Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Summary of energy sources

I did a study on power sources in the late 1970’s and have been interested in energy since. Energy is vital in any modern economy. It is also vital when waging modern war.

1) Coal - The power source from the 19th century. Coal still plays a significant role today. Coal is not as easily mined nor as transportable as oil and natural gas. The industry is the highest in death toll for extraction and development per capita than any other. Even ‘clean’ coal is a heavy pollutant.

2) Wind – Statistics have shown only a few places where this is economical. Harvesting the wind has been around since the beginning of man. The natural pattern is slow movement away from this as an effective source.

3) Geothermal – Not very economical except (Like wind) in a few local places. Not transportable.
4) Solar – Power source is at the far end of a long line. Has economical applications. However, it is better to tap it at the source, the sun. Which is a fusion reaction. Fusion has the potential to supply what today can be considered to be an unlimited power source.

5) Oil and gas – Power source began in late 19th century and is still the most economical and most transportable.

6) Nuclear – created in the mid-20th century. This concept is the opposite of fusion, it has the best potential of all others so far to lead to operational fusion generation plants and has the least amount of loss of lives and damage than any other current source. It has practical economies of scale and is even somewhat transportable, as our nuclear warships demonstrate. The greatest problem here is fear. Particularly in the U.S. people are afraid of nuclear power and weapons. (For good reason concerning nuclear weapons, less so when concerning power plants)

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