1. Food Gathering Transport increased with economic development -------------- but entirely muscle power on land, later contribution from wind at sea. 2. Agriculture Efficiency improvements with network of ------------ pathways ... 3. Simple ... some engineering to form roadways. Packhorse , Technology transport ---------- Development of decked sailing boats for cargo and long distance transport. Increasing ability to sail into the wind. 4. City State Linked the City States as principal transport ---------- media 5. Empire Network of pathways engineered into network of (Roman) Roman Roads across the Empire, with shallow ------- gradients - development of Wagons. Sea transport still cheaper where available - grain doubled in price every 400 miles along Roman Roads. Water transported long distance by aqueducts under gravity. Some canals. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 6. Medieval As 3 & 5. but growing efficiency of sail above 5, (Europe) bigger ships getting near max ability to sail into -------- the wind 7. Industrial First direct energy consuming transport, coal - railways, Revolution which grew to form a network like the Roman Roads. ---------- Energy consumption per unit load steadily improved with development of the heat engine. Start of engineered Roads or repair of Roman network - but muscle powered. Canal network built- horse drawn - but soon eclipsed 8. Consumer Society by Railways. Small heat engines developed to replace the ---------------- horse and carriage and wagon - petrol powered - requiring the tar bound gravel surface. 9. Mass Production Multiple developments Society A. Stationary heat engines provide local power, extended by electricity --------------- - railways B. Ships as energy consuming transport, with heat engine improvement - steadily larger ships for goods and people - giant oil tankers, cruise ships C. Motor car with heat engine improvements becomes mass consumer item - much enlarged road networks D. Lorry, increasing size and length, flexibility takes over from Rail for goods transport on land E. Airplane, heat engine improvements,larger, better aerodynamics, mass market travel and holiday F. Pipelines Potential Impacts Computer - Automation guidance systems for traffic lights - less stopping for C & D Submarine ships - less energy needed - more efficient B Combined lorry - rail systems - more of journey on larger power units - more energy efficient D Storing breaking energy for propulsion - more efficient C & D
The Constant Trend has been of increasing energy efficiency of transport, caused by modifying the terrain for the traveller, and improvements in heat engine power supplies. Transport has however grown above economic growth, because of widening geographical boundaries of trade, and the desire for human travel. Transport has therefore absorbed an increasing energy input however it may be measured, including early muscle power. Coal and steam engines for early heat engines, later oil, internal combustion engines powered by higher oil fractions (petrol) for small vehicles.
It is likely that this trend will broadly continue.
It might be argued that we must some time come to the end of the efficiencies possible from improvements in heat engines, so that most of the growth in transport will go straight into energy requirements. This however seems unlikely. A large proportion of the growth is likely to occur by air. It is reckoned today that a full car is the most cost effective, but if the car is not full then air is cheaper (given a reasonably long distance). Generally cars are not full, so air is the most energy efficient per unit distance. The impacts from likely developments in Transport all indicate significant energy savings.
This Sector will almost certainly continue to have a growing energy requirement - unlike the other two major Sectors where the growth may be low or negative in the advanced world.
This Sector is likely to have a continuing requirement for material energy - most likely some form of liquid fuel. This may stimulate production of energy sources which can generate such suitable material. Noted from the History that large transport undertakings have used large stationary heat engines and relayed the energy to the moving vehicle by electricity (railways) as the larger the heat engine the more efficient it is. This has not however prevented the lorry gaining ascendancy over rail for goods transport - the greater flexability being the cause. There may be long term scope to pipe centrally generated energy to the roadway, and cars able to tap into it on the move - but the technology is not readily available today - so such developments are long term.
We do not believe that demand for transport will be stunted by the eventual exhaustion of fossil fuels. This issue has been considered in other Sectors of the Energy Area, where there will always be the more efficient sources, and technology will tend to reduce their cost. At the time of writing it has been shown that there are vast distortions in the energy market through government action of cartels, and imposing tribute especially on the most economic sources. Whereas you would expect the highest concentration sources to be used, with technology advance reducing the cost of the lower concentration sources - but at present oil supplies are being drawn from the lowest concentration souces (tar sands, oil shale) to defeat cartels formed over the high concentration souces. Most of the cost of energy resides in politics and various government actions - not on supplies.
Part of this results from human desire to move around - resulting in governments capturing the greater part of the value created in energy products - rather than the business that create the products. Most if not all advanced world governments, who have got into severe funding problems for their expanding activities, have come to rely on this energy value which they have captured, and tend to jack-up this tribute whenever they can. There is thus little chance of energy prices falling, but rather are likely to rise from this source. The normal competition will have little effect.
There is a further great distortion taking place through the subject of climate change. This is probably caused by a minority pressure group, who have a theory that burning things causes the climate to get warmer through the role of burnt carbon. This theory has never been proved, but governments have latched onto it. While their actions have so far been small, they have encouraged the use of non-buring sources of energy by giving subsidies for them. This has resulted in high cost energy sources being used, in preference to the low cost.sources. Burning has been the mainstay of mans' energy requirements through out his economic development, and the low cost sources are fossil fuels - and are likely to remain so for any time scale we are likely to be interested in.
