Exergy and Useful Work Analysis as a Tool for Improved Energy Policy Making: The Case of the Colombian Energy Sector = Análisis de Exergía y Trabajo Útil como una Herramienta para una Mejor Política Energética: El Caso del Sector Energético Colombiano
Energy systems entail a dualism: they are absolutely vital for the normal functioning of societies, but the activities related to them are threatening the stability of the natural environment where societies develop (by being the main source of greenhouse gas emissions). Therefore, energy systems need to be maintained and further expanded, whilst simultaneously reducing their negative environmental impacts. In this sense, a deeper understanding of the thermodynamic concepts behind energy use and conversion processes is needed. Exergy and useful work provide such an understanding and hence their analysis can be used as a tool for improved energy policy making, particularly when dealing with efficiency improvements. In consideration of the above, this dissertation first looks into the energy dualism, followed by the description of the conceptual framework which orientates the work. Subsequently this is applied to the analysis of Colombia as an illustrative case study, taking into account data availability and specific features of that country’s energy system, which in themselves provide special analytical interest. Finally, this dissertation discusses methodological issues and results, as well as the energy policy implications derived from the analysis, both in general/conceptual terms and in the specific case of Colombia. As a result, it was found that exergy and useful work analysis is a tool that can complement traditional energy analysis when assessing national energy systems. Exergy and useful work provide significant conceptual improvements, as well as strengthening the comprehension of the whole flow of energy through society. Furthermore, exergy and useful work analysis leads to different energy policy recommendations when compared to the traditional energy based analysis, particularly regarding energy sources for electricity generation, efficiency dilution effects and leapfrogging opportunities.
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