Kostic to speak about ''Energy Fundamentals and Sustainability''
Milivoje Kostic, Ph.D., P.Eng., professor of NIU Mechanical Engineering, has been invited to present an NIU-LLI Notable Lecture at 11:30 am on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 in Holmes Student Center Room 505
Energy Fundamentals and Sustainability(Summary by M. Kostic)
Energy, as the ''building block'' of all material and space existence, and as the cause for all (re)creations in time, could be metaphorically considered as the most basic "Zeroth Religion," with all due respect to the "First Religion," the way the Zeroth Law of thermal equilibrium is more basic than the grandiose First Law of energy conservation in Thermodynamics. Energy is more than universal currency. The world view, from inside to outside, is only possible, figuratively and literally, through the energy prism. From shining stars to rotating planets, to global water, atmospheric and life cycles, to evolution, industrialization and modernization of civilization, energy is the cause and measure of all there has been, it is, and will be.
Let us not be fooled by low oil prices now due to unexpected economic recession! If the man-made global warming is debatable, the two things are certain in not distant future: (1) the world population and their living-standard expectations will substantially increase, and (2) the fossil fuels¡¯ economical reserves, particularly oil and natural gas, will substantially decrease. The difficulties that will face every nation and the world in meeting energy needs over the next several decades will be more challenging than what we anticipate now. The traditional solutions and approaches will not solve the global energy problem. New knowledge, new technology, and new living habits and expectations must be developed to address both, the quantity of energy needed to increase the standard of living world-wide and to preserve and enhance the quality of our environment.
However, regardless of imminent shortages of fossil fuels, the outlook for future energy needs is encouraging. Energy conservation "with existing technology" (insulation, regeneration, cogeneration and optimization with energy storage) has real immediate potential to substantially reduce energy dependence on fossil fuels and enable use of alternative and renewable energy sources. There are many diverse and abundant energy sources with promising future potentials, so that mankind should be able to enhance its activities, standard and quality of living, by diversifying energy sources, and by improving energy conversion and utilization efficiencies, while at the same time increasing safety and reducing environmental pollution. After all, in the wake of a short history of fossil fuels¡¯ abundance and use (a blip on a human history radar screen), the life may be happier after the fossil fuel era!