Lost Work and Global Warming
Kent W. Mayhew
I have previously discussed that thermodynamics needs to be rewritten. The basis of this is the fact that entropy is one that wrongly associates randomness with entropy. The reasoning lends itself to the association of a system’s increase in randomness within expanding systems with lost work, as defined by PdV.
On the other hand, I have arrived at the realization that lost work: W(lost)= PdV can be better by the understanding that lost work experienced by expanding systems is due to the upward displacement of the surrounding atmosphere, hence lost work is really thermal energy that is passed onto the surrounding atmosphere by expanding systems.
One may ponder what happens if the added volume is removed from the atmosphere? When the volume is added, then the atmosphere’s molecules experience an increase in potential energy. If the added volume is suddenly removed, then this increased potential energy is turned into kinetic energy, which is really no different than heating the gaseous molecules. In other words the increase in kinetic energy is nothing more then adding thermal energy (heat) into the atmosphere.
Of course an expanding system may not always result in the simple upward displacement of our atmosphere. For example they may also initially result in regional atmospheric pressure increases. This regional pressure increase will then try to expand resulting in a volume increase, or the simple transfer of thermal energy due to an increase in intermolecular collisions, i.e. result is heating the atmosphere.
The point becomes that lost work by expanding systems, can be envisioned as being equilvalent to the simple heating of the surrounding atmosphere. Moreover the net increase of heat equates to lost work: W(lost)=PdV , that being the increase in potential energy that the atmosphere would attain by its upward displacement.
So how does this all relate to global warming. In a nutshell, the vast majority of “useful systems” that we use to move man and/or our machine, rely upon expansion at some point in their cycle. Consider the car engine, during the power step of its cycle the fuel/air mixture explodes thus expands driving the piston in the cylinder as well as providing lost work i.e. upwardly displaces our atmosphere. And this means that work is lost is defined by:
W(lost)= PdV ,
Consider the steam engine, which is really based upon boiling i.e. latent heat of vaporation (AKA: enthalpy of vaporation). Herein, as water boils it changes state and thus results in lost work as is defined by: W(lost)= PdV.
You may ask what about the change in molecular bonding potential (U) between the liquid and gaseous states. Well that is not lost work because it will be regained once the liquid condenses.
What you say. As I previously discussed the magnitude of the latent heat of condensation [L(condensation)]. does not equal the magnitude of latent heat of evaporation [L(evaporation)]. Specifically:
[L(evaporation)].= U+PdV 1)
[L(condensation)] = -U 2)
And of course the reasoning is that evaporation involves lost work (PdV) while condensation does not!
One has to realize that we previously explained why useful systems are never 100% efficient was based upon the second law. Of course accepting that the atmosphere has mass and that its upward displacement requires work is no different than accepting that a rock has mass, and that its upward movement requires work. Furthermore accepting this then we must now realize that thermodynamics as is traditionally taught is fraught with errors.
Are all sources of energy subject to the inefficiency associated with lost work. Yes and no is my answer. Let me explain.
Hydro generated electricity has no expanding system when produced
nor when using therefore in theory hydro electricity can power man and/or machine and not be associated lost work. Herein the only
lost energy would be that associated with friction. Of course friction will cause heat, which will increase the temperature of the
Earth’s atmosphere but understandably this would be considerably less heating of the atmosphere than say a steam engine: Remember
a steam engine involves large quantities lost work in every step of its cycle and also involves significant amounts of friction.
Is all electricity void of lost work? Consider electricity production. Lost work occurs when burning coal or other fuels
to drive turbines that produce electricity. Actually lost work occurs whenever we make steam in order to drive turbines. Therefore,
even when making nuclear reactors that use their nuclear power to make steam and then drive a turbine, which generates electricity,
there is a step that involves boiling, hence lost work, hence even nuclear plants result in extensive amounts of heat I going into
the surrounding atmosphere.
The point becomes that many processes we use to generate electricity involves lost work but using
electricity itself does not necessarily involve lost work. So we can say that hydro generated electricity is true clean energy but
all generated electricity is not. By true clean I mean no lost work and no generation of smog i.e. smog is also created when we use
burn coal to generate electricity.
Specifically, hydro dams do not involve lost work because they are powered by water going downhill, making hydro (hydro dam electricity) a true clean energy. But what about the evaporation process that makes the rain, which runs into rivers to power the hydro dam. Certainly, the evaporation process involves lost work but this is work lost by nature not man.
Let me explain: The sun’s rays cause the water in the ocean in evaporate and this involves lost work but it is abuse of the sun's energy by nature. The water then forms raindrops over land and that lost work is never recovered when rain falls, because it was lost in the evaporation process and can never be regained during the nucleation of the raindrops. Ultimately, even hydro involves lost work but at least it is by nature not necessarily man.
So lost work even occurs in nature and this helps heat the earth's atmosphere. Specifically, there is an equilibrium condition where thermal energy enters the earths atmosphere from the sun (blackbody radiation from a 6000 degree source) and it directly heats the earth and atmosphere, plus it causes evaporation which involves lost work thus also indirectly contributes to heating the atmosphere. Now one has to be suspect here on how we envision this because the energy required for evaporation actually comes from heat in the oceans and atmosphere. And then much of the above heat radiates from earth into space, as a lower temperature radiation that being blackbody of a few hundred degree.
The real issue is how much lost work is created by man. Remember lost work ultimately means thermal energy flows into our atmosphere from most useful systems that power our lives i.e. car engines, making of electricity (other than hydro) etc even farting by cows. To me this is the real issue of GLOBAL warming that is too often overlooked.
We must keep in mind that when we apply traditional thermodynamics based upon entropy and the second law, we accept that lost work exists but we explain it in terms of an entropy increase within the expanding system. In other words there is a general lack of clarity as to where the lost work goes. One actually may conclude that the work goes into the expanding system or even into the hands of god (something Enrico Fermi once said about lost work of an expanding universe)
Conversely by giving clarity to lost work as I do, we now must accept that the work is lost by the expanding system into the surrounding atmosphere. Now that we have irrefutable clarity, one should realize that all this lost work is heating our atmosphere. Okay your one drive to the corner store only put a small amount of lost work (PdV) into our atmosphere. But what happens if ten people do I, Or even say a 100 million people do the same thing. No that lost work has the potential to becomes significant, so much so that we must now question to what degree is this associated with climate change
You must begin to understand that climate change is not just about greenhouse gases and how they prevent thermal energy from radiating from our planet into space. Climate change is also about how much energy we pump into our atmosphere as lost work. I trust that this will become scary.
I am sorry but I have not calculated this as I will need help, But right now I am having enough of a problem in finding people who actually give a s**t that we have horrible problems in our understanding of thermodynamics. Until I find a way of knocking sense intro our scientific community, I will never stand a chance of really explaining climate change.
So onto you good folk who read this, I hope that you take what I say to heart, I have no children, so I have no worries about their future. Even so, as I write this blog, I look at my 11month 120 lbs puppy and realize that yes his eye watering farts affect the planet but he will never do the damage that me and my fellow humans are doing. Accordingly, more often than not I view human intelligence as an oxymoron.
And hopefully we will get our heads out of our asses and save this planet. If not, who cares cause there is no, and perhaps never was, any intelligent life on Earth anyhow.
Thank you for reading what I have to say