The Role of Physics in Improving the Efficiency of Electricity Generation and Supply
There is an increasing acceptance that we need to accelerate our efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) if we are to avoid significant climate change.
The energy-supply sector is the largestsource of GHG emissions globally, due mainly to carbon dioxide (CO2) released from the combustion of fossil fuels for the production and supply of electricity, and in 2002 it accounted for a third of all GHG emissions. Developed industrial countries have historically emitted by far the greatest amounts of GHGs, but now demand for fossil fuels is increasing rapidly in newly industrialised countries, such as China. By 2004, China was producing 19% of the world’s fossil-fuel-based CO2 emissions, almost half of which was a by-product of electricity and heat generation. Reducing emissions from the electricity-supply sector must therefore form a central plank of any climate-change strategy.