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$17.16 $15.06 list($26.00)
1. The Bottomless Well: The Twilight
$16.32 list($24.00)
2. Beyond Oil : The View From Hubbert's
$12.24 list($18.00)
3. Biodiesel: Growing A New Energy
$125.00 $122.62
4. Guide to Energy Management
$75.60 $60.00 list($84.00)
5. Solar Electricity, 2nd Edition
$127.46 $55.00 list($149.95)
6. Natural Gas & Electric Industries
$134.95
7. Handbook On Bioethanol: Production
$10.17 $9.95 list($14.95)
8. Quest for Zero Point Energy Engineering
$49.95 $47.40
9. The Hydrogen Energy Transition
$64.95 $61.60
10. Hydrogen and Fuel Cells : Emerging
$49.95 $49.92 list($50.00)
11. Renewable Energy
$100.00 list($35.00)
12. Cool Energy : Renewable Solutions
$150.00 $149.97
13. Energy Security: Managing Risk
$79.95 $79.55
14. Solar Energy: Fundamentals, Design,
$84.95 $81.36
15. Renewable Energy
$15.36 $14.35 list($21.95)
16. Out of Gas: The End of the Age
$69.00 $58.88
17. Electric Power Industry: In Nontechnical
$64.95 $50.08
18. Inertial Confinement Fusion: The
$24.95 $23.00
19. The Solar Hydrogen Civilization:
$12.89 $11.97 list($18.95)
20. Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel

1. The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy
by Peter W. Huber, Mark P. Mills
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
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Asin: 0465031161
Catlog: Book (2005-01-18)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 6972
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A myth-shattering book that explains why energy is not scarce, why the price of energy doesn't matter very much, and why "waste" of energy is both necessary and desirable.

The sheer volume of talk about energy, energy prices, and energy policy on both sides of the political aisle suggests that we must know something about these subjects.But according to Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills, the things we think we know are mostly myths.In The Bottomless Well, Huber and Mills show how a better understanding of energy will radically change our views and policies on a number of very controversial issues.

Writing in take-no-prisoners, urgently compelling prose, Huber and Mills explain why demand for energy will never go down, why most of what we think of as "energy waste" actually benefits us; why more efficient cars, engines, and bulbs will never lower demand, and why energy supply is infinite.In the automotive sector, gas prices matter less and less, and hybrid engines will most likely lead us to cars propelled by the coal-fired grid.As for the much-maligned power grid itself, it's the worst system we could have except for all the proposed alternatives.Expanding energy supplies mean higher productivity, more jobs, and a growing GDP.Across the board, energy isn't the problem, energy is the solution. ... Read more

Reviews (17)

1-0 out of 5 stars Just do the math(s)!
The fact that anyone could be taken in by the delirious pseudo-science presented in this book is a sad reflection on the level of mathematical innumeracy in our culture. For a free summary of much of the real arithmetic of energy: see http://dieoff.org/synopsis.htm. I can only imagine that the authors of this book have cynically concluded that telling people what they want to hear can be very profitable, even though all the actual evidence fails to support such false optimism. The authors' thesis is about as plausible as "Intelligent Design", and falls apart just as quickly when subjected to rational analysis. If you find yourself being lulled into a dangerous belief in this book's claims, then I've got an idea for a perpetual motion machine, to which I'd love to sell you the rights!
Dave Hodgson [Graduate Electronic Engineer, US & Japan Patent Holder, for inventions that actually work!]

3-0 out of 5 stars a mix of well-supported argument and optimistic speculation
I found this to be an entertaining, exciting, optimism-generating book, but after reading it I'm afraid I can't be as optimistic as the authors are. On the one hand, a large component of the book is essentially just spelling out the laws of thermodynamics, and it can't be argued with. Of the myths they debunk, in several cases they make their case quite well--there is always going to be energy waste (that's part of the laws of thermodynamics), increases in efficiency do not result in reduced consumption of energy, and overall demand for energy is continually increasing. I think their suggested path of oil-independence not by continuing to expand the burning of coal (as the U.S. has been doing for the last few decades) but by building new nuclear capacity is sensible. They suggest some other technologies that may also turn out positively (including nuclear fusion). Their comments on the alternative energy production methods already in place (diesel generators and delivery trucks) are fascinating.

Where I part ways with the authors is on their assumption that continued success in finding new sources of energy (or better ways at getting at current sources of energy) is inevitable. Yes, we've been successful so far, but this is one area where we can be certain that in a long enough run, the past will not predict the future. (Or, alternatively, they make the mistake of not looking at other relevant past records, like the records of both species extinctions and civilizations that collapse.) I was almost expecting the authors to cite Frank Tipler's The Physics of Immortality, as part of an argument for an infinite human future. They don't go quite as far as Tipler, arguing that we could upload ourselves into a computer simulation which would produce infinite computation and allow all possibilities to berealized in a finite future--they limit the future to "as long as the sun continues to shine, and the planet rotates, and the depths of the cosmos stay cold" (p. 188).

There is much of value in this book. Like a recent issue of The Economist (April 23-29, 2005), they present arguments for a rational environmentalism that accounts for costs and benefits, and show that steps to preserve a clean environment are a good and effective use of some of the increased energy consumption (at the cost of reduced efficiency).

I recommend the book, with reservations. The parts that are founded on implications of the laws of thermodynamics and solid research support are sound, but there are also claims which run far beyond the support provided (like "we will never run out of energy").

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be "Required Reading" for ALL politicians!
A brilliant shift in thinking, truly "out of the box."Politicians and other policy/lawmakers should be required to not only read this book, but take an intense test on it.Those failing would be sent back to reread it.

