It is becoming more and more important to manage energy resources effectively in order to maximize their benefits while minimizing the negative environmental impacts. Scientists and engineers are thus faced with the problem of optimizing complex systems subject to constraints from ecology, economics, and thermodynamics. It is chiefly to the last that the present volume is addressed.
Nonequilibrium thermodynamic approaches, such as finite-time thermodynamics, minimization of entropy generation, and Second-Law analyses, can provide realistic models and analyses that can be used to search for optimum ways to operate machines and processes.
Intended for physicists, chemists, and engineers, this volume reviews the state of the art in the thermodynamics of energy conversion and transmission. Using examples from solar, thermal, mechanical, chemical, and environmental engineering, the book focuses on the use of thermodynamic criteria for optimizing energy conversion and transmission. The first set of chapters focuses on solar energy conversion (as in photovoltaic devices); the second set discusses the transfer and conversion of thermal and chemical energy (as in internal combustion engines); and a concluding set of chapters deals with geometric methods in thermodynamics along with their application to distillation columns.