Risks for the environment at world level

Globalisation, which favours delocalisation of production activities, also delocalises pollution. Driven by a search for the most competitive production conditions, firms choose to locate in geographic sectors where environmental regulations are most lax. Production sites concentrating polluting activities, sometimes called 'pollution havens', are set up in the developing countries. The effect of globalisation is therefore to reduce pollution in the richest countries and aggravate it in the...

Longer term perspectives mineral sequestration and CO2 recycling

Mineral sequestration of CO2 consists of transforming it into a stable substance through a carbonation reaction with a rock presenting a basic activity. The main difficulty stems from the fact that such reactions are comparatively slow. Two channels are currently being explored - Ex situ mineral sequestration is operated above ground in an industrial installation by reacting CO2 with ground rocks or with solid waste. The main drawback is the need to manipulate, grind and store considerable...

Acting from a perspective of sustainable development

The various threats discussed demonstrate the need to act from a perspective of sustainable development. Sustainable development was defined in the Brundtland report presented to the United Nations in 1987 as a 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' 27 . The world's resources are finite and must be managed accordingly. Similarly, our environment has only a limited capacity to react to attacks of pollutant...

The end of abundant and cheap oil

The first oil crisis in 1973 and then the second in 1979 have had the effect of warning signals, favouring the development of 'technological' oil, as illustrated by the tremendous progress observed in the area of offshore oil production. The evolution of oil prices is shown in Figure 7.1 the price of oil per barrel is expressed both in current US and in constant US (upper curve). After a long period of very low prices, which followed the first discoveries, the history of oil has become much...

The promise of solar energy

Solar energy is the main renewable energy resource throughout the world. Other renewable energy sources, e.g. biomass energy and wind energy, are derived directly from it. It is an abundant energy source. Our planet receives from the sun the equivalent of 15 000 times the energy consumed in the world, but this energy is diffuse and intermittent. The power received at noon with no cloud cover is about 1 kW m2. Given the day-night intermittence and weather fluctuations, the energy received in 24...

Natural gas

The development of natural gas has been quite rapid in recent years. It has become a widely used and excellent fuel for power plants, presenting strong environmental advantages (providing a clean fuel emitting 50 less CO2 per unit energy output than coal and 30 less than fuel oil) which can be used in an efficient and flexible way. Natural gas fired power plants require comparatively low investments and are quick to install. Combined cycle power plants, which associate a gas turbine with a...

The evolution of the energy intensity

Energy consumption increases with the Gross Internal Product (GIP)2 once a certain level has been reached. The energy intensity, defined as the energy consumption related to the GIP, can be used as an indicator of the efficiency in the use of energy for ensuring living standards in a country and its evolution with time. Large discrepancies are observed between the energy intensities of different countries in the world. Thus, the energy intensity of the USA is higher by 50 than the average...

From megawatts to negawatts

The first priority in order to ensure the energy transition in the best way is to reduce energy consumption. Reducing this consumption contributes to decreasing the dependence on energy supplies and to eliminating the corresponding CO2 emissions, together with all other environmental impacts resulting from the production and use of energy. Within this context, any investment in reducing energy consumption is most suitable for resolving all the problems previously mentioned. Each watt saved...

Uses of energy

Consumption of final energy worldwide is distributed as follows between the main sectors of activity (Figure 1.2) - The residential (dwellings), tertiary (offices and service activities) and agricultural sectors represent 36 of the global energy demand. Figure 1.2 Distribution of the global energy demand (final energy consumption) (Source IEA) Figure 1.2 Distribution of the global energy demand (final energy consumption) (Source IEA) - Transport (road, air, rail, sea) accounts for a share of 28...

Renewable energy prospects

Renewable energies are currently considered as a mere backup solution. In the world, they represented 1513 Mtoe in 2006, i.e. 13 of the primary energy production 1 . Out of this total, biomass and waste accounted for 1186 Mtoe and hydraulic power 261 Mtoe. These two energy sources, which make the largest contribution to the renewable energy balance, have already been used for many years. The potential for development of hydraulic power remains limited. For the last thirty years or so, the...