This is certainly one of the most positive books on the entire subject of "energy," that little known and less understood subject.Though obviously from an open market perspective, there is no political ranting or even excoriating one side or the other of the political spectrum."Just the facts, ma'am" seems to be their credo.In laying out those facts, we are treated to a new understanding of what "energy does and does not mean.Along with that is a highly hopeful prediction for the world's energy/power supplies, along with an introduction to the world of quantum physics, heretofore little known or understood by the lay reader.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Most books on energy proceed with all the plodding predictability of an oil station pumping up and down in the middle of Nowhere, Texas: There's only so much oil, it's being consumed faster and faster, so someday the spigot must squeak dry. Authors and contrarians Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills stand up in the court of global opinion to pound loudly on the oil drum of iconoclasm. The question before the world jury: Is this a work of genius, or a perfect illustration of the fact that some energy is indeed wasted? This book reflects diligent-if-tendentious research and unapologetically advances highly unpopular, and potentially inaccurate, theories. These include the notion that making industrial processes more energy efficient results in increased consumption. It asserts that energy development is a perpetual motion machine that rewards increased consumption with ever-expanding supplies, and that wasting energy is both inevitable and virtuous, as it leads ultimately to greater supply and production. This last notion is not so far-fetched in light of nuclear fusion and the ongoing convergence of digital and genetic technologies. Werecommend this unique perspective to those interested in a different take on the world's sustainability dilemma. If nothing else, it will give you something extremely controversial to read while the jury is still out.

3-0 out of 5 stars Could have been condensed into a long magazine article.
Mankind keeps progressing technologically to the use of ever more efficient and refined forms of energy.Demand for high-grade power will keep rising, requiring new sources of fuel -- which are available in almost unlimited supply. A fossil-fuel based economy is less damaging to the environment than a carbohydrate-fueled (agricultural) economy, contrary to popular belief.As the transportation and manufacturing sectors of the economy shift to using more electrical power, we should turn to nuclear power to generate it.Solar and wind power will remain insignificant in meeting demand.These are the main points of the book, in the opinion of this technology-dummy reviewer.The book seems unfocused and rambling -- maybe it would have been better if it had been condensed into a long magazine article.Update:there is an article by Huber and Mills in the Winter 2005 issue of City Journal (available online) advocating nuclear power that repeats the arguments of the book in less detailed form. ... Read more


2. Beyond Oil : The View From Hubbert's Peak
by Kenneth S. Deffeyes
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 0809029561
Catlog: Book (2005-03-15)
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Sales Rank: 201760
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Book Description

With world oil production about to peak and inexorably head toward steep decline, what fuels are available to meet rising global energy demands?That question, once thought to address a fairly remote contingency, has become ever more urgent, as a spate of books has drawn increased public attention to the imminent exhaustion of the economically vital world oil reserves. Deffeyes, a geologist who was among the first to warn of the coming oil crisis, now takes the next logical step and turns his attention to the earth's supply of potential replacement fuels. In Beyond Oil, he traces out their likely production futures, with special reference to that of oil, utilizing the same analytic tools developed by his former colleague, the pioneering petroleum-supply authority M. King Hubbert.

The book includes chapters on natural gas, coal, tar sands and heavy oils, oil shale, uranium, and (although not strictly an energy resource itself) hydrogen. A concluding chapter on the overall energy picture covers the likely mix of energy sources the world can rely on for the near-term future, and the special roles that will need to be played by conservation, high-mileage diesel automobiles, nuclear power plants, and wind-generated electricity.

An acknowledged expert in the field, Deffeyes brings a deeply informed, yet optimistic approach to bear on the growing debate. His main concern is not our long-term adaptation to a world beyond oil but our immediate future: "Through our inattention, we have wasted the years that we might have used to prepare for lessened oil supplies.The next ten years are critical."
... Read more

3. Biodiesel: Growing A New Energy Economy
by Greg Pahl
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 1931498652
Catlog: Book (2005-01-15)
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 109308
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Book Description

Has world oil ouptut peaked? Recent price spikes and dwindling reserves have spurred fears that we are fast approaching the critical tipping point that will trigger severe global economic depression, political instability, and human suffering.

Today 95 percent of global oil is consumed for transportation, and other alternatives are distant possibilities at best. We need a solution now, one that will pave the way to a saner, more sustainable energy future without massive reinvestments in infrastructure and technology transfer. We need biodiesel.

A crop-derived liquid fuel, biodiesel can be made from a wide range of renewable, locally grown plant sources--even from recycled cooking oils or animal fats. The technology is simple and available today, and the benefits of biodiesel are enormous, as both a cleaner-burning vehicle fuel and a source for residential or commercial heating.

Greg Pahl’s essential new book explores the history and technology of biodiesel, its current use around the world, and its exciting potential in the United States and beyond. While biodiesel is not the answer to all our energy problems, it is an important step in the long overdue process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels. ... Read more


4. Guide to Energy Management
by Barney L. Capehart, Wayne C. Turner, William J. Kennedy
list price: $125.00
our price: $125.00
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Asin: 082474120X
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Marcel Dekker
Sales Rank: 882387
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Book Description

Here in its thoroughly revised third edition is a manager's guide to the most important areas of energy cost cutting. Written by three of the most respected energy professionals in the industry, Guide to Energy Management examines the fundamental objectives of the energy management process, and illustrates techniques and tools proven effective for achieving results. Many new ideas and technologies will be needed in the federal sector in the new millennium to meet the goal of the executive orders signed by President Clinton to reduce energy use 30% by the year 2005, and 35% by 2010. The authors have included valuable insights which address meeting these specific goals, as well as tools for building the skills needed to succeed in the fast changing energy management field. The third edition offers a new chapter written by co-author Kennedy on tying maintenance into the energy management program. Other key topics include energy auditing, rate structures, economic evaluation techniques, lighting efficiency improvement, HVAC optimization, combustion and use of industrial wastes, steam generation and distribution system performance, control systems and computers, process energy management, insulation, renewable energy and industrial water management. ... Read more