The Business Environment Study Group of the Strategic Planning Society considered this issue in the 1980s. With the migration of manufacturing to less developed counties (being the energy intensive sector of the economy), no chance was seen that these less developed countries would forego their chance of economic development and give up burning as their source of energy. Thus if their was any truth in the climate change theory, burning will increase, and higher climate temperatures will result.
In fact the actual cause of climate temperature change are the ice ages - which have been running like clockwork for over 3m years. It is understood that snow at the poles builds up the polar caps and they flow outwards and increase in size - until rate of melting at their edges equals the rate of their advance. Its not understood why around this maximum size the ice caps suddenly start retreating - to about half their size in c 10-20K years. The ice caps reflect sunlight back into space, and in the dark they are very good radiators of the earth's energy into space. The result is that the Earth's temperature falls c 12 degrees between ice age minimum and maximum. This gives relatively brief Inter-Glacial warm periods - and long periods of falling temperatures and advancing ice. In the last Ice Age much of the present advanced world was buried under miles of ice. The ice got down to Watford (London) in Europe, and even lower in parts of the US. Since the polar caps ended their rapid retreat c 10k years ago, the prospect is for the start of the next ice advance and falling temperatures - we need any other means possible of raising the Earth's temperature.
Some of the above sources stimulated by the climate issue may find application in transport. Though they may not be economic sources, technology is likely to reduce their cost. Part of the energy consumption in Transport is energy consumed in braking, which then has to be consumed to attain the original speed. Braking is needed to reach a safe speed for part of the roadway, or going downhill, or at junctions, or when traffic causes obstructions - or when coming to rest at journey's end or rest point. Technology is possible to generate an electric current on slowing down, then store the power in a battery which can be used to help accelerate later. But at the time of writing this in not in sight of being put to practical use. Some elements are in use: some city buses with requirements for many stops and starts are fitted with batteries which can store power from the engine when moving, so the engine can be turned off when stopped, when the battery can get the bus moving again and the engine is brought back in if the battery runs low before the bus stops again. A problem is having a battery with a big enough capacity to give a vehicle the sort of mileage which would be considered acceptable before re-fuelling is needed. Battery capacity is both very expensive and heavy - which then itself requires propulsion energy. A technology stimulated by the climate issue - photo cells - may be brought in to assist here. Most cars are not moving for the majority of the time - photo-cells on their upper surfaces could slowly charge up the battery during daylight (most nights they could be plugged into the mains for charging). These measures, coupled with capturing the breaking energy, may stretch the battery economics to something reasonable. The photo cells would be expensive - but if their lives exceed the car they may be re-cycled. Due to fashion effects there is a slow fall in second hand car values, thus a reduction in car lives (there is not much of a second hand car market in US).
Another longer term possibility is piping the energy to the roadway to be accessed by the car - possibly by microwaves. This would enable vehicles to use the more efficient large stationary heat engines (as used in railways). This is not on the horizon, a way must be found to turn on the energy as the vehicle is over the source - so the energy is not lost to space - and how to effect payment. Then only a small battery would be require to connect with stopping points not on such energy supplied highways.
There has been talk of developing a hydrogen economy, where for example machines capture energy from sea waves, turn it into electricity which electrolyses the sea water into hydrogen and oxygen, with the hydrogen used as vehicle fuel - which on being burnt become water vapour. However it has been calculated from the physics/ chemistry of the problem that creating the hydrogen in the first places takes a lot more energy than will be released by burning it into water. This might not matter if the wave energy machines could produce the hydrogen economically - but substantial research has not as yet achieved this - or produced electricity competitively with the lower cost sources. There are problems with the electrodes needed to electrolyse (sea) water - and merely electrolysing water by electricity is not economic.
There are some countries planning to go down the hydrogen route that are energy rich counties or have large fossil fuel exports which may be lost by the climate change issues. Australia is one of these, who also has large sunlight resources, is planning large scale hydrogen production from solar and wind sources. It is reckoned that the cost of the hydrogen production will have to reduce by a factor of three, and this is the risk. Even so if successful you are comparing with fossil sources which has vast tribute on it by various Government - you will still be using sources which are far more expensive - and the government tribute revenue will be lost. Norway with abundant hydro resources are also planning the hydrogen export route.
There has also been talk about fuel cells, including linking the hydrogen economy with fuel cells. Fuel cells are like a battery, where a chemical reaction creates an electric current - but instead of re-charging the battery with an electric current you change or replenish the chemicals. It cannot be said that any of these are on the horizon as viable alternatives to the internal combustion engine using the economic fossil fuels (including the very high government tribute).
The Transport Area develops the concepts of the The Computer Media improving the traffic flow in urban areas through forming cohorts of vehicles which can be kept moving at constant speeds for longer times. This is a trend underway, which will acheive fuel use improvements. It may also help stimulate some of the above possibilities involving the highway.
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