Energy storage

Energy Storage Systems Comparison Chart

Energy storage represents a key technology for adjusting energy supply and demand, the energy being stored when the availability is higher than the need and released back in the reverse situation. It makes it possible to adjust the energy supply to a variable demand from a source delivering a constant power. Conversely, energy storage makes it possible to adjust the energy supply to a constant demand from an intermittent delivery source. Fossil fuels have the advantage of storing large amounts...

The fundamental role of energy in the economy

Energy is omnipresent in the economy and plays a fundamental role in all fields of activity, whether it is in industry, the residential and tertiary sectors or transport . The development of coal accompanied the discovery of the steam engine, leading to the first industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. The use of coal, followed by other fossil energies (oil, natural gas) to drive machines, allowed the incredible development of industry, up to the present time. The industrial revolution...

Renewing the organisation of housing and transport

The residential and tertiary sector represents 40 of the world primary energy demand and transport 25 . The need to improve energy conservation requires a new organisation of housing and transport. Dispersed suburban housing such as that which has become very widespread in the USA implies the need to use individual transport means, which results in a higher consumption of energy and a stronger dependence on oil. In contrast, more concentrated housing reduces transport distances and helps to...

Greater vulnerability of consumer countries

Considering the distribution of fossil fuel reserves, we see that the industrialised countries are highly dependent on imports of fossil fuels, especially oil. Most hydrocarbon reserves are concentrated in the Middle East and, over the years, the industrialised countries have become increasingly dependent on oil imports. This is the case for the USA whose oil imports are rising dramatically 65 of their oil requirements are currently imported. Concerning natural gas, since the quantities...

Reduction of energy consumption in the transport sector

An initial way to limit CO2 emissions resulting from automotive transport is to limit the use of passenger cars, by changing consumer behaviour and habits (car sharing, increased use of collective transport means, and cycling and walking instead of driving). In the case of goods transportation, besides giving a preference to local products, alternative transportation means, by rail or barge, are to be favoured. In order to limit the consumption of engine fuels derived from oil, it is also...

New agricultural production modes

To provide the food needed by the world's 9 billion inhabitants expected by 2050, it would be necessary to double the present agricultural production. The green agricultural revolution, which began after the Second World War, has led to a strong increase in agricultural production, thus helping to avoid famines in numerous regions worldwide and especially in Asia. However, this revolution has been accomplished by using high amounts of energy, fertilisers and pesticides. Similar to what has...

Making the transition

Faced with these adaptation difficulties, the risks of climate change will call for large-scale measures to be taken rapidly in order to reduce CO2 emissions. It is therefore necessary and urgent to speed up the transition movement with respect to the trend currently accepted by most observers. In addition, changing only the structure of the primary energy supply (also known as the 'energy mix') will not be sufficient to ensure a satisfactory transition. It must be combined with other means,...

Energy and globalisation of the economy

Access to ever-increasing quantities of oil has favoured the multiplication of exchanges between the various parts of the world, whether for people with the sharp increase in air travel, or goods with the development of road and air freight. This development of transport and exchanges, combined with the tremendous progress made in the field of telecommunications, has been a major factor in globalisation of the economy. The relatively low cost of energy has closed the gap between the continents...

The greenhouse effect

The CO2 emitted in the atmosphere behaves like a greenhouse gas, according to the mechanism shown in Figure 3.1. The atmosphere is transparent to the incident solar radiation transmitted in the visible light spectrum, but some of the solar energy received by the Earth is reflected back as infrared radiation. This radiation can be partly stopped by some gases present in the atmosphere, the greenhouse gases, and returned to the Earth whose surface warms up accordingly. Carbon dioxide is not the...

The role of fossil fuels

While our aim is to reduce as rapidly as possible the share of fossil fuels in the world primary energy supply, substantially reducing the amount of energy consumed and deploying renewable energy sources will take time. What can the role of fossil fuels be during this transition period and how can they contribute to help in achieving a transition aimed at their disappearance Furthermore, is the objective to widen and diversify fossil fuel sources reconcilable with the need to reduce CO2...

