# Thread: Hypothetical and vague solution to global warming/energy crisis

1. ## Hypothetical and vague solution to global warming/energy crisis

Heat is energy, yeah? So if we could figure out a way to use heat around us as an energy source, it would kill two birds with one stone -- deal with climate change and give us more energy to use.

I have no idea how this could be practically applied, but doesn't it seem like a logical solution? Is there something I'm missing? I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on practical problems here.

2. It is an interesting idea, but we have to contend with the second law of thermodynamics:

It is impossible to convert heat completely into work.

That is, it is impossible to extract energy by heat from a high-temperature energy source and then convert all of the energy into work. At least some of the energy must be passed on to heat a low-temperature energy sink. Thus, a heat engine with 100% efficiency is thermodynamically impossible.
Source:
Second law of thermodynamics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So if we are using the ambient heat as the source, what would be our low temprature energy-sink (which would of-course become higher in temperature over time)?

3. The efficiency is not a problem, though, as part of the goal is to just waste heat energy, making the environment colder.

4. Actually, the point I was making was not about the efficiency per say, but about the need for a cooler energy sink.

Where do we get one big enough?

5. I think we have a better chance of harnessing energy from the cold ocean depths. Scientists are talking about doing this.

6. 1. The crisis is make believe.
2. As stated, flawed plan.

7. ## hopefully I did this right

Ignoring the "doing work" part and focusing on the heat transfer:

8. Originally Posted by Jack Flak
1. The crisis is make believe.
I'm not saying it's a crisis or anything. I'm just saying, if the world is too hot, for whatever reason, it seems like there should be a way to use that heat for energy, killing two birds with one stone.

Originally Posted by ygolo
Actually, the point I was making was not about the efficiency per say, but about the need for a cooler energy sink.
What is a sink?

Also, I can't follow your math unfortunately. I also know very little science.

Originally Posted by ajblaise
I think we have a better chance of harnessing energy from the cold ocean depths. Scientists are talking about doing this.
I'm not talking about a solution to finding energy. I'm talking about a solution that would cool down the world and utilize energy at the same time.

9. Originally Posted by dissonance
What is a sink?

Also, I can't follow your math unfortunately. I also know very little science.
An energy sink takes in energy from its environment and goes nowhere else in consideration. The energy usually becomes heat inside the sink.

The think the math is saying, is that compared to desity ratios, and specific heat ratios, the ratio of volumes is overwhelming. In essense, whatever you try to use to cool the environment will in become as hot as the environment while the environment stays about the same.

10. So would it literally change the average temperature by zero?

Hmm. I guess the only way to get rid of the energy would be to somehow take it off the planet.

Meh, it was just a thought.

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