Editor\'s note: David McKay is a professor of physics at the University of Cambridge.
His book Sustainable energy
\"No hot air\" is published by UIT Cambridge and can also be provided in electronic form free of charge (CNN)--
We need to introduce simple algorithms when discussing energy.
We need to understand how much energy we consume in our chosen lifestyle, we need to decide where we want that energy to come from, and we need to continue building energy systems of sufficient size to meet our needs.
We didn\'t talk directly about the numbers, which led people to stick to wishful thinking and be inspired by empty claims such as \"every bit of help.
\"If we take fossil fuels seriously, the scale of the buildings needed should not be underestimated.
Small actions alone will not provide solutions.
Let\'s express energy consumption and energy production in simple personal units, namely, kilowatts. hours. One kilowatt-hour (kWh)
Leave a 40-
Turn on the light bulb 24 hours a day.
The chemical energy in the food we eat to survive is about 3 KW hours a day.
It takes about 5 KW of the heat to take a hot bath.
Driving an average of 100 kilometers of European cars (
About 62 miles)
Use the fuel at 80 KW.
Given a few of these figures, we can start to evaluate some of people\'s suggestions for energy.
For example, one of the 10 things you should do to change your energy consumption, the idea is to unplug your cells --
When you do not use the phone charger.
The fact is that it is about 0 to plug the phone charger into the power supply.
At 01 KW hours a day, the bulb consumes 100 of the electricity.
This means that turning off the phone charger all day saves the same energy as driving a regular car for a second.
Turning off the phone charger is like saving the Titanic with a teaspoon.
I\'m not saying you shouldn\'t unplug it, but please realize that it\'s a small part of your total energy footprint when you do.
Overall, European lifestyles use 125 KW hours per person per day in terms of transportation, heating, manufacturing and electricity.
This is the equivalent of 125 bulbs on for everyone.
Americans use an average of 250 kWh a day: 250 bulbs.
Most of today\'s energy comes from fossil fuels.
What is our position? fossil-fuel options?
The two promising technical switches are transportation electrified (
The energy of an electric car is about-
As efficient as standard fossilsfuel vehicles)
Use of electricity-
Power heat gas booster
pump for heating and hot water in winter (
The energy of the heat gas booster pump
Efficiency as standard heater).
Of all the energy.
Solar, wind and nuclear power are the three most promising power supply technologies today. As a thought-
Experiment, let\'s imagine that technology changes and lifestyle changes have halved energy consumption in the United States to 125 KW hours per person per day.
What size does solar, wind and nuclear facilities need to supply that half of the consumption?
For simplicity, let\'s imagine.
Third from every energy supply.
To supply 42 KW hours per person per day from solar power, about 80 m² of solar panels per person are needed.
To generate 42 KW per person per day from wind power in the United States, a wind power plant with a total area roughly equal to the California area, that is, 200-
Wind power has doubled in the United States.
It takes 42 KW to get 525 per person per day from nuclear power-
About five of the giwatt nuclear power plants-
Double the level today.
I hope these figures reflect the scale of action needed to develop sustainable energy solutions.
What is the force of the tide?
How about wave?
What about geothermal energy, biofuels, or hydropower?
In a short article, I can\'t discuss all the technical options.
But sober information about wind and solar energy applies to all renewable sources: all renewable sources, and although I like them very much, only a small amount of electricity can be provided per unit area, so, if we want renewable energy facilities to be powered on the same scale as our consumption, they must be large.
If you don\'t want to build 1 million wind turbines, you can drill 1 million geothermal holes.
Before I finish, I \'d like to say a few words about the idea that the \"hydrogen economy\" can magically solve our energy problems.
The fact is, in terms of energy, today\'s hydrogen
Electric cars don\'t help at all.
The most prototype hydrogen
Electric vehicles consume more than fossil energy.
The fuel vehicle they replaced.
For example, BMW Hydrogen 7 uses 254 kilowatt hours per 100 km kilometers, but the average fossil car in Europe uses 100 km hours per 80 KW kilometers.
In contrast, electric vehicles use much less energy: only 20 degrees per 100 km cars, and even 6 degrees per 100 km cars.
The problem with hydrogen is that the production and use of hydrogen is energy.
Using hydrogen as a fuel for transportation will increase our energy needs.
And, as I hope the figures above show, it is not easy to supply energy that meets our needs.
Public discussion of energy choices is often emotional, polarized, distrustful and disruptive.
I would like to focus on numbers so that it is possible to have an honest and constructive dialogue on energy issues.
It\'s not easy to make a combined energy plan, but it\'s possible.
We need to build.
The views expressed in this comment are only those expressed by David Mackay.
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