As promised, here are some of the shocking stories about our energy use…
Remember that heat is energy – so any waste of heat is a waste of energy. (I’m sure this is ‘duh’ for a lot of you… but I’m just starting to get back into the whole science thing since I left it in Grade 10)
The waste heat generated from power plants is enormous to the say the least. And usually this hot water is deemed a ‘by-product’ and the most economic way to get rid of it is to pour it into rivers and lakes or use (energy intensive) cooling towers to evaporate the hot water into the atmosphere.
Hmmm… just a question from a very unscientific person… but at a time when the world is struggling with it’s energy supplies (and still can’t come up with a better mix of renewable fuels) doesn’t it seem ridiculous that we’re pouring heat into water and air – effectively killing aquatic life and causing air pollution? But no, this is what we usually do…
But there is a better way. Cogeneration is when we take that heat that would otherwise be thrown out like bath water and re-use it for useful purposes – like heating houses. Instead of having two plants – one for energy and one for heat – there’s one combine heat and power (CHP) plant – and much less waste heat, fuel and emissions.
We haven’t all figured this one out though. Those countries that have though – seem to be gaining.
Denmark is a great example. (So if Finland.. but I’ve talked a plenty about Finland;)
After the oil crash in the 70’s, the Danish knew that they couldn’t keep going with such an unstable and unsustainable source. They expanded the use of CHP plants, phased out their heating plants and invested in a better district heating networks, improved their insulation standards and expanded on their renewable energy supplies.
The result? Energy consumption for the country has remained relatively stable SINCE THE 70’s! (in comparison, the US consumption increased by over 40% – and America’s energy losses are more than twice that of UK’s energy demand!)
Ok, had to do another quick one.
Oil shale in Estonia for electricity use:
- about 93% of the country’s electricity generation is from oil shale (NOTE: VERY SIMILAR TO CANADA’s TAR SANDS!)
- the plant is the largest polluter in Estonia and the whole region…
- 80% of solid waste and 70% of atmospheric emissions created by the oil-shale energy complex
- huge amounts of water go into producing the energy (again, similar to our oil sands
There are some improvements but umm.. this was just a sad story.
Don’t want to get too techie for you but if you’re interested in these topics, it’s worth taking a look at. Who knows, maybe some of you readers will be inspired to enter into this huge area and make some real changes:)