units of power, not energy. 1 horsepower is to 746 watts.
The explanation for energy is ” Energy has many forms, such as electricity, heat, work, kinetic energy and potential energy, chemical energy, nuclear energy ect.. Energy can be visualized as an amount of something, Power is the energy FLOW.”
Thus, energy is an amount, while power is a measure of energy flow. Energy is a sum. Power is a rate. Rates are more telling than sums. For example, if we express energy and power in oil terms, Energy is measure in barrels, while Power is measured in barrels PER DAY. If you have discovered an oil field containing 1 billion barrels of oil, the energy is worthless unless its brought out of the ground. An oil field that holds 100 million barrels of oil that can produce 10,000 barrels per day is worth much more than one that produces 10,000 barrels per week-and is more POWERFUL.
The kilowatt hour gives us the tally of the energy provided, while the kilowatt measures the rate of energy flow. The rate of energy flow can be measured in watts, kilowatts, megawatts, gigawatts, terawatts and horsepower.
POWER DENSITY refers to the amount of power that can be harnessed in a given unit of volume, area, or mass. Examples of power density metrics include horsepower per cubic inch, watts per square meter and watts per kilogram. Watts per square meter permits a direct comparison between renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and traditional sources such as oil, natural gas, and nuclear power.
ENERGY DENSITY refers to the amount of energy that can be contained in a given unit of volume, area or mass. Common energy density metrics include Btu per gallon and joules per kilogram.
The higher the density, the better. For example, a 100 pound battery that can store 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity is better than a battery that weighs as much but holds 5 kilowatt-hours. The first battery has twice the energy density of the second one. When both batteries are compared to gasoline by weight, gasoline has 80 times the energy density of the best lithium-ion batteries.
Consider the energy density of a 5 gallon bucket filled with gasoline and another bucket filled with five gallons of dried leaves, the gasoline is far greater in density than the dried leaves. Corn Ethanol, contains two-thirds of the heat energy of gasoline, which means that drivers who use ethanol blended gasoline refill their tanks more often.
ELECTRICITY AND HOW WE MAKE IT
Very few people realize or think about how electricity is generated. They only know it powers their home appliances and I-pads and computers. Most people don’t realize that the majority of fuel used to generate electric power is coal. In 2006, coal provided 41 per cent of the world’s total electricity, with the next being natural gas, with 20.1 per cent .
On an average day, the world consumes about 66.3 million barrels of oil equivalent in the form of coal. It is the standard for electricity generation. The developing countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and China, are using coal for electricity generation which is propelling their economic growth . Investment Bankers are using electricity production data as a measure for the country’s industrial output. China and India have huge coal deposits and have declared their intent to use it to generate electricity. approximately 80% of China’s electricity comes from coal fire power plants. China has 114 billion tons of coal in reserves, which will last it about 40 years of production.
India has 58 billion tons of coal reserves and its electricity production nearly tripled to a level of 834 terawatt hours in 2008. 68% of Indian power generation comes from burning coal.
The BP Statistical Review of World Energy estimates the global commercial energy use at about 226 million barrels of oil equivalent . From that quantity, about 79 million barrels come from oil, 66 million from coal, 55 million from gas, 12 million from nuclear, 14 million from hydroelectric.
The United States has more hydrocarbon reserves than any other country. The Congressional Research Service reported that the proved hydrocarbon reserves of the United States totaled nearly 970 billion barrels of oil equivalent. About 906 billion of that oil equivalent is in the form of coal. Russia and China run second and third behind the U.S.
Oil , measured by weight or volume, provides more energy than any other commonly available substance and is easy to handle and relatively cheap and clean.
A barrel of oil contains 5.8 million BTU. That’s equal to about 5.8 billion joules ( 5.8 GJ) if we divide the 5.8 gigajoules by 86,400 seconds, the number of seconds in 24 hours, gives us a result of each barrel producing about 22,152 watts , or 29.7 horsepower or approximately, 30 horsepower per barrel per day. The world consumes about 6.8 billion horsepower per day.
The best energy sources have the highest POWER DENSITY, ie., they generate lots of power from small pieces of real estate.
The problem with Green Energy is the fact that it fails in the category of power density.
By comparison, the South Texas Project, a U.S nuclear power plant uses 12,000 acres of land for its reactors which yields a power density of about 300 horsepower per acre, or 56 watts per square meter. Compare this to wind power, which produces about 6.4 horsepower per acre or 1.2 watts per square meter. Wind requires 45 times as much land to produce comparable amounts of power as nuclear.
Solar photovoltaic power requires about 8 times as much land as nuclear.
Corn ethanol requires about 1,150 times more land as nuclear. It is also causing food shortages in under developed areas of the world, since the use of corn for energy has caused the price of the commodity to skyrocket and affect the price of food in impoverished areas of the world.
Wind and Solar power requires huge swaths of land that are often unusable for other purposes. Wind farms produce low-level noise that disturbs sleep patterns, causes headaches, dizziness and health problems. See the “wind turbine syndrome”, now being treated through wind farm regions.
Solar Farms require huge arrays of panels or mirrors covering almost every square meter of the property. Solar requires many miles of high voltage transmission lines. Environmental groups are already fighting the construction of new high voltage lines necessary for Green Energy; in San Diego, 123 miles project is opposed by the Sierra Club and other groups .
(See also: the Desert Protective Counsel, which opposes “big solar” and claims that the industry could potentially cover over 600,000 acres in California alone). The environmental lawsuits are just beginning.
The ELECTRIC CAR, is touted as a salvation for green energy, but on closer inspection, it is no great salvation. Electric cars measure the energy density of batteries in watt hours per kilogram. The number of watt hours of electricity stored per kilogram of battery weight. Gasoline holds 80 times as many watt hours per kilogram as a lithium-ion battery and ethanol holds more than 50 times. To produce an electric car that can replace the mass market gasoline powered car, a battery chemistry technology is needed that is unavailable.
The fact that we are a complex industrial society that requires an enormous amount of energy is a critical point to consider before chosing a plan for an energy future and policy determination. We need enormous amounts of electricity and fuel to maintain our delay lives and cities. Without energy, we cannot move food to the cities for consumption and cannot sustain the amount of lives that exist without our energy sources. Oil, coal, and gas have been instrumental in catapulting the United States into the economic power that it has become. Coal is the catalyst for China and India’s current economic evolution and growth and is one means by which they are measuring their prosperity. Coal is cheap and extremely power dense and therefore one should not casually cast aside coal as great source of power for our electricity. We should not destroy the coal industry in our country without having a comparable alternative ready to take its place. oil and gas are also the powerhouse sources of energy that scientifically remain unchallenged as the most power per unit than any other source of power ( other than nuclear energy). Our economic prosperity depends on our use and utilization of our oil and gas resources and should never take a back seat in our political development without an actual and real comparable replacement which meets the power density criterion stated above. We need to demand an honest and accurate policy for energy use which withstands scientific scrutiny and economic necessity. If we fail to demand real answers, our economic future could forever be altered .