Vaclav Smil

His books are excellent, you probably should read them all.

His Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate is depressing, excerpt:

A world without fossil fuel combustion is highly desirable, and, to be optimistic, our collective determination, commitment, and persistence could accelerate its arrival.  But getting there will be expensive and will require considerable patience.  Coming energy transitions will unfold, as the past ones have done, across decades, not years.

And this:

…do not underestimate the persistence and adaptability of old resources (remember that coal is still more important globally than natural gas) and established prime movers, particularly those that have been around for more than a century, including steam turbines and internal combustion engines.  Recall that the latest incarnations of the internal combustion engine, the new DiesOtto machines, have the potential to be more efficient than the best hybrid drives on today’s market.

My favorite book by him is Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines, a better title and subtitle there never was.


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