Future World Energy Constraints and the Direction for Solutions

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This paper was originally written in response to the concern that rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by burning of fossil fuels will ultimately contribute to global warming. Now we are beginning to see evidence of coming problems in the supply of fuels for transportation. This paper describes the benefits of adequate energy supply and the problems of future energy supply. Partial solutions are suggested for immediate application as well as longer term solutions to address both of these concerns. To evaluate the situation and solutions we must understand: (1) how much primary energy is currently used world-wide ... continued below

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Lightfoot, H.D. September 12, 2004.

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Description

This paper was originally written in response to the concern that rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by burning of fossil fuels will ultimately contribute to global warming. Now we are beginning to see evidence of coming problems in the supply of fuels for transportation. This paper describes the benefits of adequate energy supply and the problems of future energy supply. Partial solutions are suggested for immediate application as well as longer term solutions to address both of these concerns. To evaluate the situation and solutions we must understand: (1) how much primary energy is currently used world-wide and might be needed in 2100, (2) how important energy is to the welfare of people, (3) the forms of energy sources and end uses and (4) where new sources may come from. The major portion of world primary energy demand is provided by fossil fuels. This portion dropped from 93% in 1970 to 85% in 1995, mainly because of the increased use of nuclear energy. How ever, since the mid-1990s fossil fuels have maintained their 85% share of world energy supply. The importance of the relationship between per capita energy consumption and per capita income for the world is discussed. The limits of conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energies are examined. The contribution of renewable energies is compared to 41 different views of world energy demand in 2100. Without new technology for large scale storage of intermittent electricity from wind and solar the contribution of renewable energies is not likely to grow significantly beyond the current level of 7-8%. The paper offers conclusions and partial solutions that we can work on immediately. Examination of the forms of energy supplied by the sun, which is powered by nuclear fusion, and the way in which nuclear fission currently supplies energy to the world sets the research framework for longer term solutions. This framework points towards two possible longer term complementary res earch projects which take advantage of the concentrated energy and portability of nuclear fission: (1) to find ways of extending nuclear fission to smaller transportation and heating applications and (2) to develop nuclear fusion for manufacturing fissionable materials.

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INIS; OSTI as DE00839313

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  • Americas Nuclear Energy Symposium (ANES 2004), Miami, FL (US), 10/03/2004--10/06/2004

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  • Report No.: none
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 839313
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc786733

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • September 12, 2004

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Jan. 22, 2016, 5:45 p.m.

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Lightfoot, H.D. Future World Energy Constraints and the Direction for Solutions, article, September 12, 2004; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc786733/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.