Renewable energies

L'espace des energies renouvelables www.espace-enr.com Observ'ER (Observatoire des energies renouvelables) www.energies-renouvelables.org Comite de liaison energies renouvelables (CLER) www.cler.org Institut National de l'Energie Solaire (INES) www.ines-solaire.fr NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA) www.nrel.gov

Current predominance of fossil energies

According to the 2008 issue of the World Energy Outlook published by IEA, in 2006, the world supply of primary energy (from oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear sources and renewable energies) amounted to 11.7 billion tonne oil equivalent 1 . One tonne oil equivalent (toe) represents the energy obtained through combustion of 1 t of oil. Even though the increasing electrification of our economy also brings other units into use, such as the kWh and the MWh (1 MWh 0.086 toe), the widespread use of the...

Effects of energy consumption on the environment at local and regional levels

Energy consumption results in emissions of pollutants. Local pollution, characteristic of urban areas or caused by emissions from an industrial plant (factory, cement works, refinery, etc.), is converted into regional pollution through accumulation of pollutants in the atmosphere. Pollution becomes global when it concerns the entire planet, a situation we are facing with the greenhouse gas effect. Local pollution in an urban environment is due mainly to transport. The main pollutants discharged...

Hybridisation of sources

The energy transition will be favoured by setting up hybrid systems, powered by different energy sources. - In the field of transport, plug-in hybrid propulsion systems will play this role. The autonomy of the current hybrid vehicles, for example the Toyota Prius, is extremely limited (about 2 km) in purely electric mode. In addition, all the energy consumed is produced from the onboard fuel. Increasing the capacity of the electricity storage system and making the electric battery rechargeable...

Towards the positive energy building

The design of buildings must evolve by taking into account the energy balance. It is necessary to avoid energy losses and to increase solar energy inputs through the best adapted orientation and design of the building (bioclimatic architecture), and by imagining innovative solutions thus, a vegetation cover can limit energy losses while improving the integration of the building into the surrounding environment. New concepts of climatic housing, which have been developed, are applicable not only...

Biomass energy and biofuels potentialities and risks

Biomass is a renewable energy source, which presents the advantage of storing energy. We can expect to see an increase in the role of biomass for energy production in the future. Biomass offers the advantage of being a renewable energy which is also storable. In the European Union, energy from biomass reached 61 Mtoe in 2006, an increase of 3.1 Mtoe compared with 2004. In the world, biomass represents the main source of renewable energy, amounting to 1186 Mtoe in 2006 1, 66 . The production of...

The role of CO2 geological storage

CCS should contribute significantly in the future to the reduction of CO2 emissions. It is typically a 'transition technology' to be used for providing an answer to the risk of climate change for the period during which fossil fuels will still contribute significantly to the energy supply. Geological storage should be considered as a prerequisite before any new large scale development of the use of coal for electricity generation. Without CCS, the comeback of coal might result in even higher...

Wind energy an already mature energy

Wind power technology is already relatively mature, producing electricity under almost profitable conditions. Current machines can develop powers from 1.25 to 2.5 MW. The rotors fitted on 2.5 MW machines have a span of up to 80 m 59 . Virtually all high-power wind turbines have a three-blade rotor, which offers higher efficiency than two-blade rotors, without making construction of the wind turbine overcomplicated. Wind energy is almost competitive, the cost price of the electricity produced...

Energy efficiency

ADEME www.ADEME.fr Energy Star www.energystar.gov Association negawatt www.negawatt.com Batirbio www.batirbio.org Energie-Cites www.energie-cites.eu Eurocities www.eurocities.org Federation nationale des associations des usagers de transport (Fnaut) www.fnaut.asso.fr Groupement des autorit s responsables des transports (GART) www.gart.org Centre d'etudes sur les reseaux, les transports et l'urbanisme (Cerfu) www.cerfu.fr World Urbanization Prospects www.esa.un.org Groupe energies renouvelables,...

Hybrid propulsion

One further option for reducing passenger car CO2 emissions is the use of hybrid propulsion. The hybrid propulsion concept for passenger cars was initially introduced in 1997 by Toyota in the Prius car. It consists of using the association between a thermal engine and an electric engine for ensuring the propulsion of the vehicle. A battery for electricity storage is required to supply the energy needed by the electrical engine. Using a hybrid propulsion system makes it possible to reduce energy...