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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESEARCH Int. J. Energy Res. 2004; 28:613639 (DOI: 10.1002/er.

988)

Engineering sustainability: thermodynamics, energy systems, and the environment


Georey P. Hammondn,y
Department of Mechanical Engineering and International Centre for the Environment, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, U.K.

SUMMARY Thermodynamic concepts have been utilized by practitioners in a variety of disciplines with interests in environmental sustainability, including ecology, economics and engineering. Widespread concern about resource depletion and environmental degradation are common to them all. It has been argued that these consequences of human development are reected in thermodynamic parameters and methods of analysis; they are said to mirror energy transformations within society. Exergy, a quantity which follows from the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, has been viewed as providing the basis of a tool for resource and/or emissions accounting. It is also seen as indicating natural limits on the attainment of sustainability. The more traditional use of the exergy method is illustrated by a number of cases drawn from the United Kingdom energy sector: electricity generation, combined heat and power schemes, and energy productivity in industry. This indicates the scope for increasing energy eciency, and the extent of exergetic improvement potential, in each of these areas. Poor thermodynamic performance is principally the result of exergy losses in combustion and heat transfer processes. However, the application of such thermodynamic ideas outside the sphere of engineering has its critics. The link between the eciency of resource utilization, pollutant emissions, and exergy consumption is only indirect, and generally provides an insucient basis for environmental appraisal. Methods of energy and exergy analysis are, therefore, evaluated as appropriate measures of sustainability in and beyond the energy sector. Copyright # 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
KEY WORDS:

thermodynamic analysis; exergy; environmental appraisal; sustainability; U.K. energy sector; ecology; economics; resource and emissions accounting

1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. Background Energy sources of various kinds heat and power human development, but they also put at risk the quality and longer-term viability of the biosphere as a result of unwanted or second-order eects (Hammond, 2000b). Many of these side eects of energy production and consumption give rise to resource uncertainties and potential environmental hazards on a local, regional and
n

Correspondence to: Professor G. P. Hammond, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, U.K. y E-mail: ensgph@bath.ac.uk Contract/grant sponsor: The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Copyright # 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Received 23 July 2003 Accepted 24 September 2003

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global scale. Examples include the depletion of North Sea oil and natural gas resources, the generation of smog from urban road transport, the formation of acid rain via pollutant emissions (primarily from fossil fuel power stations), the diculty of long-term safe storage of radioactive wastes from nuclear power plants, and the possibility of the enhanced greenhouse eect from combustion-generated pollutants. Consequently, the energy sector plays a pivotal role in attempts to achieve sustainable development; balancing economic and social development with environmental protection (people, planet, prosperity in terms of the strapline adopted by the U.K. Sustainable Development Commission). National governments, as well as regional bodies in the West (such as the European Union and the International Energy Agency), therefore need to assess the long-term advantages and disadvantages of their available energy sources in order to reconcile the pressures induced by the move towards competitive markets with the requirements of a sustainable energy strategy. Although it would be desirable on natural resource and environmental grounds to phase out the use of fossil fuels, this may not be feasible until perhaps the middle of the 21st century. 1.2. The issues considered The present contribution employs thermodynamic methods of analysis to critically evaluate the sustainability of energy systems and components. Parkin (2000) has argued, inuenced by the earlier work of Mueller (1971), that such ideas also underlie the understanding of sustainable development more broadly. She interprets the Second Law of Thermodynamics in terms of the tendency of everything to return to an elemental state. Natural cycles are seen as combating this energy degradation as well as environmental pollution. The link between the eciency of resource utilization, pollutant emissions, and exergy consumption is real, but not direct. Dierent resource implications, for example, follow from fossil fuel use as against the adoption of, typically solar-derived, renewable energy sources (as highlighted recently by Hammond and Stapleton, 2001). The former is a capital resource that depletes over time, whereas renewables may be viewed as energy income to the planet. This is not explicitly reected in thermodynamic analysis, where the resource bases are taken as essentially equivalent. Engineers and physical scientists, therefore, have a critical role to play because of their understanding of the scientic processes that underpin the natural world. The interconnections between engineering constraints and the economic and social domain are illustrated by the sustainability Venn diagram shown in Figure 1 [adapted from a version attributed by Parkin (2000) to Professor Roland Clift of the University of Surrey]. Here, thermodynamic limits are represented as underpinning the environmental sphere. The present assessment, therefore, aims to provide a practical framework for the use of such thermodynamic ideas and analysis in this wider context of environmental sustainability. The last book of Stephen J Kline (1999), the distinguished Stanford engineering professor and co-founder of the Stanford Programme on Values, Technology and Society (subsequently renamed Science, Technology and Society), attempted to provide the new generation of teachers and students of thermodynamics with a better understanding of Second Law ideas. In addition, he strove to identify misconceptions in the various denitions of thermodynamic properties, such as entropy, used in engineering, physics, informatics, and biology. Hammond (2003) recently argued that Klines work had been rather overlooked, and that it deserved much wider recognition amongst the thermodynamics community. It suggests that thermodynamic ideas (with their empirical foundations derived from the work of Carnot, Kelvin and Clausius related
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Ecology and thermodynamics

Economics and technology

Society

Area of sustainability

Figure 1. Sustainability Venn diagram for engineers. Source: adapted from Parkin (2000).

to heat engines) may not be appropriately applied to other domains outside the area of energy systems for which they were rst devised. Attempts to use them to determine criteria for long-term sustainability (see, for example, Mueller, 1971; Parkin, 2000 and Porritt, 2000) can therefore be misleading. The present contribution attempts to illustrate when thermodynamic concepts and methods of analysis can directly aid an understanding of sustainable development in contrast to those occasions when their use is merely analogous or metaphorical.

2. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENERGY SECTOR 2.1. Sustainable development or sustainability Over a period of some 1520 years, the international community has been grappling with the task of dening the concept of sustainable development. It came to prominence as a result of the so-called Brundtland Report produced by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED, 1987) under the leadership of the former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland. This Commission argued that the time had come to couple economy and ecology, so that the wider community would take responsibility for both the causes and consequences of environmental damage. The WCED (1987) dened sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It therefore involves a strong element of intergenerational ethics. Engineers have generally been slow to meet the challenge of making a reality of the notion of sustainability (Hammond, 2000b), although the engineering profession now sees the importance of using their
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skills to improve the quality of life. Many writers and researchers have acknowledged that the concept of sustainable development is not one that can be readily grasped by the wider public. However, no suitable alternative has currently been found (Hammond, 2000b). The sustainable development paradigm has had its critics over recent years (see Doughty and Hammond, 2003). Meredith Thring (private communication, 1999) regards the term as an oxymoron; arguing that development per se cannot be sustainable. He would prefer humanity to strive for a creative and stable world with the aid of equilibrium engineering (Thring, 1990). Similar views can be found in developing countries, where their debt burden and inequalities in global income distribution are seen as serious obstacles to sustainable development (Amin, 1997). On a more fundamental level, Porritt (2000) has recently stressed that such development is only a process or journey towards a destination, which is sustainability. This process cannot easily be dened from a scientic perspective, although he argues that the attainment of sustainability can be measured against a set of four system conditions. Porritt draws these from " rt (see, for The Natural Step; an initiative by the Swedish cancer specialist, Karl-Henrick Robe example, Broman et al. 2000):
*

Condition 1: Finite materials (including fossil fuels) should not be extracted at a faster rate than they can be redeposited in the Earths crust. Condition 2: Articial materials (including plastics) should not be produced at a faster rate than they can be broken down by natural processes. Condition 3: The biodiversity of ecosystems should be maintained, whilst renewable resources should only be consumed at a slower rate than they can be naturally replenished. Condition 4: Basic human needs must be met in an equitable and ecient manner.

