If you see this anywhere in the book……close it immediately!

As expected, there was a long list of ‘fun’ books on wind energy at the library, and I just happened to pick out the best one, filled with numerous equations and symbols (sarcasm intended). The title of the book is “Sustainable Energy: Choosing Among Options”. The book is written in a text like format, which I would imagine deters a lot of readers from ever picking it up of the book shelf, but somehow I fell for the trap.  The book provides in depth studies of various energy resources, from fossil fuels all the way to biomass  and thermal energy conversion. Each chapter focuses on a different form of energy, helping to highlight for the reader some of the positives and negatives associated with that form of energy. The reason why I picked up this book was because I was hoping to gain some insight on the different types of sustainable energy practices in hopes of demonstrating why wind energy would be the best solution to the current oil driven economy.

The book does a good job of breaking each form of sustainable energy into its core components such installation cost, rated power, and other specifics that apply for that particular form of energy, i.e. for wind energy it provides the minimum required wind speed necessary for the wind turbine to be able to operate in. It seems that I will be able to use this book in attaining some hard facts behind the different forms of energy. The other benefit of this book is that even though I am a big supporter of wind energy, it helps to highlight the offsets and challenges associated with wind power. I think it is really hard to become bias with your topic and completely ignore the negative effects that are associated with it thus this book does a good job of keeping a neutral outlook, except for leaving towards sustainable energy over fossil fuels. The book also has a work cited section after every chapter which could come in handy when trying to find out more about a specific subject or a key statistic that has a reference number next to it.

The chapter on wind energy helped to highlight some of the facts of why wind energy is still receiving opposition from the people such disrupting radio and tv transmissions, maintenance worker hazard, killing birds, and much more. Even though this might be quite a dry read, it’ll be helpful in covering all the basics behind this subject.

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4 responses »

  1. Jordi says:

    Hey, I am unafraid of your equations. I just skip them when I see them. 🙂 There are some loopy ideas behind the popular discourse around energy aren’t there? Like “American” energy. We live in a globlaized economy of energy commodities. Marcellus shale gas, touted as part of an “energy independence” strategy is being liquified for transport to…. China! Similarly, I wonder if people misudnerstand ‘sustainable’ energy sometimes. like, they expect some utterly benovelent (and cheap!) energy source. WE can do _better_, of course, but I worry some people (not you, just the general sentiment), imagine free energy with frictionless technology to run their zero footprint electronics. There is no free energy, right? 2nd law? Even the sun will brun out someday… and it is the source of all energy we use, ultimately, isn’t it? Well, maybe minus fission.

    • Tomas Smaliorius says:

      It’s funny that you say the sun is technically our ultimate source of energy because without it wind power would not be possible (since the varying temperatures effects at Earth’s surface create areas of high and low pressure which generate wind). Actually I never really thought of it that way in terms of no energy source actually being free, but its a really good point. The best that we can do as humans is to minimize the cost associated with that energy source.
      Actually last week we had a guest speaker for one of my engineering classes come in and talk about his company. He began talking about some of the global projects they currently perform, and a few of them involve building new power plants. One of the students asked him if they were coal plants, and his immediate ‘yes’ to the answer was followed by an explanation of how these plants have gotten better in terms of decreasing their carbon emissions. It seems that he wanted a big congratulations for making a dirty source of energy just a little less dirtier. Congrats!

  2. Zach says:

    I’m taking a capstone called stock options modeling this semester. Considering it is taught by the head of the math department, I can’t exactly say that I’m surprised by how overwhelmed I am. The main focus of the class is deriving the Black Scholes equation. The equation is what people use to price standard options. I am not exactly the most experienced math student out there, and thus the blackboard in that class probably has a similar effect on me that the equations in this book had one you.

    • Jordi says:

      What is amazing to me is that AFTER the B-S [ 😉 ] model was introduced to price options on the Chicago mercantile, THEN, it actually started being very reliable. In other words, the theory shaped the world of commodities options, not the other way around. Douglas MacKenzie in An Engine not a Camera details the argument. ANOTHER book I need to read. Sheesh.

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