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Energy - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444518866, 9780080459035


1st Edition

Engine of Evolution

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Author: Frank Niele
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444518866
eBook ISBN: 9780080459035
Imprint: Elsevier Science
Published Date: 15th September 2005
Page Count: 214
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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.

Key Features

  • Provides evolutionary insight
  • Introduces an Energy Time Scale that shows key relationships between energy and the history of planet Earth
  • Contains exciting examples of new approaches to sustainable development


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.

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 Revolution The origin of hominids It needed a crisis
The origin of human culture
The quest for the human advantage
Man the fire master The human advantage
The origin of fire
Active use of fire
The Pyrocultural Regime
Societal metabolism
The Symbolisational Signal
And the face of the earth changed A changing lifestyle
And life changed the land

Chapter 4. The Agro-Energy Revolution Man the solar farmer The Agricultural Revolution
The forces that shaped the revolution
The Agrocultural Regime
The emergence of competing energy chains
A new reality emerges The Quantificational Signal
The Scientific Revolution
And the face of the earth changed From farms to nation states
The growing human footprint

Chapter 5. The Carbo-Energy Revolution Hydrocarbon Man The agrocultural energy crisis
The dawn of ancient sunlight
The Carbocultural Regime
The Carbian Explosion An explosion of competing energy chains
Electric energy as information carrier
Carbocultural, non-fossil energy chains
Sensitive scientific senses
And the face of the earth changed The 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 regimes The foundation of the Staircase model
The rise and fall of complexity
The evolution of information Generating information
From genes to memes and artefacts
Socio-technological development The rhythm of societal development
The pushes and pulls of progress

The evolution of system earth

Chapter 7. The Emerging Helio-Energy Revolution Signs of a coming energy revolution The Macroscopical Signal
Two perceptions of reality
Leaving Carbon Valley
Nuclear Valley
Green Valley
Sustainable development
Limits to nuclear
Limits to green
The next energy revolution Symbian Man
The Helio-Energy Revolution
Socio-metabolic complexes
And the face of the earth will change


No. of pages:
© Elsevier Science 2005
15th September 2005
Elsevier Science
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Frank Niele

Affiliations and Expertise

Shell Global Solutions International, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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