5. Solar Electricity, 2nd Edition
list price: $84.00
our price: $75.60
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Asin: 0471988537
Catlog: Book (2000-05-12)
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Sales Rank: 508209
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Solar Electricity Second Edition Edited by Tomas Markvart University of Southampton, UK ".warmly recommended as a comprehensive, introductory text on a subject which should become increasingly important." (Review of the First Edition in Contemporary Physics) The rapid evolution of photovoltaic technology has highlighted the increasing capabilities of solar electricity as a power source for distributed energy generation. Building on the success of the first edition, Solar Electricity presents a balanced introduction to all aspects of solar energy conversion, from cell types to environmental impact and applications. Now fully revised to incorporate the latest industry achievements and featuring: New sections on the role of dye sensitised solar cells, photovoltaics in buildings, diesel hybrid systems, and photovoltaic markets and funding. Solar cell design and manufacturing technology including crystalline silicon and thin film devices. Introduction to a range of photovoltaic applications including rural electrification, grid connection issues, and the supply of electrical power to satellites in space. Illustrative case studies and self-assessment questions and answers at the end of each chapter. Undergraduate and postgraduate science and engineering students, practising mechanical and power engineers and those with a general interest in renewable energy will find this comprehensive text on invaluable reference. Solar Electricity, Second Edition forms part of the Energy Engineering Learning Package. Organised by UNESCO, this distance learning package has been established to train engineers to meet the challengs of today and tomorrow in this exciting field of energy engineering. It has been developed by an international team of distinguished academics, coordinated by Dr Boris Berkovski. This modular course will appeal to advanced undergraduates and post graduate students, as well as practising power engineers in industry. World Solar Summit Process Visit Our Web Page! http://www.wiley.com/ ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for those interested in PV
This book is one of the best I have read on the subject of photovoltaic (PV) systems. It has a good balance between all areas of PV system design. Most books with this level of technical content are too skewed toward semiconductor physics and neglect system-level issues. This one covers everything from PV devices (solar cells) to power converters to batteries to system design, and includes useful sections on justification for PV, system application examples, and environmental impacts. The organization and flow are clear and logical. The only problems are some unclear typesetting, exclusion of background on some key equations (references to the literature are included, though), and a little bit of non-standard notation (i.e. G is used for irradiation, not irradiance). Summary: I highly recommend this book for technically literate readers interested in PV systems. ... Read more


6. Natural Gas & Electric Industries Analysis (2002)
list price: $149.95
our price: $127.46
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Asin: 1930578016
Catlog: Book (2002-04-01)
Publisher: Financial Communications Company
Sales Rank: 714781
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Book Description

"Natural Gas and Electric Power Industries Analysis (2002" is a new series that is a broadening of the award-winning "Natural Gas Industry Analysis" series. All private analyses in "Natural Gas and Electric Power Industries Analysis (2002)" are totally new and unpublished—no "updates."

Today, wildly gyrating prices for power nationwide and major bankruptcies in these industries are leading to power interruption, scandal, and investor panic. In this environment, this book of 24 linked chapters and appendices by 32 recognized experts should interest anybody who turns on a light or who tries to save and invest. Thousands of facts and analyses here will help the reader reduce risk, save money on gas and power purchases and production, and invest wisely in these industries.

Readership includes environmentalists; attorneys; gas and power executives, analysts, buyers, and suppliers; federal, state, and local regulators; economists; financial analysts; activists of many stripes; and others.

Usable by beginners as well as experts—includes primers for both gas and electric and extensive glossary.

The book’s content reflects its usability.

• Part One shows the direction the industries are heading and should be usable by strategists, investors, and those interested in oversight of the industries.

• Part Two shows new technological and risk-management capabilities that should be of interest to the first group as well as those looking for more secure fuel supply and prices.

• Part Three, concerning international opportunities in gas and electricity, should be of use to all who live or work in Europe, Latin America, or adjacent areas, or who invest there or plan to.

• Parts Four, Five, and Seven comprise eight chapters (about half of the book) that deal with federal and state oversight of these industries. These considerations are indispensable for profitable strategies and direction of investments, and safe fuel choices.

• Part Six looks at the continuing impact of the 1991 California fuel crisis and the 1992 Enron bankruptcy. This should be useful to those wishing to expand their activities profitably or to ensure that their gas and power source decisions are safe and profitable. ... Read more


7. Handbook On Bioethanol: Production And Utilization: Production & Utilization (Applied Energy Technology Series)
by Charles E. Wyman
list price: $134.95
our price: $134.95
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Asin: 1560325534
Catlog: Book (1996-07-01)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group
Sales Rank: 480524
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Handbook on Bioethanol
The ioethanol literature is always changing with every year fresh trends emerging. Today a book of 1990 is obsolete. This book covers all t he pertinent etails in great depth. ... Read more


8. Quest for Zero Point Energy Engineering Principles for Free Energy
by Moray B. King
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0932813941
Catlog: Book (2002-01-30)
Publisher: Adventures Unlimited Press
Sales Rank: 30354
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Free energy and anti-gravity are new solutions to the world's energy crisis. Rarely mentioned in the media-- even as power shortages cripple the U.S.-- Zero-Point Energy can transform our earth to a self-sustaining, pollution-free planet. The basic theory of Zero Point Energy maintains that there are fluctuations of electrical field energy embedded within the fabric of space. By identifying the densest energy; and then using today's technology to balance the energy flow, we can acquire free energy which doesn't deplete the earth. Filled with detailed diagrams, patents, and photos, the chapters include: * Fundamentals of Zero-Point Energy Technology * Tapping Zero-Point Energy as an Energy Source * Vacuum Energy Vortices * The Super Tube * Charge Clusters ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Quest for Zero Point Energy is worth reading.
It is worth reading, along with T.E. Bearden's, Nikola Tesla, and John Bedini's work. The EM theory has many errors and if your a novice in this field and want some direction in how to approach the classical EM theory and understand where the problem areas exist. You will eventually understand the fundamental principles of extracting free energy from the vacuum and it's not as absurd as people would like for you to believe, in other words the world is definitely not flat. Go explore.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal
I've bought most of the free energy books out there and would put this on my "top ten" list. Most books published on this topic are not technical or rational, or are all hype and offer little of substance. This book is a notable exception in the genre. Moray doesn't reach too far with outlandish conclusions, and therein lies his--and ultimately this book's--credibility. The text is technical in places, and uses terms that may confuse the layman, but a layman could also learn much, as the explanations are nonetheless surprisingly lucid. But be aware that the book is a compilation of technical papers, not a hold-your-hand, dumbed-down, super-rudimentary description.

This book doesn't contain--as many of the naive expect from such books--detailed plans that will allow you to build a free energy motor, nor does it claim to. But it offers concise, referenced, well-edited explanations of an "ether" or "zero-point-energy" theory that is the conceptual backbone of free energy systems. Postulated operational principles of some of the more infamous free energy devices are also included.

