Energiewende – an Herculean task

The heat supply of the future

Some of you may remember from your school days that heat is generated by the movement of subatomic particles. You might also recall that this movement is not ordered, but random and chaotic. The same amount of heat can be generated from a small number of particles moving very fast, or a large number of particles moving slowly. It makes no difference in terms of the amount of heat generated.

However, to ensure that the heat is usable through conversion into ordered, non-chaotic movement, it makes a difference whether the heat used is at a higher or a lower temperature. The degree of order is greater at higher temperatures and allows more efficient conversion into targeted energy (e.g. for electricity generation).

Chemical fuels have a very high degree of order, whereas heat at 20 degrees Celsius – the temperature we need to keep warm at home – has a very low degree of order. The shocking aspect, in thermodynamic, economic and climate terms, is our practice of converting energy with a very high degree of order into an energy form with a high degree of randomness.

Indeed, we use most of our oil, gas and coal to create »random« energy; at the same time, our household heating produces the largest amount of CO2 emissions.

This is completely unnecessary! Nowadays, we have much better methods available and could dispense with the use of this very valuable ordered energy in heat production altogether.

Over the next few weeks, we will be showing you, in these web pages, exactly how it is done.