Solar & Thermal
Systems, Inc.
Background Contact
Site Map

The Light is Green




Energy, sources & uses, past, present, future.

To appreciate the competition it's necessary to know the many directions it comes from.

The traditional sources energy are broadly divided up into:

Just as important as the supply is the consumption, because the use determines the source.

Every day, we consume millions of barrels of oil that contributes to global warming, and diminish an irreplaceable commodity.  We also produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide, and emit tons of sulfur dioxide and trioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates.  Hundreds of pounds of mercury, chlorine, bromine, and dozens of other noxious pollutants.

This is a cost of civilization1.  Would I prefer we didn't pollute, sure.  Would I accept the lack of infrastructure as the price of zero emissions? No way.  Is there a way to have both? Yes there is!

Thermal Processes require local on the spot generation of high temperatures and frequently burn fuel in direct contact with the product being produced.  The exact composition of the fuel while variable is an important part of the process.

  • Metallurgical Coke
  • Petroleum Refining
  • Portland Cement
  • Smelting of Ore
  • Metal Manufacture
  • Glass Manufacture
  • Space Heating


Electric Generation based on the burning of fuel either generates steam, or operates a prime mover.  The mechanical work obtained turns a generator.

  • Coal Fired
  • Petroleum Fired
  • Natural Gas Fired
  • Nuclear Fueled
  • Geothermal Heated
  • Hydro
  • Wind
  • Solar


Transportation uses generally require the vehicle to carry its own source of energy.  Electric trains use overhead wires or third rails, and some dredges and shovels use an extension cord.  The nuclear navy, and spacecraft are interesting exceptions where the initial cost just doesn't matter.

  • Gasoline & Diesel
  • Petroleum
  • Electricity
  • Nuclear
  • Solar


Distributed Infrastructure is really a hybrid category.  Many factories, office buildings, industrial complexes, college campuses, and others, are large enough that they have their own plants for electricity, heat, water, sewage, etc.

  • Anthracite Coal
  • Petroleum
  • Natural Gas
  • Electricity


Distributed Consumption is like distributed infrastructure, but smaller.  Residential, retail, commercial, and light industrial consumers that just aren't big enough to justify the added costs to monitor emissions, handle solid fuel ash, and the constant maintenance of the bigger equipment.

  • Refined Petroleum
  • Natural Gas
  • Electricity



  • Wood
  • Human Labor
  • Farm Waste
  • (What's brown and sounds like a bell?) Dung



  • Wood
  • Candles
  • Coal
  • Whale Oil
  • Animal Effort
  • Windmills
  • Waterwheels



  • Coal Stokers
  • Petroleum (simple distilled)
  • Illuminating Gasses
  • Steam Heat
  • Steam Engines
  • Hydroelectric
  • Internal Combustion



  • Pulverized Coal
  • Petroleum (refined catalytically)
  • Liquefied Natural Gas
  • Nuclear Fission



  • Nuclear Fusion
  • Geothermal
  • Ocean Wave
  • Solar Collection
  • Photovoltaic
  • Wind Turbines
  • Fuel Cell
  • Dilithium Crystals
  • and who knows what else...


1So it's not as clever as the animatronics history located in the original "World of Motion" pavilion at Epcot Center, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.  We all really liked the caveman blowing on his hot tired feet. [back]




Copyright 2001, 2009 Solar & Thermal Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
S&T, STS, STSI, and other abbreviations are Service Marks of Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
Roof & Distribution© logo and Cool Copper© Copyright 2001 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
AEG, PMP, MLP, DRP, are used with permission.
Phoenix logo© and Swirling Rays© Copyright 2005 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
Tri-lobed Sun© Copyright 2006 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
The Light is Green!© Copyright 2006 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
ECO-CO2© Tonne, Railcar, and Coalcar, Copyright 2007 Solar & Thermal Systems Inc.
All other Trademarks, Service marks, etc., are the property of their respective owners.
Updated: 09/11/10 21:05