Research Papers: Energy Conversion/Systems

Anthropogenic Heat Release Into the Environment

[+] Author and Article Information
Brian Paul

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
University of Miami,
Coral Gables, FL 33124

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology. Manuscript received May 14, 2012; final manuscript received August 10, 2012; published online October 1, 2012. Editor: Hameed Metghalchi.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 134(4), 041602 (Oct 01, 2012) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007360 History: Received May 14, 2012; Revised August 10, 2012

This work is intended to systematically study an inventory of the anthropogenic heat produced. This research strives to present a better estimate of the energy generated by humans and human activities, and compare this estimate to the significant energy quantity with respect to climate change. Because the top of atmosphere (TOA) net energy flux was found to be 0.85 ± 0.15 W/m2 the planet is out of energy balance, as studied by the group from NASA in 2005. The Earth is estimated to gain 431 terawatts (TW) from this energy imbalance. This number is the significant heat quantity to consider when studying global climate change, and not the 78,300 TW, the absorbed part of the primary solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, as commonly cited and used at present in the literature. Based on energy supplied to the boilers (in the Rankine cycle) of at least 13 TW, body energy dissipated by 7 × 109 people and their domestic animals, the value of the total world anthropogenic heat production rate is 15.26 TW or 3.5% of the energy gain by the Earth. Based on world energy consumption and the energy dissipated by 7 × 109 people and their domestic animals, the value of the total world anthropogenic heat production rate is 19.7 TW or about 5% of the energy gain by the Earth. These numbers are significantly different from 13 TW. More importantly, the figures are 3.5–5% of the net energy gained by the Earth, and hence significant. The quantity is not 0.017% of the absorbed part of the main solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface and negligible.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Energy conversion [14]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

The global energy consumption [4]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Oil refining process [24]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Caloric intake necessary to maintain the human body



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