Power Density: A Key To Understanding Energy Sources And Uses

Paperback | September 2, 2016

byVaclav Smil

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"There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil." -- Bill Gates

In this book, Vaclav Smil argues that power density is a key determinant of the nature and dynamics of energy systems. Any understanding of complex energy systems must rely on quantitative measures of many fundamental variables. Power density -- the rate of energy flux per unit of area -- is an important but largely overlooked measure. Smil provides the first systematic, quantitative appraisal of power density, offering detailed reviews of the power densities of renewable energy flows, fossil fuels, thermal electricity generation, and all common energy uses.

Smil shows that careful quantification, critical appraisals, and revealing comparisons of power densities make possible a deeper understanding of the ways we harness, convert, and use energies. Conscientious assessment of power densities, he argues, proves particularly revealing when contrasting the fossil fuel--based energy system with renewable energy conversions.

Smil explains that modern civilization has evolved as a direct expression of the high power densities of fossil fuel extraction. He argues that our inevitable (and desirable) move to new energy arrangements involving conversions of lower-density renewable energy sources will require our society -- currently dominated by megacities and concentrated industrial production -- to undergo a profound spatial restructuring of its energy system.

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"There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil." -- Bill GatesIn this book, Vaclav Smil argues that power density is a key determinant of the nature and dynamics of energy systems. Any understanding of complex energy systems must rely on quantitative measures of many fundamental variables. Power density -- the r...

Vaclav Smil is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature and, most recently, Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing, both published by the MIT Press. In 2010 he was named by F...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.62 inPublished:September 2, 2016Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262529734

ISBN - 13:9780262529730

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Vaclav Smil highlights power density as an essential ingredient for evaluating energy systems that is often forgotten or neglected in making sound energy choices. Smil correctly points out with numerous examples the importance of power density in determining how energy recovery and utilization systems are designed and operated.