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Solar Energy Renewable Energy and the Environment by Robert Foster, Majid Ghassemi and Alma Cota PDF Free Download.
By 2050 the demand for energy could double or even triple as the global population grows and developing countries expand their economies.
All life on Earth depends on energy and the cycling of carbon. Energy is essential for economic and social development and also poses an environmental challenge.
We must explore all aspects of energy production and consumption, including energy efficiency, clean energy, the global carbon cycle, carbon sources, and sinks and biomass, as well as their relationship to climate and natural resource issues.
Knowledge of energy has allowed humans to flourish in numbers unimaginable to our ancestors. The world’s dependence on fossil fuels began approximately 200 years ago. Are we running out of oil?
No, but we are certainly running out of the affordable oil that has powered the world economy since the 1950s.
We know how to recover fossil fuels and harvest their energy for operating power plants, planes, trains, and automobiles; this leads to modifying the carbon cycle and additional greenhouse gas emissions.
The result has been the debate on availability of fossil energy resources; peak oil era and timing for anticipated end of the fossil fuel era; price and environmental impact versus various renewable resources and use; carbon footprint; and emissions and control, including cap and trade and emergence of “green power.”
Our current consumption has largely relied on oil for mobile applications and coal, natural gas, and nuclear or water power for stationary applications.
In order to address the energy issues in a comprehensive manner, it is vital to consider the complexity of energy.
Any energy resource, including oil, coal, wind, and biomass, is an element of a complex supply chain and must be considered in its entirety as a system from production through consumption. All of the elements of the system are interrelated and interdependent.
Oil, for example, requires consideration for interlinking of all of the elements, including exploration, drilling, production, water, transportation, refining, refinery products and byproducts, waste, environmental impact, distribution, consumption/application, and, finally, emissions.
Inefficiencies in any part of the system have an impact on the overall system, and disruption in one of these elements causes major interruption in consumption.
As we have experienced in the past, interrupted exploration will result in disruption in production, restricted refining and distribution, and consumption shortages.
Therefore, any proposed energy solution requires careful evaluation and, as such, may be one of the key barriers to implementing the proposed use of hydrogen as a mobile fuel.
Even though an admirable level of effort has gone into improving the efficiency of fuel sources for delivery of energy, we are faced with severe challenges on many fronts.
These include population growth, emerging economies, new and expanded usage, and limited natural resources. All energy solutions include some level of risk, including technology snafus, changes in market demand, and economic drivers.
This is particularly true when proposing an energy solution involving implementation of untested alternative energy technologies.
There are concerns that emissions from fossil fuels will lead to changing climate with possibly disastrous consequences.
Over the past five decades, the world’s collective greenhouse gas emissions have increased significantly—even as increasing efficiency has resulted in extending energy benefits to more of the population.
Many propose that we improve the efficiency of energy use and conserve resources to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and avoid a climate catastrophe.
Using fossil fuels more efficiently has not reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions for various reasons, and it is unlikely that such initiatives will have a perceptible effect on atmospheric greenhouse gas content.
Although the correlation between energy use and greenhouse gas emissions is debatable, there are effective means to produce energy, even from fossil fuels, while controlling emissions.
Emerging technologies and engineered alternatives will also manage the makeup of the atmosphere, but will require significant understanding and careful use of energy.
We need to step back and reconsider our role in and knowledge of energy use. The traditional approach of micromanagement of greenhouse gas emissions is not feasible or functional over a long period of time.
More assertive methods to influence the carbon cycle are needed and will be emerging in the coming years. Modifications to the cycle mean that we must look at all options in managing atmospheric greenhouse gases, including various ways to produce, consume, and deal with energy.
We need to be willing to face reality and search in earnest for alternative energy solutions. Some technologies appear to be able to assist; however, all may not be viable.
The proposed solutions must not be in terms of a “quick approach,” but rather as a more comprehensive, long-term (10, 25, and 50+ years) approach based on science and utilizing aggressive research and development.
