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Energy Future Essay

4599 words - 18 pages

OUTLINEGeneral considerations 2U.S. energy consumption by sectors.& 2Fossil fuels 4Oil 4Non-conventional oil 5Non-conventional natural gas 5Coal 5Nuclear power 5Renewable energy 7Energy storage and transportation fuel 9Speculative 10General considerationsAll the energy we consume is generated by using the four fundamental interactions of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force to create work. Fission energy and fusion energy are generated by electromagnetism and the strong nuclear force. Most forms of terrestrial energy can be traced back to fusion reaction inside the sun, with the exception of tidal power, geothermal energy and nuclear power. Geothermal energy is believed to be generated primarily by radioactive decay inside the Earth. Radioactive decay energy is generated by both the weak nuclear force and electromagnetic force. Tidal energy comes from the gravity energy and kinetic energy of the Earth/Moon system.Most human energy sources today use energy from sunlight, either directly like solar cells or in stored forms like fossil fuels. Once the stored forms are used up (assuming no contribution from the three previous energy sources and no energy from space exploration) then the long-term energy usage of humanity is limited to that from the sunlight falling on Earth. The total energy consumption of humanity today is equivalent to about 0.1-0.01% of that. But humanity cannot exploit most of this energy since it also provides the energy for almost all other lifeforms and drives the weather cycleU.S. energy consumption by sectors.World energy production by source: Oil 40%, natural gas 22.5%, coal 23.3%, hydroelectric 7.0%, nuclear 6.5%, biomass and other 0.7%. In the U.S., transportation accounted for 28% of all energy use and 70% of petroleum use in 2001; 97% of transportation fuel was petroleumThe United Nations projects that world population will stabilize in 2075 at nine billion due to the demographic transition. Birth rates are now falling in most developing nations and the population would decrease in several developed nations if there was no immigration . Still, economic growth probably requires a continued increase in energy consumption. Since 1970, each 1% increase in world GDP has yielded a 0.64% increase in energy consumption .In geology, resources refer to the amount of a specific substance that may be present in a deposit. This definition does not take into account the economic feasibility of exploitation or the fact that resources may not be recoverable using current technology. Reserves constitute those resources that are recoverable using current technology. They can be recovered economically under current market conditions. This definition takes into account current mining technology and the economics of recovery, including mining and transport costs, government royalties and current market prices. Reserves decrease when prices are too low for some of the substance to be...

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