Articles tagged with "energy efficiency"
Posted by Heading Out on May 12, 2013 - 1:20pm
Tags: bp energy outlook, citigroup, energy efficiency, exxonmobil, fuel efficiency, natural gas demand, shell, vehicle miles driven [list all tags]
Perceptions based on perhaps too small a collection of information can lead into opinions that, on investigation, turn out to be incorrect. Just recently a couple of friends had mentioned that charities that they are associated with were seeing a decline in donations. I built this into a picture of the general public being less able to afford earlier levels of giving, perhaps because of the continued impact of higher costs of fuel. However, the perception is as a general statement, wrong, and (via the National Park Service from The Giving Institute) I learned that:
Americans gave more than $298.42 billion in 2011 to their favorite causes despite the economic conditions. Total giving was up 4 percent from $286.91 in 2010. This slight increase is reflective of recovering economic confidence.
The greatest portion of charitable giving, $217.79 billion, was given by individuals or household donors. Gifts from individuals represented 73 percent of all contributed dollars, similar to figures for 2010.
In the perception that is becoming increasingly prevalent on the future of energy supplies, and particularly on crude oil, the current adequacy of supply is projected forward to anticipate no problems with supply in the future. Peak oil is now suggested to occur not because the supply is limited, but because with the increasing use of renewable energy, demand will peak, and then decline. Bloomberg New Energy Finance founder Michael Liebreich is quoted as projecting that the growth in fossil fuel use will almost stop by 2030, while Citi Commodity Researchers are suggesting that the increases in prices will drive increases in efficiency that will bring a peak in oil demand “much sooner than the market expects.”
This is a guest post by Tom Murphy. Tom is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. This post originally appeared on Tom's blog Do the Math.
I recently devised a laser-phototransistor gauge to monitor my natural gas meter dial—like ya do. As a side benefit, I acquired good data on how much energy goes into various domestic uses of natural gas. Using this, I was able to figure out how much energy it takes to heat water on the stove, cook something in the oven, or heat water for a shower. Together with the knowledge of the heat capacity of water, I can compute heating efficiency from my measurements. What could be more fun? I’ll share the results here, some of which surprised me.
This is a guest post by Tom Murphy. Tom Murphy is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. This post originally appeared on Tom's blog, Do the Math.
What do you get when you cross an astronomically-inclined physicist with concerns over energy efficiency in lighting? Spectra. Lots and lots of spectra. In this post, we’ll become familiar with spectral characterization of light, see example spectra of a number of household light sources, and I’ll even throw in some mind-blowing photos. In the process, we’ll evaluate just how efficient lighting could possibly be, along the way understanding something about the physiology of light perception and the definition of the increasingly ubiquitous lighting measure called the lumen. Buckle your physics seat-belt and prepare to think like a photon.
Posted by Euan Mearns on October 17, 2011 - 10:02am
Tags: $100 oil, bank of england, debt, energy efficiency, energy policy, euan mearns, financial times, insolvency, interest rates, iranian revolution, m. king hubbert, oecd, peak oil [list all tags]
David Cameron describes the economic downturn as "no normal recession" UK Prime Minister David Cameron to party conference, 5th October 2011.
This is the fourth post in the series following the oil price, markets and general health of the global economy examining the simple theory that OECD recession may result from annual average oil price exceeding $100 / bbl.
The annual average price (AAP) of Brent went through $100 on around 16th August 2011 and the AAP stood at $105.3 on 12th October. The AAP high point in the 2008 price spike was $104.8 on 9th October that year.
Below the fold are observations and commentary on debt, economic growth, interest rates, commodities prices and government policy. This is not intended to be quantitative analysis but instead is intended to provide a platform for discussion in the comments.
This is a guest post by Tom Murphy, an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. This post originally appeared on Tom's blog Do the Math.
A common question I get when discussing solar photovoltaic (PV) power is: “What is the typical efficiency for panels now?” When I answer that mass-market polycrystalline panels are typically about 15–16%, I often see the questioner’s nose wrinkle, followed by dismissive mumbling that 15% is still too low, and maybe they’ll wait for higher numbers before personally pursuing solar. By the end of this post, you will understand why this response is annoying to me. At 15%, we’re in great shape: it’s plenty good for our needs. Let’s do the math and fight the snobbery.
First, let’s look at the efficiencies of other familiar uses of energy to put PV into perspective. I will act as if I’m directly addressing the PV efficiency snob, because it’s fun—and I would never be this rude in person. This may not apply to you, the reader, so please take the truculent tone in stride.
