The history – and future – of energy efficiency 1

A problem that is raised over and over again in the energy literature is the poor conversion ratio of green energy sources. Hydrogen, for example, may lose as much as 75% of its energy value between raw material and use as energy. Most projections assume that we never will do very much better than current efficiency levels.

I have no idea why this is. Perhaps there is a fundamental issue I am not aware of, but looking back at the history of, say, the steam engine, the improvements inefficiency are astonishing. I have read that Newcomen’s engine converted less than 1% of the available energy, but James Watt and Matthew Boulton’s improvement were only the first of many massive improvements up to and including the modern steam turbine.

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One comment on “The history – and future – of energy efficiency

  1. Reply JBR Jul 29,2008 9:20 pm

    The question on “hydrogen” is how it is created and transproted.

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