I don't usually write reviews, but I made an exception in this case because I am (very) tired of this genre being polluted by so many quacks. Free energy is credible, and possible, and this is one book that helps disseminate useful information on a topic of critical importance to humanity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moray King does it again!
And the man just keeps getting better! If you are a researcher into the new energy technologies, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and buy this book. Moray King will save you months of frustration and floundering around. BIG-BANG for the Buck! ... Read more


9. The Hydrogen Energy Transition : Moving Toward the Post Petroleum Age in Transportation
by Daniel Sperling, James S. Cannon
list price: $49.95
our price: $49.95
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Asin: 0126568812
Catlog: Book (2004-06-14)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 553889
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Book Description

The focus of this text is to address key questions with regard to the transition to hydrogen fuel to satisfy the world's rapidly growing need for alternative fuel options. The initiatives set forth in this text will mold the research, development and education efforts that will change the practice of fuel consumption in the near future.

*Presentations by the world's leaders in government, industry and academia
* Real-world solutions for the world's current fuel crisis.
*Endorsed by the University of California Transportation Center and Transportation Research Board
... Read more


10. Hydrogen and Fuel Cells : Emerging Technologies and Applications (The Sustainable World Series)
by Bent Sorensen (Sørensen)
list price: $64.95
our price: $64.95
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Asin: 0126552819
Catlog: Book (2005-02-03)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 131548
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Book Description

The next several years will see a massive emergence of hydrogen fuel cells as an alterative energy option in both transportation and domestic use. The long-range expectation is that hydrogen will be used as a fuel, produced either from renewable energy, fossil, or nuclear sources, offering an environmentally acceptable and efficient source of power/energy.

The techniques associated with all the conversion steps and the set-up of systems are described in detail in this book, at a level suited for both academic and professional use. The book not only describes the "how" and "where" aspects hydrogen fuels cells may be used, but also the obstacles and benefits of its use, as well as the social implications (both economically and environmental).

· Author is a world-renowned leader in the study of renewable energy.

· Thoroughly illustrated with cross-references for easy use and reference.

· Written at a level suited for both academic and professional use.
... Read more


11. Renewable Energy
by Godfrey Boyle
list price: $50.00
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Asin: 0199261784
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 143765
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12. Cool Energy : Renewable Solutions to Environmental Problems - Revised Edition
by Michael Brower
list price: $35.00
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Asin: 0262023490
Catlog: Book (1992-08-03)
Publisher: The MIT Press
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Book Description

Ten years ago, America's brief love affair with renewable energy sources came to an abrupt end, the victim of declining oil prices and government indifference. But renewable energy remains the only viable long-term alternative to depletable and polluting oil, gas, and coal. Cool Energy provides the first major review of progress in the field of renewable energy technologies - solar, wind, biomass (plant matter), hydroelectric, and geothermal - since the mid-1980s. It analyzes their near-term and long-term potential to displace fossil fuels, and illuminates the role they could play in mitigating environmental problems such as air pollution, acid rain, and global warming.

Energy-policy specialist Michael Brower argues that, with the right policies, renewable energy could provide as much as half of America's energy needs within forty years. He identifies the market barriers that will have to be removed and argues that if the hidden costs of fossil fuels are taken into consideration, renewables appear to be a cheaper source of new energy supply than fossil fuels: the reliability and efficiency of their equipment have improved and the cost of installing, maintaining, and running renewable systems has declined.

Brower devotes a chapter to each renewable energy source, describes its current application, and discusses its costs. He also analyzes new technologies under development and assesses their positive and negative attributes. Introductory chapters set renewables in the context of current energy and environmental policy, and the last chapter outlines steps that can help speed the transition to a renewable-energy economy.

Michael Brower is a physicist and holds the position of Research Director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
... Read more


13. Energy Security: Managing Risk in a Dynamic Legal and Regulatory Environment
by Barry Barton, Catherine Redgwell, Anita Ronne, Donald N. Zillman
list price: $150.00
our price: $150.00
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Asin: 0199271615
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 1815210
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14. Solar Energy: Fundamentals, Design, Modelling and Applications
by Tiwarik G. N.
list price: $79.95
our price: $79.95
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Asin: 0849324092
Catlog: Book (2002-05-15)
Publisher: CRC Press
Sales Rank: 493513
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15. Renewable Energy
by Bent Sorensen, BENT SRENSEN
list price: $84.95
our price: $84.95
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Asin: 0126561532
Catlog: Book (2004-07-16)
Publisher: Academic Press
Sales Rank: 426187
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Book Description

This book covers all aspects of renewable energy, from the processes on the sun and in the atmosphere that give rise to solar radiation, wind, waves, evaporation and the precipitation, forests and plants, over the techniques for deriving energy for society from each of the natural energy flows, to the economic environmental impacts of each of the natural energy flows and the economic and environmental impacts of using renewable energy. Along the way, auxiliary technologies for energy management and storage are introduced, in order to show how demand can be met at all times despite use of variable energy sources.

*The only rigorous theory and applications book available

*Provides the principles of renewable energy flows/sources and energy conversion processes

*Details the significant expansion of the field since the publication of the previous editions
... Read more


16. Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil
by David Goodstein
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.36
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Asin: 0393058573
Catlog: Book (2004-02)
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 6166
Average Customer Review: 3.32 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Science tells us that an oil crisis is inevitable. Why and when? And what will our future look like without our favorite fuel?

Our rate of oil discovery has reached its peak and will never be exceeded; rather, it is certain to decline—perhaps rapidly—forever forward. Meanwhile, over the past century, we have developed lifestyles firmly rooted in the promise of an endless, cheap supply. In this book, David Goodstein, professor of physics at Caltech, explains the underlying scientific principles of the inevitable fossil fuel shortage we face. He outlines the drastic effects a fossil fuel shortage will bring down on us. And he shows that there is an important silver lining to the need to switch to other sources of energy, for when we have burned up all the available oil, the earth's climate will have moved toward a truly life-threatening state.

With its easy-to-grasp explanations of the science behind every aspect of our most urgent environmental policy decisions, Out of Gas is a handbook for the future of civilization. Charts, graphs, photographs. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Small volume, profound content
Goodstein's small volume discusses the consequences of having passed the peak of oil discovery and soon reaching the peak of oil production. He makes the extreme but correct claim that civilization as we know it will not survive, but will revert to no better than an eighteenth century world, unless we can find a way to live without the oil, coal, methane, and other fossil fuels which are running our electrical generation plants and our transportation systems.

