Bryant University
Energy Management Strategies (Sci355)
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Week 1-2: Energy and Society
  Overview of Major Challenges (Energy in Nature)
Increasing Energy Consumption
Historic trend of increased energy use
Figure 4:Trends in Energy Consumption Over Time
Figure 7:Energy Production in the U.S. from 1950 to 2000
Figure 8:Fossil Fuel Production as Share of Consumption
Linked to population growth
Related to economic growth
Figure 2:Comparison of GNP & Energy Consumption in the U.S.
Figure 3:Comparison of Per Capita Consumption in Different Nations
Seemingly insatiable energy needs of humankind
Search for Perfect Energy Source
Endless search for a single energy supply
Figure 1:Pattern of Energy Consumption
Looking for Mr. Goodenergy
Early civilization - destroyed forests
Industrialization - linked to coal, than oil
Promises of nuclear supremacy
Need an energy pie based on available sources
Energy Conversions - Inefficient
Based on Laws of Thermodynamics
Primary Energy Sources (found in earth)
Secondary Energy Supply (fuels for human use)
End Users (residental, commercial, industrial, transportation)
More steps, greater loss
It Takes Energy to Get Energy
Basic economic principles (energy costs & dollar costs)
Fuel Cycles (mining, processing, distribution, infrastructure, decommissioning)
Opportunity Costs, External Costs
Dependency on Fossil Fuels
Carbon dioxide levels are rising
Example of greenhouse gases, implicated in global warming
International implications (haves and have-nots)
Failure to explore and utilize renewable energy
Money & Energy Flow Along the Same Pathways
Money & energy move in opposite directions
Need to assess both the financial and energy costs when making decisions about energy expansion
Energy is a global entity, and is directly linked with international economic growth
Energy Use Brings Environmental Damage
Greenhouse gas accumulation
Acid deposition
Air toxics (dioxins, mercury, PCBs, CFCs)
Figure 5:Threats of Respiratory Illness - Czechloslovakia
Nuclear accidents
Figure 6:Chernobyl Reactor Accident in Ukraine
Water pollution (acid mine drainage, oil spills, radionuclides, thermal loading)
Land damage (toxic waste disposal, petroleum leaks, forest loss, etc.)
Needed Breakthroughs
Increased awareness of energy use
Develop sustainable practices
Utilize a mix of energy sources
Embrace a soft-path approach to energy technology
Analyze entire fuel cycle (including the cost of environmental pollution
Improve efficiency of extraction, distribution and usage practices
Utilize computers and other technologies for reducing heat losses
Cultivate an attitude of conservation
Maintain an open mind about renewable alternatives

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Gaytha A. Langlois, Ph.D., 1999
Bryant University, Smithfield, RI 02917
Last Updated: August 2006