These sustainability conditions put severe constraints on economic development, and they may therefore be viewed as being impractical or utopian (Doughty and Hammond, 2003). They certainly imply that the ultimate goal of sustainability is rather a long way o when compared with the present conditions on the planet. However, an interesting feature of the advocacy of TNS system conditions in the present context is the claim that they reect thermodynamic limits. Broman et al. (2000) and others suggest that these conditions address the tendency of energy and matter to spread spontaneously. They in turn view this as mirroring the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or what they call the Law of Entropy. In reality the latter property is what the late Stephen J Kline (1999) has called the vulgar entropy; the generic, but vague or ill-dened, application of entropy to various kinds of disorder (see Hammond, 2003). The Natural Step in eect uses the Laws of Thermodynamics only by way of a rather loose analogy, or as a metaphor. Indeed Upham (2000) argues that TNS moves beyond (scientic and other) knowledge in signposting action for the business sector. He contends that it represents a political and ethical statement rather than any justiable scientic consensus. 2.2. Fossil fuel depletion The combustion of nite reserves of fossil fuels results in their obvious depletion over time (Hammond, 2000b). It is often claimed, particularly by economists, that the resource carrying capacity of the planet as a whole is so large that new discoveries oset current production. Although this may be true on a global scale, it is unlikely to apply at the level of the individual nation-state, or even at a regional scale (such as within the European Union). There is
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considerable uncertainty over fossil fuel resources in the medium-term. The lifetime and global distribution of these vary enormously:
* * *

Oil: OPEC (Middle East)-dominated, 2040 year life. Natural gas: CIS (Russian)-dominated, 4070 year life. Coal: Widely distributed, 80240 year life.

These gures are rough estimates assuming current rates of consumption (Hammond, 1998), but they indicate that the sources of fossil fuel supplies for OECD countries, with the exception of coal, are rather insecure. If depletion of oil and gas at anything like the rate indicated here actually occurred, then the price of these fuels would rise. The abundance of coal is likely to place an upper limit on all fossil fuel prices at the synthetic fuel cost for the foreseeable future (Hammond, 2000b). Nevertheless, this would make the nancial case for renewable energy sources and nuclear power look much brighter. It has been frequently argued since the oil crises of the 1970s that a nuclear power and/or renewable energy strategy should be adopted as an insurance policy against the insecurity of the oil market. In reality these resources are not substitutable, particularly in the transport sector (Hammond, 1998). 2.3. Pollutant emissions and global warming The combustion of fossil fuels results in pollutant emissions that can damage human health and the environment on a number of levels. Most environmental concern has recently focused on global warming (RCEP, 2000): the speculative prospects of global climate change induced by the emission of the so-called greenhouse gases (GHG), principally CO2 emissions, from fossil fuel combustion is an issue of considerable interest. Obviously the main concern is found in those coastal and island nations at risk of ooding were sea levels to rise as a result of climate change (Hammond, 2000a). The critical issue is whether the observed global warming is due to human activity or simply a natural phenomenon induced, for example, by variations in solar output over decades. The U.K. Natural Environment Research Council has summarized the current state-of-the-art in climate change research (NERC, 1997). The British Governments former Chief Scientic Adviser, Sir Robert May (1997) [now Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society], has advocated action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the basis of the precautionary principle (see, for example, Hammond, 2000b or Porritt, 2000). Not out of conviction that anthropogenic climate change is currently proven, but because its possible eects over the next century may be damaging and large-scale. Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is thought to have a residence time of around one hundred years (Hammond, 2000a). Recent trends in CO2 emissions from the U.K. energy sector are depicted in Figure 2 (Hammond, 2000b), along with the anticipated reduction due to measures already included in the British Governments 2000 Climate Change Programme. These are likely to ensure that the U.K. comes close to the domestic goal of a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions, below the 1990 levels, by 2010. However, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has argued (RCEP, 2000) that the U.K. should take the lead in adopting a more ambitious target of reducing these emissions by some 60% from 1997 levels by about 2050. The 2003 Energy White Paper (DTI, 2003) accepted that Britain should put itself on a path to achieve this goal by adopting various lowcarbon options, principally energy eciency measures and renewable energy sources. New nuclear power plants are regarded by the Government as uneconomic in the present energy
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Figure 2. Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.K. energy sector. Source: Hammond (2000b).

market conditions, and the problem of longer-term radioactive waste storage as being unresolved. However, this option will be kept open in case renewable energy technologies do not full their promise in (say) 510 years. 2.4. Sustainable energy systems The intergenerational ethical injunction in the Brundtland report (WCED, 1987), eectively to avoid actions that might degrade the biosphere for future generations, presents special diculties for the energy sector. It implies that governments should conserve depleting fuel resources, and make greater use of renewable energy sources, in line with the Natural Step system conditions. However, the World Energy Council (WEC, 1993) suggested in 1993 that renewables might contribute between 3 and 12% of total commercial energy demand by 2020. A more recent study (Nakicenovic et al., 1998) by the WEC, jointly with the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, has been rather more optimistic about the contribution of renewables after 2020. The greatest potential for renewable energy is likely to be in the second half of the 21st Century, with the most optimistic supply projection being 80% of global demand by 2100. In the United Kingdom the government is now committed (DTI, 2003) to developing a sustainable energy economy over the longer term, and to taking a lead in reducing CO2 emissions amongst the industrialized (OECD) countries. The main components of this low carbon strategy are energy conservation and renewable energy systems, with carbon sequestration and nuclear power in a rather more secondary role. Targets for new renewable electricity supply have been set at 10% by 2010 and 20% by 2020 from a base of only 1.5% presently. Bridging the renewables gap will be a daunting task. It remains to be seen whether even the Governments 2010 target can be met within a competitive market framework. There appears to be little prospect, for example, of large-scale projects being funded via this route
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(Hammond, 2000b). Even the proposed 8.6 GW Weston-Super-Mare to Lavernock Point tidal barrage scheme, which could meet some 6% of U.K. electricity demand (albeit with potential ecological damage to the Severn Estuary) has not attracted serious investors under present market conditions, owing to high capital costs and long construction periods. Nevertheless, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution suggested that renewable energy might contribute between 15 and 25% of total energy demand by 2050 (RCEP, 2000). They envisage that some 1015% of total supply would need to be met by intermittent sources; those from onshore and oshore wind turbines, solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, and wave and tidal stream devices, as well as the Severn tidal barrage. For the RCEP (2000) target contribution from renewables to actually be achieved, a signicant reduction in primary energy consumption to between 45 and 75% of the present gure would be required. This implies the widespread adoption of energy-saving measures across the economy, and this has now been acknowledged in the recent U.K. Energy White Paper (DTI, 2003). It is in this area that thermodynamic analysis can make a major contribution to identifying where the improvement potential lies. Indeed Hammond and Stapleton (2001) found, using Second Law or exergy analysis, that nearly 80% of this potential is associated with electricity generation, together with nal energy demand in the domestic sector and in transport. The poor thermodynamic performance in these sectors is due principally to exergetic losses in combustion and heat transfer processes associated with power generation, space heating, and the main transport modes. Various policy instruments will inevitably be required to encourage the introduction of energy eciency measures in the face of market barriers; including building and product eciency standards, CO2 emissions trading, tax incentives, and advice and information (DTI, 2003). The potential importance of the global warming problem in many minds has resulted in the case being made for a low carbon economy, rather than just a low energy one. Technologies for carbon sequestration have therefore been identied as an important element in any energy R, D & D programme. Such approaches are certainly consistent with the precautionary principle (see, for example, Hammond, 2000b or Porritt, 2000). Japanese industry is well advanced in terms of demonstration plant for CO2 sequestration (Hammond, 2000b), as well as for other pollutants. Integrated coal gasication combined cycle (IGCC) plants lead to both relatively high thermal eciencies (greater than 50%) and a reduction of CO2 of better than 20% compared with conventional plant. In the case of clean coal technology, pressurized uidized-bed boilers yield high combustion eciencies together with NOx emission control. In the U.K, the Natural Resources and Environment Foresight Panel has called for research on a number of key carbon sequestration technologies.

