Vanek_ch05-p107-124 orig - 7 3/8 x 9 1/4 Technical / Energy...

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7 3/8 x 9 1/4 Technical / Energy Systems Engineering / Vanek / 0071495932 / Chapter 5 CHAPTER 5 Fossil Fuel Resources 5-1 Overview At the present time, fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal provide the majority of energy consumed around the world. At the same time, all fossil fuels are not the same, both in terms of their availability and their impact on climate change. The first part of this chapter compares fossil fuel alternatives in terms of their worldwide consumption rates, estimated remaining resource base, and cost per unit of energy derived. It also considers the amount of CO 2 emitted per unit of energy released, and outlines strategies for reducing CO 2 emissions. The second part of the chapter presents methods for projecting the future course of annual consumption of different fossil resources, and discusses implications of declining output of conventional fossil fuels for nonconven- tional sources such as oil shale, tar sands, and synthetic oil and gas substitutes made from coal. 5-2 Introduction As the name implies, fossil fuels come from layers of prehistoric carbonaceous materials that have been compressed over millions of years to form energy-dense concentrations of solid, liquid, or gas, which can be extracted and combusted to meet human energy requirements. Different types of fossil fuels vary in terms of energy content per unit of mass or volume, current consumption rates in different regions of the world, availability of remaining resource not yet extracted, and CO 2 emissions per unit of energy released during combustion. These differences underpin the presentation later in this book of many of the technologies used for stationary energy conversion and transportation applications, and are therefore the focus of this chapter. Since the time that coal surpassed wood as the leading energy source used by humans for domestic and industrial purposes in the industrializing countries of Europe and North America in the 19th century, fossil fuels have become the dominant primary energy source worldwide, currently accounting for about 86% of all energy production. It is only in the poorest of the emerging countries that biofuels such as wood or dung are the major provider of energy for human needs; elsewhere, fossil fuels are the majority provider of energy for electricity generation, space heating, and transportation. Because fossil fuels are so important for meeting energy needs at present, any pathway toward sustainable energy consumption must consider how to use advanced, high- efficiency fossil combustion technology as a bridge toward some future mixture of nonfossil energy sources, or consider how to adapt the use of fossil fuels for compatibility with the goals of sustainable development over the long term.
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Vanek_ch05-p107-124 orig - 7 3/8 x 9 1/4 Technical / Energy...

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