In the course of his discussion of the scientific basis for our fuel based society, he makes the useful distinction between energy conservation (That's the first law of thermodynamics, energy/mass is always conserved) and fossil fuel conservation (That would help postpone the crisis), briefly discusses heat engines and entropy (that's the second law - we need useful work not just energy).

Goodstein makes the telling observation that oil is valuable and essential as a raw material (feedstock) for the synthetic materials, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Once we don't have enough of it, it will be more valuable for these purposes than it ever was as a fuel source. A chapter, possibly a book, could be written on this neglected aspect of the oil as a fuel issue alone. Drilling for the Alaska oil should be postponed, if not forever, until at least it is the last resource for the petrochemical industries.

The alternatives to oil as the fuel source are examined. Goodstein identifies two as possible solutions to the problem.

One is direct conversion of sunlight to electricity. This is something that can be done now but at nowhere near the efficiency and cost needed to be practical. It will need to be done much better to be a solution.

The other is the feared and scorned nuclear power alternative. Nuclear power is not easy to discuss in a society that required NMR instruments to be renamed MRI instruments (magnetic resonance imaging instead of nuclear magnetic resonance) to avoid the dreaded word nuclear before introducing them into medical practice for diagnostic purposes, . People are frightened of nuclear fission power generation and there are issues to be resolved (safe disposal of long lived radioactive waste, safe operation of power plants). Goodstein has dismayed and offended people - see other reviews - for daring to raise nuclear power and identifying it as one of the two possible fuel source solutions.

Goodstein is optimistic even in the face of his "civilization as we know it will not survive" statement when he identifies the solution as one of engineering. This is a case where the trite "If we can put a man on the moon why can't we ... " works. We don't need a break through in fundamental science nor do we need to discover a perpetual motion machine to overthrow the second law. We need to recognize that we have a serious problem which will require significant resources and serious commitment from top to bottom. (a U.S. entropy law rather than a new U.S. energy bill?). It is difficult to be optimistic about that happening until there is more than $2 a gallon gasoline to focus the debate.

Goodstein isn't very optimistic that our present national and international leadership even recognizes the problem. Possibly this book will help.

3-0 out of 5 stars Out of Gas runs out of gas
Dr. David Goodstein, professor at Caltech, begins this book with aplomb, paraphrasing a key piece of research completed by M. King Hubbert in the 1950s regarding the future supply of crude oil. Unfortunately, he sidetracks the reader into other alternative fuel sources -- and the physics and thermodynamics of each -- to the detriment of providing the real "meat" (research and new data) to the Hubbert's Peak premise that underpins the thesis for the book. Goodstein eventually reveals enough personal bias that it becomes apparent that his political leanings filter an initially objective discussion, and unnecessarilyy detract from otherwise relevant discussion which is, at times, very well constructed.

Out of Gas left me disappointed and unfulfilled from the viewpoint of supporting data. Clearly, the author possesses a mastery of thermodynamics and mechanics that one expects from a person in his position. However, this book expended an inordinate amount of energy (entropy, using the author's parlance) discussing the merits of nuclear fission, heat engines and the like but left me wanting for better insight into alternative solutions for the impending shortagee of petrochemical feedstock (crude oil), the most important use of the raw material. While I appreciated a review of my college physics, I found it difficult to remain focused on his topic and instead my mind wandered, wondering where the discussion was leading.

Lest readers believe I missed the point, Goodstein makes it abundantly clear that we are inexorably headed down the road to shortages of a critical global raw material (crude oil). Sooner than we believe. And, there are other energy sources that are available and can be had given the proper focus and magical funding (that darn capitalism and profit thing gets in our way). The physicist provides the best theoretical solution (nuclear fission), discusses some other possibilities (geothermal, solar, wind) but completely fails to provide any plausible solutions for the lack of raw material (for example, gas-to-liquids technology).

What began as an interesting restatement of a problem correctly identified 50 years ago, declined into a discussion of physics and ended without a strong conclusion (aside from the obvious fact that we as a civiliztion need to work to identify and develop alternate sources). While the author makes some well reasoned points, it is fortunate that this book is brief because I almost abandoned it several times. I crave a bit more factual data, a bit less theoretical physics and a LOT less political sniping. To paraphrase a useful line from The Blues Brothers "it's okay m'am, we're SCIENTISTS".

3-0 out of 5 stars An Introduction to Energy Physics from Yester-year
This short venture into the issue of Peak Oil by a distinguished physicist is a nice introduction to the important concepts in energy physics for the science-oriented high-school sophomore or for the college freshman liberal-arts student. Moreover, if Joe Voter simply skips Chapters 3 and 4 (where Goodstein presents a rather boring basis for the difference between conservation of energy and utilization of fuels), it becomes a brief, informative, and interesting introduction to the problems of our looming energy crisis for the average citizen.

While the general physics presented is at least 99% correct and the energy-related data and projections are also generally sound, the book is not without technical problems. First of all, Goodstein completely dismisses, without justification, all biofuels as having negative value. He is clearly unaware that the most recent USDA studies show grain ethanol to permit energy balance up to 1.77, cellulosic ethanol well above 2.2, and other advanced biofuel options ultimately above 3. Surprisingly, his view of wind energy is only slightly less pessimistic than his view of biofuels.

The other major problems center around the nuclear issue. He seems to believe the global uranium reserves are sufficient to supply all the world's energy for up to 25 years. Quite to the contrary, the IAEA indicates the total global uranium reserves (5 million tones) of usable quality are sufficient to sustain only existing nuclear power plants (which furnish less than 20% of the world's electricity), with a 2% annual growth rate, only through 2040. Others believe the usable uranium resources are 30% smaller, and processing the low-grade reserves (hard ores with U content below 0.02%) would be too expensive and result in too much CO2 release. Goodstein also trivializes the problems of developing successful breeder and fusion reactors; and he, like many, suffers from the hydrogen hype syndrome. For a more informed perspective on this subject, see my "Fuels for Tomorrow's Vehicles" or "The Hype About Hydrogen" by Romm. For a much more detailed and up-to-date discussion of all major aspects of energy, see "Energy at the Crossroads" by Smil.