3. THE MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL FRAMEWORK FOR THERMODYNAMIC ANALYSIS 3.1. Energy analysis In order to determine the primary energy inputs needed to produce a given amount of product or service, it is necessary to trace the ow of energy through the relevant industrial system. This is based on the First Law of Thermodynamics; the principle of conservation of energy, or the
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notion of an energy balance applied to the system. It involves the entire life-cycle of the product or activity from cradle-to-grave. The system boundary should strictly encompass the energy resource in the ground (for example, oil in the well or coal at the mine), although this is often taken as the national boundary in practice. Thus, the sum of all the outputs from this system multiplied by their individual energy requirements must be equal to the sum of inputs multiplied by their individual requirement. This process consequently implies the identication of feedback loops, such as the indirect, or embodied, energy requirements for materials and capital outputs. It is therefore sometimes termed net energy analysis. Energy conservation suggests that for a steady-state process the First Law may be represented by (Hammond and Stapleton, 2001): X X X h ke pein min h ke peout mout QW 0 1 where min and mout denote the mass ow across the system inlet and outlet, respectively, Q represents the heat transfer across the system boundary, W is the work (including shaft work, electricity, and so on) transferred out of the system, and h, ke, and pe denote the specic values of enthalpy, kinetic energy, and potential energy, respectively. Equation (1) is commonly known as the steady ow energy equation, and is represented schematically in Figure 3. This energy balance can be simplied, assuming negligibly small changes in kinetic and potential energy and no heat or work transfers, to (Hammond and Stapleton 2001): X X Hi;in Hj;out 2 where Hi.in represents the various energy (or enthalpy) streams owing into the system, and Hj,out the dierent energy outputs. If all these inputs and outputs are taken into account (whether or not all the outputs are actually useful) then the First Law energy eciency becomes: , X X Z Ej;out Hi;in Hout =Hin 1 3 This is not a very helpful expression, as many of the energy output streams will be in the form of waste heat. A more practical denition for the energy eciency is one along the lines (Hammond, 1998): energy supplied to final consumers Overall energy system efficiency 100% 4 primary energy consumed

Qe

T0

Wuseful Hin
Control Volume

Qother (or Wother)

Qb

Figure 3. An energy balance for a simple control volume or unit operation.


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Here primary energy is the energy resource input into the whole system. There are many feedback loops in the energy system whereby primary energy sources (including fossil fuels, uranium ore, and hydro-electric sites) and secondary derivatives (such as combustion and nuclear-generated electricity) themselves provide upstream energy inputs into the energy transformation system. This is that part of the economy where a raw energy resource is converted to useful energy, which can then meet downstream nal or end-use demand (Slesser, 1978). Renewable energy sources are taken to mean those that are ultimately solar-derived: mainly solar energy itself, biomass resources, and wind power. Thus, energy inputs and outputs to the whole system can be equated via (Hammond, 1998): Primary energy downstream end-use or delivered energy upstream waste 5

The energy eciency dened in Equation (4) may be rewritten in terms of the mathematical notation employed here to yield: Z Hout useful =Hin 51 6

The value of Z for the U.K. energy system as a whole has remained pretty constant at about 69% over the 30 year period 19651995 (Hammond, 1998) despite quite dramatic changes in the international and domestic energy scene. 3.2. Exergy: a measure of the thermodynamic quality of an energy carrier First Law or energy analysis, sometimes termed fossil fuel accounting (see, for example, Chapman, 1976; Slesser, 1978), takes no account of the energy source in terms of its thermodynamic quality. It enables energy or heat losses to be estimated, but yields only limited information about the optimal conversion of energy. In contrast, the Second Law of Thermodynamics indicates that, whereas work input into a system can be fully converted to heat and internal energy (via dissipative processes), not all the heat input can be converted into useful work. [This Second Law asymmetry also dictates that, although heat can ow down a temperature gradient unaided, shaft work or an electrical energy input is required in order for heat transfer to take place from a cold to a hot reservoir (as in the case of a heat pump).] The Second Law of Thermodynamics, therefore, suggests the need for the denition of parameters that facilitate the assessment of the maximum amount of work achievable in a given system with dierent energy sources. Exergy is the available energy for conversion from a donating source (or reservoir) with a reference to a specied datum, usually the ambient environmental conditions (typically 1 bar and 5258C). In a sense it represents the thermodynamic quality of an energy carrier, and that of the waste heat or energy lost in the reject stream. Electricity, for instance, may be regarded as an energy carrier having a high quality, or exergy, because it can undertake work. In contrast, low temperature hot water, although also an energy source, can only be used for heating purposes. This distinction between energy and exergy is very important when considering a switch, for example, from traditional internal combustion (IC) engines to electric, hybrid, or fuel cell vehicles. Thus, Hammond (2000a) has argued that it is important to employ exergy analysis (see, for example, Kotas, 1985; Szargut et al., 1988) alongside a traditional First Law energy
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analysis in order to illuminate these issues. It provides a basis for dening an exergy eciency, and can identify exergetic improvement potential within systems. Exergy is lost or degraded in every irreversible process or system. Consequently, an exergy budget on a control volume can be formulated in an analogous manner to the First Law energy balance, Equation (1), as (Rosen and Dincer, 1997): X X X ein min eout mout EQ EW I 0 7 where EQ and EW denote the exergy transfer associated with Q and W, respectively, I is the system exergy consumption or irreversibility, and e represents the specic exergy. It is represented schematically in Figure 4. Equation (7) can also be simplied like its First Law equivalent to yield (Hammond and Stapleton, 2001): X X Ei;in > Ej;out 8 Thus, the exergy loss or irreversibility rate (van Gool, 1992) of the system is given by I  DElost Ein Eout > 0 9

Kline (1999) argues that this irreversibility, perhaps denoted better by the term exergy degradation or destruction (Hammond, 2003), can be interpreted as the dissipated available energy (or exergy) that ends up as random thermal uctuations of the atoms and molecules in the exit ow of mechanical devices. He illustrates this process by way of examples drawn largely from the sort of rotating uid machines with which he was most familiar (essentially kinetic energy converters). A slightly dierent interpretation may be needed to understand exergy dissipation in the course of fossil fuel combustion (Hammond, 2003). Nevertheless, Kline rightly argues that this phenomenon can only be understood as an interaction between processes at both the macroscopic and microscopic scales. The exergy function itself is an extensive property (Rosen and Dincer, 1997; Hammond and Stapleton, 2001) which is dened by reference to a dead or equilibrium state (in terms of temperature T0, pressure P0, and species component mio): X Ni mi mio 10 E H Ho To S So
i

1 Ee =

T0 Qe Te

Te

T0

W useful Ein = H in
Control Volume

Eb = 1

T0 Qb Tb

Tb

Figure 4. An exergy budget for a simple control volume or unit operation.


