Despite many differences in agronomic practices and in cultivated crops, all traditional agricultures shared the same energetic foundation. They were powered by the photosynthetic conversion of solar radiation, producing food for people, feed for animals, recycled wastes for the replenishment of soil fertility, and fuels for smelting the metals needed to make simple farm tools.
The books from Vaclav Smil are a trove of knowledge on energy evolution. This book discusses the evolution of human energy advances over time, from agriculture to weapons.
The book reads more as an academic article, with a plethora of references and sources. One sixth of the book is just references. Very dense in knowledge and explanations, it overwhelms the reader with the sheer depth of analysis.
Smil tries to use largely a single energy unit, joules, to measure everything, from the various techniques to harness animals to work to the different ways to pass water through the watermills. The purpose is to quantify the evolution of human energy efficiency over time.
The book is encyclopedic in its depth and range, truly a history. The book dryness of writing and data is broken by very informative and engaging boxes, explaining various facts and developments.
The only downside is the grammar errors found here and there sometimes.
I was impressed by the precision and correct analysis of energy sources and transformations, missed by many pundits.
Also impressive is the general neutral tone regarding various sources that the author manages to impose.
Overall, an incredible book, THE book on energy history.
The MBA in Energy at the Academy of Economic Studies (ASE) in Bucharest starts the registrations for prospective candidates between 23-25 July 2018.
Organized by the Faculty of Business Administration in Foreign Languages (FABIZ), the Energy Master is the best in Romania and is done in collaboration with representatives of the energy business environment (OMV Petrom, Siemens, CEZ, Electrica, Transgaz etc.).
The programme is open to all bachelor degree graduates, but candidates need one year experience in energy. Of course, a good command of English is required, as it is taught in English.
It is a flexible MBA, held during weekends, for 4 semesters. The courses range from “EU Policy in Energy” to “Energy Trading”. The professors and experts’ team is excellent, including one of Romania’s best energy professionals, Corina Popescu.
Hydroelectric power uses height differences and large volumes of water to spin a turbine’s blades and create electricity. Dams can be massive, such as Three Gorges Dam, or smaller, such as those found in mountain rivers.
Dams are highly efficient in converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, efficiencies reaching almost 90%.
Merits of hydroelectric energy are high efficiency, low emissions, relative reliability and additional benefits (flood control, water storage, irrigation). Drawbacks are generation limits almost reached in developed countries, high environmental footprint, disturbance of water ecosystems, siltation (which might limit the life of a dam to 100 years) and unsolved questions on end-of-life dams (Webber 2014; Sheldon 2013)