Energy in Perspective by Jerry B. Marion (Auth.)

By Jerry B. Marion (Auth.)

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By Jerry B. Marion (Auth.)

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2. Notice that the continuous power output of an active human body is limited to a few hundred watts. However, for brief intervals, the power figure can be substantially higher. For example, for the fraction of a second that a high-jumper requires to launch himself off the ground, his body is operating with a power of about 3 kW. Electrical generating plants are huge complexes that devour e n o m o u s quantities of fuel in the production of electrical power. Many of the large modern plants produce more than 1000 MW (10^ W) of power.

Manufacturers regulate the output of their plants based on the expected demand for their products. The electrical power industry plans new generating facilities (which require many years for design and construction) on the basis of the expected requirements in the future. Although it is clearly necessary to plan ahead, it is not prudent to place too much reliance on estimates that carry far into the future. 4) is a result of the fact that the late 1950s and early 1960s were years of exceptional economic growth.

When these organisms die and accumulate in basins where the water is stagnant, they are protected from oxidation. As in the case of coal formation, the dead marine matter is decomposed by bacteria. Oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements are removed, leaving mainly carbon and hydrogen. This material is buried by sediment which destroys the bacteria, thus preventing the further decomposition into pure carbon. The accumulating covering layer provides heat and pressure that convert the hydrocarbon material into droplets of liquid oil and bubbles of natural gas.

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