The heavy sprinkling of anecdotes from the history of science helps to keep "Out of Gas" interesting, but Goodstein's infatuation with the archaic Stirling engine just accentuates his lack of appreciation for modern engines, power cycles, and engineering in general. The book's success has no doubt in large part been due simply to the coincidence of its release with the rapid rise in the price of gas. Possibly because the book was largely written before the price of oil and gas shot up, it doesn't take a very strong position predicting that Peak Oil may occur within a few years. For the most authoritative treatment of the Peak Oil issue, see "The Coming Oil Crisis" by Campbell. - F. David Doty, engineering physicist.

2-0 out of 5 stars physics A, economics F
Yet another natural scientist with expertise in his own field while failing to understand basic economics to sort through the ramifications of scientific findings. 1) as the supply of gas/oil decrease, the price increases leading to less demand 2) the author holds out little hope for technological gains over the next 20-30 years, yet this is completely unconvincing. 3) Goodstein's narrative of the 1973 oil embargo is flawed as he fails to mention US government price controls more than OPEC were responsible for the winding lines at the pump.

In the 1980s, a group of Stanford scientists modeled the supply/demand of oil for 1997. They predicted around $80/barrel when in fact oil was under $20/barrel. Goostein's predictions will prove about as accurate. 2 stars for content discussing the natural science aspects.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE OIL COMPANIES MAY HAVE KILLED ALCOHOL FUEL, BUT WHY?
Hi, I am Jim Wortham, and I am very pleased to read and comment on David Goodstein's new book, "Out of Gas." High oil prices have been an ongoing problem since the late 1970's. Professor David Goodstein, on page 32, addresses the fact that ethanol alcohol can be used as automotive fuel. At the time period around 1978 to 1980, the government gave money in the form of grants to farmers to produce ethanol alcohol. That is the type of alcohol that can be fermented and distilled by using grain (such as corn) or other organic material. In fact the government then and still does provides a permit (I think it is now a free permit) to legally distill ethanol alcohol as long as an individual completes a short application, and commits to using it to experiment with running engines including cars, tractors, motorcycles, lawnmowers, with the fuel (rather than drinking it). I am the author of the book (Forget The Gas Pumps--Make Your Own Fuel) and I believe it is one of the books still in print written on the subject of converting a car to run on 90 to 100 percent alcohol. It was published in 1979 at the price of $3.95 (it is still selling at the same price on Amazon.com). This book sells as an autographed copy (to anyone you want it autographed to) for just $1.50 on Amazon Marketplace , where you are reading this. I explain how to legally distill alcohol for automotive fuel & how to get a permit (I believe it is now free to get this permit--I include with the book where to get this permit to legally distill alcohol for fuel. I tell in my book how to make minor adjustments to a car so you will never need to use gasoline again. I had converted a 1969 Dodge Dart to run on alcohol at that time. I hope to revise this book in the next year to include how to convert the newer cars that are more computerized. I am presently considering converting a motorcycle to run on alcohol and taking a tour to major cities (and contact the press) to prove that anyone can run an American made motorcycle or car or lawnmower) on American made fuel. I wrote this book in 1979. Several other books were published because of the success of my book. This book was initally turned down by every large and small publisher that I contacted, so I self-published the book and sold 24,000 copies in the first few months. It is still in print. I am selling the first edition, and autographing the book for you or for anyone who wants to get a copy. You can email me at: jwortham@seidata.com. I would be interested in your feedback of anything I have said. Respectly,
Jim Wortham
(Author and Publisher)
Amazon Marketplace name: jwortham4
Address:
Jim Wortham
Marathon International Book Company
PO Box 40
Madison, IN 47250 U.S.A.
Fax: 812-273-4672
Voice Mail: 812-273-4672
Thanks for any feedback you desire to give. ... Read more


17. Electric Power Industry: In Nontechnical Language
by Denise Warkentin
list price: $69.00
our price: $69.00
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Asin: 0878147195
Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
Publisher: Pennwell Books
Sales Rank: 398281
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, but¿
The author does a good job in relaying how US's electrical utilities work and how the deregulation and changing market affects the industry. So far this is the most comprehensive book I have found on the topic to date. However the text could stand to be reworked to become more readable as the author almost struggles to express the technology in layman's terms. The book also suffers from being divided into three parts. It results in some annoying repetition and makes it difficult to use the book as a reference. The author, however, has included a very informative appendix explaining the technical terms plus an appendix with names and addresses of resources. That alone makes the book invaluable for somebody getting into the field.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very informative for those new to the industry.
This is actually a very good book. I've been an electrician in the Navy for about 9 years. After recently getting hired on by a company that is right in the middle of the "deregulation" situation in California. I've been entered into a pretty intensive training program, where we are required to learn about the enire process. In fact it's a pretty dynamic atmosphere, considering what's going on here in Cali. Well if you've never seen an inkling of this information, it's quite a lot to grab at first.This book, does a very good job of laying down industry terms, and explaining them where even someone with no idea of what's going on will have a pretty good picture after completing the book. Another good note to add is that sometimes the topic can have some dry spells, but the book does a good job of keeping the reader awake and interested. The author is well educated and has a good insight on what could become the future of the industry. I recieved the book through my company and in fact it is required reading for us. All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in, or is new and up and coming in the industry. ... Read more


