coal and Industrial Energy

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John Farey found that the metaphysical concept was reversed, and that first-mover does not generate the force that causes them to act, but rather absorbs and focuses force that accrues from a natural cause. As a consequence, the mover will derive its motion from the natural source. As a result, a prime mover harvests the force and moves it to other entities. In essence, it functions as a mechanical power generation system from an energy source, transferring power to other systems and causing motion (pg. 38).
Prime movers may be classified according to their bases of influence. “Caron-intensive” or “carbons neutral” come about with regards to the various energy sources. Organic and the Inorganic economies were contrasted with regards to the use of photosynthesis products and fossil fuels respectively. Coal was considered to be organic in nature as it released carbon on combustion. Water and wind were not considered to be organic. A shift from waterwheel powered system to steam powered system proved to be a change from inorganic source to an organic source of energy. An inorganic economic with regard to mineral use apply to an Iron Age or Bronze Age. The distinctions of the inanimate sources and animate sources have not been validated as coal, water and wind all form the inanimate sources. The historical transitions in terms of the energy dynamics have been much centered on the properties which were beneficial only to the agents. The initial British prime movers were sun powered and flow of energy was distinct according the applications. Energy from the sun not utilized in photosynthesis is collected and concentrated to be utilized by the prime movers. Water and wind falls in the “flow category” as their transformations as energy can be accessed as pass by. They continue with their courses as soon as they are released from prime movers. Flow is determined by the condition in time and space (pg. 39). The utilization of energy from the sun, water and wind are on spot, vary with landscapes and cannot be found in all locations.

Question Three

The profile of flow can be summarized from the source where energy from the sun, water or wind is harnessed and utilized for several tasks. Energy from the source is harnessed using the most appropriate technologies at the most proximate areas and transformed into a form intended for particular use. The energy for instance found in water can be harvested as water flow is directed to drive the turbines which are then coupled to a generator. Energy flow is evident where the potential energy of water is transformed from kinetic energy as it flows to mechanical energy as it drives the turbines or generators and later into electrical energy which can be utilized on the spot.

Question Four

The cotton industry experiences a huge growth and industries producing cotton gained much from the growth. Expansion and population increase created a huge market which promoted cotton production. The constant need for energy to power the factors prompted the use of hydro power to supply electric energy. Many areas were proximate for building cotton industries. The availability of both skilled and unskilled labor provided a cheap and constant labor supply needed for the industries. Coal later on provided the much needed power for the large industries. The railway network and expansion of port ensured that there was constant supply of raw materials from imports and the surplus products from the industries exported.

Question Five

Inventions in the 1700s also proved useful in the cotton boom as they improved on service delivery and the manufacturing process as a whole. John Kay’s Flying Shuttle improved on weaving speed. The Spinning Jenny invented in 1765 by James Hargreaves increase the number of threads spins by a machine. Richard Arkwright’s Water Frame invention of 1769 utilized water as a source of power (p. 42). Improvements on the spinning machine were made later on the invention of the steam engine by Boulton and Watt in1781 improved on the form of transport. The prime mover with regards to the cotton boom relied on the readily available natural resources in form of rivers which appropriate terrains which is most adoptable for harnessing the water power.

Question Six

The British economy became a fossil economy with the increase use of coal as a prime source of fuel. Coal was readily available and easy to extract (p. 44). Coal became a very critical material for producing power that was not only applied in industries but to power locomotives. Initially coal seemed inexhaustible and could be used in its natural form.

Question Seven

A proto-fossil economy according to Malm are the economies which were leading in the era of Industrial Revolution utilizing coal as source of fuel and sustained a growth in the levels of emissions. The proto-fossil economy received energy supplied mainly from the non-renewable sources. The proto-fossil economy was mainly characterized by the mushrooming of industries, innovations and machine development, invention of the steam engine, chemical and other manufacturing processes.

Question Eight

Boulton and Watt steam engine was successful as it transformed the ways of life and improved efficiency of the machines. The steam engine ensure that the back and forth motion was coupled to run vital industrial applications. Stem power was generated from coal and harnessed for various industrial uses. The transport stem improved with the introduction of the railway transport which ensured that raw materials and finished products could be transported from one place to another in bulk.

Chapter Two Summaries

Ricardian Argument:

The land as a natural resource diminishes when it is continuously used. Naturally the soils are rich in nutrients and when crops are constantly grown in them the nutrient content diminish. The cultivation of the soil exposes it to the agents of erosion which contributes to nutrient reduction with time. The soil ought to be left to recover its lost nutrients naturally with time as continuous cultivation exposes the soil. The continued use of soil may in its finality permanently destroy the value of the soil and thus become unable to sustain life.

Malthusian Theorem:

Malthus theorem is based on increasing supplies which supports life in order to increase the population growth. Animal and plant life will continue to grow in population as long as conditions become vulnerable. The continued use of the fossil fuels is described as harmful to the existence of life. As population grows Malthus presumes that there will be systematic declines in the living standards as supplies of necessities remain constant. Pressure on the land will be alleviated as population grows due to constant supply of energy by use of coal.


Andreas Malm (verso, 2012), Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warning.

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