Energy - Vaclav Smil

Overall the book is not a “bad” one, on the contrary I find it a really informative book. It is touching on many important points with regard to energy generation, energy transmission, distribution and alternative sources or ways of preventing current fossil fuels future depletion and handling of fossil fuels by-products.

I feel that even though it, as in the Oil book, has a lot of technicalities and excellent arguments and dwells into details of various techniques. Such as carbon by-products storage, solar and wind power generation, nuclear power generation safety and characteristics, ethanol or hydrogen based power generation or even peak oil; it never tries to tell or give us solutions. Maybe its author doesn’t try to do that in the first place, or considers it as a next step, but I would have loved if after all of his brilliant work, alternatives or at least some sort of predictions would be made or formulated in some way.

It’s good to know that ethanol from corn can never ever replace oil, due to its minuscule production percentage in the global oil market. Or that solar is great as long as new transmission networks are created and storage for overnight power delivery are in place - none of which are deployed on a large scale. Or that nuclear is continuously improved, and has great power load characteristics but the spent fuel is still a problem…

In the end the conclusion is leaving me in a state of wanting to get some impressions on what exactly can be done - how does he envision our energy future?