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where S denotes entropy and Ni is the number of moles of species i. Variations in species concentration are not usually signicant in problems related to the macro-scale analysis of energy systems. Consequently, a truncated mathematical expression can be used to calculate physical or thermomechanical exergy states: E H Ho To S So 11

The choice of the reference state has been the subject of some divergence of opinion in the literature. Rosen and his co-workers (Rosen, 1992; Rosen and Dincer, 1997) employed standard temperature and pressure (To=298 K (258C) and Po=1 atm) for his exergy analysis of the Canadian and Turkish economies, whereas Wall (1987, 1990) adopted 158C as the datum for his country studies of Sweden and Japan. Nevertheless, a more common basis for heat load calculations in mainland Britain is to assume a winter outside design temperature of about 18C. This was the reference condition recently adopted by Hammond and Stapleton (2001) for their exergy analysis of the U.K. energy system. It is the same as the dead state temperature adopted by Reistad (1975) for exergy analysis of space heating in the U.S.A 3.3. The exergy method in practice: some useful parameters and tools An exergy eciency, c, can be dened as (Hammond and Stapleton, 2001): c Eout =Ein 1 I=Ein 51 12

It should be noted that this expression is strictly analogous to Equation (3), rather than the practical First Law (energy) eciency dened by Equation (6). Comparison with the former equation indicates that, in any real engineering system (which is irreversible) exergy is degraded and the exergy eciency is consequently less than unity. van Gool (1992) has noted that the maximum improvement in the exergy eciency for a process or system is obviously achieved when DElost is minimized; see Equation (9). Consequently, he suggested that it is useful to employ the concept of an exergetic improvement potential, IP, when analysing dierent processes or sectors of the economy. It is given by IP 1 cEin Eout 13

This expression was recently used by Hammond and Stapleton (2001) to evaluate the improvement potential of critical elements of the U.K. economy. In the case of heat transfer at a constant temperature (say Tp) the thermal exergy is given by (Rosen and Dincer, 1997): EQ 1 To =Tp Q 14

Domestic gas-red and electric heating equipment is similarly used to generate heat at a constant temperature. The energy and exergy eciencies of, for example, electric heaters can therefore be determined (Rosen and Dincer, 1997) from the earlier denitions implied by Equations (6) and (12) above Z Q=We and c E Q =E W e
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where We is the electrical energy supplied to the heater. Equation (14) can then be used to simplify the expression for the exergy eciency (Rosen and Dincer, 1997): c 1 To =Tp Q=We 1 To =Tp Z 17

via Equation (15). Rosen and Dincer (1997) have shown that this expression is also approximately correct for gas-red heating. It shows that in this situation the exergy eciency is directly proportional to the energy eciency; dependent only on the ratio of the process to environmental datum temperatures. Now, it was suggested above that exergy analysis provides an indication of the thermodynamic quality of an energy carrier. This was formally dened by van Gool (1987) as the ratio of exergy to enthalpy in the ow: Y E H 18

The same parameter was more recently termed the exergetic potential by OCallaghan (1993). Thus; for electricity : Y 1 and for process heat : Y 1 T0 =Tp Electricity is essentially a capital resource that is normally generated in advanced, industrialized countries using either depleting fossil or nuclear fuels (see Hammond, 1996). These latter sources may be contrasted with the renewable (or income) energy sources, such as solar energy and tidal, wave and wind power. In contrast to electricity (a high quality energy carrier with Y=1 as indicated above), low temperature hot water (Y  0.2) can only be used for heating purposes. The variation in van Gools thermodynamic quality (Y) with the process temperature ratio (Tp/T0) is shown in Figure 5. This was produced using the environmental datum temperature adopted by Hammond and Stapleton (2001) for their energy analysis of the U.K.: 18C (or T0=272 K). They indicated that the exergy eciency of various domestic heating appliances was quite sensitive to the choice of this reference temperature, when the process temperature is close to the selected environmental datum. However, both the exergy eciency (C) and the thermodynamic quality (Y) are insensitive when plotted against the process temperature ratio; as depicted in Figure 5. Here a very wide variation in Tp/T0 is displayed, and various heat sources are shown for comparison purposes. Their associated process temperatures span the range from liqueed natural gas (LNG) at about 508C to the optical temperature of our Sun at around +55008C. van Gool (1987) utilized his denition of thermodynamic quality (Y) in order to develop enthalpy/quality diagrams for dierent power generation and process plant types. These indicate where heat losses arise and their quality in exergetic terms. He also employed the quality concept to help analyse the industrial energy demand of several industrialized countries (including the Netherlands and the former West Germany). This facilitates the identication of the scope for energy cascading (OCallaghan, 1993) as a means of improving the thermodynamic performance of the sector.
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+1
Reference State: T0 = 272K
Unity

Thermodynamic Quality,

-1
Melting Point of Tungsten Hot Treatment of Steel

Liquefied Natural Gas

-2 -3 10-1

Hot Water Storage

100

101

The Sun

102

Process Temperature Ratio,TP/T0

Figure 5. Temperature dependence of thermodynamic quality. Table I. The relationship between the energy and exergy eciencies for electricity generation. Power plant type Conventional steam CCGT Nuclear Hydro-electric
Data source: Szargut et al. (1988).

Energy-exergy eciency relations c=0.96Z c=0.96Z c=Z c=78%, Z=90%

4. THERMODYNAMIC ANALYSIS OF ENERGY SYSTEMS 4.1. Central-station electricity generation A wider range of factors impinge on the choice of fuel or technology for power stations, including both First Law and Second Law generation eciencies (Table I), security and diversity of energy sources, and environmental impacts of one sort or another. Reconciliation of these conicting factors is a complex matter that is dicult to resolve by formal methods. Rather than attempting to nd an optimal solution, a pragmatic approach is required (Hammond, 2000b), what is often termed satiscing in the management literature. It can be argued (see, for example, Hammond, 1998) that the U.K. Government will need to keep the balance of energy resources under periodic review (perhaps with the aid of external advice) and to intervene in the competitive energy market to oset its deciencies. Similar views have been expressed by Fells (2000). The relation between the lumped (or sector-weighted) energy and exergy eciencies for various central-station power plants can be determined using detailed or microscale process analysis like that undertaken by Szargut et al. (1988), and those adopted by Hammond and Stapleton (2001) for their exergy analysis of U.K. power generation are reproduced in Table I.
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In all cases the energy and exergy eciencies are quite similar, but this hides the underlying causes for power plant exergy losses or irreversibilities. Reistad (1975) has presented a detailed breakdown of the energy and exergy losses across each component of a U.S. coal-red power station. His results are shown in Table II, together with the corresponding plant generation eciencies. It is clear that the major First Law losses arise in the condenser, whereas Second Law losses occur in the steam generator, owing mainly to combustion, and in the heat exchangers. The slightly higher generation eciencies reported by Reistad (1975) in comparison with those of Hammond (2000b) result from the rather higher operating temperatures typically adopted in US power plant practice (Szargut et al., 1988) in comparison with the U.K. The energy-exergy eciency ratios in Table I permitted Hammond and Stapleton (2001) to make an estimate of the inputs and outputs for U.K. electricity generation in a similar manner to other national exergy analysis studies (see, for example, Reistad, 1975; Wall, 1987, 1990; Rosen, 1992; van Gool, 1992; Rosen and Dincer, 1997). Fossil fuel and other energy inputs for power plant may all be regarded as high-grade carriers, and consequently the value of the energy and exergy inputs are essentially the same. Thus, Ei;in  Hi;in 19

