How to calculate pros and cons of all energy options
What is it about?
Energy density and power density are the cornerstones of the physical limitations in the exploitation of the energy sources. On this basis, a novel classification of energy sources, volumetric and flowing, has been proposed and discussed in light of three parameters: abundance, power density and sustainability. Eventually, an extended definition of power density based on life-cycle assessment is adopted.
Why is it important?
When comparing renewable with fossil fuels, emotional approaches are fueled by the difficulties in defining a proper metric able to make consistent comparisons among energy sources. In literature several approaches have been proposed, all effective in some way but ineffective in others. Variables like energy density, prices, estimated resources, life time emissions, water use and waste, all come at the same time to form an unmanageable mix. This paper discuss the adoption of a shared metric to clarify the boundary conditions that limit the solutions can be operated and to define which scenarios are sustainable and which are not.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Giuliano Buceti
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