Introduction to Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
Author(s): Paul Gannon
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Human society has never before faced challenges like the present. Population has more than doubled since 1970; currently over 7 billion and growing fast. Much of this growth occurs in regions with developing infrastructure, placing increasing demands on natural resources and taxing ecosystem services. Coupled with continued growth in more developed, and more demanding regions, global energy consumption is projected to increase nearly three-fold by mid-century. At present, over 80% of global energy demand is supplied by fossil fuels, the burning of which is responsible for the increasingly rapid global warming observed in the past century, which is destabilizing regional climates, affecting living systems around the planet, threatening food and water supplies and increasing the frequency and intensity of severe weather events. Despite this knowledge, fossil fuels are in record high demand, and their supply, distribution, and use powers a globalizing economy. These interconnected challenges are often referred to as the “energy, environment, prosperity dilemma”, which human society must confront.
Although very serious, these challenges are not unsolvable. Opportunities to adapt and progress toward an enduring globally equitable society are immediately available. As society comes to appreciate the urgency in confronting this dilemma, strategies to adapt to climate change pressures, and secure water, food and energy systems can be implemented. Concurrently, development of low-carbon and renewable energy sources can accelerate. Additionally, carbon sequestration (from the atmosphere) can be increased through reforestation, thoughtful agricultural practices and innovative technologies. In these and other creative ways, human society can progress toward the elusive ideal of sustainability. Essential in these efforts is basic education to promote basic public literacy of energy, water and food infrastructures, as well as environmental sciences, engineering and sustainability.
The 4th edition of Introduction to Energy, Environment and Sustainability is organized into ten (10) sequential chapters and is designed for a single academic term for an entry-level college/university course. Introduction to Energy, Environment and Sustainability aims to cover these complex, interconnected challenges through concise and accessible descriptions of science and technology at the heart of modern human society.
- Chapter 1 presents an overview of human society, population, consumption (life-cycle analysis) and environmental impacts.
- Chapter 2 introduces the basics of energy, its forms, sources and uses (conversions), as well as its metrics.
- Chapter 3 explores Earth system science, biogeochemical cycles and climate dynamics.
- Chapter 4 reviews the basics of combustion (fire), its utility since the Industrial Revolution, and its environmental impacts, focusing on anthropogenic (human-forced) global climate destabilization.
- Chapter 5 discusses non-renewable energy sources (fossil fuels) and related exploration, production, and conversion technologies, such as “fracking” and refining.
- Chapter 6 covers atomic energy basics and nuclear energy technologies.
- Chapter 7 overviews renewable energy sources and conversion technologies.
- Chapter 8 introduces basic concepts of electricity and hydrogen, as well as related infrastructures.
- Chapter 9 considers contemporary issues surrounding food and water systems and their security in a warming world.
- Chapter 10 concludes with reflections on science, sustainability, and globalizing human society.
End-of-chapter homework/quizzes aim to facilitate comprehension, and can be easily adapted for homework assignments and exams.
Accompanying this fourth edition for instructors is an updated website with sample course syllabi, lecture slides, solution to end-of-chapter homework/quizzes, suggested classroom demonstrations and activities and sample multiple-choice exams.
Chapter 1 Human Society and Ecological Footprint
Evolutions, Revolutions and Populations
Modern Day Amenities
Heating and Cooling
Human Development and Ecological Footprints
Chapter 2 What Is Energy?
Energy Definitions and Forms
Energy Uses (Conversions)
Power, Work, Heat and Metrics
Chapter 3 Earth System Science
The Earth System
Past and Present Climates
Chapter 4 Combustion, Emissions and Environmental Impacts
Combustion and Emissions
Air Pollution Control
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Human-Forced Climate Destabilization
GHG Inventorying, Separation and Storage
Chapter 5 Non-Renewable Energy Sources and Conversion Technologies
Oil and Natural Gas
Boilers and Furnaces
Engines and Turbines
Electric Power Plants
Chapter 6 Atoms and Atomic Energy
Atoms, Ions, Isotopes and Radiation
Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Power Plants
Chapter 7 Renewable Energy Sources and Conversion Technologies
Direct and Indirect Solar Power
Solar Electric (Photovoltaic)
Biomass, Biogas and Biofuels
Chapter 8 Electricity and Hydrogen
Batteries and Fuel Cells
Electric Generators and Motors
Thermoelectrics and Piezoelectrics
Chapter 9 Food and Water
Chapter 10 Sustainability and Global Society
Definitions, Components and Metrics
Global Societies, Impacts and Actions
Science and Informed Citizenry
“I really like the style, approach, and content. Gannon’s book works well as the foundation for my Honors ‘Energy’ course.”
—Lynn Vogel Koplitz, Chair & Vicknair Professor of Chemistry, Loyola University New Orleans
“I adopted this textbook for my Energy and the Environment course for general education students. The text was well reviewed by my students. They found the text very readable and the figures very clear.”
—Randy Strobel, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota
“The text (and figures) present an articulate and comprehensive treatment of energy, environment and sustainability topics in an easily accessible manner.”
—Diana Lynne Ibarra, Shuyuan Science Programs Manager, The Independent Schools Foundation Academy, Hong Kong
“I think it was very well written, jammed packed with great information."
“The book is written in a way that I can understand it and learn a lot from it.”
“The book is nice and easy to understand.”
—Undergraduate student evaluations, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana
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