Energy and Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262338319
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. -- Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel--driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts -- from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

Energy and Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Mit Press
ISBN: 9780262536165
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Revised edition of: Energy in world history / Vaclav Smil. 1994.

Energy and Civilization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262035774
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel–driven civilization. "I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. —Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows—ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity—for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel–driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts—from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

In the Servitude of Power

Author: Jean-Claude Debeir
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780862329426
Format: PDF, Docs
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This stimulating, informative and at times frightening book provides an overall history of energy usage as a fundamental factor in the evolution of the world's major civilizations, from pre-history to the present day. It serves as a history of human impact on the biosphere and the consequences of this for the rise and fall of civilizations.The authors look in detail at how different forms of energy use have shaped society in the earliest civilizations - Egypt, Mesopotamia and India - as well as in Ancient Greece and Rome, Imperial China, Medieval Europe, and during the industrial revolution. They go on to cover the rise of the internal combustion engine, electrification, oil, nuclear power, and contemporary ecological problems. They show how all societies are dependent on fragile and unstable energy systems that combine particular technical knowledge, conceptions of nature, and relations of power. When this system reaches its limits, a major crisis is inevitable.Our own world is entering such a crisis as we exhaust our non-renewable resources and confront the consequences of global warming. And the Third World and Eastern Europe face even worse dilemmas. As for nuclear energy, the authors show it to be an economically unviable attempt to shore up an outworn system. They ask whether there is any technical way of overcoming these limits other than an overall change in the way our society functions. In the Servitude of Poweris an authoritative and comprehensive guide to what promises to be the end of an era.

General Energetics

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Wiley-Interscience
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Presented here for the first time is a comprehensive, single-volume treatment of all the important aspects of biospheric civilizational energetics. The author uses measurements of energy and power densities and intensities throughout to provide an integrated framework of analysis. All segments of energetics are examined, including planetary energetics (solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis) to human energetics (metabolism and thermoregulation) traced from hunting-gathering and agricultural societies through modern day industrial civilization. Concludes with general patterns, trends and socio-economic considerations of energy use today plus their impact on the environment.

Energy

Author: Richard Rhodes
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 150110537X
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes reveals the fascinating history behind energy transitions over time—wood to coal to oil to electricity and beyond. People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and failed, and nations have risen to world power and declined, all over energy challenges. Ultimately, the history of these challenges tells the story of humanity itself. Through an unforgettable cast of characters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes explains how wood gave way to coal and coal made room for oil, as we now turn to natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Rhodes looks back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford. In Energy, Rhodes highlights the successes and failures that led to each breakthrough in energy production; from animal and waterpower to the steam engine, from internal-combustion to the electric motor. He addresses how we learned from such challenges, mastered their transitions, and capitalized on their opportunities. Rhodes also looks at the current energy landscape, with a focus on how wind energy is competing for dominance with cast supplies of coal and natural gas. He also addresses the specter of global warming, and a population hurtling towards ten billion by 2100. Human beings have confronted the problem of how to draw life from raw material since the beginning of time. Each invention, each discovery, each adaptation brought further challenges, and through such transformations, we arrived at where we are today. In Rhodes’s singular style, Energy details how this knowledge of our history can inform our way tomorrow.

Energy Transitions

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 0313381771
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This bold and controversial argument shows why energy transitions are inherently complex and prolonged affairs, and how ignoring this fact raises unrealistic expectations that the United States and other global economies can be weaned quickly from a primary dependency on fossil fuels. * Includes case studies of energy transitions in eight nations * Presents graphs of energy transitions on global and national scales, showing both common features and idiosyncratic patterns * Features photographs of the containment vessel of America's first nuclear reactor and of a stationary gas turbine * Provides a thorough bibliography

Energy and the Wealth of Nations

Author: Charles Hall
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781441993984
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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For the past 150 years, economics has been treated as a social science in which economies are modeled as a circular flow of income between producers and consumers. In this “perpetual motion” of interactions between firms that produce and households that consume, little or no accounting is given of the flow of energy and materials from the environment and back again. In the standard economic model, energy and matter are completely recycled in these transactions, and economic activity is seemingly exempt from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we enter the second half of the age of oil, and as energy supplies and the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption become major issues on the world stage, this exemption appears illusory at best. In Energy and the Wealth of Nations, concepts such as energy return on investment (EROI) provide powerful insights into the real balance sheets that drive our “petroleum economy.” Hall and Klitgaard explore the relation between energy and the wealth explosion of the 20th century, the failure of markets to recognize or efficiently allocate diminishing resources, the economic consequences of peak oil, the EROI for finding and exploiting new oil fields, and whether alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power meet the minimum EROI requirements needed to run our society as we know it. This book is an essential read for all scientists and economists who have recognized the urgent need for a more scientific, unified approach to economics in an energy-constrained world, and serves as an ideal teaching text for the growing number of courses, such as the authors’ own, on the role of energy in society.

Making the Modern World Materials and Dematerialization

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Lulu Press, Inc
ISBN: 136558190X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon, describing their extraction and production.

Energy Myths and Realities

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Government Institutes
ISBN: 9780844743455
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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There are many misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists_wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge.