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.

More of RJ Robinson at http://richardjrobinson.blogspot.com/

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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