Engine of Evolution


  • Frank Niele, Shell Global Solutions International, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Energy: Engine of Evolution is a compelling book that provides a compact history of energy over the last four billion years, with the aim of creating a sound basis to understanding the possible futures of the energy industry. It describes the role that energy has played in the evolution of nature and culture, the impact it has had on the world over time and the implications that we are faced with concerning the role of energy in the future. This book describes the relationship between life and energy through time, outlining how the major revolutions in the evolution of life on earth were driven by developments at the energy frontiers. Energy: Engine of Evolution states that we are on the verge of the next energy revolution, where we will learn how to master new energy forms in a new way. As a result of years of research and discussions by leading experts in the oil and gas industry, this publication offers inspiring insights and examples of new approaches to technological and evolutionary developments, paving the way towards a more sustainable future.
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This publication is recommended to a broad audience with an interest in sustainable development, energy, evolution and the environment including researchers, government agencies, business professionals, as well as socially engaged intellectuals.


Book information

  • Published: September 2005
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-51886-6

Table of Contents

PART I. THE FIRST FIVE ENERGY REVOLUTIONS -a time journey through the history of life-
Chapter 1. The Photo-Energy Revolution The origin of life The origin of sunlight The origin of planet Earth The origin of the living cell The Thermophilic Regime
Photosynthesis and free oxygen The origin of photosynthesis
Sunlight-driven energy technology
The Phototropic Regime
And the face of the earth changed Two grand carbon cycles
The self-inflicted crisis
Chapter 2. The Oxo-Energy Revolution The origin of aerobic respiration The origin of breathable air
Global oxygen crisis
Aerobic respiration
Oxygen-driven energy technology
Microbial symbiosis The origin of the eukaryotic cell design
The microbial energy majors
The Aerobic Regime
Biological diversification
Ecological growth
And the face of the earth changed The changing landscape
Competition and adaptation
Chapter 3. The Pyro-Energy RevolutionThe origin of hominidsIt needed a crisis
The origin of human culture
The quest for the human advantage
Man the fire masterThe human advantage
The origin of fire
Active use of fire
The Pyrocultural Regime
Societal metabolism
The Symbolisational Signal
And the face of the earth changedA changing lifestyle
And life changed the land
Chapter 4. The Agro-Energy RevolutionMan the solar farmerThe Agricultural Revolution
The forces that shaped the revolution
The Agrocultural Regime
The emergence of competing energy chains
A new reality emergesThe Quantificational Signal
The Scientific Revolution
And the face of the earth changedFrom farms to nation states
The growing human footprint
Chapter 5. The Carbo-Energy RevolutionHydrocarbon Man The agrocultural energy crisis
The dawn of ancient sunlight
The Carbocultural Regime
The Carbian ExplosionAn explosion of competing energy chains
Electric energy as information carrier
Carbocultural, non-fossil energy chains
Sensitive scientific senses
And the face of the earth changedThe surging human footprint
From fire master to fire addict
PART II. THE NEXT ENERGY REVOLUTION-evolutionary energetics, models and scenarios-
Chapter 6. The Staircase of Energy Regimes Energy regimesThe foundation of the Staircase model
The rise and fall of complexity
The evolution of informationGenerating information
From genes to memes and artefacts
Socio-technological developmentThe rhythm of societal development
The pushes and pulls of progress
The evolution of system earthChapter 7. The Emerging Helio-Energy RevolutionSigns of a coming energy revolutionThe Macroscopical Signal
Two perceptions of reality
Leaving Carbon Valley
Nuclear Valley
Green Valley
Sustainable development
Limits to nuclear
Limits to green
The next energy revolutionSymbian Man
The Helio-Energy Revolution
Socio-metabolic complexes
And the face of the earth will change