18. Inertial Confinement Fusion: The Quest for Ignition and Energy Gain Using Indirect Drive
by John D. Lindl
list price: $64.95
our price: $64.95
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Asin: 156396662X
Catlog: Book (1997-11)
Publisher: AIP Press
Sales Rank: 459485
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The energy that can, in principle, be obtained from the fusion of hydrogen nuclei to form helium is enormous; the hydrogen (actually deuterium) in seawater would provide an energy many orders of magnitude greater than that in all fossil fuels combined. Unfortunately, harnessing fusion for commercial power production has proven elusive. One approach is based on trying to scale down thermonuclear explosions to a sufficiently small size that can be routinely used in a power plant. In such a process the inertia of the fuel itself provides the confinement necessary to maintain the thermonuclear reaction for long enough that more energy is produced than was needed to start the reaction: hence the name, "Inertial- Confinement Fusion". This book analyzes the progress that has been made in indirect-drive inertial-confinement fusion, in which energy is delivered to the fuel in two steps: first high-intensity lasers are used to generate x-rays, then these are focused on a target to heat it to ignition. Much of the material in this book was previously classified by DOE. Intended as a reference guide to researchers, the book also contains sufficient background and introductory material that it can serve as an introduction to the field for graduate students and researchers new to the field. Lindl is the 1993 recipient of the Edward Teller Medal in in Inertial Fusion and of the 1994 DOE E.O. Lawrence Award. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read in terms of future of energy R&D, space travel.
John Lindl's "Inertial Confinement Fusion" is a must read for those interested in the future of energy R&D, space travel and science for the 21st century. ICF (inertial confinement fusion) was first demonstrated in the early 1950s with the development of the hydrogen bomb. The nuclear fusion of hydrogen to form helium is the primary source of the energy which lights the stars. One gallon of sea water contains enough heavy hydrogen (deuterium) to generate the equivalent energy of 300 gallons of gasoline--and only costs a few cents to extract.Beginning in the 1950s and accelerating with the invention of the laser, scientists working at national laboratories, like Los Alamos and Livermore, and elsewhere, began to pursue the harnessing of ICF on a scale one million times smaller than that of thermonuclear weapons. On this scale, the fusion energy output can be readily harnessed like the "explosion" of gasoline in the internal combustion engine.! ! As Dr. Lindl details, the scientific feasibility of accomplishing this scale down of H-bombs was demonstrated in the mid-1980s with halite/centurion underground tests. And within acouple of years a laser which can achieve the same physical conditions will have been constructed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California--the National Ignition Facility (NIF).But, until the publication of this work, most of the science underlying this approach to harnessing fusion was classified "top secret." And in fact many of the references in Dr. Lindl's book are still classified top secret. For the first time, Dr. Lindl reveals the actual history of ICF and the science involved. That is, Dr. Lindl details how the concept of "indirect drive" was developed and applied to laser pellet fusion. Instead of lasers directly driving the implosion of fusion fuel pellets to the densities and temperatures found in the center of stars, the laser energy! !is first transformed into X-rays and the X-rays are trappe! d within a chamber, called a hohlraum. The trapped X-rays are then utilized to implode the fusion fuel pellet. Dr. Lindl details for the first time the research effort which has been carried out over the last four decades to accomplish this approach to harnessing the virtually unlimined energy potentials of nuclear fusion. ... Read more


19. The Solar Hydrogen Civilization: The Future of Energy Is the Future of Our Global Economy
by Roy McAlister
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
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Asin: 0972837507
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Amer Hydrogen Assoc
Sales Rank: 186768
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A glimmer of hope in a fading world
I have been studying alternative energy for over 20 years. Back in the 70's & 80's I got involved with passive solar & ethanol production. Eventually I became an architect to help "save the world". I eventually jumped on the hydrogen band wagon a few years ago & jumped back off when I realized it was mostly hype.
Lately I have been experimenting with biodiesel & am trying to get into straight vegitable oil as fuel.

This book has renewed my interest in hydrogen. Solar & wind generated hydrogen makes perfect sense. Roy really knows his stuff & he explains the technicalities in a way most people can understand. A more advanced person may not find much new information. Of particular interest to me was the section on parabolic mirror collectors heating sterling engines to produce electricity. The electricity could be used to generate hydrogen from water or other mediums.

Roy explains in very simple terms how we could convert many of our existing infastructures into hydrogen supporting infastructures. In the end the book has given me hope and renewed my interest in sustainability.

3-0 out of 5 stars The 'Energy' Future of Civilization
This book bills itself in the introduction as a "must read for everyone in America." I generally don't like such statements but must admit that in this case it is proper. Roy McAlister is a fully credentialed scientist who obviously knows what he is talking about. It is not the best written book by a long shot (thus the 3 star rating) but the content and ideas more than make up the difference. It is a detailed, provocative look at our foolish reliance on fossil fuels and how we can transform our civilization with the use of 'Solar Hydrogen'. McAlister rightly gets into the philosophy as well as the mechanics of using hydrogen fuel. Read this book if you want an insight into what had better be our future energy use. Read this book and discover what you can do to help realise this vision. ... Read more


20. Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet
by Peter Hoffmann
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
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Asin: 026258221X
Catlog: Book (2002-09-09)
Publisher: The MIT Press
Sales Rank: 155304
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"President Bushs remarks in his State-of-the-Union message proposing a big jump in funding for hydrogen and fuel cell research and development are terrific news. Its imperative that Congress follows through now and makes available those funds.

Aside from the tangible benefits of spending more on an environmentally benign area of energy that for too long has been treated - often condescendingly - like a poor orphan, the political message is of supreme significance. For decades, supporters of hydrogen and other alternative energy fields have argued until they were blue in the face, that the key ingredient missing in moving forward is national political will.

President Bushs support provides a large measure of that political will."
--Peter Hoffmann, 31 January 2003

About the book:
Hydrogen is the quintessential eco-fuel. This invisible, tasteless gas is the most abundant element in the universe. It is the basic building block and fuel of stars and an essential raw material in innumerable biological and chemical processes. As a completely nonpolluting fuel, it may hold the answer to growing environmental concerns about atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and the resultant Greenhouse Effect. In this book Peter Hoffmann describes current research toward a hydrogen-based economy. He presents the history of hydrogen energy and discusses the environmental dangers of continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Hydrogen is not an energy source but a carrier that, like electricity, must be manufactured. Today hydrogen is manufactured by "decarbonizing" fossil fuels. In the future it will be derived from water and solar energy and perhaps from "cleaner" versions of nuclear energy. Because it can be made by a variety of methods, Hoffmann argues, it can be easily adapted by different countries and economies. Hoffmann acknowledges the social, political, and economic difficulties in replacing current energy systems with an entirely new one. Although the process of converting to a hydrogen-based economy would be complex, he demonstrates that the environmental and health benefits would far outweigh the costs.
... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Important and Exciting Information
Tomorrow's Energy is a thorough discussion of a topic that is rapidly gaining importance - hydrogen. The book proposes hydrogen as the energy of the near future. It includes the history of hydrogen as a fuel, and what measures are currently being taken to produce hydrogen-powered automobiles, air and space craft, homes, and offices. Hoffmann describes in detail how hydrogen fuel is produced and used, and why hydrogen is a better choice than fossil fuels. The book discusses what must be done in order for non-polluting hydrogen to overtake fossil fuels, and the prospect of a "hydrogen community."

