22 April 2012
Happy Earth Day!
Posted by Dan Satterfield
I do not think Earth Day should be about feeling guilty over how poorly we’ve treated our planet. It should be about celebrating the accomplishments we’ve made. I spotted this image from the Sierra Club today, we are making progress toward cleaning up our air and water. Education IS the answer, and science can offer solutions.
Earth Day cannot pass without me posting Sagan. Just in case there are a few who have not seen it and we should all watch it again, anyhow!
Actually if you take a 100 year perspective the process of burning coal to electricity got 8 times more efficient until the 1930s when materials limitations began to bite.(Hot high pressure steam is murder on a number of materials). Only recently with the combined cycle gas turbines have we gotten another factor of 2 so that the most modern nat gas plants do 60% efficiency (since the gas turbine can get a lot hotter). I do think this is an unappreciated story about electric.
Note that if gas is twice as efficient in making electricity per unit input of fuel, then there is a good range where it can and in North America will displace coal.