Major changes have taken place in the U.K. electricity generation sector over the period from 1965 onwards (Hammond, 2000b). The privatization of U.K. energy utility companies in the 1980s and moves towards the creation of a fully competitive energy market have induced dramatic changes in terms of energy resources employed for electricity generation (Hammond, 1998). Relative fuel prices, construction costs and times, and arguably environmental benets led to the dash for gas and a fall in the amount of indigenous solid fuel consumed at power stations. The amount of electricity supplied to nal consumers nearly doubled during this period, while the eciency of generation improved from about 30% in 1965 to over 35% currently (Hammond, 1998). It reected the introduction of more modern plant, particularly combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations, and the dash for gas for electricity generation. The corresponding exergetic improvement potential is shown in Figure 6; broken down to highlight the improvement potential of the dierent types of power plant. Hydroelectric and pumped storage systems provide only a very small output compared with other power

Table II. Thermodynamic performance of coal-red power stations. Plant components Steam generator * combustion * heat exchanger * thermal stack loss * diusional stack loss Turbines Condenser Heaters Miscellaneous Plant totals Generation ecienciesn Energy losses (% of plant input) 9.0 Exergy losses (% of plant input) 49.0 (29.7) (14.9) (0.6) (3.8) 4.0 1.5 1.0 5.5 61.0 c=10061=39

0 47.0 0 3.0 59.0 Z=10059=41

Source: Reistad (1975); U.S. conventional design. n Eciencies based on gross caloric or higher heating value (HHV) of fuels. Copyright # 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Energy Res. 2004; 28:613639

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1600 Sector Total 1400 1200 1000 PJ 800 600 400 200 0 1965 Nuclear CCGT 1970 1975 1980 1985 Year 1990 1995 2000 2005 Conventional Steam
UK ELECTRICITY GENERATION: IMPROVEMENT POTENTIAL

Figure 6. Exergetic improvement potential within the U.K. power generation sector. Source: Hammond and Stapleton (2001).

stations and have therefore been omitted from Figure 6. Nevertheless, the relatively poor Second Law performance of electricity generation, or its large improvement potential, is clear. It is also wasteful in thermodynamic terms to convert fuels to electricity only to employ it for heating. If heat is required, then it would be far more ecient to burn fossil fuels (for example) to produce heat directly. Chapman (1976) discusses the relative end-use merits of electricity, arguing that (in spite of the lack of detailed statistics) it was possible to estimate that some 25% of electricity in the U.K. was used for heating in the mid-1970s. 4.2. Cogeneration plant or combined heat and power schemes Large energy losses occur during electricity generation unless it is used in conjunction with combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration systems (Horlock, 1987). Thus, the only ways to improve the eciency of the energy transformation system signicantly (Hammond, 2000b), in the absence of new large-scale hydropower sites, is either to restrict the use of electricity to power applications (and not for relatively low-temperature heating) or to adopt a greater proportion of CHP plants (Hammond and Stapleton, 2001). The U.K. Government currently favours consent for the construction of CHP plants, which produce both electricity and usable heat, provided that they are suitably sized to meet on-site or nearby heat requirements. Such schemes have an overall First Law eciency (Z) of some 80% in contrast with the best recuperative CCGT plant of 5961% (Hammond and Stapleton, 2001). In fact, all the fossil fuel power station designs have a high CHP potential. Given the energy saving potential of cogeneration schemes indicated above, it is useful to examine the thermodynamic behaviour of an individual CHP plant more closely. Bilgen (2000) recently carried out a parametric study of a cogeneration cycle incorporating a combined cycle gas turbine and heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). This was based on a nominal 22 MW industrial turbine set manufactured in the U.S.A, which typically operates on a power-to-heat ratio of 0.92. It is illustrated schematically in Figure 7. Turnkey CCGT plant typically have an electricity generation, or exergy, eciency (LHV) that varies with size; 4060% over the range 7790 MW (Richard Hotchkiss, Innogy plc, private communication, 2002). In the 22 MW size range, an eciency of about 45% would be expected based on U.K. experience. Nevertheless, the thermodynamic results of Bilgens U.S. parametric study (he also undertook an engineering cost evaluation) are reproduced in Figure 8. Here, it
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STACK LOSS HEAT

CONDENSATE RETURN

EXTRACTED STEAM

HEAT RECOVERY GENERATOR

FUEL

STEAM TURBINE

GENERATOR

POWER

AIR COMBUSTION CHAMBER TURBINE

COMPRESSOR

TO CONDENSER

GENERATOR

POWER

Figure 7. Combined cycle gas turbine plant (with and without extracted steam for process heating; dashed line). Source: adapted from Bilgen (2000).

80

100

Thermodynamic Efficiencies (%)

22 MW INDUSTRIAL CHP PLANT 70

80

60 60

ENERGY () 40

50 20 EXERGY ()

40 1 2 4 6 10

0 20

Power-to-Heat Ratio

Figure 8. Thermodynamic performance of combined heat and power plant. Source: adapted from Bilgen (2000).

can be seen that the First Law (energy) eciency, dened via Equations (4) and (6) in an analogous way to the parameter that Horlock (1987) terms the energy utilization factor (EUF), falls sharply with power-to-heat ratio and the proportion of process steam extracted. In contrast, the exergy eciency is insensitive to these parameters. This is because it reects the ability to perform work and the eciency of power generation only. Nevertheless, CHP is clearly desirable on fossil fuel resource productivity grounds. It is, therefore, evident that this is a case where exergy analysis on its own is insucient, and reinforces the arguments of Hammond and Stapleton (2001) against the primacy of Second Law considerations. They should simply form part of a much more comprehensive toolkit of quantitative and qualitative methods for evaluating energy and environmental issues (Hammond, 2000a).
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4.3. Improving energy productivity in industry In order to analyse energy usage and its eectiveness within the industrial sector, Hammond and Stapleton (2001) subdivided the multitude of processes into four broad categories: low temperature (Tp5394 K), medium temperature (Tp=394692 K), high temperature (Tp>692 K), and mechanical drives. Typical First and Second Law eciencies in these categories are illustrated in Figure 9. These are end use values, and obviously the net energy and exergy eciencies would need to account for losses in power generation. Consequently, the use of electricity to power mechanical drives is not as attractive as it appears, but is largely a necessary engineering requirement. A knowledge of fuel and electricity shares in each of the process categories (Hammond and Stapleton, 2001) enables the thermodynamic inputs and outputs associated with the industrial sector to be estimated. The overall industrial sector exergy eciency (46% in the mid-1990s) is signicantly lower than the corresponding energy eciency (69%), although Hammond and Stapleton (2001) observed that the disparity is not as large as in the domestic sector, where space heating requirements predominate. They showed that exergy losses in industry, as a proportion of the energy input, are rather smaller than in either electricity generation or the domestic sector. Nevertheless, there is still considerable scope for thermodynamic improvements in industry. There is obviously a need to stimulate improvements in resource use eciency generally, and to encourage energy conservation from the bottom-up. Such an approach would need to be coupled with measures to reduce the rate of consumption of fossil fuels, and stimulate an expansion in the use of renewable energy sources (RCEP, 2000). It would involve a consumeroriented market approach, coupled with intervention by way of a portfolio of measures to counter market deciencies; economic instruments, environmental regulation, and land use planning procedures. Scenarios such as the dematerialization or Factor Four project, advocated by von Weizsacker et al. (1997), suggest that economic welfare in the industrial world might be doubled while resource use is halved; hence the Factor 4. This would involve a

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Low Temperature

Fuel

Fuel

Fuel

Fuel

Fuel

Electricity

Electricity

Electricity

Electricity

Electricity

Fuel

Mechanical Drivers

Energy Efficiencies

Exergy Efficiencies

Figure 9. Thermodynamic eciencies of industrial processes. Source: Hammond and Stapleton (2001).
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Electricity

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structural shift from energy intensive manufacturing to energy frugal services (Hammond, 2000b). Britain has moved some way in this direction, with a 40% improvement in primary energy intensity since 1965. Increases in resource use eciency to the Factor 4 level (and the U.K. Foresight Programme is contemplating Factor 10 over the long term) would have the enormous knock-on benet of reducing pollutant emissions that have an impact, actual or potential, on environmental quality. In reality such a strategy requires a major change (paradigm shift) to an energy system that is focused on maximizing the full fuel/energy cycle eciency, and minimizing the embodied energy in materials and products by way of reuse and recycling (Hammond, 2000b). In order to make such an approach a practicable engineering option, it would be necessary to use systems analysis methods to optimize the energy cascade (Hammond, 2000b; OCallaghan, 1993). Thermodynamic analysis will be an important technique for identifying process improvement potential. The tools developed by van Gool (1987 and 1992) and his co-workers based on the notion of thermodynamic quality, Equation (18), can play a key role here. They employed, as previously noted, enthalpy/quality diagrams to identify the scope for energy (or heat) cascading within the industrial sector of several developed countries.

5. THERMODYNAMIC IDEAS AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: MULTIDISCIPLINARY DIMENSIONS 5.1. Thermodynamics, analogy and metaphor Practitioners in a variety of disciplines with interests in environmental sustainability, including ecology, economics and engineering, have drawn on thermodynamic concepts. Widespread concern about resource depletion and environmental degradation are common to these diering areas of study. It has been argued that the deleterious consequences of human development are reected in thermodynamic ideas and methods of analysis (see, for example, the early work of Mueller (1971) at the U.S. Goddard Space Flight Center); they are said to mirror energy transformations within society. Mueller (1971) draws a parallel between the resource ows in economics and energy (as well as implicitly exergy) ows in thermodynamics. This leads him to an, arguably rather dubious, analogy between the technology of man and heat engines. Such ideas have inspired the environmental campaigner, Sara Parkin (2000) [a co-founder of the sustainable development charity Forum for the Future with Jonathan Porritt], and others to believe that thermodynamic principles or laws may act as a guide for engineers in the quest for environmental sustainability. In the context of The Natural Step, energy and matter are seen as having a tendency to disperse. Entropy (another Second Law extensive property of matter, that is related to exergy via Equations (10) or (11)) is regarded as a measure of this disorder in a closed or isolated system. The Earth is such a closed system in terms of matter, but an open one from the perspective of the incoming solar energy that drives living plants via photosynthesis. This underpins the notion of capital and income energy resources for the planet (such as fossil fuels and solar energy, respectively), and is behind the rst of the TNS system conditions. Outside the realm of energy systems, thermodynamic concepts are typically employed in terms of an analogy with, or resemblance to, physical processes. Alternatively, their use may be regarded, as colleagues at the University of Bath have suggested (Stephen Gough and William Scott, Centre for Research in Education
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and the Environment (CREE), private communication, 2003), as metaphorical: being imaginatively, but not literally, applicable. Entropy is not an easy concept to grasp, particularly when it has been so widely used and abused. It was originally developed by Rudolf Clausius (ca. 1864) from a consideration of the Carnot cycle for an ideal heat engine. This original energetic (Clausius) entropy reects the fact that, although heat can ow down a temperature gradient unaided, shaft work or an electrical energy input is required in order to induce heat transfer to take place from a cold to a hot reservoir: Clausius inequality. However, the idea of entropy has fascinated writers in disciplines far removed from engineering and the physical sciences. Many analogous properties have been proposed. Stephen Kline (1999) identies ve microscopic entropies (including Gibbs statistical entropy), two information functions (Shannons and Brillouins the so-called entropies), and what he amusingly denoted as the vulgar entropy. Kline interprets Gibbs statistical entropy as a useful measure of the spread-outness of random molecular uctuations amongst various microstates within the constraints of the physical boundaries of a system. However, he criticizes the attribution of the term entropy to information functions as an error of typology; saying it is like equating apples with oranges. In addition, Kline demonstrates that Brillouins entropy, a probabilistic quantity widely employed in the eld of informatics, was built on the foundation of a sign error in a famous 1929 paper by Leo Szilard, another Nobel Laureate in Physics. These are not unique criticisms, and Kline points to earlier reservations by the likes of Denbigh, Fast, Pierce, and Popper. 5.2. Environmental economics and the entropy law Perhaps the rst discipline outside engineering to seriously adopt thermodynamic ideas was economics; actually the sub-set that has become known as environmental economics. The system studied in economics is the individual rm or the consumer (Hammond, 2000a). Transactions between the rm (or consumer) and the rest of the world are described in terms of the quantities and prices of the commodities exchanged. Prices in this neoclassical economic model are supposed to reect the value that society places on an economic good. Thus, economic practitioners claim that their discipline is normative: it suggests the optimal course of action to be taken in the allocation of resources, whereas thermodynamic analysis is prescriptive. However, environmental economists have employed thermodynamic ideas to devise for alternative accounts of sustainability by analogy to physical or natural processes, such as energy usage. There is a well-developed literature, dating back to . llner, the early 1970s, that amounts to the postulation of an Energy Theory of Value (So 1997), although this has been largely rejected because choices about (First Law) energy use do not reect the full complexity of human behaviour and value judgements. However, it was soon recognized that it is Second Law properties, such as entropy and exergy, which more realistically reect dissipative processes. Georgescu-Roegen (1971) was at the forefront of this movement with his advocacy of the Entropy Law, eectively the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as a measure of economic scarcity. He viewed economic systems as ones in which energy is conserved, but in which entropy increases (or exergy degrades). A brave attempt to investigate interdisciplinary approaches to long-term energy problems and the employment of thermodynamic concepts was made in a workshop organized under the auspices of the Dutch Energy Study Centre (van Gool and Bruggink, 1985). Here similarities
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and dierences between the physical sciences and economics were explicitly investigated, and . llner (1997) produced a comprehensive review and critique many enduring insights obtained. So of the use of thermodynamic ideas in environmental economics. He again drew attention to the insight that energy and related properties can bring to economics and sustainability via the use of analogies and the setting of absolute limits respectively. An important medium-term example . llner, 1997) is the dominant use and nite nature of fossil fuel of the latter (Slesser, 1978; So resources. But there is no direct link between thermodynamic properties and the characteristics of economic systems. The former cannot explain the latter, let alone forecast the future paths of . llner, 1997). complex economies (So 5.3. Resource ows and exergy Several thermodynamicists have viewed the exergy function as a potential tool for resource and/or emissions accounting (see, for example, Szargut et al., 1988; Dincer and Rosen, 1999). Material resources are viewed as having chemical exergy, because of their disequilibrium with the surrounding environmental conditions. When they undergo processing, these materials cause waste and therefore environmental damage. An increase in process eciency will reduce the amount of waste and the exergy degradation. Thus, exergy is seen as a measure of the value of the material, whereas process wastes have a potential to cause adverse changes in the environment. Dincer and Rosen (1999) term the exergy encapsulated in materials (positive) constrained exergy, in contrast to the (negative) unconstrained exergy associated with emissions to the environment. They suggest that this provides a means of resource and emissions accounting, albeit one that needs further exploration. Szargut et al. (1988) describe the cumulative consumption of natural exergy resources as the coecient of ecological cost. Depleting or non-renewable (fossil and nuclear) fuels represent the largest component of this ecological cost. However, replacing these fuels by income energy resources, like nuclear fusion or solar energy, would enable these sustainable energy technologies to be utilized to extract fuels from lean raw materials. It would obviously require greater exergy consumption, but this would be of little consequence in a world driven by income sources (see also Lovins, 1977). Szargut et al. (1988) argue that expressing waste products in terms of exergy, in a manner more recently employed by Dincer and Rosen (1999), may be oversimplied. Certainly the environmental toxicology, or ecotoxicology, of waste products or pollutant emissions is unlikely to be reected solely by their exergy content. Other environmental appraisal techniques, such as environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA), would be required to properly evaluate these emissions (Hammond, 2000a). There is clearly much that needs to be done in developing these exergy-based ideas and analysis techniques before they can be practically applied. They also suer from the same criticism that can be levelled at the notion of an Exergy Theory of Value (by, for example, Hammond and Stapleton, 2001). Exergy is a measure of the maximum theoretical useful work that is obtainable from a thermal system (as it is brought into equilibrium with its surrounding environment), and this may be not be the only or relevant criterion in a particular situation. An innovative attempt to analyse dierent societies in terms of energy and exergy ow diagrams has been made by Sciubba (1995). He examined the sustainability of a variety of social structures ranging from primitive tribal groups, via industrial (and post-industrial) societies, to a future envisaged as being dominated by a highly robotized or cybernetically controlled
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social organization. In essence, energy and exergy were employed here as technology level indicators. Sciubba recognized that his model was an oversimplication of the complex interactions that arise between human societies and the natural world. Nevertheless, he believes this energy/exergy approach can adequately represent these various interactions. Consequently, the model could be used to examine alternative societal arrangements that might be leaner in terms of resource extraction, whilst being as comfortable as present industrialized societies. Not all forms of societal organization were found to be self-sustaining, with certain size and technology-related restrictions applying to most societies. Sciubba (1995) argues that neither resource scarcity nor biosphere capacity appears to constrain human development, although many energy analysts and environmentalists (for example, Goldemberg, 1996; Lovins, 1977; Parkin, 2000; Porritt, 2000) would suggest that the contrary is the case.

