In 1801, the British scholar Thomas Young gave a lecture on natural philosophy at King’s College London, inspiring energetic concepts. In response to the idea that the product of the square of mass and speed was called vitality or ascending force at that time, he proposed to use energy to link the work done by objects. Thomas Young’s view was not taken seriously at the time. People still believe that different forces are contained in different sports. It was not until the law of conservation of energy was confirmed that people realized the importance of the concept of energy. If energy is defined as the “ability to do work”, then work can be regarded as the “representation of energy”.
In Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity”, energy is connected with another important physical concept–mass. The mass-energy relationship formula reveals the material properties of energy more deeply, making people realize that everything in the universe is a different form of energy. . Science now believes that all forms of mass and energy can eventually be transformed into each other. Energy, as the name implies, is the source of energy, and is a related substance that provides energy needed by humans. What people call energy is a resource that exists in nature and can be converted into heat, mechanical, light, and electrical energy. Energy is the material basis of human activities. In a sense, the development of human society is inseparable from the emergence of high-quality energy and the use of advanced energy technologies. Today, energy, materials, and information are regarded as the source of the survival and development of nature and human society, people’s lifestyles, ways of thinking, the main factors for the survival and prosperity of the country, and the foundation for innovation and progress in the economy.
Being able to master and use any energy source except one’s own physical strength is one of the fundamental differences between human beings and all other living things. Neither prehistoric dinosaurs, giant crocodiles, or other behemoths, nor birds and beasts today, can perform work beyond their own power. And human beings have this ability, starting from mastering the use of fire.
It took at least one million more years for humans to finally break away from the animal kingdom from the fear of seeing wildfires burning and smog, to learning to collect electric shocks, spontaneous combustion of forests and grasslands, and fires caused by magma and vegetation.
The use of fire is the first mass social movement of mankind. It enables human races to obtain survival values that are different from the survival instincts of other social animals.
If you learn to use fire, you can cook. Cooked food is softer, more nutritious, and shortens the process of chewing and digestion and the time of eating. Since then, human beings have ended the years of eating and drinking. The expansion of food types and scope has had a huge impact on the development of human physique and brain.
After learning how to use fire that is very primitive and may be pure opportunity, this gradual improvement of technology took 800,000 to 1 million years before it spread to other regions.
Since then, under the radiance of the blazing fire, earth-shaking changes have taken place in the way of production, social structure, and lifestyle of mankind. Human society has developed from a state of obscurity to a clan society, and has made great strides into the threshold of civilization.
The energy that mankind grasped for the first time was the easy-to-obtain and easy-to-process vegetation energy. Plants and trees can accompany mankind through the long primitive society, the early stage of agricultural society and industrial society
Relying on the combination of grass and wood energy, wind energy, water power, and animal power, humans make tools, transform mountains and rivers, transform hundreds of thousands of acres of jungle, gravel hills and plains into fertile soil, and use baking and smelting to make clay and ore into ingenious porcelain. And bronzes have built a number of historically shining cities such as Chang’an, Beijing, Baghdad, Rome, etc., and created the splendor of agricultural civilization. To this day, vegetation energy still plays an important role in rural areas around the world.
1.1.2 The coal age
The discovery and utilization of coal can be traced back to ancient times, but the large-scale utilization of coal was after the invention of the steam engine. In 1765, James Watt successfully produced a steam engine. At the end of the 1850s, there were only 17 coke blast furnaces in the UK. By 1790, it had 81, and the number of charcoal blast furnaces was reduced to 25. The era of coal, iron, and steam engines has finally arrived, which opened the prelude to the era of industrial revolution. However, it was not until the middle of the 19th century that coal met 50% of the energy required by the entire society. In the United States in 1850, coal could only provide 10% of the energy needed by society, and in 1900 it accounted for about 70% of the total energy needed.
From the 14th to the 15th centuries, Europe began to promote the new blast furnace ironmaking method, and entered the era of coal energy use since the sound of the industrial revolution in Britain in the 1860s. The Jenny Spinning Machine and Watt Steam Engine were quickly promoted. Following the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, and Japan have all established coal industries. From then on, until the entire 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, coal represented the advanced social productivity of a whole historical era and became the driving force foundation of modern industrial society.
Big machines replaced hand tools and developed manual production to machine production, so that the machine-based factory system replaced the hand-tool-based factory system, and the entire country’s production methods, industrial structure, and economic structure were all developed. A huge change. By 1900, coal production accounted for 95% of the world’s primary energy structure, which was an absolute advantage.
Until today, coal still plays an important role in industrial production and people’s lives. 75% of the primary energy used in my country still comes from coal.