The proposed solutions must be capable of being retrofitted into our existing energy chain. In the meantime, we must continually seek to increase the efficiency of converting energy into heat and power. One of the best ways to define sustainable development is through long-term, affordable availability of resources, including energy.
There are many potential constraints to sustainable development. Foremost of these is the competition for water use in energy production, manufacturing, and farming versus a shortage of fresh water for consumption and development.
Sustainable development is also dependent on the Earth’s limited amount of soil; in the not too distant future, we will have to restore and build soil as a part of sustainable development.
Hence, possible solutions must be comprehensive and based on integrating our energy use with nature’s management of carbon, water, and life on Earth as represented by the carbon and hydrogeological cycles.
Obviously, the challenges presented by the need to control atmospheric greenhouse gases are enormous and require “out of the box” thinking, innovative approaches, imagination, and bold engineering initiatives in order to achieve sustainable development.
We will need to exploit energy even more ingeniously and integrate its use with control of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The continued development and application of energy is essential to the development of human society in a sustainable manner through the coming centuries.
All alternative energy technologies are not equal; they have various risks and drawbacks. When evaluating our energy options,
we must consider all aspects, including performance against known criteria, basic economics and benefits, efficiency, processing and utilization requirements, infrastructure requirements, subsidies and credits, and waste and the ecosystem, as well as unintended consequences such as impacts on natural resources and the environment.
Additionally, we must include the overall changes and the emerging energy picture based on current and future efforts to modify fossil fuels and evaluate the energy return for the investment of funds and other natural resources such as water.
A significant driver in creating this Solar Energy book series focused on alternative energy and the environment and was initiated as a consequence of lecturing around the country and in the classroom on the subject of energy, environment, and natural resources such as water.
Water is a precious commodity in the West in general and the Southwest in particular and has a significant impact on energy production, including alternative sources, due to the nexus between energy and water and the major correlation with the environment and sustainability-related issues.
The correlation among these elements, how they relate to each other, and the impact of one on the other are understood; however, integration and utilization of alternative energy resources into the energy matrix has not been significantly debated.
Also, as renewable technology implementation grows by various states nationally and internationally, the need for informed and trained human resources continues to be a significant driver in future employment.
This has resulted in universities, community colleges, and trade schools offering minors, certificate programs, and, in some cases, majors in renewable energy and sustainability.
As the field grows, the demand increases for trained operators, engineers, designers, and architects able to incorporate these technologies into their daily activity.
Additionally, we receive daily deluges of flyers, e-mails, and texts on various short courses available for parties interested in solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and other types of energy.
These are under the umbrella of retooling an individual’s career and providing the trained resources needed to interact with financial, governmental, and industrial organizations.
In all my interactions in this field throughout the years, I have conducted significant searches for integrated Solar Energy textbooks that explain alternative energy resources in a suitable manner that would complement a syllabus for a potential course to be taught at the university and provide good reference material for parties getting involved in this field.
I have been able to locate a number of Solar Energy books on the subject matter related to energy; energy systems; and resources such as fossil nuclear, renewable energy, and energy conversion, as well as specific Solar Energy books on the subjects of natural resource availability, use, and impact as related to energy and environment.
However, Solar Energy books that are correlated and present the various subjects in detail are few and far between.
We have therefore started a series in which each text addresses specific technology fields in the renewable energy arena.
As a part of this series, there are textbooks on wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, hydro, and other energy forms yet to be developed.
Our texts are intended for upper level undergraduate and graduate students and informed readers who have a solid fundamental understanding of science and mathematics.
Individuals and organizations that are involved with design development of the renewable energy field entities and interested in having reference material available to their scientists and engineers, consulting organizations, and reference libraries will also be interested in these texts.
Each Solar Energy book presents fundamentals as well as a series of numerical and conceptual problems designed to stimulate creative thinking and problem solving.
I wish to express my deep gratitude to my wife, Maryam, who has served as a motivator and intellectual companion and too often has been the victim of this effort.
Her support, encouragement, patience, and involvement have been essential to the completion of this series.
Abbas Ghassemi, PhD
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