– History of Energy Industry

History of the energy industry

The history of human culture can be seen as the gradual development of new sources of energy. The evolution of the energy industry has brought about unprecedented transformations in society. It is through the availability of energy sources that humans have been able to increase their comfort, longevity and wealth, as well as their population apart from growth. Each energy alternative also impacted different combinations of economic, political, technological, social and environmental attributes.

Energy is linked to human development in three important ways: as a driver of economic growth, as a primary source of environmental stress, and as a prerequisite for meeting basic human needs.

1. Meet basic human needs

People have needed energy in one form or another for their daily lives for hundreds of years. Early man (about 1 million years BC) used fire to cook food and during the period of human development. The energy industry was probably born when our ancestors first discovered that they could heat themselves and cook food on fire.

Over the years, as humans became more sophisticated, they learned to burn coal for their energy needs. Coal was available in abundance and it burned well. Coal producers were therefore one of the first entrants into the energy industry. In the Middle Ages, people began to understand that water could be used as a source of energy. Hydroelectricity was used in ships and bridges and later the first hydraulic engineers developed large water wheels and this eventually led to the construction of hydroelectric dams. In the 18th century, humans realized that steam could be a valuable fuel source. Steam power spread rapidly because most steam engines required coal, and coal was plentiful in most places.

The energy industry has evolved over many centuries, over a period of time our sources of energy have evolved and the technologies we use to generate, distribute and deliver energy have changed. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, coal and steam were the main sources of energy for most factories and industrial users. The invention of electricity at the end of the 19th century launched a new sector of the energy industry. Power plants began to be built across the country, and coal quickly became the fuel source of choice for power plants and remained the preference well into the 21st century.

primitive man (East Africa around 1 million years ago), without the use of fire, only had the energy of the food it ate (2000 kcal/day).

hunting man (Europe around 100,000 years ago) had more food and also burned wood for heating and cooking.

Primitive Farm Man (Fertile Crescent in 5000 BC) crops and animal energy used.

Advanced Farm Man (northeastern Europe in 1400 AD) had coal for heating, water power, wind power, and animal transportation.

industrial man (in England in 1875) had the steam engine.

Tech Man (in the United States in 1970) consumed 230,000 kcal/day.

2. Engine of human growth

The invention of modern appliances like gas burners and microwave ovens has increased the use of energy for cooking food by many. Today, energy is almost as essential to life as the air we breathe and the food we eat. We consume energy every day, all day, when we work, play, drive and eat. Even when we sleep, we need energy to heat or cool our homes and power our alarm clocks to wake us up in the morning.

All industrial and social activities are highly dependent on energy consumption and examples include construction, manufacturing, air conditioning, entertainment and communication as well as the transportation of people and goods.

For the past 200 years, humans have relied on two main energy sources: fossil fuels and hydroelectricity (water), but these traditional energy sources are limited. Alternative energy sources such as wind, solar energy and nuclear energy have been explored as more environmentally friendly sources due to less carbon emission. The wind and solar energy sectors have experienced strong growth in recent years.

Virtually no industry in the world today could function without some form of energy. Restaurants need it to power their cooking and refrigeration equipment. Manufacturers depend on it to keep their production lines running. Even farmers need energy to run their vehicles. Energy is needed wherever humans live or work.

3. Cause of environmental stress

Beginning in the 1970s, many people in the United States and other developed countries began to worry about the environment and the effects of pollution, especially emissions from automobiles and large industries, including the production of electricity. The increased reliance during the 20th century on non-renewable fossil fuels and nuclear power means that the energy industry has often been a significant contributor to the pollution and environmental impacts of the economy.

More than 100 years ago, Svante Arrhenius suggested that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels could increase the infrared opacity of the atmosphere enough to warm the Earth’s surface. During the 20th century, the human population quadrupled and humanity’s rate of energy consumption increased 16 times, mainly due to the increased burning of fossil fuels. In recent years, confirmations of the observation of global warming due to the fossil fuel greenhouse have accumulated, and we have come to better understand the interactions of fossil fuel combustion, the carbon cycle and climate change. . Stabilizing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere at a specified level will require increasingly stringent emission reductions. However, even a complete cessation of emissions would not restore pre-industrial levels for more than millennia. The technology challenge of the century may be to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels enough to prevent unacceptable climate change as the world’s population, energy consumption and economy continue to grow.

Until recently, fossil fuels were the main source of energy production in most parts of the world and are a major contributor to global warming and pollution. As a result, the energy industry is and will continue to be in a constant state of change as scientists and engineers work to develop energy sources and production methods that are environmentally friendly and durable. As part of human adaptation to global warming, many renewable energies are investing in renewable and sustainable energy.

People want energy sources that have fewer negative impacts on our environment, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and are easily renewable, with no fear of future shortages.

4. Awareness and changes in government regulations

The energy industry generates significant pollution, including toxic and greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, nuclear waste from nuclear power generation, and oil spills from oil extraction. oil.

Governments around the world are now trying to save energy by providing subsidies and tax incentives. Energy conservation and saving provide nearly identical economic benefits to producing the same amount of energy. Trading carbon credits and pollution credits on the open market also results in energy saving and pollution control measures. Energy conservation and efficient use of energy would also help reduce the environmental impact of the energy industry.

5. Use of renewable energy technologies

Widespread use of renewable energy technologies would help the environment as well as human health. Renewable energy technologies include biofuels, solar heating and cooling, hydroelectric power, solar power, and wind power.

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Creation date Wednesday, September 30, 2020 Views 794