Caltech Presentation Energy

Energy is always measured in many known ways and the examples are: kilowatt hours of consumed electricity; several barrels of oil; and many cubic feet of consumed natural gas. Scientists always use the common known denominator of joules in a bid to measure energy that is consumed by people, and, therefore, the rate of all energy consumption by masses is watts. Dr. Lewis clearly elucidated on how energy drives the world, it works as the currency that people depend on, globally. Dr. Nathan Lewis, who is a renowned professor of chemistry, clearly presented issues dealing with energy and its consumption, at Caltech. The idea behind the presentation was to enlighten the masses on alternative sources of energy that would not cause harm to the ozone layer, in terms of carbon dioxide (Nathan, Roger Revelle Centennial Symposium).

Building enough quantities of carbon-free power, in a cost effective manner, within duration of 50 years, would eventually help in holding up the huge levels of carbon dioxide that is eminent in the Earth’s surface. The only limitation towards achieving that dream would be the technology that is employed at the moment and the costs that would be incurred, if enough planning is not given priority. However, the world needs to get a solution to the ever increasing rates of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Global warming is not a new term in the society, and this calls for embracing of clean energy producing processes.

Total energy refers to the product of force, speed and energy. This is the sum of all components that energy entails up to the consumption phase. It put in place all the processes involved in the production and dissemination of energy until its final destination. Electricity, on the other hand, is a product of current and voltage. It is part of the total energy that people consume. Primary energy refers to energy that is in the form found in natural state and has not been modified or converted into other forms that will transform its state. This is the energy that is always contained in known raw fuels, and all other forms of consumed energy usually received as an input into the system. Secondary energy, on the other hand, refers to a form of energy that is realized after the conversion of all the primary energies that were involved in the earlier production phase. This includes electricity that is realized from gas, coal, and gasoline (Nathan, Roger Revelle Centennial Symposium).

The great technical adversity that has hit the globe in this century is the idea of developing energy sources that at no extent involve any carbon dioxide as the eventual byproduct. This has also been a hard hit by the fact that the cost axis involved cannot be met in the near future. However, there is good news as people can gear towards embracing the energy alternatives that exist in line with clean energy production. Nuclear power can act as an alternative to combating the rising carbon dioxide levels (Nathan, Powering The Planet). Lewis postulated that this would need 10,000 extremely new power plants that are designed for nuclear, in a bid to hold up the carbon dioxide levels in the next fifty years. The only hurdle is the lack of enough uranium on Planet Earth to aid the running of the many reactors in its perpetuity. Another alternative is the use of clean coal by applying carbon sequestration. This is whereby carbon dioxide can clearly be pumped into any natural gas reservoirs, whereby gas has always been stored since the renowned geologic times. One problem that can emanate is the lack of enough capacity by the reservoirs to hold all the presumed billions of tons of carbon that is produced by any burning of the normal earth’s coal. The second challenge that would emerge would be preventing the realized carbon from eventually leaking into the earth’s atmosphere. Hydrogen could act as another alternative but all the modern ways of its production always involve either the use of coal or even natural gas, and thus, limits the feasibility that is desired of any hydrogen economy (Nathan, Improving on Photosynthesis).

Renewable energy emerges as an ideal and desired “no carbon” solution, although, developing a complete renewable energy economy is always a dream as it would eventually require a lot of technological breakthroughs in line with being both possible and also cost-effective (Nathan, Fuels from Sunlight). The energy potential among the renewable sources varies. Hydropower has the ability to produce less than one terawatt electricity that can be harnessed from all the lakes, the rivers and also streams, globally. Wind produces within a range of two to four terawatts while biomass possess about five potential terawatts (Nathan, Roger Revelle Centennial Symposium).

There is much advancement in line with improving the form of solar energy and making it extremely affordable to the less fortunate. The use of solar panels has been a great advancement.  A lot of energy from the Sun always hits the Earth within every hour than any of the energy that people consume on the Earth in any given year. There is, however, a hurdle in line with the technology needed to find the best way to capture most of the Sun’s energy, eventually store it, and all these have to be done in a cost-effective way (Nathan, Global Warming Potentials of ODS Substitutes).

Carbon dioxide is a major challenge when dealing with energy production. Clean energy production is still a dream on earth, and it will take quite a while before the dream is realized. Harnessing and utilizing the alternative sources of energy (those that do not lead to carbon dioxide emission) requires new technology, which is also costly. There is need for personal initiatives among people, to ensure that they embrace clean energy production.

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