This book, though obviously in favor of hydrogen energy, provides a detailed and, for the most part, many sided report on hydrogen's possibilities. It has a lot of numbers but is generally easily understood by the layman, though it assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of chemistry. Hydrogen is an interesting and exciting thing, and this book provide a good understanding of its past, present and future. Stylistically, the book is a bit dry, but has sharp and occasionally witty quotes to lighten the tone. I would recommend "Tomorrow's Energy" to anyone who wants to learn more about this promising subject, as long as the reader uses the information to form their own opinion.

3-0 out of 5 stars Half the story
This book has a lot of useful information but the problem is not the material but the book could use an editor. The story continually jumps back and forth. When the book uses comparisons it goes from Joules to BTUs then Gallons to Liters so you never seem to compare apples to apples or the book should have had a conversion table. It's as if the author is afraid to tell the truth of how it might be a little expensive now to convert, but eventually it will be cost effective. The book also has no diagrams, or graphs that would explain fuel cells or cost effectiveness. ...

The author seems to shy away from nuclear power as a solution for creating hydrogen. I think it would be a great interim solution where you could put the nuclear reactor on sites off shore or in the Great Lakes so you would have a supply of water and pump all the hydrogen and electricity produced to the city. The hydrogen could be sent to fuel cell power plants and fuel stations for vehicles. Eventually from the money made from this move on to geothermal methods.

I don't want to seem down on this book because it gave me a lot of good information the best part was the different ways that they can create hydrogen. Hydropower, Wind, Solar, Photovoltaic, Biomass, Advanced Solar concepts, orbiting solar mirrors, converting thermal energy from oceans and Geothermal. The one that I left out that I thought was the coolest was the Giant Solar Chimneys. I found out that they are actually making one in Australia; I can only hope that it works. I liked the part with the solar mirrors and why they didn't work, that was kind of funny.

The book never explains why they are not doing some of these things. I guess because of the cost but it is not clear. The best and safest way would be to produce hydrogen is geothermal but the book never explains why we don't do it.

The chapter on the uses for hydrogen started out interesting but ends with a walk into the cosmos with the SETI stuff. It was parenthetical information that the author wanted us to be aware of that did not belong in this book.

This book seem like a confused mass of projects that never seemed to get off the ground and a couple that could be a solution for the future. I wish the book was organized so that the history came first and then focus in on various areas, production, types of fuel cells, different forms of hydrogen, infrastructure, present uses, future use and the road ahead and what are the possible type of plans for the future.

I wish the book could have recommended more books to read on the subject that could answer some of these questions.

I guess I was looking for more clear cut solutions.

3-0 out of 5 stars A little bit disappointing
This book contains lots of valuable information and is certainly worth reading. But at the same time, I had expected more of it. It describes too many factual details about the history of hydrogen's use in various applications and gives too few technical information about hydrogen as a fuel. The book does not give a very thorough analysis of how a hydrogen economy could be established, how those massive quantities of hydrogen will be produced in a way that is both environment friendly and realistic, why or why not to use nuclear power to do so, etc.
Rather, it leaves a lot of open questions and does not give answers to the issues that really matter (e.g. if hydrogen is produced through reforming of traditional carbon fuels, what to do with the carbon then at the production plant).
Nevertheless, the book is certainly worth reading... I think it's one of the only serious books on hydrogen at this time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hydrogen power now!!
This is a good book as an introduction to hydrogen and its' potential uses in many aspects of our lives. However, I disagree with the author's conclusion that it would take decades to replace the existing infrastructure. That may be the case in a socialistic economy but in the U.S., if there is a need and a desire, we can do it in just a few years.

The fact is that we have a huge need to get out from under the yoke of OPEC. We are forced to be heavily involved in mid east politics just to insure a constant flow of oil to support our everyday lives. Meanwhile, we have put ourselves in the crosshairs of the Islamic extremists who want us out of the mid east and to moderate our policies in Israel. If we want to prevent any further terrorist actions against us, then the best thing to do is develop hydrogen power and nuclear power and divest ourselves from mid east politics as fast as possible.

Write your Congressman and U.S. Senators and demand that we move quickly on this technology.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction To Hydrogen
Peter Hoffmann is the editor and publisher of "The Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Letter", and this book focuses on the myriad uses of fuel cells, in great detail. But other uses of hydrogen are covered to some extent also. Topics discussed are automotive, utility, food production, home heating, hydrogen production, and many others. Hoffman notes in this volume time and again that hydrogen is an energy carrier, like electricity, and not an energy source, so it must be produced via energy sources such as coal, wind, solar, and nuclear, among others. Hoffmann does a very good job in this area, and the generation of greenhouse gasses is a central theme of this book, basically how we can generate hydrogen with little or no carbon dioxide buildup. As you may know, the combustion of hydrogen with oxygen only produces water. Safety of hydrogen use is another area extensively covered. The book begins with Hoffmann giving a history of hydrogen use and research over the past 200 years or so, right up to the present time, politics having an effect on our energy future also, of course. Senator Tom Harkin gives readers a very good foreward to the book.

One area of great interest to me that was mentioned in this book is the possibility of using atomic hydrogen (this is hydrogen in it's disassociated state, not the molecular hydrogen) as rocket fuel, as Hoffmann says, a specific impulse of over 1000 seconds may be achieved, well above today's rocket engines, if it can be safely stabilized. I wish this topic was covered better than the brief sketch Hoffmann gave it.

The final chapter of the book attempts to extrapolate the future use of hydrogen. Various experts are quoted by Hoffmann as to what we may expect in the decades ahead with regards to hydrogen use. Hoffmann does himself say that the existing energy infrastructure may be difficult to replace due to the economic inertia of change, and many decades may be required, in the United States it's vast coal reserves may preclude widespread hydrogen use idefinitely. Overall, the volume is a good introduction to energy if sometimes a little short on the science. At the back of the book there are extensive notes with references to further reading for those desiring to do so. ... Read more


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