Book: Engineering in an Age of Limits

Book: Engineering in an Age of Limits



Home

Books
  PRRM
  PDO
  OSM
  EAL
Ebooks
Videos
Blogs
Safety Moments

Standard Examples
Citations




This book is currently under preparation; the current Table of Contents, which is very much subject to change, is shown below.

Book: Engineering in an Age of Limits The world in which we live is entering an Age of Limits — limits to do with resources, particularly oil, the environment and financial. These limits will mean that our society will undergo some wrenching changes in coming years.

This book discusses the nature of the limits that we face. It shows how
the discipline of engineering developed about three hundred years ago when European society of that time also hit limits to do with deforestation. The book explores how current issues will change the nature of engineering. It also explains how engineers, who have a strong technical background, can help explain what is going on, for example by describing the nature and the consequences of the three laws of thermodynamics.

An overview of some of the ideas and concepts that are discussed in the book is provided at our blog series to do with Engineering in an Age of Limits.

Contents

The book currently has 12 chapters. The Tables of Contents for each chapter are listed below.

1.   Age of Limits
2.   Four Strands
3.   Peak Forests
4.   Peak Coal
5.   Peak Oil
6.   Anthropocene Age
7.   Money
8.   Conservation
9.   New Sources of Energy
10. Response: Technical
11. Response: Leadership
12. Bibliography
      Citations

Chapter 1 - Age of Limits
top of page
The Author’s Apology
Introduction
A Quotation — A Joke — A Sketch
Yeast in the Wine Jar
   Resources
   Environment
   Money
   Population Growth
   The Most Important?
Timing
The Ladder of Awareness
   1. Dead Asleep
   2. Denial
   3. One Fundamental Problem
   4. Awareness of Many Problems
   5. Awareness of Interconnections
   6. All Aspects of Life
Predicaments and Problems
Scale Up
Hegelian Synthesis
World Views
   Agricultural World View
   Mechanical World View
      The Industrial Revolution
      Age of Progress
   Entropic World View
      General Response
      Engineering
Something Will Come Up
We’re All Doomed
   Universal and Global Problems
      Universal Problems
      Global Problems
Thermodynamics
   First Law
   Second Law
      Entropy
   Sunshine
   Third Law
The Hubbert Curve
Energy Return on Energy Invested
   Nine Pounds of Gold
   Economically Available Oil
   Infrastructure
   Declining Returns
Rate not Reserves
Catabolic Collapse
Engineers
   Skills and Attributes
   Lack of Empathy
   INTJ

Chapter 2 - Four Strands
top of page
Introduction
Resources
Environment
Money
Population

Chapter 3 - Peak Forests
top of page
Introduction
Wood to Coal to Oil to ?
   Liquid Fuels
   Alternative Fuels
The Ancient Forests
Transition to Coal
Invention of the Steam Engine
ERoEI of Tin
Creative Times

Chapter 4 - Peak Coal
top of page
Introduction
The Industrial Revolution
Social Changes
   Increased population
   Environmental problems
   Colonial expansion
Engineering
   Engineering Societies

Chapter 5 - Peak Oil
top of page
Introduction
   The Energy Trap
The Hirsch Report
   Seminal Reports
   Peak Oil
   Executive Summary
   Meaning of “Peak Oil”
   2014
Shale Oil
The 2014 Price Crash
Possible Reaction to Oil Decline
MiMilitary Concerns

Chapter 6 - Environmental Limits
top of page
Introduction
The Anthropocene Age
The Tragedy of the Commons
Global Warming
Pray for Rain
Contribution of Engineers

Chapter 7 - Money
top of page
Introduction

Chapter 8 - Conservation
top of page
Introduction
Jevon’s Paradox

Chapter 9 - New Sources of Energy
top of page
Introduction
Nuclear Power
   Safety
      Three Mile Island, 1979
      Chernobyl, 1986
      Fukushima Daiichi
   New Nuclear Technologies
Solar Power
Biofuels
   Photosynthetic Scale
   Photosynthetic Efficiency
   Replacing U.S. Oil with Corn Ethanol
   Feeding the Beast
   Cellulosic Plant Waste and Algae
   A Synthetic Approach
   Not an All-or-Nothing World

Chapter 10 - Response: Technical
top of page
Introduction
Technology as a Non-Solution
   The Cloud
Systems Thinking
Resilience
Computer-Free Solutions
Simplification
Systems

Chapter 11 - Response: Leadership
top of page
Introduction
Maintain Skills
Responses
Liberal Arts
   History
   Literature
   Story-Telling
Personal Response
   Personal Life Style
   Engineering Lifestyle
   Abolition of Slavery
Safety Culture
   Employee Participation
   Behavior Based Safety
   Safety as a Value
   Economics of Safety
      Technology for Safety
      Safety Becomes Affordable
      Economic Justification
   Reversal of the Value
Story-Telling

Chapter 12 - Bibliography
top of page
Introduction
William Catton
   Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
   Bottleneck: Humanity's Impending Impasse
John Michael Greer
   The Archdruid Report
   Star’s Reach

Citations

About the Author

Book: Engineering in an Age of Limits

Ian Sutton is a chemical engineer with over 35 years experience in the process industries. He has worked on the design and operation of offshore platforms, refineries, chemical plants, pipelines and minerals processing facilities.

In addition to his technical work Mr. Sutton has extensively researched and studied issues to do with the upcoming Age of Limits. He has published many blogs on the topic and has written extensively as to how these changes will affect the engineering profession.


home| top of page

Copyright © Sutton Technical Books 2016. All rights reserved

PO Box 2217
Ashland, VA  23005