5.4. Ecology and free energy In the eld of ecology, strictly the branch of the natural sciences that deals with the relation between biological organisms and their physical surrounding, the concept of Gibbs free energy or function (G) is used in preference to exergy (Haynie, 2001). It is dened mathematically as G H TS The connection between this thermodynamic property and the physical (or thermomechanical) part of exergy can to seen by comparison of this expression with the truncated Equation (11). Gibbs free energy is again the maximum work that is available from a natural or other system, but it is not determined by reference to the surrounding environmental conditions. The dead state temperature is eectively taken to be absolute zero (2738C). However, in many cases, it is the change in free energy (DG) that is signicant to the problem being considered, and this is nearly the same as the corresponding change in physical exergy (DE). [They are identical when T=To.] Schneider and Kay (1994) have argued that the evolution of life from primitive to complex organisms involves processes similar to those governed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. They propose a new, thermodynamically oriented paradigm for the life sciences, including explanations for the origins of life, biological growth, and patterns of biological evolution apparent in the fossil record. However, this approach has generated some controversy. Corning and Kline (1998) have expressed their exasperation with this line of reasoning. They argue that life is too complex and is sensitive to processes at a detailed level. Exergy (or, in their terms, available energy) analysis has therefore been misused when applied to the biological domain. It focuses on energy waste, whereas perhaps a more important consideration is the way in which energy is captured and utilized during the struggle to survive. These arguments mirror those that Kline (1999) employed more generally in relation to the adoption of thermodynamic concepts in other disciplines, particularly in informatics. A cybernetic perspective leads Corning and Kline (1998) to suggest that certain law-like bioeconomic principles are more likely to constrain thermodynamic processes in living systems. Natural selection may favour organisms that improve energy capture.
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6. CONCLUDING REMARKS 6.1. Engineering sustainability There are various ways in which the energy system interacts with the requirements of sustainable development. A strict interpretation of the Brundtland Commission injunction, or The Natural Step system conditions (Broman et al., 2000; Parkin, 2000; Porritt, 2000; Upham, 2000), would mean a rapid changeover to renewable energy, and the conservation of non-renewable sources (fossil fuels and uranium). This in turn could lead to a signicant reduction in pollutant emissions, an unwanted side-eect of the energy sector, that give rise to damaging impacts at local, regional and global scales. Only in this way could the biosphere be protected for future generations. However, dramatic changes to the nature of the energy system appear unlikely in the short to medium-term. It has been argued that it is impractical to achieve the very strict system conditions laid down under TNS (see also Doughty and Hammond, 2003; Hammond, 2001). Even Parkin (2000) acknowledges that the timescale for achieving sustainability could be in the range 20502100, or longer. Current U.K. measures to combat climate change will reduce CO2 emissions (see Figure 2) to the domestic target of a 20% fall below 1990 levels by about 2010. But this is a modest achievement compared with the perceived global need to reduce GHG emissions by some 60% to stabilize the climate. There is obviously a need to stimulate improvements in resource use eciency generally, and to encourage energy conservation from bottom-up, if the ambitious 2003 U.K. Energy White Paper targets are to be met. The White Paper (DTI, 2003) charts a new path for energy policy with a focus on low-carbon options; principally energy conservation measures and renewable energy technologies for the longterm (with the nuclear power option kept open and in reserve). It will require a portfolio of measures to counter market deciencies; economic instruments, environmental regulation, and land use planning procedures (DTI, 2003; Hammond, 2000b). A robust transitional energy strategy is clearly needed with a focus on energy eciency (a move in the direction of Factor 4 or more technologies), and minimizing signicantly pollutant emissions. The elements of such a strategy will change over time, and the optimal mix at any given instant will be uncertain when viewed from the present (Hammond, 1998, 2000b). Engineers have much to contribute in terms of identifying opportunities for process improvement using thermodynamic and other related means of analysis, such as those discussed here. Actions taken to reduce pollutant emissions from power stations, industrial processes, and the other sectors of the economy would have benets on both a local and global scale. Measures to limit acid precursors from electricity generation, for example, will also reduce GHG emissions. Policies of this type are therefore of a winwin nature (Hammond, 2000a). Central government needs to stimulate implementation, and develop an enhanced systems modelling capability to ensure that the sum of the parts meet national targets (Hammond, 2000a). Thus, the environmental and sustainable development challenges of the 21st Century might be met by way of a mixture of vision and realism. Thermodynamic analysis may again have an important role to play in this wider scale of eort. It also provides evidence-based means of analysing moves towards, and criteria for, sustainability. This suggests that The Natural Step systems conditions may not be quite as scientically based as is sometimes argued. Viewing the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics as representing the conservation and dispersion of energy and
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matter is perhaps limited to the domain of the metaphor, rather than an approach grounded in science. 6.2. Thermodynamics and sustainability: energy systems and beyond Thermodynamic methods will undoubtedly form an indispensable part of the toolkit needed to secure a sustainable future (Hammond, 2003); see also Figure 1 (Parkin, 2000). It is clear from the discussion here that exergy analysis can provide an important tool for the understanding of complex energy systems. It was used by Reistad (1975) to identify the true nature of losses in power plant. He noted that enthalpy losses arise in the condenser, and therefore oer little prospect of improvement other than by way of a bottoming cycle. However, exergy analysis indicates that Second Law losses are associated with combustion processes and with heat exchangers. Making improvements at that end of the cycle will have the knock-on benet of also giving rise to higher First Law eciencies. Hammond and Stapleton (2001) argue that the feasibility of such changes is not as important as a proper comprehension of the thermodynamic processes involved. Now it is possible, of course, to identify Second Law-type improvement potential without explicitly adopting exergy analysis. Indeed Chapman (1976) correctly discerned the waste inherent in using nuclear-generated electricity for space heating rather than for electrical appliances or mechanical drives. He employed First Law energy analysis, but supplemented this via an implicit understanding of the Second Law issues. Hammond (2000a) consequently advocated the use of exergy analysis as one tool amongst several quantitative approaches that should be employed to study energy systems, in addition to the more traditional First Law energy analysis. The components of this sustainability toolkit, which would also include environmental LCA and costbenet analysis (CBA), all have their particular advantages and disadvantages (Hammond, 2000a). However, there is a tendency for some thermodynamicists to elevate Second Law analysis to a pivotal position. Gaggioli (1980), for instance, views exergy as representing thermodynamic value, and regards the Second Law eciency as the true eciency. This is not warranted, and Hammond and Stapleton (2001) have argued that it should be discouraged. On First and Second Law thermodynamic grounds the rank order for the construction of new fossil-fuelled power plant would be CHP or cogeneration schemes, CCGTs, and integrated coal gasication combined cycle (IGCC) plants, reecting the highest to lowest conversion eciencies, respectively. Modern IGCC plants have conversion eciencies of 4851% and lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of better than 20% compared with conventional coal-red plant (Hammond, 2000b). Hydropower and wind turbines also have high thermodynamic eciencies; the former being around 6575%. Unfortunately, the U.K. has already exhausted all its favourable sites for large-scale hydropower and pumped storage schemes. Although there are many suitable locations for onshore wind energy generators in the British Isles, they are meeting signicant community resistance at local planning enquiries owing to their perceived eects of landscape disruption and noise emission (Hammond, 2000b). The utilization of oshore wind turbine arrays may avoid these diculties, but only at higher life-cycle nancial costs. Both oshore wind farms and the growing of energy crops (biomass) as a primary use for agricultural land have been given a strong endorsement by the RCEP (2000) as possible long-term energy options. Solar energy systems, such as modern grid-connected PV devices, are diuse and have low conversion eciencies compared with their 5500 K potential. Nevertheless, they are renewable rather than depletable energy systems. Consequently, Lovins (1977) has
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argued that renewable energy sources in general should be viewed as having a premium over fossil fuels and uranium, with their nite life. This is another reason for not giving primacy to the results of exergy analysis. An important nding, reinforced by the study of Hammond and Stapleton (2001), relates to the thermodynamic ineciency of using electricity (from whatever source) to provide low-grade space heating. Several ways in which thermodynamic concepts have been utilized by practitioners outside the energy sector have been examined. Many other disciplines have attempted to invoke these ideas in the name of environmental sustainability, not least in elds such as ecology and environmental economics. Concern about resource depletion and environmental degradation is common in these disciplines. Human development and its ecological consequences are seen by some analysts to mirror energy transformations within society. The concept of exergy, which follows from the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, has been viewed as providing the basis of a tool for resource and/or emissions accounting, as well as indicating natural limits on the attainment of sustainability. However, the application of these thermodynamic ideas outside the sphere of energy systems, from which they were rst derived, is not without its critics. These concepts are often employed by way of analogy, or simply in a metaphorical sense. Exergy consumption is only indirectly linked to the eciency of resource utilization. The relative ecotoxicology of pollutants is also unlikely to be a function of their exergy, and would need to be assessed via other environmental appraisal techniques (such as LCA). Clearly it is necessary to apply the methods of energy and exergy analysis with some care when trying to draw conclusions about the criteria for, and pathways to, sustainability. 6.3. Energy, sustainability, and the international dimension The present work has focused primarily on energy-related considerations in the developed or industrialized countries, particularly the U.K. It is certainly important that these countries play their full part in maintaining environmental sustainability as they currently emit the bulk of pollutants into the atmosphere world-wide. But sustainable development must also be viewed in a global context. The resource base of the planet is not well dened; limits are often unclear until they are almost reached. One of the great challenges for the 21st century is, therefore, to improve dramatically the eciency of resource use, particularly of non-renewable energy, across the planet so that humankind will tread lightly on the Earth (Hammond, 2000a). Clearly the industrial nations, whose societies are by far the most resource intensive, will need to take the lead. It will require dicult decisions for the West in terms of market intervention to stimulate the development of sustainable technologies, and possibly to induce changes in lifestyles. The task facing the nearly 80% of the world population that live in developing countries is daunting. They have, in most cases, rapidly growing populations that will drive up energy consumption and environmental pollution. This will feed back to the whole planet, and thereby alter the climate in the wealthier nations (Hammond, 2000b). Consequently they need assistance from industrial countries to promote Third World economic growth, which will in time induce a demographic transition (WCED, 1987), as well as improving the eciency of their energy systems. These are matters of interregional and intergenerational ethics, rather than purely scientic debate. A more equitable sharing of world income and resources is likely to be a prerequisite for sustainable development in the long-term. Environmental sustainability would certainly be aided by the transfer of best-practice, or leapfrog, energy technologies from the
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richer to the poorer regions (Goldemberg, 1996). This will ultimately be in the interests of all the citizens of Spaceship Earth. NOMENCLATURE E G H h I IP ke m N P pe Q S T W =exergy =Gibbs free energy or function =enthalpy =specic enthalpy =irreversibility (always 50) =exergetic improvement potential =specic kinetic energy =mass =number of moles of species =absolute pressure =specic potential energy =heat transfer =entropy =thermodynamic temperature =work transfer

Greek letters e Z Z0 Y m c =specic exergy =First Law or energy eciency =idealized energy eciency =thermodynamic quality =chemical potential =Second Law or exergy eciency

Subscripts e i in lost o out p =electrical =chemical species i =process or system inlet boundary =property loss =reference environmental state (or dead state) =process or system outlet boundary =process or device

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This paper has been adapted, in part, from an invited lecture presented at the 7th U.K. National Heat Transfer Conference, Nottingham University, 1112 September 2001. A version close to the current one was then presented to an interdisciplinary audience at a seminar for the International Centre for the Environment (ICE) at the University of Bath on 9 October 2001. The authors research on energy systems
Copyright # 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Int. J. Energy Res. 2004; 28:613639

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and environmental sustainability has been supported by research grants awarded by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (most recently under grants GR/J92910, GR/L02227, and GR/ L26858). He would also like to acknowledge the support of British Gas plc, now demerged as BGplc and Centrica plc, who have partially funded his Professorship. However, the views expressed in this paper are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily reect the policies of either of the new companies. Finally, the author wishes to acknowledge the care with which Sarah Fuge prepared the typescript and Gill Green prepared the gures.

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