Evaluation of energy sources
Much of Florida's information-rich, urban society depends on non-renewable fossil and nuclear fuels to run its industries, vehicles, homes, and power plants; therefore, anticipating the future means evaluating present and future energy sources. This chapter considers the net energy yield of energy sources. One traditional way of evaluating the potential for an energy source to do useful work is to calculate the efficiency of the process. Wherever there is a difference in temperature, there is a source of energy that can be converted into work. Fuels vary widely in the concentration of heat they can generate per unit weight. The chapter compares the kinds of fuels available for use in Florida, evaluating them according to the net contribution of real wealth as measured in energy units. A process has a net energy yield if it contributes more energy than it requires from the economy. The long-range future of nuclear power may depend on the availability of low-priced nuclear fuels.