The transition to renewable energy is vital and fast-paced, but how do we choose which technologies to drive this energy transition? This timely book provides everyone interested in the renewable energy transition with an introduction to and technical foundation for understanding modern energy technology. It traces everyday power generation through history, from the Industrial Revolution to today. It examines the use of wood, coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear to produce energy, before discussing renewable energy sources such as biomass, photovoltaics, concentrated solar power, wind, wave, and geothermal. The book examines to what extent and how each technology can contribute to a clean, green infrastructure. The Truth About Energy explains the science and engineering of energy to help everyone understand and compare current and future advances in renewable energy, providing the context to critically examine the different technologies that are competing in a fast-evolving engineering, political, and economic landscape.
PART I. Out with the Old
1. Wood to Coal: A Short History of the Industrial Revolution
2. Oil and Gas: Twentieth-Century Prosperity
3. The Nuclear World: Atoms for Peace
PART II. In with the New
4. Old to New: The Sun and all its Glory
5. The Old becomes New Again: More Sustainable Energy
6. Driving the Revolution: From Volta to Tesla and Back
PART III. Less is More
7. Rethink, Rebuild, Rewire
Appendix A: Unit abbreviations
Appendix B: Metric prefixes
Appendix C: Useful Acronyms
John K. White is a physicist, writer, and educator, who has worked in the engineering, science, and education fields in Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Spain. He is the editor of the website E21NS (Energy in the 21st Century News Service) and author of Do The Math! On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking (2013, Sage). He was a lecturer in the School of Physics, University College Dublin, and the Department of Education, University of Oviedo, where he taught courses in physics, atomic optics, and science education.