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Bud Nye (2012), in his Physoc post "Purpose of Life" wrote [bracketed
by lines "NNNNN. . . .; my inserts at ". [[insert]]. . . .]] :
After reading five of systems ecologist Howard T. Odum's
energy-focused books. . . .[[see e.g., "Environment, Power, and
Society for the Twenty-First Century: The Hierarchy of Energy (Odum,
2007)" and Amazon's "Howard T. Odum book page" at
<http://amzn.to/xkp9cP>.]]. . . , it strikes me that the probable
"purpose of life" involves doing what ALL life, from the most
primitive to the most complex, does: CONCENTRATE ENERGY; move energy
along the energy hierarchy from the lowest quality, most disbursed
carriers, such as sunlight, into the most dense, highest quality,
highest transferity carriers possible, such as electricity and
information, thus minimizing the entropy of systems over time . . . .
. . . especially since the industrial revolution, we, especially
those of us in the West and in the U.S., have functioned in ways that
work directly opposite this (probable) purpose of life (assuming that
life has any such teleological "purpose", as many people wish to
believe that it does). We have worked extremely hard to DISPERSE
energy, not concentrate it. We have worked not to minimize the
entropy of systems, but instead to maximize various life systems'
entropy. This does not bode well for our long-term future. . . . . .
One method of "concentrating energy" or "decreasing entropy" . . . .
. . . [[see, e.g., "Removing the Mystery of Entropy and
Thermodynamics" (Leff, 2012)]]. . . . is available to individual
citizens: installation of photovoltaic solar panels (PVSP) on
citizens' roof tops.
What fraction of the yearly total U.S. fossil-fueled electrical
energy (and thus fraction of yearly tons of CO2 emission from
fossil-fueled electrical energy production) could be eliminated by
PVSP in the U.S. if ALL roof tops in the U.S. were covered by PVSP?
(1) According to CARMA (2007) the total electrical energy production
for 2007 in the U.S was 4.19 x 10^9 MWh/y [MWh/y =
MegaWattHours/year] of which 69% was fossil fueled.
(2) According to the population clock at <http://1.usa.gov/zaQynk>,
the population of the U.S. on 5 Feb 2012 = 313 x 10^6.
(3) According to <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaic_system>
"A typical '150 watt' solar panel is about a square meter in size.
Such a panel may be expected to produce 1 kWh every day, on average,
after taking into account the weather and the latitude."
But before recommending, on the basis of one's answer to the above
Fermi problem, that all U.S. rooftops be covered with PVSP, one
should consider the EMERGY associated with such a plan - see
"Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Environmental Decision Making"
Leff, H. 2012a. "Removing the Mystery of Entropy and Thermodynamics -
Part I," Phys. Teach. 50(1): 28-31; online to subscribers at
Leff, H. 2012b. "Removing the Mystery of Entropy and Thermodynamics -
Part II," Phys. Teach. 50(2): 87-90; online to subscribers at
<http://bit.ly/wFpbeJ >. Parts III-V will be published in Phys.Teach
Nye, B. 2012. "Purpose of Life," online on the CLOSED!:-( Physoc
archives at <http://bit.ly/ywmWC1>. Post of 3 Feb 2012 10:43:11-0800
to Physoc. To access the archives of PHYSOC one needs to subscribe,
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Odum, H.G.1995. "Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Environmental
Decision Making." Wiley, publisher's information at
<http://bit.ly/wSeH9b>. Amazon.com information at
<http://amzn.to/ycGgJ2>, note the searchable "Look Inside" feature."
See esp. pp. 156-157 "Solar Voltaic Power." On page 1, Odum writes:
"EMERGY, spelled with an 'm,' measures both the work of nature and
that of humans in generating products and services. By selecting
choices that maximize EMERGY production and use, policies and
judgements can favor those environmental that maximize real wealth,
the whole economy, and the public benefit." On page 156-157 he
writes" "EMERGY evaluations of solar voltaic arrays have yet to show
any net EMERGY yield. The power grid at Austin, Tex., . . . is taking
more EMERGY out of society than it is generating. . ."
Odum, H.G. 2007. "Environment, Power, and Society for the
Twenty-First Century: The Hierarchy of Energy." Columbia University
Press, publisher's information at <http://bit.ly/t1f76c>. Amazon.com
information at <http://amzn.to/yFi9wQ>, note the searchable "Look