能源创新的局限性

温尼伯—美国总统巴拉克·奥巴马要在世界最大的经济体进行一场能源革命,目的将用可再生能源和“绿色”科技带入美国,乃至整个世界,以逐步减少对传统能源的依赖。这场革命给环境,战略和经济都能带来的好处,在环境上,减少了对碳释放化石能源的使用,从战略上来说,减少对政局不稳定国家的石油天然气的依赖,从经济的角度来看,可以创造数百万个薪酬较高的工作机会等。这些都是无可争议的事实,但未来可操作的可能性有多大呢?

在第一次人类文明的发源地中东和东亚,绝大多数初级能源在古代社会已经被使用。其他的能源资源也已经被使用了数千年,直到第一次工业革命之前,人们仅没有发现一种初级能源(在自然资源中蕴藏的能源):重元素中的同位素,也就是核裂变能产生热量,产生的蒸汽来推动电力涡轮发电机,此类技术直到20世纪50年代才得以使用。

传统和现代对能源的使用的根本区别不在于是否使用更新或是更好的能源,而在于如何更加有效率,更经济,更加可靠以及更加方便地发明和大规模利用“初级能源”。利用发明的设备将初级能源转换成为机械动力,电能或是热能。根据利用初级能源的不同阶段,我们可以将历史分成几个时期

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