This is a guest post by Roger Fouquet, Ikerbasque Research Professor at the Basque Center for Climate Change best known for his book Heat, Power, and Light: Revolutions in Energy Services. The post builds upon Fouquet, R. 2011a. Divergences in the Long Run Trends in the Price of Energy and of Energy Services. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 5(2). 186-218.
His research shows that it is not the price of energy input (depletion) which matters for the economy, but the cost of energy input per unit of output (depletion + technology). Something which seems obvious but is often forgotten in the energy discussion. Also at The Oil Drum we often erroneously talk about effects of the oil price on the economy, and not the cost of an oil or energy service delivered to the economy. The latter not being affected just by energy prices, but by all inputs and the efficiency and cost.
Energy prices have risen considerably since the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is valuable to place these price rises within a historical context. Many peaks preceded the price hike of 2008, and there will, no doubt, be many more. However, if future trends follow past ones, then it is tempting to conclude that the long-run trend in individual and average energy prices will be generally stable or downwards.
This note also highlights the tendency for long-run trends in the price of energy and of energy services to diverge. That is, since the Industrial Revolution, energy efficiency improvements have led the price of energy services to fall far more than the decline in the price of energy. This is an important distinction because commentators have a tendency to focus on energy prices, even though consumers are ultimately interested in the services that energy provide, such as space and water heating or cooling, powering of appliances, illumination and transportation (Goldemberg et al. 1985). This divergence in the long-run has major implications for forecasts of future energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, welfare improvements and the evolution of economies.
Energy efficiency leads to higher consumption of fossil fuel and therefore higher carbon dioxide emissions.
Euan made this point in a recent discussion. It made me think. Euan's reasoning is that by increasing the energy efficiency we increase the energy service which in turn allows us to pay a higher price per unit energy. This enables higher ultimate production of fossil fuels with their associated CO2 emission to the atmosphere.
It's a compelling argument, especially as we are seeing increasing production today from expensive deep water, tar sands, shale gas etc. Here I offer a few thoughts around this idea. Please note this post is entirely qualitative, the numbers (percentages and dollars) below aren't related to the real world at all, they are purely illustrative.
The word efficiency carries a meaning immersed in all things positive – you never hear that being more efficient could possibly be detrimental. In fact, if you can bear the evangelical fervour, you may have read about achieving ‘Factor Four’ or ‘Factor Five’ gains in energy efficiency, as part of a ‘Natural Capital’ revolution comprising a ‘decoupling’ economic growth from a growth in the consumption of exhaustible resources – also known as ‘sustainability’. You may even have heard about the equation I=PAT or I = P x A x T, where environmental impact (I) is a function of population (P), affluence (A) and technology (T), and that becoming more efficient will enable a desired level of affluence with far less environmental cost.
Historical experience shows that these claims are untrue, and indeed the facts suggest greater energy efficiency is counterproductive to the stated aims of curbing resource use and decreasing negative environmental externalities.
Posted by Gail the Actuary on March 2, 2010 - 10:17am
Tags: energy efficiency, energy footprint, environmental impact assessment, food, praveen ghanta [list all tags]
This is a guest post by Praveen Ghanta, known on The Oil Drum as praveen. Praveen is an IT consultant in Atlanta, with degrees in economics and computer science. This was originally posted on Praveen's blog, truecostblog.com.
Which foods have the smallest (and largest) energy footprint, thereby having the most environmental impact? While most people probably realize that meat products have a larger energy and environmental impact, the degree of difference isn’t immediately clear. How much difference does it make if you’re a vegetarian, or if you’re almost entirely carnivorous? The following list provides a rough estimate of the energy required to produce different kinds of foods, in order from least to most energy intensive. David McKay’s Without The Hot Air is a source for many of the numbers below:
This is a guest post by Lionel Orford. Lionel is a professional electrical engineer with an interest in peak oil and sustainability. This past year he has been researching and developing a book with the working title, "Peak Capitalism: Our Opportunity to Choose between Transformation and Collapse." His web site can be found at this link.
In his 1865 book “The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of our Coal-Mines,” English economist William Stanley Jevons made the observation “Of the Economy of Fuel” that when improvements in technology make it possible to use a fuel more efficiently, the consumption of the fuel tends to go up, not down.
This is known as Jevons’ Paradox. It occurs because as the efficiency of a type of machinery is improved, it becomes profitable for many more customers and feasible to apply it to new applications. This results in rapid growth of the number of machines in use and consequently, an increase in fuel consumption overall.