Homemade Energy WISE Generator
Never before has humanity as a whole embarked on a project to radically transform the way its societies work. Sure, there have been revolutionary projects, many national, some aiming at global transformation. Through empire and war, countries have sought to assert their view of the world in order to re-model it along new political lines. And revolutions have certainly happened, both political, and more importantly in the current context, social and technological. We can think of the inventions of agriculture, printing, the steam engine or the computer. All of these have wrought vast changes upon societies. But all of these were the result of initiatives by individuals, particular companies or countries. In responses to climate change, we have the first instance of societies collectively seeking a dramatic transformation of the entire global economy.
It made possible the industrial revolution and will remain a major source of energy for the foreseeable future. In the nineteenth century large cities like Birmingham and Manchester in the Britain and Pittsburgh in the USA grew up near the coalfields and millions of rural workers were drawn in to work in numerous factories. Raw materials were brought from faraway countries by coal-powered ships and the manufactured products exported all over the world. Huge railway networks were rapidly built and steam engines fuelled by coal transported people and freight with an ease and speed never before attained.
This bare instrumentalism led to great material productivity as well as to unprecedented environmental exploitation. With the invention of the steam engine and as timber became scarce, coal mining increased dramatically. The use of coal raised immediate practical problems of mine construction how to pump water, transport the coal, and control its combustion. It required greater concentrations of labor around the mines and mills, and it lifted science and technology to prominent positions in human society.
The early 1830s, along railroad lines in England and France. With the industrial revolution in the late 1800s, engineers used steam engines to excavate slopes to 1 1 (horizontal to vertical), or a 45-degree slope. Steeper slopes were covered with masonry retaining walls, holding the slopes back with gravity. When slopes failed in downslope movements, they were typically repaired by cutting the slope back to more gentle slopes, or, if space in urban areas did not permit this, the slopes were reinforced with concrete or masonry walls.
While the scientific understanding of climate change was developing, the expansion of energy use proceeded apace. The series of inventions from the steam engine onwards - the railways, mechanised industrial and agricultural production, the internal combustion engine, fossil fuel electricity production, through to the jet engine - continued to require and enable a constant expansion in the use of coal, oil and gas. Overall consumption of fossil fuels grew tenfold, from to 200 x 1018 joules6 between 1900 and 1970, by which time carbon emissions from such fuels were four billion tonnes a year. The growth of such consumption was strongly concentrated in the industrialised countries in the North, who still accounted for 70 of global emissions in 1990 (despite only having around 25 of world population). But the model of growth based on fossil energy was also progressively globalised,
The invention of the steam engine in the 18 th century, which has the capacity to convert heat from the combustion of coal and other fuels into mechanical energy, opened up new possibilities. The first steam engines were inefficient and wasted more than 99 per cent of energy, but by 1900, they had become 30 times more efficient than their predecessors. On top of this, steam engines, unlike watermills and windmills, could be set up anywhere, even on ships or railroad locomotives. The portability of the steam engine created a positive feedback loop, in that it enabled the transport of coal on a massive scale, providing fuel for more steam engines. Industrialization in the 19th century rested on this fact. World coal production, about 10 million tons in the year 1800, shot up 100-fold by the year 1900. Rough calculations suggest that the world in the 20th century used 10 times the energy used in the thousand years before A.D 1900.9
Given that declines in energy intensity are non-linear and respond to price changes and structural shifts in the economy, what evidence is there for individual energy efficiency improvements to take advantage of new opportunities Ausubel and Marchetti (1996) discuss ongoing historical trends in energy efficiency improvements from an engineering perspective. They point to the 300-year quest to develop more efficient engines, from 1 -efficient steam engines in 1700 to today's best gas turbines which approach 50 of their theoretical efficiency limit (Figure 4.3). Fuel cells, which Ausubel (1998) says may power our cars in 20 to 30 years, will increase that efficiency to about 70 , as fuel cells do not incur the inevitable efficiency limits of combustion systems imposed by the laws of thermodynamics. Similarly, Ausubel and Marchetti (1996) point to the dramatically increasing efficiency of lighting technology over the past 150 years (Figure 4.3, analyzed as a sigmoid (logistic) growth...
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 was also marked by the spectacular development of transport. The use of the steam engine to drive trains and ships resulted, from the start of the industrial era, in the creation of rail and sea networks across the globe. At the start of the twentieth century, plentiful supplies of oil, easy to store in liquid form and relatively cheap, sparked the rapid growth of road and air transport.
In 1769 James Watt made decisive improvements on Newcomen's original steam engine design. During the nineteenth century, this technology was used to industrialise large parts of the world, heat homes and offices, and move more and more people round faster by train. Oil has assumed an equally central role in transforming society. Historian Eric Hobsbawm argues 4
Reforestation of Palestine began with the return of the first Jewish settlers in the late 1880s. After the creation of the state of Israel, a major tree-planting program began. The Kingdom of Jordan has also engaged in a widespread tree-planting effort. The deforestation there occurred under the Ottoman Empire because the Turks needed wood for their railroad steam engines. In Jordan, afforestation programs often encounter human resistance, as poor people see the forest as a resource for fuel and food for their goats. In Israel, Jordan, and other countries, afforestation cannot occur naturally as it can in an already well-watered area such as Vermont or the eastern half of the United States and Canada, generally. Deforestation in some places devastates the land because the removal of trees that held in moisture are no longer present, so the soil dries out so much that it is difficult for trees to re-establish themselves naturally. In tropical areas, the loss of forest cover may cause...
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